All the Variables When Testing Software

Throughout some of my past posts I’ve talked about all the testing that takes place when building software and today I felt like I should give some tips on what tools we utilize to test software thoroughly.

To start, obviously there is a need in today’s “constantly connected” and “instant gratification” society to have a mobile friendly software. As a result, when you are building your product, you will need to build it to be responsive and as a result, test on a variety of devices and screen sizes.

A tip for this situation; learn the ins-and-outs of your browser capabilities. Learn where to find and how to use the “Toggle Device Toolbar.” This will easily allow you to view your page in any screen size possible. Often times this can be found by right clicking on your page and selecting the “Inspect Element” field. See the video below for a quick demo of this.

As you can see, there are elements on this page that don’t display correctly as the size of the screen changes. These are all things that will be corrected in the future versions of our software. Of course you can always utilize your own phone or other devices, but this has been a trick I’ve used for testing screen sizes I don’t necessarily have a device for. It also quickly allows me to relay what the dimensions are of the view the programmers may need to make changes to.

Moving forward, it’s also important to remember not everything looks like same from browser to browser. I’ve found it’s a good idea to test on more than one browser. I personally test on both Firefox and Google Chrome, but these are just my personal preference.

There are two other tools I use a fair amount that are also worth mentioning in this post. The first is a simple extension that makes clearing your cache super easy. This “Clear Cache” extension allows me to clear my cache with just one click. I can resume testing easily. There are plenty of times where you’ll want to make sure you’ve cleared your cache in order to test and expose bugs effectively.

I typically will have one browser (Firefox) that I only utilize for testing and as a result don’t mind clearing my cookies on that browser as well. Sometimes I prefer not to have to clear my cookies on the browser I use on a regular basis.

The second tool I’ve used and would recommend is called Zenmate.

This is great for testing from an alternative IP address. I use this when trying to view things from a different location and/or to see things in a different timezone.

When I’m testing I try to think of what will be the common settings that our future customers will be using our software in. Will they be on a mobile device sometimes? What if they don’t use the same browser I use? What if they are in a different timezone?

These are things Garrett has taught me along the way that have allowed me to be thorough and test more quickly. Hopefully it helps you test your software easier too.