Author: Ajay Balamurugadas

Ajay Balamurugadas, goes by the handle ‘ajay184f’ in the testing community and is continuously re-inventing his testing methodology. He co-founded Weekend Testing – a worldwide movement for skilled testing, authored multiple books available. His friends associate the terms – ‘Change Agent, Idea Man, Motivational’ to him. He tweets under @ajay184f and loves to have long conversations on software testing and life in general. He is currently working at GSPANN Technologies, Inc. as SeniorDirector – QE. When not testing, he spends time with his wife and two children.
ChatGPT and Software Testing: Embrace or Tread with Caution?

The world is continuously amazed by ChatGPT and its applications. Every day multiple people post the applications of ChatGPT in their respective industries ranging from marketing, copywriting, sales, operations, and more. While we thought about ChatGPT for software testing, we have a mixed bag of opinions.

We do not doubt its benefits to the software testing community and at the same time, we are aware of the dangers of blindly accepting every output by the software. At best, it is a good heuristic to use and by nature – heuristics are fallible and not rules. As the output of ChatGPT is heavily reliant on the prompts, it is largely dependent on the skill of the software tester providing the prompts.

If you also want to learn how to use ChatGPT in test automation, listen to Siddharth Shukla now!

Making Use of ChatGPT in Software Testing:

Here are seven different ways one can use ChatGPT in software testing:

1. Test Idea Generator

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you can have someone cross-check your list of test ideas and also suggest an initial set of test ideas based on your prompt? Let us try this out on a flight booking website for a specific type of booking – Round Trip

chatgpt in software testing

Few quick ideas before we ask ChatGPT:

  • Valid cities in both From and To
  • Autocomplete / Autosuggest
  • Validation of the airport code and spelling
  • Validation of the search results (count, accuracy, speed, sorted display, pagination…)
  • Multiple combinations allowed (Same date – Different date, Number of travelers and class, fare type)
  • Match with the API and consistency across platforms
  • Error messages (I added this after typing the next sentence)

Now let’s ask ChatGPT for the test ideas with as detailed prompts as possible

chatgpt for software testing

Based on the output, it appears to have focused more on the idea – Multiple combinations allowed (Same date – Different date, Number of travelers and class, fare type)

Let’s use Pairwise Online Tool to generate combinations along with exclusions

The two exclusions are:

  • 1 Adult cannot travel with 2 children
  • 1 Adult cannot travel with 2 infants

The other exclusion I wanted to highlight but couldn’t do because of the limitation of the tool was:

  • 1 Adult cannot travel with 1 child and 1 infant

The output from the Pairwise tool was a total of 21 cases. We will exclude Case #4 for the above exclusion rule.

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Now, who did better? ChatGPT’s output was a good starting point for one of the test ideas which could be improved using another tool. 

We could also dig deep into each of the test ideas with pointed prompts to get a better response.

For example, when we asked ChatGPT to generate ideas for error messages, the output was not disappointing.

chatgpt use cases

Some of these cases are outside the scope of the current feature variables under focus (ex: insufficient funds, invalid card details…)

You get the drift, it is a good starting point provided you know the drill. You have to critically analyze the output, pick the useful points and leave the rest.

2. Analyze key statements

Imagine a sentence from a requirement document and what if ChatGPT can analyze the sentence and provide us with multiple interpretations of the phrases?

Let’s try it out. We will use the example from Google Meet 

For users with personal Google accounts: You can have a maximum of 100 participants in a meeting. 

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I feel that 3,4,5 are convey the same meaning but in different words. I would use ChatGPT to give me alternate interpretations to cross-check against my understanding and interpretations.

3. Learning Guide

One could use it to kickstart their learning about a topic and build on the outputs. For example, if we want to understand how to test multimedia, we can ask ChatGPT for initial pointers.

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I would then refine more to ask more deep questions.

  • Kind of audio and video issues to expect
  • Parameters affecting audio/video
  • Tools to test audio/video
  • Terms associated with audio/video testing

Now, is this the perfect answer? I don’t know. But it gives me enough guidewords to start my journey. I can now read more about codecs and their relation to multimedia.

4. Snippets of code

Can it generate snippets of code that can be built upon? I have seen multiple examples posted on social media on how ChatGPT can generate code in multiple languages. 


Example: Write code in Python to read the contents of a file and list out the number of duplicate elements and also sort them in descending order based on the number of characters in each element

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Did ChatGPT achieve the objective?

