Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Testing Primer - An introduction to software testing


This is meant to be a barebones primer on the subject of testing. This does not claim to be an exhaustive compilation but it sure contains sufficient amount of information to do a comprehensive testing by way of general guidelines.

Please read through the documentation once, twice, thrice and so on until you get the grasp of the content.

The idea is to get all the information given in here into your mind and make it second nature so that a general look at the page would make your eyes register the deviation or the error. It sure would take time for you to master it, but at the end of it all you would be an above average tester.

All the best on your job!

How do I do it?

Test it yourself

The best person to test a program is the honest programmer him/herself. So, request your programmer to do the first round of testing and remove any preliminary bugs in the application.

+ Go through the checklist

Did you get a checklist from your test lead? Read through the list and memorize it. Keep it by your side for instant reference.

+ Provide some brief instructions

Did you get instructions from your test lead? Follow the instructions properly.

Do you have a doubt? Always ask. Do not make your own conclusions.

Remember the Golden Rule. "When in doubt, ASK!"

+ Leave please!

Politely ask your test lead to leave (if he/she hasn’t already left you alone). Take a few deep breaths. Take your time and test the program meticulously.

As a tester, it is your job not to assume things. It is also your duty to record every bit of your activity during the testing process.

Understand that if you miss out on recording what you may think is a trivial step, the result of the action might not be the same in another instance. The keyword here is “Don’t think. Just record.”

Here are a few suggestions on testing the web application.

Are the menus and display clear and easily navigable?

Are you at first glance, able to see and understand the most part of the menus and hyperlinks that you see on screen?

Does the page load fast?

How long did it take for the page to load? Seconds, minutes, hours or years?

Is there clarity of Communication?

Do you understand the language that is used by the application? Do you think that the application uses language that is difficult to comprehend?

Are the headings (in reports) in proper location and highly visible and provide clarity?


Is there an option to clearly communicate with the administrator, in case you encounter problems using the application?


Do all the pages that you have encountered follow the same look and feel? Do all the pages consistently look alike?

Are the style sheets consistently used?


Does the site use standard link colors? Are all the links visible at all times? Are the links have properly worded and easy to navigate to the proper destination?

Are short cuts provided to maneuver to frequently used pages?

Design & maintenance

Does your page have related links to navigate before after and to modify options without much difficulty?

Did you encounter any dead links? Did you see any broken scripts during the testing? Did you see any error message that is cryptic and not for the end user?

Buttons such as “Submit” should be allowed to click only once, especially in situations where large data is being processed.

Is graphics being used extensively? How long does the page take to load?

Do you get any “Page cannot be found” or “Page cannot be displayed” errors?

Is the page too long for comfort? Do reports exceed beyond the given frame?

Visual Appeal

Does the site use pleasing colors and in moderation?

Does it contain disturbing animations, jerky appearance etc?

Did you get proper responses to all your requests on that page? (eg., Did you get a blank page as a response instead of a “No data available” message)


Is the tab order of the page correctly set?

Does the program accept alphanumeric characters in the numeric text boxes?

Does the program accept numeric characters in the alphabets only text boxes? (eg., name should only contain letters and spaces)

Does your program detect and warn if mandatory fields are skipped?

Is the program intelligent enough to identify duplicate entries?

What happens if a user clicks on the browser’s back button and clicks submit again?

Functional Testing

Understand the flow of the program before you do the functional testing. The processes may be defined as “Step 1”, “Step 2” and so on. Your goal is to find out if you can go around the order in which the processes that are defined. Essentially, to find out an aberration in the process that if left unchecked might lead to data inconsistency and ultimately to the failure of the system.

Hence, the functional testing plays a major part and needs to be given much importance.


I hope you have gained a little knowledge about testing and the importance of testing in the success of an application.

The most important part in the entire process is to record each and every activity that you do during the entire duration. Every keystroke and every activity will and has to be recorded. This will help the programmer to isolate the errors and correct the situation faster.

This in turn will help completion of the product and get it ready for release faster.

Good luck!


  • Please take screen shots of every screen that you test, and save them in their appropriate directories.
  • Give them proper (and understandable) names.
  • If a form has multiple screens, take screen shots of each instance.
  • This will help in the documentation process of the application.
  • Always use proper test data during testing (do not use “Ajkserjk” as a name. Use a proper name such as “Alfred D'Souza”). It could also help when taking screenshots for documentation purposes, where "Alfred" looks better than an "Ajkserjk".

Monday, September 18, 2006

Error when I start PerfectDisk!

Some one recently posted the following error regarding PerfectDisk.

I got this error on startup of PerfectDisk, my disk defragmenter, "Failed to connect to computer "MYCOMP", The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion."

Strangely the program doesn't recognize my hard drive, but other defragmenters I have installed do? Does anyone know what could be causing this? Thanks for any help.

I think I have a solution for this specific error. Try the following:

1) Download and install, "Spybot - Search & Destroy"
2) Download and install, "Lavasoft Ad-Aware SE Personal"
3) Run the installed software one after another.
4) Try executing PerfectDisk now. Does it show all your drives for defragmenting?

