A Tool to Enhance Exploratory Testing in Sessions
Session Tester is a tool for managing and recording Session-Based Testing. Session Tester has a timer so you can keep your test sessions at the desired length, and it provides an easy way to record session notes. Notes are stored in an XML format in your user directory. Session Tester can generate HTML versions of these reports as well.
Session Tester has been designed to seamlessly fit in to your exploratory testing work, and with reports stored in XML format, you have a universally recognized format that can be transformed into a variety of formats.
We want Session Tester to help you improve as a tester, so that you have tools to help you easily describe your testing work, and while doing that, have a source of test idea generation prompts at your fingertips. It can feel intimidating to enter in descriptions of what you are testing, but what if the tool helps you learn to be a better tester? That's our wish.
An experienced SBTM practitioner, Jonathan Kohl noticed that there were no tools that helped testers describe their testing. (See Kohl's descriptive vs. prescriptive testing for more information.) Most testers were using text editors to record their notes, and they don't provide the value of productivity enhancement that programmers enjoy with IDEs. While listening to Antony Marcano speak about the xUnit Test Driven Development tools, Jonathan sketched out an initial design of what became Session Tester. Programmers have fun with xUnit tools, even likening usage to a game: "the red-bar, green-bar game." Jonathan wanted to capture this emotion in a productivity tool for exploratory testers. What if recording session notes became like a game? Testers enjoy getting and exploring new test ideas, so Jonathan began exploring how to help the tool prompt testers to generate more testing ideas, and to have fun while testing.
Jonathan and software architect and programmer Aaron West began working on the first version, with Jonathan test-driving while performing exploratory testing in a medical environment. With the basics in place, they released it to the public, to get community feedback on how such a tool would provide them value. The community has responded, and under contributor direction, the tool is taking shape.