5. Summarize a document or video

As of date, ChatGPT is not able to create images or watch videos. Providing the transcript of a 15 min video could generate a summary for the video – “Become the CEO of your testing” by B. Ajay | testing scope | TestFlix2022 | Testing tips and tricks

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You could also use extensions like YouTube Summary with ChatGPT to get the transcript. 

6. Topic Outlines

I thought for a while about a blog topic and then asked ChatGPT to create an outline for this article itself

The result is a well-structured outline and saves a lot of time.

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Will ChatGPT replace jobs? Not so soon. It is a good assistant and needs skilled folks to leverage it to its fullest potential.

7. Brainstorming partner

Ideas can strike anytime and if you want to brainstorm on different software testing topics, get a different perspective, compare and contrast topics or even have an assistant to help you with your research, ChatGPT can be a good starting point.

Conclusion

For the different use cases highlighted so far, analyzing the ChatGPT responses, we can arrive at the following conclusion:

  • ChatGPT is a good starting point and needs skilled testers to build on top of the responses
  • It is a language model and with the appropriate learning techniques, the quality of the output will improve
  • Treat the responses as a heuristic and not as a rule. 
  • Know the power of ChatGPT and make use of it.
  • Continue experiments with ChatGPT and pick the right responses to implement.

This post is a guest blog by Ajay Balamurugadas. We’d like to thank him for contributing yet another informative piece for The Test Tribe.

00
Mind Maps: Excellent Tool to Aid Testing Thought Process

Are you someone who has heard of mind maps and always wondered what it is? You tried your hand at one and couldn’t figure out how to apply it to your context. You have arrived at the right spot. This article intends to dive deep into mind maps and demonstrate how to use them for software testing. So, free your mind and enjoy the ride.

Let us start with the fundamentals: “What is a mind map”. A mind map is a visual representation of an idea. It has a central node called the parent and all the other nodes are called child nodes. What is the fun of learning about mind maps without a mind map? Here you go.

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What is a mind map?

Mind maps have been in existence for many years still they are not as popular as they should be, among the software testing community. The mind maps can be used in almost every stage of a software testing release:

  • Requirement Analysis
  • Modeling
  • Test Design
  • Test Execution
  • Bug Hunting, Investigation, Analysis
  • Test Reporting
  • Documentation

Before we dive deep into why one should use mind maps extensively, let us understand the current scenario and why they are ineffective. We, humans, don’t think in lists or a linear manner, yet we linearly document most of our understanding. While brainstorming, not everyone thinks about the same topic at the same time with similar intensity. Our brains are wired to think non-linear and make connections in an instant. Instead of using a format to capture the explosion of ideas, we force our brains to adapt to the format.

For example, if I ask everyone to write down their first three thoughts when they hear the phrase – “Reduce production issues”, I bet that each one will come up with totally different ideas.

As a notetaker, trying to capture all of these ideas in a format like lists or docs will be counterproductive for at least two reasons:

  1. It is highly time-consuming to switch sections, edit, think which point will fall under which topic, and also worry about the formatting
  2. It is limiting for the thinker as well as they need to wait till the notetaker has completed capturing the points conveyed so far.

Compare this with a mind map and as and when the topics are highlighted, it is a matter of just one keypress to create a node and add the point. The notetaker doesn’t slow down the thinker. Formatting, and arranging the nodes is easy, especially with shortcuts.

XMind 8 shortcuts:

Enter – To create a new node

Tab – To create a subnode

Ctrl + C / V – Copy / Paste

Ctrl + S – Save

Ctrl + B – To create a boundary around a node (green rectangle effect)

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A Tester’s New Year Resolutions

Mind Map.mov We need to show this as a movie within the article. It is 7 mins long. It could be 1.25x the speed too. 

Let us now focus on how to use mind maps at every phase of software testing with an example from OrangeHRM – Requirements Module.

recruitment module

Requirement Analysis

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Analysis of the “Recruitment” Module

As you can observe, a simple paragraph has been dissected and multiple chains of thoughts are captured. We can also link similar thoughts.

Modeling an Application

Modeling Swiggy App

You can learn more about Systematic Product Modeling through this Worqference video – https://www.thetesttribe.com/courses/worqference-2022-15-workshops-recording-bundle/ 

We can use mind maps to model any application, note down its visible features, mark the interdependencies, chart out the data flow, and highlight the interfaces. 

