Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekend Testing Double Header

So today is a double shot of Weekend Testing!

I hosted a Weekend testing event this morning/afternoon with Weekend Tester's Americas (and we had a pretty excellent turnout, too, 23 attendees!), and I'm also attending the Weekend Testing Australia New Zealand group (WTANZ). Their sessions begin at 10:30 PM PST, which would normally be a stretch (I've done it before, but it makes for a late night) but tonight my daughter has 7 giggling 4th grade girls over for a sleepover to celebrate her birthday... needless to say, I will be *WIDE AWAKE* at 10:30 PM, so I might as well learn something (LOL!).

WTA06 – It’s In The Cards

The past few challenges, we have been able to approach products and tools that have been developed by contributors to Weekend testing (Shmuel Gershon's Rapid Reporter, Tim Coulter's and last time Albert Gareev presented a challenge around "Lightbot", a flash game that helps to teach programming concepts. This time, WTA regular Eusebiu Blindu, @testalways at Twitter, contributed a testing challenge that he coded himself.

The game is based on a traditional five card draw hand used in Poker, but instead of random cards, the user can select exactly the cards that they want to make their hand. Once they have decided on their hand, they can click on a "Generate Image" button and an image displays.

The primary task is, of course, to test the application. The mission we presented was as follows:

Detect if any relation exists between the selected cards and the image generated in pop up (after pressing “Generate Image”)

The testers then broke up into groups and shared their ideas on how to determine if there was a relation. The short answer was YES, but many testers went on to see if they could figure out WHAT the relation was (which could be considered outside the scope, and some testers called out some other testers on exactly that, but it made for an interesting testing session and discussion, so I'm not complaining :) ).

During the discussion period, we asked the testers to consider the following questions:

Are you able to determine if the application needed some skills that you needed to improve and, if so, which is the main one?

What skill do you think helped you the most in accomplishing this task?

Here's the card game if you want to give it a try:

WTANZ12: Boundary Testing

So it turns out that the session started tonight at 9:30 PM, which means an hour earlier. Hey, fine with me :).

Richard Robinson has planned a challenge based on Boundary Testing. we worked through what has now been referred to as the classic ParkCalc application. For those wondering what this is, it's an actual parking calculator that calculates faire's for parking your car at this specific airport. We were to test for boundaries, and I decided to see which boundaries I could find. I was somewhat amused and dismayed to realize that it would accept some very outlandish dates (like 1,000,000 BC and more, seriously!). I mentioned in this that I felt compelled to see if I could find an error to generate, and that I seemed to get sucked further and further into a vortex of "come on, I have to be able to create a date that will generate an error someplace!!!"

The danger here is that I'm assuming that an error is appropriate. How do I know that that is what is needed? I expect it. It's what I'm trained to look for, and when I can't generate one, I keep looking for it, and get frustrated when I can't easily generate it with outlandish dates. What does one do at this point? Does one go with an assumption and say "look these dates are ridiculous, this is a bug because, I mean, come on!!!" assumptions can be correct, but they can also be dangerous if we are wrong, so it's important to know when an assumption can be used as a legitimate yardstick, and when it cannot.

All of the participants were able to explore a number of boundary conditions, including many that we hadn't specifically considered. All in all it made for a fun and fast paced session.

So when is the next session? We're not sure at this point, but we promise, as soon as we know, we will let you all know :).


Marlena said...

Thanks for joining us. It's always a special treat to welcome testers from other WT groups!

Aruna said...

Great post Michael! Thanks for sharing your experience at WTANZ12.

I can totally relate to you on how we get trapped into the vortex of wrong assumptions. I am usually unaware that I am even making assumptions when I do so...This article is an eye opener!