Monday, September 12, 2011

Tools for session-based testing

Session-based testing is the structured way of exploratory testing developed by James and Jon Bach. In the article Session-Based Test Management we can read :
"What we call a session is an uninterrupted block of reviewable, chartered test effort. By "chartered," we mean that each session is associated with a mission—what we are testing or what problems we are looking for. By "uninterrupted," we mean no significant interruptions, no email, meetings, chatting or telephone calls. By "reviewable," we mean a report, called a session
sheet, is produced that can be examined by a third-party, such as the test manager, that provides information about what happened"

As mentioned above after each session tester hands a report with important information and results. There is an example of Sample Session Report on James Bach page. The session by design should be uninterrupted which means that things like note taking should be done on fly. It can be easy achieved with applications which support session-based testing.

1. Rapid Reporter, exploratory notetaking

This is tool created by Shmuel Gershon. Rapid Reporter is really small, stays always on top of the screen and doesn't interrupt the testing process. You can type into the app all information worth noted. The types of information like : "Installation", "Bug", "Issue" etc. can be tailored to the individual needs. In addition you can easily assign time range for the session.

What is really cool is the possibility of doing screenshot with just one click, moreover this screenshot will be printed next to the inserted comment in a session report.

After the session the app generates session report with all entered information along with screenshot taken during the session. The report can be presented in e.g. HTML format

2. Session Tester

This is tool created by Jonathan Kohl. Before the session you need specify: Tester Name, Mission, Session Length.

Once you start your own session Session Tester window is opened. You can type there all information learned during the session. This app stays also in tray and thanks to this you can get information in form of the balloons about time left. You can also find in this app some nice little feature called "Prime Me". When you click the button you get some random inspiring notes which may help you during the session. e.g.:
- Consider self-reference.
- What are the boundaries?
- Try something negative.
- Testability first.
- Who's your client?
- What's the language?
- Consider the opposite.
- Unless...

The results of the sessions are initially saved to the xml files but there is also an option to produce session report in formatted HTML file.

3. Atlassian Bonfire
I haven't had chance to work with Bonfire yet but if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million :)



  1. Aleks, thanks for listing Rapid Reporter with the other tools for SBTM.
    I am open to listen to your complaints and ideas :), drop me a line if you want to talk about it.

  2. Shmuel, I was so impressed using that tool for the first time that I haven't challenged it so far. I'm about to use it more often so maybe then I will come up with some complaints and ideas :)

  3. Thanks of your posting, which made me to join Testing tools online training @

  4. Thank you much for sharing that info! I've tried only RapidReporter, so now I've got other tools to look at.