Test Design

We could duplicate the feature map and add test ideas as nodes for the specific feature.

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Test Execution

For the same map, we could use it for execution and update the results as shown below

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Similarly, mind maps can be used for multiple tasks in testing. 

If you want to analyze all the existing bugs in a project, you could note all the bugs in a mind map, group them and also connect similar bugs.

Common mistakes

Though there are no rules for mind maps, there are a few common mistakes that you can avoid:

  • Many nodes
    Instead of having many nodes, group nodes logically.
  • Long sentences like this stretch the map and make the map look small
    Ensure that the sentences are divided into two lines.
  • Add more details than necessary
    Remember that maps are not detailed documents. These are used to help connect the dots quickly. So, use phrases.
  • Make it bland – no colors, no icons, no images
    Avoid that. It is boring. One can also use colors/icons to differentiate states, status, or any other parameter.
  • Unbalanced maps – More nodes on one side compared to other
    Move the nodes so that the overall map is not skewed to one side and it looks balanced.
  • Export in mind map format and not in png/pdf
    This is a classic mind map 101 mistake. People start assuming that the whole world uses mind maps and expects them to open the mind map in the right application. Instead, export the mind map to an image/pdf and share it with others.
  • No conventions used
    Start using the legend and keep all nodes consistent with the overall conventions.
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Useful Tips and Tricks

  • Create a central node, Press Insert & Enter
  • Create outline on paper first
  • Learn shortcuts
  • Save regularly or switch ‘Autosave’ on
  • Try to fit the map on a single page
  • Use Multi-line sentences
  • Use themes and maintain consistency
  • Keep practicing

Common Tools

There are many tools available on Desktops, the web, mobile, and tablets. Here are some of them:

  1. XMind
    My favorite is XMind 8 even though there are the latest versions like XMind 2020 with features like Pitch, and Zen Mode.
  2. MindMup
  3. Novamind
  4. MindMeister

Conclusion

Once you start using mind maps, you will love them and enjoy the freedom of thinking and note-taking simultaneously. You will save a lot of time, and effort and collaborate effectively. There are multiple resources created by the community. Get inspired and inspire the community.

This post is a guest blog by Ajay Balamurugadas. We’d like to thank him for contributing yet another informative piece for The Test Tribe. You can connect with Ajay at :

03
Finding the Sweet Spot: The Benefits of Combining Manual and Automation Testing

As much as we don’t want to split software testing into manual and automation testing, it makes sense to start with those terms, explain why testing is testing and then discuss the benefits of combining manual and automation testing. In other words, how to balance testing with and without tools.

What is Manual Testing?

Typical definitions are on the lines of – A type of testing usually done without any tools for executing the test scripts. The test design, execution and reporting is all done manually – without any tools. If we look at the dictionary for the meaning of manual: it means relating to, or involving the hands.

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Activities of Software Testing

Any software tester knows that software testing is not a hands-only or physical activity. It is more mental, thinking than physical tasks. Before we talk about use or lack of tools in manual testing, let us consider some of the key activities in software testing.

Tools and Manual Testing

Communication, analysis, collaboration, modeling, test design, test data generation, test execution, bug hunting, reporting, investigation, test reporting, documentation and note taking and more. Now think about how many of these activities are manual or hands-only work. If you think we don’t use any tools for these activities, we need to dig deep into what we classify as a tool. 

  • Is Google Doc a tool? 
  • Is Find > Replace All an automated or manual activity? 
  • Using a formula to calculate the sum in Excel automation? 
  • Removing duplicates using ‘Remove Duplicates’ in Excel a manual or automated activity?

The way we have classified automation seems to be on the basis of how the scripts are executed. Even then the test scripts don’t get written automatically, configured automatically, evaluated automatically, and the reports analyzed automatically.

Automation in Testing

Instead of differentiating testing as manual and automated testing, it makes more sense to let “testing” be the superset and highlight those activities which are heavily tool dependent as “tool-assisted testing” or use “automation in testing”.

Combining Automation and Manual Testing

The industry is at a strange stage right now. The majority of the testing industry still believes in manual and automated testing. You would appear to have landed from a different planet when you go ahead and explain the real meaning of testing and automation in testing. Nevertheless, there are multiple camps of testers who call themselves manual testers and ready to move to automation testing. There is the other camp which prides itself in automating most of its testing. 

