Everyone who wants to do their job well faces the basic challenge of preparing and organizing a workplace for himself.
I am a beginner tester, but from the very beginning of my Quality Assurance Tester journey I had to answer the basic question “how?” and “in what way?” will I perform my tasks. A Manual Tester work is often perceived as monotonous and tedious, consisting mostly of clicking repeatedly. In the article below I will try to show you how to make it your dream work instead and how to organize it well with the help of the proper tools!
As I mentioned earlier, the work of the QA specialist may seem to be boring. But it’s just an illusion! It allows me to work with the newest technologies and learn about solutions that I had no idea that exists before. Besides, working in a software house such as Railwaymen allows you to participate in many different projects and experience various app development fields and industries. All this combined gives the satisfaction of being a valuable team member and doing things that others truly need to develop a fully functional app to the client. You just can't get bored in this job!
In the article below I will describe the types of necessary and useful tools for manual testing, I will review them and tell you, which ones I use and value the most.
At the very beginning, we need to think about how does the day of the ordinary manual tester looks like. What kind issues and problems does he face everyday? To understand them better, we should distinguish the types of manual testing first. On the Test Levels, we can name Integration Testing, System Testing, and Acceptance Testing.
When we’re going deeper we can distinguish the Tests Types:
For example, you want to conduct an Integration Testing procedure for your app. It can be checking out if your app is cooperating properly with some external parties, like Apple Pay. Then with the help of the different test types listed above, you can check different matters connected with this Integration. Functional tests will check if the payment is going smoothly, non-functional tests will validate the process performance, etc. Yet this matter is broad enough for the separate article, so we won’t focus on it too much here.
So when you are looking for some tools for QA make sure, that you have the set that enables you to perform all of the test types listed above. Of course, everything described in this section depends strongly on the type of software or device being tested, the specifics of the team's work, and the development process requirements.
If you don't have the time to look for the right set of tools by yourself - remember, that when you decide for the cooperation with the software house you usually have the QA services include. Read more about the advantages of this solution in the article below.
In general, we can assume that each tester must plan and manage tests, write test scenarios, find and report errors, conduct tests and retest and generate reports reflecting test results.
To improve the workflow of the above tasks, as a Quality Assurance specialist you will need:
Test management tools
Tools for tests organization and test preparation
Tools to performing tests and validating them
Tools to bugs reporting
I will try to introduce the characteristics and give examples for each of the tools types listed above.
Most projects are managed through task managers such as Jira, Trello, Nifty, LiquidPlannerGetApp, or Monday.com. It is much easier to plan and control work on the project through those task managers. As a tester and team member, the ability to use this type of tool is crucial.
To efficiently manage tests, a similar system to those listed above is useful. It is best if this tool could be integrated with the task manager. There are many test managers on the market, here are some more popular ones:
As you can see the list is quite large and that's not all of the test management tools. When choosing the test manager to your project explicitly, you should look inside for the basic functionalities that the test manager should have:
Test Plans creation
Test Cases creation
Test Cases execution
Defect tracking system
Integration with other tools
To run tests efficiently you need to prepare them in advance. No preparation for tests may cause their wrong execution and interpretation in the future. Appropriate test data must be prepared for planned tests. And here we have help in tools such as:
The program allows to generate CSV, XLSX, HTML, JSON, LDIF, SQL, XML files with previously specified data. Examples: generatedata.com and Mockaroo.
To generate test e-mail accounts, you can use services such as 10 Minute Email, Mailinator or YOPmail,
You can also use the trick provided by the Gmail account. Where if you add + after the username you will be able to enter any string. For example, for the email@example.com account, we can create several accounts using the + sign (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com), all emails will be handled by the firstname.lastname@example.org mailbox.
When conducting tests, there is often a need to fill in a field or send a message with a set number of characters. For these purposes, we can use text generators where we can get the text with a set number of characters such as this one or this one.
To check the number of characters, you should also use the character counter like this one. Google document also provides a pretty good character counter.
Similarly as with the text generator, we also need a file generator, that will create for us the files of the certain size. A perfect tool for this task will be this one. In QA, the same data set is being repeatedly used for tests, retests, and regression tests very often. That is why it is worth devoting more time to prepare it right.
