QA blog postings

QA Postings

Earliest: November 26, 2017Latest: December 2, 2019Total: 89
September 17, 2018

Hide That Bookmark Bar

Last week the Massachusetts State Police department posted a computer photo which contained a map of areas impacted by the recent Gas Explosions in Lawrence/Andover/North Andover. However, they didn't hide some private details:

Mass Police Post

When taking screenshots, you should always hide the Bookmark Bar. There is no need to add any distraction to your bookmarks.

Learn the Basics

  • In Chrome, to hide the Bookmark Bar, simply type in Shift Command B.
  • In Firefox, to hide the Bookmarks Toolbar, Go to View, then Toolbars, then deselect the Bookmarks Toolbar. (There is no keyboard shortcut in Chrome.)

Chrome Bookmark

Keyboard Maestro Tip

If you have Keyboard Maestro, you could always use this shortcut so that the Shift Command B works in any browser.

September 10, 2018

10 Tips for Effective Testing with Deadlines

Unless you're infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your testing. Setting limits on how much you are willing to test helps control expectations. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

Testing Deadlines

Testing deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work for QA:

  • Use Parkinson's Law - Parkinson's Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on the important tasks.
  • Timebox - Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on specific tests. After the time is up to your finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your focus on the task wisely.
  • 80/20 - The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to project testing to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time. This is an essential tip for when doing regression testing.
  • Project VS Deadline - The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
  • Break it Down - Any project that has deadlines over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren't applied to manageable units. It can also make testing more complex to manage.
  • Hofstadter's Law - Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I've heard about software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
  • Backwards Planning - Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely. Figure out what the most challenges area will be for QA, and what things that will need to get done to have a successful test situation.
  • Prototype - If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. For example, when testing multiple currencies, test known currencies first, before expanding to more complex exchanges.
  • Find the Weak Link - Figure out what could ruin your testing and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your regression testing.
  • No Robot Deadlines - Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren't a robot. Don't schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmatches aren't healthy.
September 3, 2018

Strong Password Generator

Validating Password rules is a frequent job that QA has to handle. Fortunately there's help available, such as the Chrome Extension - Strong Password Generator by criticalthoughts8

Strong Password Generator

Developer Description

With this extension you can easily generate strong and secure passwords. You can specify password length and used chars (lowercase, uppercase, numbers or custom). When you generate a password you can copy directly to your clipboard, or generate more of them and copy them all at one time (or select only which of them you want).

QA Thoughts about this Extension

  • This is a great tool to test the various rules that may be imposed on passwords. You can make sure not only is the length is being checked, but that it contains numbers and mix letters.
  • The extension keeps track of the password that is generated, just not on the site that it was generated for.
  • You copy the password to the clipboard and paste it in the password box of the website. This makes it easy when you have to enter the password twice for validation.
  • If your using LaunchBar, you can easily save the password as a snippet and reuse it for other applications.
  • The extension is very simple and practical to use to validate the rules of a password field.
August 27, 2018

New QA Graphic Files

Once again, I have updated the QA Meme Library with more exciting graphics files. These are many common saying from the past couple of months that I feel is worth adding to the repository.

Check out the QA Meme collection for all six additions, here's a sample of three of them:

New Graphic Collection

When Patching something that can only be tested in Production:

Live Dangerously

I too like to live dangerously - From Austin Powers - The Spy Who Shagged Me

For those tickets where testing seems to be going on and on:

Maximum Testing Achieved

Maximum Testing Achieved

For those developers that like to write long test cases:

Seven Words

Don't use Seven Words when Four will do - Ocean 11

Know Any Other Graphics?

If there's any quote that you think should be added, let me know and I'll be sure to share it!

August 20, 2018

Browser Calories

Page load time is an important part of QA testing. Browser Calories extension was created to help identify your site against the top sites on the internet. This is a great way to get a snapshot on what areas of your site you should focus on.

Description from the website

The web is getting fatter. If you take a look at the top 1 million sites, you will see that the median page weight is now bigger than SimCity 2000. Can you believe that?

Page weight is a super important metric and affects conversion, retention, and SEO. Actually, it not only costs user engagement ? it costs money.

That's why Browser Calories exists. We will help you set a performance budget and measure if a page is exceeding these numbers or not.

Sample Output

Performance Facts2
Looks like even needs some tune up!

