As part of training for new QA resources, I would like to have them practice testing against an application with known issues. I know there are security examples of this type of application (i.e. webgoat) but I am looking for something more on the functional side.

Does anyone know if such an application exists?

My only thought is to find an open-source application and grab an earlier revision of the code and check their bug tracker to see what issues existed in that revision and work my way from there but that seems pretty time consuming.

  • 2
    If you don't find one, I'd be interested in the types of errors you'd like to have seeded in the app - perhaps tiered to difficulty. I could contribute (how much depends on extent of application) to writing the "faulty application".
    – Alan
    Sep 8, 2011 at 19:31

7 Answers 7


One of my favourites is Parkcalc ... Parkcalc is a real world application for calculating how much your parking is going to cost at the Gerald R. Ford international airport. It is also full of bugs, yet it works mostly. The requirements come in the form of the parking brochure.

So you don't pound the real one into the gound there are a couple of self hosted versions, like the one here.

Parkcalc is somewhat infamous after it was a weekend testing target, and there are a number of disections of the bugs that can be found available.

Parkcalc is also a great tool to demo the capabilities of automated testing tools.

  • I was thinking Parkcalc as I was reading the question, having your own is great but Parkcalc is a good public one.
    – MichaelF
    Sep 9, 2011 at 17:23
  • Ironically, this has a key potential answer for the OP: weekend testing would be an excellent way to get some testing done, if they're willing to do it on the weekend that is.
    – corsiKa
    Sep 9, 2011 at 17:45
  • That might be a good idea, one company I worked at had Developers given in code samples with comments for review. Performing a Test and taking notes and handing that in might be a good option to get a feel for the testing done, and why - as long as the notes stated what was going on.
    – MichaelF
    Sep 12, 2011 at 12:22
  • ParcCalc appears to have been taking down. I'm still looking for an alternative or the source code so I can host it myself. Sep 2, 2019 at 17:13


If you go to Alan's blog you'll find a small application there that he deliberately seeded with a couple of errors. That's probably a good starting point for functional black-box testing, although it will be rather time-consuming if you're looking at manual functional testing.

Another good option for training purposes is to check things like any large metropolitan transit agency website, or large airport website. Those invariably have bugs galore to work with.

Beyond that, a lot depends on what you're looking for in the training. Some of the more common objectives are:

  • Perform effective bug triage
  • Find as many bugs as possible
  • Write good bug reports
  • Develop high-coverage testing goals and scenarios without exhaustive testing
  • Plan and test effectively

The kinds of scenarios you're going to want to use to train people will vary based on your objectives for the training.

I hope that's helpful.

  • 1
    Good suggestion to use Alan's recent "Numberz Challenge" application. He has even provided the source code. On the downside, it's a rather simple application, and might not represent the kind of app you'd want your testers to practice on. Sep 8, 2011 at 18:57

By far your best choice is to create your own "buggy" application. That way, you can ensure which bugs are present, and what types of bugs (UI bugs, back-end bugs, security bugs, etc) can be found.

You could do that by grabbing an open-source project and modifying it for your new testers.

If you were to grab a public version of a buggy application, it would be very tempting for your testers to search for the revision history themselves.


For entry testers the 'Hello world' testing challenge is the 'Triangle problem'. You can find quite a few online versions of this challenge. But one of my favorites is the one developed by Elisabeth Hendrickson. There's the one http://testobsessed.com/2007/03/21/testing-triangles-a-classic-exercise-updated-for-the-web/

  • I've also used this one for discussions on coverage before, it's a nice break in a presentation and gives the people involved some ways to interact and use their brains.
    – MichaelF
    Sep 12, 2011 at 12:24

I had similar ideas after taking part in the Numberz challenge and also after reading many many posts about how to test testers

Then I had another thought - instead of the time and energy taken in writing such an app and recruiting testers that could find the seeded bugs, wouldn't that time and effort be better spent in educating the devs so as not to make those stupid simple mistakes that devs have been making for the last X years ?

  • The idea is not bad. However, there will always be a flow of new developers, that need to learn it. It will take them ages to learn every 'stupid' mistake. Time that they could easily spent with learning on the job. Sometimes the 'stupid' mistakes are typos or copy&paste bugs. These you will always have, even from advanced developers. You need QA to verify the 'stupid' and the more difficult to find bugs. Jan 30, 2012 at 16:53

To learn how to write test-cases and test-plan I prefer www.orangehrm.com web-portal. Free and open source human resource management software (HRMS) with rich features and easy to use interface. You can use this for automation testing also.

For automation testing training you can use any of the following websites:

  • Does it have any of those applications have open issues? Are those issues listed somewhere? What types of issues are in those apps?
    – dzieciou
    Nov 3, 2012 at 17:06

Thanks everyone for the answers

I totally forgot about Parkcalc. That's not a bad idea. I think I would rather have a self-hosted option if could. I am not super comfortable of banging around on someone's site no matter how buggy it is.

Numberz Challenge is cool but I am looking for something closer to a normal web application.

I have thought about writing my own or hacking up a open-source app so I could add in my own bugs. I like the idea. The only thing that has stopped me from doing it is time and skill. Both of which I have in short supply. I could do it but I am thinking I would take me far too long to be worth it.

I guess I was hoping that it already existed and I didn't know about it. A kind of QA version of webgoat.

To me, it seems to be something that the QA community could use as both learning tool or even a potential screening tool during the hiring process.

I know from my experience that I deal with a lot of people whom I either interview or who work for me without training (co-ops) that do not have the basic manual testing skills for the job. They need some kind of hands-on experience to learn and/or I need a way to asses their skill

My basic idea would be a small site with a form and simple workflow. The form could a reg form or signup form. Anything like that. User would go a couple page workflow like a signup or cart chekout

Type of bugs I would want to see in it would be:

  • Workflow validation (user can break the workflow by press back button, etc)
  • Broken links (random minor links are broken)
  • Field validation (overflows, not escaping special characters etc)
  • Data validation (storing/displaying the data entered incorrectly, allowing duplicate records)
  • Browser/Device rendering issues (page is busted in certain browsers)
  • Business rule validation (functionality doesn't match a simple spec tester is given)

That's just of the top of my head. I am just thinking it needs to be a basic cross section type of bugs people see everyday in a standard CRUD web app.

I am curious. I am the only one who thinks a tool like this would be a good idea for training/screening/whatever or are other people be interested in this idea? Maybe if people are interested I can get motivated to do it or work with Alan (if he is interested) to get it done.

  • It's a good idea, but a publicly-available piece of software with a list of already-identified bugs has one big problem - once you get the list of existing bugs, any applicant or newbie tester will also be able to get that list of existing bugs. Sep 12, 2011 at 18:52
  • "I have thought about writing my own or hacking up a open-source app so I could add in my own bugs. I like the idea. The only thing that has stopped me from doing it is time and skill. Both of which I have in short supply" As is often the case, if you have money in sufficient supply, you could contract out the work and make up for your lack of time and skill. I'd love to see an Ad for "Be-buggers wanted"! Sep 12, 2011 at 19:03
  • 2
    @Joe I would actually award initiative points to any trainee tester who presented me with a list of already identified bugs :) Mind you, the next request from me would be "so, having found this, how could it help you decide where to look for new bugs?"
    – testerab
    Sep 12, 2011 at 21:30

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