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Mariia Boiko

QA Engineer

Testing automation is the most popular trend in the modern software development world today. That is logical because most companies have switched from a waterfall to an agile approach. Features are delivered weekly, daily or sometimes even several times per day. And if teams are running Continuous Integration (CI) or Continuous Delivery (CD) it’s too costly to spend long hours on regression testing. But with testing automation manual testing is still necessary. Manual testing will never die as robots won’t be able to think and perceive like a human.

In this connection between automation and manual testing here are some tools to help both QA testers and QA developers to perform efficiently. The list represented in this post is not comprehensive but I still hope you to find it useful.

Anyone who has ever seen a bug reported in a bug tracking system will never negate importance of attached evidences either screenshots, videos and logs.

Screenshots. Among all the awesome applications for taking screenshots I like Lightshot. It’s free, fast, well-documented and can be installed on Mac and Windows as an application or as a browser extension. Along with all required editing options it allows saving screenshots locally, copy to clipboard or upload to cloud and share as a link. As a bonus Lightshot has a built-in screenshot history option.

Video. A tool to make issue reporting more detailed is Screencast-o-matic. It’s also free for registered users (with a limit of 15 min length video) and makes video capturing and editing as easy as a pie. Also available for both Mac and Windows users, Secreencast-o-matic supports different recording sizes, allows to select areas on the screen for video capturing and can be used for recording computer screen, webcam or even both at the same time. You can also add narration which is extremely helpful.

If there is a need to demo iOS device behavior I’d recommend a tool named X-mirage. It’s a powerful AirPlay service which allows to wirelessly stream contents or mirror an iPhone, iPad and iPod screen to any Mac or Windows PC. You can record screen and audio from iOS devices, as well as add a voiceover via Microphone with one click. The main disadvantage of this tool is that it requires a paid plan. However, they frequently conduct giveaways, so follow their news on their website and enjoy.

On Android devices I have DU Recorder installed because it helps to easily record smooth and clear screen videos, save them locally or select one of the multiple sharing options for free.

With any doubts screenshots and videos are useful, at the same time they are powerless in providing debugging information. But good news, there is a way!

Debugging. Many modern browsers have built-in tools or extensions to perform web page inspection. The most popular and robust are Chrome DevTools, Firebug (Mozilla Firefox), and Web Development Tools (Safari). These tools are perfectly documented and allow to obtain comprehensive information about CSS, HTML, DOM, XHR, and JavaScript on a web page. By sharing JS errors that get shown in the Console tab of Chrome dev tools or XHR requests available in the network tab along with steps to reproduce, a QA person can help a lot to find a root cause and deliver a fix asap.

It might also happen that an issue is only reproducible on a real device and not in a mobile mode on Chrome desktop. To get debug info from a physical devices you need to connect the device to a laptop or PC using a USB cable and switch to debugging mode of remote devices.

There is also a great alternative to USB debugging – Charles. The main advantage that it provides the possibility to record and display all requests and responses not only by web applications but also by native iOS and Android apps. Multiple device testing on servers available only through VPN (a typical challenge) is also easy with Charles. The VPN connection should be configured on one laptop or PC and all other devices will have full access if connected to the Internet using the laptop (PC) IP address as a proxy.

Multi-browser testing. The next tool, Browsersync, was originally created to facilitate repetitive manual UI testing. It is widely spread among HTML/CSS developers because once set up it automatically updates browsers pages when HTML, CSS, images and other project files are changed. In QA practice the tool can be used for cross-browser and localization testing, when you need to check the layout on multiple devices at once. Browsersync should be started on the main computer using terminal and remote devices should be navigated to UI External address generated after the start. Once done interactions with web application performed on main computer will be repeated on all connected devices.

Finally I want to mention BrowserStack, a cloud platform that enables to play with websites and mobile applications across on-demand browsers, operating systems and real mobile devices. It does this without requiring users to install or maintain an internal lab of virtual machines, device or emulators. Can you imagine and almost all the most popular devices are available for cross platform/browsers testing needs? Since it’s not free a decision to use or not to use should be made by managers but a trial version helps to try it and collect enough data about how useful it could be. If you choose to purchase the licence it is not as expensive as having a reliable testing laboratory of real devices.

Thank you for reading and if you have any comments please feel free to post them on the Digicode LinkedIn profile associated with this post.