Here are some actionable tips to find a sweet spot and combine the best of both the worlds.

Test Data Generation

Once you identify the type of tests to be conducted, you can use automation to help generate different sets of test data. Let us consider an example of testing a form with multiple fields.

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We have username and password fields as text fields. 

Username and Password:

  • Valid
    • Minimum characters
    • Maximum characters
    • R2L characters
    • Existing username
    • With Diacritics
  • Invalid
    • Not satisfying the conditions (Ex: no space between characters)
    • Less than minimum or more than maximum

One could generate the users one by one without using any tool or use automation/test data generators to create the data.

Sample output from a test data generator is as follows:

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Mockaroo – Test data generator
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Partial output from Mockaroo

If you observe the data carefully, the variety is missing. This is where the tester has to step in and strengthen the test data.

Another example is when there are multiple conditions to be tested and you apply the pairwise testing technique to see if there are any bugs caused by a combination of two variables.

Manual and Automation Testing data

Pairwise Online Tool

Output of Pairwise Online Tool

Automation doesn’t understand that ‘Coupon, Address, Gift Wrap’ don’t make sense when you are adding a product to a wishlist. This is how you combine the power of automation and human skills to save time and avoid waste.

Long Duration Test Execution

There are certain bugs that might appear on prolonged usage of the software. During the short release cycles and execution across builds, it is difficult to execute such tests. Using automation, one could dedicate a certain environment and machine for this long duration test – which would help simulate a user behavior and act as a net for such bugs.

Level up your automation testing game with our comprehensive webdriver.io course. Join now to master WebDriver.io hands-on and enhance your automation skills!

Automate the exhaustive tests

In one of the contests, James Bach demonstrated how he used automation (tiny script) to go through all the products and download the details to a file. There were 500+ products and doing the same exercise without any tools could be highly time consuming and error prone. 

Automate the mocks

There are certain applications and use cases which are heavily reliant on state transitions. Everytime you need to test a certain scenario, the prerequisites need to be in place. You cannot refund an order unless it is placed. So, if you need to test a refund, it is not ideal to start from scratch, place the order and then go test the refund. Think if automation can be used to set up the application’s state ready for your tests. It should not just have the products in the respective states but also update the DB so that the next actions have a realistic effect overall. 

Automate the sanity or regression test suite

Based on the product maturity and release feasibility, can automation complete the other tests? If yes, pick the right set of cases to automate – be it the sanity suite or the stable features. If the value gained by automation results helps the testers focus on other critical tests, it is a win-win situation. The key is to use automation to maximize the power of machines to assist humans in testing.

The teams that don’t leverage automation fall behind others. At the same time, the teams that blindly treat automation to be auto-magic also suffer. The trick is to conduct a quick automation feasibility and automate the activities (and not just tests) that will free up the testers for more productive activities. 

Summing Up

To summarize, list out all the activities the teams are involved in. For each activity, see if automation can help. If needed, divide the main task into sub-tasks. Once the tasks, sub-tasks are identified, automate them. Continuously evaluate the costs-benefits and see the value add for the testing team.

This post is a guest blog by Ajay Balamurugadas. We’d like to thank him for contributing yet another informative piece for The Test Tribe. You can connect with Ajay at :

00
Breaking into Software Testing: Tips for Non-IT Professionals

There are multiple reasons why someone from a non-IT background would want to switch to an IT career. It could be out of curiosity, financial needs, a better work environment, or personal needs. Some of the skilled testers are from non-IT backgrounds like journalism, arts, research, and so on. 

This article provides a comprehensive approach to switching to an IT job from a non-IT background by focusing on the three key pillars – mindset, training, and practice. 

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1. Mindset

Attributes of an IT Professional

Every career has its own set of values, skills, challenges, and opportunities. For any career – be it IT or non-IT, everyone would encourage and welcome the following attributes of the professional:

  1. Trustworthiness
  2. Skill
  3. Curiosity
  4. Learning attitude
  5. Coachable
  6. Positive attitude

Importance of a tester mindset in the software testing industry

When one switches to a software testing career, in addition to the above attributes, one needs to understand that testing is a search for information about the quality of a product. It is both an art and a science. There is a structure to the investigation and exploration. Skills like questioning, making notes, quick learning, working well with people, and working with computers and technology play a key role in a software testing career. One should be prepared to encounter chaos, and confusion and bring clarity to multiple stakeholders. A good software tester should look at everything with a critical eye, be up to date with technology, understand user emotions, learn to conduct experiments on the product, be a good investigator and have the courage, to tell the truth.

