Within the world of software testing, it is essential that a detected issue can be reliably reproduced. This way, the tester can report it with assurance, the developer can address it effectively, and the QA team can close it with certainty.
Nonetheless, this process can sometimes pose its own set of difficulties. This article endeavours to illuminate these hidden dimensions of issue duplication.
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Initially, let’s understand what “Duplicate a Defect” implies?
If a particular sequence of steps brings the tester to a point where the actual behavior deviates from the expected, then the “steps to duplicate” field in the defect report serves as a record of this specific procedure. If we come across the same issue each time we follow these steps, then we refer to it as a reproducible defect.
Along with the steps to duplicate, supplementary proof such as used test data, screenshots, or screen recorded videos can also be supplied. If this information is found to be inconsistent or inaccurate, the defects may be discarded and marked as invalid, with no further resolution.
Thus, ‘steps to duplicate’ is vital and the following are a few points to remember while composing this section of the defect report:
What You Will Discover:
How to write “Steps to Duplicate” for a defect:
- Be accurate
- Include specific data used while testing for quick reference
- Order steps correctly
- Note prerequisites when necessary
- Avoid writing composite steps. For instance: If the process involves saving a document in Microsoft Word, it should be noted as ‘Open the File menu and select the save option’.
- Always double-check your steps to duplicate on a different system, clearing all cache and cookies.
- Make sure that the statements are concise and unambiguous
Poorly written “Steps to duplicate” can not only undermine the validity of the defect but also result in a lot of wasted time obtaining clarifications and answers regarding things that are not explicitly stated.
Also, read => How to compose an efficient defect report
Why duplicating a Defect is crucial?
Next, let’s discuss why it’s important to duplicate a Defect.
From a technical perspective, if you cannot reproduce a bug, you can’t correct it.
The following elements contribute to whether a defect is resolved:
- Comprehensive and detailed information in the defect report
- Whether the developer can comprehend the actual manifestation of a defect under distinct conditions
- If the developers have access to the necessary environment, tools, and exact versions of the application where the defect was reported by the testers
What constitute ‘Irreproducible’ bugs/defects?
Every tester must have encountered the following situations:
- Noticing an issue consistently throughout the day, but when you report the defect at the day’s end, it is no longer reproducible.
- Witnessing an intermittent issue, such as a new user unable to add items to their cart 6 out of 10 times.
- An issue that only appears after the application is restarted.
In each of these cases, it’s challenging to clearly identify the exact condition and report it accurately. These kinds of bugs/defects require substantial investigation. Such issues can’t be overlooked because end-users or customers may also experience them.
How to Reproduce a Defect?
Here are a few suggestions that might be of help:
- Clear all cache and cookies while performing the process.
- Monitor and document every action.
- At times, looking for similar bugs or patterns can aid in reproducing a defect. Recognizing the pattern simplifies the scenario identification.
- Document each action and other factors (such as test data, environment, system settings, screenshots, server logs, etc.) to replicate the scenario with ease.
- Validate the defect’s occurrence multiple times. Do not rely on and report based on a single occurrence of the issue.
- Patience is fundamental during testing because it may demand a considerable amount of time.
- Even when conducting exploratory testing, be mindful of all configurations and system setups.
- Use imagination to navigate the application in different ways and attempt unorthodox scenarios. However, it is suggested to follow logical sequences rather than arbitrary steps.
- When an issue is identified, it is good practice to verify the same issue on different browser/operating system combinations and various devices (if supported). This can help determine whether the issue is system-specific, browser-specific, or device-specific.
- Stay informed about new trends and forums discussing various types of issues and their presentations. This assists in differentiating between system-specific, browser-specific, product-specific, and external issues, amongst others.
- At times, stepping back and examining the steps performed instead of repeatedly trying to reproduce the issue can help find a solution.
- Discussing with other team members or a manager can sometimes provide a fresh perspective. Always remember, Experience matters.
- Consider screen sharing to demonstrate the issue to the developers, in addition to screenshots and videos.
- Reproduce the issue multiple times to be assured of its occurrence. In such instances, you will have confidence in your testing and be prepared to address developer’s queries and concerns.
Considering our overall discussion, it’s clear that the ability to reproduce a bug is vital for its confirmation and resolution. If a bug is not reproducible, then the testing effort devoted to locating, analyzing, and reporting that specific bug or defect is completely wasted.
To comprehend and reproduce a bug, it’s crucial to have detailed and well-explained “Steps to Duplicate,” alongside the condition and context in which the bug emerged. Repairing an irreproducible defect is possible but can be time-consuming and arduous. Appropriate communication is also a critical factor since its lack can invalid a true bug.
So, to ensure the value of your testing effort in finding defects, the points mentioned above can offer guidance.