1. Copy and paste on Google to find download links for the software.
2. Remember to download the latest updates, when running the software for the first time.

Did it solve your problem?

Update to the above post:
Today is 2nd October 2006. Birthday of the pioneer of the non-violence movement, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, father of the Indian Nation (also called Bapu, Gandhiji, Gandhi Thatha and so on, in love and reverence). Peace unto all. Love Makes All, Hate Breaks All.

What i did next is as follows:

1. Uninstall Perfectdisk
2. Delete the Raxco directory including the Perfectdisk sub-directory (You be careful when deleting the Raxco directory. Delete only the Perfectdisk sub-directory if you have more than one software from Raxco installed)
3. Restart the computer
4. Open the registry editor ("start", "run", "regedit", "OK")
5. Press the "Home" key to go to the first entry in the registry
6. Press F3 to open the search window
7. Type "Perfectdisk" and click on "Find Next"
8. Delete the matching entry
9. Press F3 again to find the next matching entry
10. Delete the matching entry. Continue until all matching entries are found and deleted
11. Exit the registry editor
12. Restart the computer
13. Reinstall Perfectdisk
14. You are ready to use it now. Your problem is solved, Yes?


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Case of Mistaken Identity!
(aka) Policeman and not a Gentleman?

If you are a resident of Chennai, you surely would have heard about the recent case of mistaken identity leaving a young man in tatters, psychologically and physically. It so happened, that the young man picked up by the police and the suspect were namesakes resulting to the arrest of the wrong man.

And he allegedly suffered the worst night of his life. It seems that he was bodily harmed by the policemen on duty at the station, in the name of interrogation. He was released the next morning, when the police found out their blunder (where the poor man was picked up due to mistaken identity because the wanted man was his namesake), and he was let off with a fifty rupee note in his hand. At that time he was barely able to walk. The incident made the news in the local channels.

This incident of mistaken identity, is another blot on the policing system. I wonder if there aren't any modern methods to interrogation. Who is at fault? What kind of training do they give the policemen for their job? And, what would be the psychological makeup of a man who can wantonly inflict harm on another human, whether by law or otherwise? How can the policing of the society be given to such irresponsible individuals? I would be interested to see a psychological assessment of all the policemen in the country done and a report released.

It is probably not the fault of the policemen. They have been trained to do things in a certain manner. They have not been trained to be sensitive to the fellow human. They are just following protocol.

This may be making the headlines since the person affected is innocent. Now, after this incident, we do know how the accused are inexplicably treated in police stations throughout the country. If the person is treated thus, before he is let back into society, how can we expect him to reform? The law is not just supposed to convict people who commit crime. Isn't it more important to reform people and help them get back into the system.

The law should not just be to catch them and put them in prison. It should be to produce less criminals with every generation.

My argument is simple. If what you have been doing has not been producing results, you are doing it the wrong way [no pun intended]. It is time you changed your approach.

It is interesting to note here that we live in a society where a policeman's presence is essential to make the public obey even an automatic traffic signal. Does it make a serious statement on the values that are imbibed since childhood?

By the way, have we been producing less criminals and less crime happening in the past years after independence? If not, isn't it time for a serious thought to change the system?

Note:This is an article originally published in Jan 2005, when there was an incident of an innocent civilian falling prey to a case of mistaken identity, in the southern Indian city of Madras, re-christened Chennai. And, that case is forgotten. Another thought that occurred to me about this case of mistaken identity, is that it could be happening every day in different places. The results could probably be hilarious, unlike in this case, where sadly an individual is probably scarred for life.

KISSing and the art of doing things right!

Gotcha! I made you click there, didn't I? Now, I have to worry about making you read through this entire piece. Actually, this piece is all about the principle of KISSing. You were not tricked into clicking on the link. But, speaking the language of a lawyer, I merely presented the truth differently.

In everyday life, there are a lot of things happening that should not be. But what brings some to the limelight is the prominence of those involved. Or the scandalous nature of it vis a vis the present day scenario.

Well, I believe every one of us has holiness inside. To attribute holiness only to a few select individuals is probably the reason that we see the kind of ruckus created when a head of a religious organisation or institute or a person high in the power hierarchy allegedly does an unholy thing [Holy and unholy is again a relative thing. What is right in one culture and one part of the world is wrong in another. What is punishable by death in one gets only a few years in prison in another. Who is a martyr in one is a terrorist in another]

While a similar incident elsewhere will probably give the offender a punishment, a teenaged girl who was allegedly exploited by her own people is being given the death penalty in Iran.

We are not talking about any specific incident, but about how an individual's understanding of right and wrong can change the largest democracy in the world most positively.