Performing tests without the use of any tools would be unreliable. While testing by clicking, we can very effectively avoid irregularities in the application. But without their thorough examination, it is difficult to undisputedly define or check the bug itself. It is also more difficult to describe and report that bug later. Reporting bug as “something is not working”, is useless ;)
Here are some tools that will facilitate the manual testing process:
This is one of the more useful tools during testing but I will tell you why this is so later.
For example, if we need to test the module for accepting orders but at the moment it is, not possible to do so through the graphical interface. In this kind of situations, Postman can save us. With the right request, we can quickly create the necessary orders and continue testing.
An open-source software, designed for testing test performance Web Applications. It can be used to analyze overall performance under different load types. Jmeter allows you to schedule tests.
Currently, browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, have developers tools that allow you to edit websites, and quickly diagnose problems. When you are testing, look at tabs such as:
Style - contains the styles used on the page
Console - monitors the website work
Network - monitors website communication
Elements - shows the current display items
Besides, browsers can inspect a specific element, and enable you to check the mobile version by simulating a change in your screen resolution.
When we are testing mobile applications or mobile version of the websites, we often have a limited selection of the real, physical testing devices. Simulators and emulators are a simple way to extend your testing range.
To simulate phones behaviors, it's probably the easiest to use the tools provided by:
Sometimes it can be problematic to set them up. Then the best way is to get help from developers who work on tested software.
To make our work useful to the development team, we are expected to report and describe all of the bugs and problems that we find as detailed and efficiently as possible. Appropriately described screenshots, pasted fragments of responses from the server can help understand the issue by the team much deeper.
For this purpose, we can use tools like:
Screen recorder/ screenshot
Service to formatting the code and getting links like Pastebin
Client to send files between devices. I like Snapdrop (I’m lovin’ it ;))
Additional simple tools that may be obvious but worth mentioning here.
Mouse Pointer, and touch viewer
A simple text editor like Notepad++
Cloud - to store the file
The described selection of tools is mainly based on the tester's work on mobile and web applications, but If you have to test other things - the above set of tools may be useful as well.
For now, I've mainly just listed the tools worth using. For most of them, it will be good to devote a separate chapter or series of articles, to describe their exact use. Maybe it will happen soon, let me know in the comment section if this something you would like to read ;)
The number of available tools that can help us work more efficiently as a manual testers is huge. It's hard to imagine using them all at once while working. Too many tools that we don't know how to use can slow down our work. It's best to find the golden mean so that our work is the most effective.
I think that such basic tools that will be useful during manual tests are:
A tool for monitoring the communication of services with the server (for example Charles proxy)
Layout inspection tools (for example Chrome Inspect tool)
A tool for taking screen recordings and taking screenshots (for example Chrome Inspect tool )
Simple graphics editor to describe errors in the layout( for example Bandicam)
Client for transferring files between devices (for example Snapdrop)
Test management tool (JIRA with Xray)
There are many tools that I use in my work, I also try to check new products and look for new solutions that will allow me to improve the quality of testing. However, there is a tool that I use almost everyday, and to which I often go back to verify the problem I found. This program is a Charles proxy tool, and its aim is to monitor the application communication with the server.
This very simple program works on Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS Android platforms. It allows to conduct the interception of queries and responses between servers and applications. By exchanging responses from the server, it allows the application to trigger behaviors (e.g. specified error communication) that would be difficult to obtain within the normal use of the application. I value this program the most because it has allowed me to observe and define incorrect operation more than once which would be difficult or impossible to track by only clicking on the application.
There is a lot of software on the market that facilitates the work of the tester and the entire team when creating custom software. Most of these tools are paid and the possibility of using them depends on your teams budget as well. It's good to know some of the tools listed above that you can use on your own. It is also good to know what kind of tools are available on the market, to propose and use them when the project requires them. It often happens, that the characteristic of the project does not allow the use a certain tool. Over time, you must learn have to adjust the tools to the specific project. For example: it is not profitable to run and configure some complex tools when we have a very limited amount of time for the whole app development.
I think that over time everyone develops their set of tools that they use in their everyday work. I hope that the information collected in this article will help you in choosing the one that will be suited for you. Yes, the tester's work is based on constant search and thinking about how to check something. Remember that the skilful and optimal use of testing tools not only improves the work but above all - increases your whole quality of testing!
Software development world is filled with tools that we use to make our everyday work as efficient as possible. Interested what kind of them are most suited for project managers? Check this piece below, where we are giving our real-life examples!