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I'm interested in hearing suggestions for ways of recording exploratory test session notes. We currently use a mixture of Session Tester and a wiki for recording test notes.

I like many things about Session Tester: it's unobtrusive and lightweight so it doesn't get in the way and distract me from my testing, it's cross-platform, and I very much like being able to tag "issues" for later follow-up during testing, and having them conveniently gathered under one heading in the report afterwards. (Being able to search plaintext files for key words later is also very handy).

Drawbacks? It's (as the name suggests) aimed at session based testing, and our exploratory sessions tend to be more threaded, and less about discrete sessions.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The lightest tool I've seen is Rapid Reporter.

Light, smart, and free, written by a thoughtful person who loves testing.

http://testing.gershon.info/reporter/

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Thanks Jon - and welcome to the site! Thanks for the link - I'd heard of Rapid Reporter but not investigated it as it's Windows only - but I spot in the comments that a Linux version is under way. Hurray! –  testerab May 22 '11 at 11:45
1  
+1 Rapid Reporter is a great tool and Shmuel Gershon (who developed it) is excellent at the tricky balancing act of incorporating input from users without having that lead to a tool plagued by "feature bloat." The result is that Rapid Reporter is a very nice tool that is extremely easy to use that has the vast majority of the features most users are likely to want. In addition, it doesn't take up much room on your screen when you're testing. –  Justin May 23 '11 at 1:53

Really depnds on the person testing. I've yet to find a solution that works for everyone. Since I'm normally testing on windows machines, I tend to use a combination of psr.exe with OneNote and occaisionally SnagIt for when I need a screen shot to remind me exactly what to look at later if it's not in the scope of what I'm working on. Normally I'm not a big fan of the selenium IDE, but for testing web applications and I'm in a bit of a rush, I've found that it can be useful. Either way, on my current team, we always attach our testing notes in a text files attached to our test plans. Considering moving to a wiki for some of the applications, but, not completely sold yet.

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Microsoft Test manager 2010 does a great job at this. It can record the whole session, you can play it back automated, you can also attach parts of it to bugs as an attachment. It's expensive, but it is really, really good for this.

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+1 as it may well be useful to another team, but sounds like it won't be suitable forus as we have some of the team using Fedora Linux, and some on Windows 7. –  testerab May 7 '11 at 17:48

Hey.
Other possibility is Test Explorer. It has very nice features:

  • record test as 'steps' which reflect what tester did
  • Capture screenshot for every step
  • record movie
  • add notes to test during recording
  • save test as baseline
  • record local files usage
  • record registry changes
  • record system resources used
  • replay test (which is actually displaying steps from baseline one by one as reference what to do and what should happen), during a replay tester interacts with application and TE records everything
  • log issues
  • generete test report
  • generate issues report

This software has some bugs, but try demo as it may suit your needs. Tool is not that expensive, but it is not free.

P.S. Solution from MS VS 2010 is nice.

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Will it run on a Linux machine? I can't find anything on the site, but seem to remember it was a Windows only tool? –  testerab May 7 '11 at 17:47
    
oh, sorry. Windows app. –  yoosiba May 10 '11 at 18:56
    
No worries - I've heard really good things about it, am sure it'll be useful to others reading. –  testerab May 10 '11 at 19:40

What I currently (well, over one year already) "misuse" as a kind of session reporter is the "BB Testassistant Expert".

I heard about it in the RST class of Michael Bolton and got me the budget to buy it. Its under 200 EURO, plus one update of 60 EURO last winter.

I just start it in the beginning and let it run. On my test machine it is not intrusive and don't cause any delays or stuff.

Whenever I find something, I bring up a popup where i enter or copy&paste my findings. Also neat for later follow ups, which are not on charter.

It has some bug tracking integration, currently for TRAC and JIRA.

It can extract Windows event log and one can write a parser to integrate custom application logs.

Also good.. I can capture transition bugs, which are hard to explain with one screenshot or textual description.

After the recording, one can also gather system information and the logs. All will be saved in a native FBR format file.

I can open the note section and click my entered text. It will jump to that timeframe and I can review it. It also captures, what keystrokes I used and what mouse buttons I clicked.

I can decide to set markers for easier jumping within the movie and also use zoom and edit text bubbles.

The FRB files can be exported to different formats: avi, swf and self-executables. Very neat. I can sent a small exe to my collegues and he can instantly replay and use the jump menu to go to the important facts.

On a side note: You can also easyly create online tutorials... was wondering if the guys from TestExplorer used something like that for their tutorials. :-)

An investment well spent for me.

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I've seen Michael using BB Test Assistant - it does look like an excellent tool. I wasn't aware it had JIRA/Trac integration though! –  testerab May 7 '11 at 17:49

Although still 'session based' the following tool may help.

http://code.google.com/p/sessionweb/

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Hey, interesting - I've never come across that one before! Thanks for the rec - and welcome to the site Peter :) Think I recognise the name from STC? –  testerab Jan 21 '12 at 14:03
    
he's also known as @unlicensed2test ;) –  Phil Kirkham Jan 21 '12 at 14:50

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