Wet Diapers, Compatibility and a Favorite Bug..

Hello World,

I was quite busy over the last few weeks – my wife gave birth to a baby boy on September 27th. The little one and his mother are doing fine 🙂

So; business as usual. I have completed my 4th year as a Software Tester, 4 years in which I’ve learned quite a lot and continuing my learning, become more and more passionate about testing, started reading about software testing in various blogs and started to develop some important skills which are must haves for a software tester. Over the course of my career as Software Tester, I’ve seen lots of interesting bugs as well. One such bug which is still fresh in my memory links to Compatibility Testing.

My previous employer provides photo book services. We had a couple of desktop applications where users can create a photo book from scratch and order online. As part of getting a wider audience, the company wanted to provide the service as a web application. The users will be able to upload their photos and select the type of photo book they would like to create and order it online. As this was a new venture, extensive testing was conducted for a couple of months. As this was a web application, testing was conducted in both Windows and Mac.

The application wants the users to create a user account and the user will be having a dashboard which displays all his/her photo books. There were options for the user to add a name, some tags and descriptions to their photo books. To make the sales reports easier for the marketing team, the testers were told to follow certain naming conventions while creating a photo book for testing. Something like TesterName_BookNo_Date was being used for this purpose. I had done with my testing in my Windows machine and wanted to check the features in the Mac. The real story begins now 🙂

I started with creating a new photo book. The user account I logged in had plenty of test books and it was the same account I used to test in the Windows machine. The book was created successfully and all is looking good. Oops! There is a slight problem! I didn’t follow the naming conventions while creating a new book! Well, there is an Edit option in the dashboard against each of your books, so why worry 🙂 I clicked on the Edit link and made the changes to the book and hit save.

“OH MY GOD!!!! Where are my photo books??” was the first thing that came to my mind after performing that Save. All I could see was an error message “An unexpected error has occurred!”. With the release planned the next Monday, this is not what you want to see on a Thursday 😉 Now, the most interesting part starts – Investigation 🙂 I just love it!

The first thing I tried was logging in with another login credentials. I could not find any issues in the dashboard. I tried the same steps, but nothing happened. So the problem might be with some other issue. To be sure, I switched to my Windows machine and tried logging in with the first user name and password (in which I got the error message). Aha! the error message is shown here as well. So I thought it may not be a compatibility issue. I tried other login credentials in Windows machines and repeated the steps, but could not reproduce the issue.

Hmm.. the problem is with only this username and password – what might be wrong with this? It could be safe to assume that the problem is not with the login credentials, as it was working perfectly the moment before I hit Save. So I was sure that something is wrong with the save option or some of my actions has caused this issue.

I took my notepad out and began to write down the steps I performed.

  1. Logged in
  2. Created a new book
  3. Clicked Edit
  4. Changed name, tag and description
  5. Hit Save

Nothing special in here. I then began to carefully inspect each of the steps and what I was doing in between these steps.

  1. Logged in – no issues, all is perfect
  2. Created new book – no issues, perfect
  3. Clicked Edit – no issues here as well
  4. Changed name, tag and description – no issues, perfect.
  5. Hit save – error happens, don’t know what happened.

It was then that I remembered an important point. I used Ctrl+C to copy the book name and Ctrl+V to paste the same thing in the Description field. So, there is a sub-task for the fourth step now:

– Changed name, tag and description – with Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V.

I created a new user account, created a couple of books in it – without using the Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. Then created another book, by using the Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. When I hit Save – Hooray!! I’m getting the error :D. I couldn’t believe the Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V is causing the issue, so I tried it on another user account as well, and the same error was reproduced. I still couldn’t digest the fact that Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V is causing an error – it was then that I noticed the most important thing. I’m testing on a Mac!!! In a Mac, Ctrl+V inserts a special character in the field (^V) – the keyboard command Ctrl+V is a windows command and it will not work on a Mac. And what’s more, we cannot see the ^ symbol inserted into the text field, so effectively what we see on our screen is ( v); but the special character will be saved in the database when the user saves and it will corrupt the database causing an error in the particular user account. Ha! So relieved!! This is why people still argue about Windows and Mac 😛

But to be fair to the developers – this is caused by a mistake of a frequent Windows user switching to a Mac machine. The possibility of this happening if the user is a frequent Mac user may not be that high. 🙂 But, a bug is a bug and it can come up very unexpectedly!

Dhanasekhar blogged about tracking intermittent issues, and James Bach has a written a great article in this regard as well – which reiterates another skill which is a must have for a tester – Patience 🙂

Till next post – happy testing!!

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3 thoughts on “Wet Diapers, Compatibility and a Favorite Bug..

  1. Good Post,it is all about how quick we observe and analyses, makes us a better testers. It is not just observing and analyzing application behavior, that includes our own actions\inputs as well.
    -Dhanaekar S

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