Tips for building a tester mindset

How do you build a tester mindset from Day 1?

  • Be observant. Ask questions. Be insanely curious.
  • Learn to describe an object or an event in various ways and dimensions.
  • Make notes and learn to tell a convincing story of why your experiments are worth your time
  • Talk to people, and users, and pay attention to their expectations, emotions,, and words.

As a mindset is a continuously evolving concept, do not be disheartened or feel overwhelmed by reading all these points. Take it at your own pace and be happy knowing that if you have a strong tester mindset, you will succeed in the testing industry for a long time. 

2. Training

Once you have taken the steps to build a tester mindset, it is time to begin training. We are lucky that there is no one institution or industry standard that dictates how everyone should test. This now brings in so many training avenues – blogs, videos, courses, books, training, and so on. When you ask someone about the variety of options available in software testing, you will be bombarded with combinations from these blocks. Refer https://www.thetesttribe.com/software-testing-career/ to make sense of these exploding combinations.

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The Testing Landscape (condensed)

The testing landscape and the changing trends

The testing landscape is vast and the trends change rapidly. The good part is that if your fundamentals are strong and you can learn quickly, you can switch across the combinations from the above table. Believe in the journey and start small with realistic goals. 

  • Recommendations for self-study, including a 20-day syllabus for newbies in testing

You could also start on a self-study journey by using the mind map as a guide. NPNT2zCawT8cPbU5 umny7Da lXxHgZRQ4047t dhdMPQ9jzj6 bvhgY7 X2SsySwUziXFbLK72 7WfF68gcT45vmmrHOlrDRA5n9ecefSuCXmA7pTTP 4whAsuR1dOGGFOh EUdsqnIkRS1McoybQ

20 Days Syllabus for Newbies in Testing

Another key contributor to your learning is an association with like-minded testers and learning from different contexts. One of the easiest ways to get a breadth of the software testing landscape is to binge on testing videos that are short and varied.

You can watch videos from TestFlix 2020, 2021, and 2022. Do make a note of the topics that interest you and you can then dive deep into the specific topics. You can take the help of the Library of Testing to know the different types of resources for a specific topic along with the votes by the community.

Importance of association with like-minded testers and learning from different contexts

While learning, one might be tempted to try out multiple topics simultaneously. Beware of learning everything now. Take it slow – both breadth and depth-wise for any topic. Also, do not hesitate to take guidance from a mentor. They not only help you get unblocked soon but also alert you of the traps you might get into. 

Once you have learned the fundamentals and become strong in a specific topic, it is time to consciously include practice in your daily routine.

3. Practice

Every professional practice regularly – doctors, lawyers, firefighters, writers, and others. As software testers, we also need to practice regularly. 

Some of the practical ways to sharpen your skills through practice are as follows:

Pair Testing

Pick an accountability partner, test together, and share feedback with each other. In addition to learning about different approaches for the same problem statement, you also build your network. This will help you in learning, brainstorming, and job switching too.

Online Portfolio

As you learn, keep adding the samples to your GitHub. When you test, add the test reports, notes, and bugs to your portfolio. You could also add your learning notes.

Contests, Hackathons

A good test of your daily practice can be assessed in the hackathons and contests held within your company or the testing communities. You can also learn from other testers on what kind of bugs they discover and which tools and techniques they used for the contests.

Blog or video

Do start a blog highlighting your experiences. When testers usually hesitate that the topics have already been covered, we should remember that every tester’s experience has not been covered. One’s unique perspective will always be the first read for someone. If not for others, write for yourself first.

Meetups and Talks

It is also recommended to attend meetups and conference talks, and also to present your ideas to a wider audience. You can discuss with testers from other companies, those who have already traveled your path and can relate to your journey. The ones who leverage the power of communities grow stronger quicker compared to the testers who restrict themselves to their own companies.

Conclusion

Having understood the mindset change required for a shift into a testing career, made peace with the multiple learning opportunities, and created your plan for practicing testing, it is time to take that leap. All the best and feel free to ask the community to help. We all welcome you wholeheartedly to the testing community.

This post is a guest blog by Ajay Balamurugadas. We’d like to thank him for contributing yet another informative piece for The Test Tribe. You can connect with Ajay at :