Cool Tool for your QA Toolbox

What's nice about Browser Calories is that you get a graphics that highlight the problem. This is useful to include in a Jira ticket so others can clearly see if the site needs to be tuned up.

This is also good as a benchmark to see if adding new library files will impact the overall performance of the site.

Getting Browser Calories

Browser Calories is available as an extension for Chrome, Firefox and Opera.
August 13, 2018


CodeCopy is an extension that makes it super easy to get code snippets from popular sites to your computer clipboard. As their slogan says, "Copy to clipboard buttons should exist on every code snippet.

CodeCopy puts an icon next to a code snippet, and when you click on the icon, it puts the code in your clipboard. No more fussing around making sure that you have all the code.

CodeCopy works with Stack Overflow, GitHub, Gist, MSD, Medium, npm and others. It's just saves time from highlighting code to your clipboard.

Code Copy Sample

This helps QA and Engineering get the copy of the code. Useful for QA when you're looking for help when writing automation code.

Installing CodeCopy

CodeCopy is available as an extension for Chrome and Firefox.

August 6, 2018

Browser Badge Bookmarketlet

When taking browser screenshots, it's helpful to identify the browser that you're using. One way to highlight the browser is to put a browser banner in the browser before taking a screenshot.

I created a bunch of sport banner-like images of all the popular browsers. Using some JavaScript and Bookmarklets it's easy to do.

2018 Browser Banner

Visit the QA Page to get all the banner image.


Drag and drop the "Chrome Banner" link to your bookmark bar to add a Chrome Banner overlay to any page your looking at.

javascript:(function(){document.body.innerHTML += '<img src="[](" style="position: fixed; left: 10px; bottom: 10px; z-index: 1000">';})();


Drag and drop the "Firefox Banner" link to your bookmark bar to add a FireFox Banner overlay to any page your looking at.

javascript:(function(){document.body.innerHTML += '<img src="[](" style="position: fixed; left: 10px; bottom: 10px; z-index: 1000">';})();

July 30, 2018

Test Pilot in Firefox

Firefox likes to publicly test new features before deciding if they are worth fully integrating into the product. For QA, is a cool way to test upcoming features and see what's new. In addition, it's good to view the bug reports to get some fresh ideas on writing better bug reports.

Fire Fox Test Pilot Pages

Here are a few FireFox Experiments that might be useful for QA:

Notes in FireFox

One of the new features is Notes for FireFox, it's a way to jot down some notes on your FireFox account. You can access the notes by simply logging in. Using your Android smartphone device, you can jot some notes about testing and when you get to the office and log in you'll see the notes.

Unfortunately the Notes feature is not available for iOS. It works fine in Samsung Galaxy Tab E.

Check out the Bug Reports on github.

Side View

Side View allows you to view a mobile version of a site while browsing the web. This is useful when you want to watch a YouTube video and browse the web at the same time or apply something that you learn in the video.

Check out the Bug Reports on github.

July 23, 2018

Easy way to explain bug steps

Explainer is a Macintosh screenshot application that helps describing steps for a task. It's useful when trying to describe a bug or feature that doesn't work quite well.

Mac Explainer Example

In the free version, you only get 4 steps. For a one time fee of $7.99, you get 4 additional steps. The net results is a single professional looking image that can be mailed or added to any Jira issue.

Other features of the Pro version - the ability to save the documents - useful for repetitive tasks, change the watermark, lots more fonts for the description.

Four Things I Learned About Explainer

  • You can use any screen capture application, or simply use Shift-Command-1 to use the built-in capture.
  • The captured screenshots will be three times the size of what is shown in the step. This allows to reposition and resize screenshots.
  • To type in the text simply hover the mouse over the bottom of each step, you'll see the overlay appear, click the text area and type away.
  • You can Export the image to the Clipboard, Mail, Messages, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, EverNote, and More. Don't see your option, add it in the Share Section of the System Extensions.
July 16, 2018

PostgreSQL Quick Cheat Sheet

If your use to supporting MySQL and now having to support PostgreSQL it can be tricky to know some of the common admin commands.

Here's a handy chart that I quickly put together of common admin commands that are used between the two databases:

MySQL Postgres

Action MySQLPostgreSQL
List databases Show databases l
Connect to database use database; c database
Show Database Tables Show Tables d
Show Tables Columns Show Columns d table

If there are any other commands you want to add, let me know in the comments below.