From my experience, if one gets a chance to flout rules, one will certainly do. Unless somebody is watching, or he/she fears being caught. That probably is a result of how we have been brought up. A simple example would be to watch an unmanned traffic signal from a hidden position. Probably, nine out of 10 vehicles would jump the signal. How do you prevent that from happening? Install a gadget at the top of the signal and tell people that it is a camera [never mind the box is empty]. Make sure that the people are aware that the instrument is watching them. Publicise in the leading papers that so many people (some cooked up figure, with photos of people in court) have been fined in the past week for flouting unmanned traffic signals. Keep doing it regularly and you will see a marked improvement in people following traffic rules.

Coming to the point, if you do something, you do it out of your interest in it. You do it because you like it. It may be wrong from a different point of view, but still you do it because you like it.

I think all the world's problems would be solved if we kept to the KISS principle (Keeping it simple).

Let us start (and end) with an individual's right and wrong. Don't do a thing that can probably hurt another, in any which way. It can be a small thing as watching both ways before crossing the road, not crossing the roads in junctions to serious things such as not resorting to hartals, bandhs etc, where for the benefit of a certain section of the people, a majority of the populace are put into tribulations.

We are all victims of our emotions. I believe we are all trying to come into terms with it in our lifetime.

My KISS theory is,

Do whatever you like to do, intensely.
But do not do whatever you like to do, if what you do will adversely affect another.

Let us start teaching this rule to our children at school.
So, the next generation will live life happier.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Is man just a large micro-chip himself? (or) Who owns the human computer?

What follows is just a reflection of my experiences with the alternate. You may take it as it is or with a pinch of salt or sugar or whatever. I generally take a non-prejudiced stand point on a subject matter, I hope you do the same.

Assume a situation, where somebody was able to tell you your name, your parents' name, your age, your present profession etc., just by looking at your thumb impression, what will be your reaction? Most probably, you will call it some kind of a trick. It's is not surprising. We have been brought up like that. We want proof for whatever is happening or has happened, failing which we look at it with scepticism (a lot, I would say).

There are quite a few places in India and its neighboring countries, where personal details [known only to the person concerned] are read out from palm leaves (they are called Jeeva Nadi with prefixes of names of the Rishis who wrote them, like Agasthiyar Jeeva Nadi) which were written thousands of years ago. One may be tempted to ask, "Why should I go to this place? Just to hear someone read out my name, my parents' names and my age, which I already know.

That the palm leaves may or may not provide you much more information to improve your life is besides the point. The point is, how did a Rishi (Saint) know the personal details of an individual thousands of years before the individual was actually born.

We are proud about our achievements in cloning using genetic engineering, and how near we are to creating artificial intelligence. If the above fact is taken into account, don't we too come under the bracket of artificial intelligence. It would seem that the robot is trying to create another robot.

I will cite an example.
I am a computer programmer. During the process of creating a program, I can predict the problems that I will encounter during the life of the program, and if the user tells me the problem he has met with, I can also tell him what to do to solve it. I am in effect predicting something that will happen to a computer program that I created.

I am not an expert on the theory of evolution. But the purpose of this article is to initiate a debate on the existence of man.

So, did he evolve, or was he created?

Rishi (Rushi) - Holy Man
Agasthiyar - A Saint (Agastya, Agasthya)
Nadi - In this context, a collection of ancient palm leaf manuscripts written in ancient tamil or sanskrit
Jeeva - Life

Karan Thapar interviews Arjun Singh

I happened to read through the transcript of the recent Karan Thapar vs Arjun Singh interview. I thought it made interesting reading.

The Devil’s Advocate programme on CNN-IBN.

Karan Thapar has been notorious in putting even the seasoned politician on the backfoot and the case of Arjun Singh was not to be an exception.

Throughout the interview the Minister was on the backfoot and at a loss of words to justify the decision of the Parliament on reservations. He was not even able to provide the percentage of the OBC population in the country. When the numbers referred to by the interviewer made the case of reservation non-essential, the minister only repeated that the decision has been taken by the parliament, an insufficient defense, to say the least.

It was an interesting read, you have to give it to Thapar. He does it meticulously, like the hyena pack attacking the prey from all sides and disorienting it.

The highlight was the part where he showed that the present Congress Government may be in disagreement with Jawarhalal Nehru who, on the 27th of June 1961 wrote to the then Chief Ministers expressing his "dislike" for "any kind of reservations... The moment we encourage the second-rate, we are lost... This way lies not only folly, but also disaster."

On this Karan started of by stressing Arjun Singh's admiration for Nehru, immediately highlighting the fact that Nehru was against any kind reservation. The minister's reply was a weak "that is the will of Parliament".

In fact he kept repeating it many times, giving an impression that he is a puppet who cannot do anything else other than go by the majority decision. That he did not stoutly defend the decision of the parliament gives the impression that he might also be against reservations.

Given the evasive and unsatisfactory replies for the most part also proved that Mr.Arjun Singh was lacking in research, preparation and utterly defenseless.

The winner was of course Karan Thapar who drew blood one more time.

For those who would like to read it in full, follow the below link:

Karan Thapar, according to wikipedia, is one of India's noted television commentators and interviewers