Published on June 25th, 2021
When novice testers first get into a project team, they usually have only three or four tools in their arsenal.
Among them there may well be the Print Screen key, the Paint graphic editor and Windows Notepad. The tools of manual software testing will help manual testers to be truly effective.
A Little About Manual Software Testing
As the name suggests, manual testing is done manually. That is, no automated tools are used to conduct it.
The test engineer takes on the role of the end user, And, according to the test scenario, validates the software. The main purpose of such testing is to identify behavior that is different from what is expected.
Manual testing can be carried out within the framework of integration (interaction with other software and systems), regression (testing various changes) and, of course, system functional testing.
Manual testing can help identify and remove bottlenecks. It reduces defects. It ensures system stability. It evaluates usability, and ultimately delivers a product that meets user expectations.
The Main Stages Of Manual Software Testing
At this stage, the analysis of the initial documents about the system is carried out. Among which there may be technical specifications, functional and business requirements, project passport and others.
Further, a test plan and test cases, timing and number of iterations are developed and agreed upon. And possible risks are assessed.
Testing is carried out manually according to previously prepared test scenarios with fixing of all found errors in the bug tracking system.
At the final stage, test reports are developed and approved. They usually include a list of detected deviations and recommendations on the possibility of software implementation.
Many different tools are used for manual software testing. For example, test management can be carried out in specialized systems such as Redmine, Jira, HP ALM, IBM Rational Quality Manager, MS Team Foundation Server, TestRail, TestLink and others.
If testing is carried out on outsourcing terms (the project team works at the customer’s site), then the choice in favor of one or another tool related to writing cases usually depends on what the customer is using (or wants to use).
Nevertheless, there is a basic toolkit that can be used in almost any project, which we will look at below.
Text, XML Editors And File Managers
It is very convenient to use Notepad ++ or PSPad for searching, converting and comparing files.
The first is almost the same Notepad for Windows, only open source and supporting the syntax of a large number of programming languages (written in C ++). The second is a text and code editor.
It allows you to simultaneously work on multiple documents and use multiple programming languages. As well as create templates to automate repetitive actions.
Good XML editors: Altova XML Spy (work with XML and XSD), and XMLPad (with XSL debugger).
File managers include Total Commander (for Windows and Android, can connect to FTP servers), Free Commander (free, with the ability to batch rename and compare files), trolCommander (cross-platform, written in Java) and Far Manager (console).
Practice shows that many testers use text files with the same test data in their work. Unfortunately, this leads to the fact that bugs “get used” to the tests and eventually cease to be found (“pesticide effect”).
In order not to rack your brains before each project, you can use special tools that can generate data. For example, Mockaroo. This application can not only select data (for example, a username). But also it generates SQL queries.
Another great tool that is indispensable for exploratory testing is the Bug Magnet plugin. It is suitable for browsers Chrome and Firefox.
It contains predefined test cases, which, moreover, are prudently divided into groups (language, format, length). In addition to the saved data, you can add and use your own.
Tools For Working Wih Screenshots And Recording Video With Content
Screenshoters are a must for manual software testing. Perhaps one of the best, GreenShot is free and open source. Plus, there is Snagit, ScreenHunter, Snipping Tool, Monosnap, and many more.
In terms of tools for recording video with screen content, some of the best are Free Screen Video Recorder and Ashampoo Snap. Among the curious solutions – CamStudio, Jing, which allow you to make screencasts (video screen capture with speech).
Sometimes you need animation (GIFs). In these cases, LICEcap and Recordit will help. It saves the recorded video to GIF easily and quickly.
Those who sometimes have to compare graphic files should pay attention to ImageDupeless, ImageDiscerner and FastStone Image Viewer.
Task Planners And Mind Maps
In order for all project tasks to be completed on time (or even better – ahead of time), it is important to distribute them correctly.
You can even set tasks, receive reminders and delete completed tasks using corporate mail in MS Outlook.
Although it is much more efficient (especially when there are more tasks than it seems) to use special tools like Evernote for this. Trello is great for planning teamwork.
Since our brain does not always perceive information well in the form of texts, lists and tables, it can be visualized.
A mind map or mind map is a great method of structuring tasks (as well as thoughts and plans). If you add data about the tests that need to be carried out to the Mind Map, then it will immediately become clear how many there are, what are the connections between them, whether there is something superfluous or missing among them. With the help of mind maps, you can also depict the order of your actions, stages of work, and more.
There are many online tools for creating such maps, but I can highlight MindJet (adds information from different sites, applications, platforms and contacts), MindMup (free, easy to save maps and share), Coggle (easy to learn), Bubbl.us ( online editor and application) and XMind (serious software for building mind maps and various diagrams).
Checklists are a simple yet effective way to not only organize repetitive actions, but also to self-check.
You can use ready-made lists compiled and kindly uploaded by other testers to the network, or you can prepare your own and use them, for example, before acceptance testing, for usability testing, etc.
One of the most convenient tools for creating checklists is Sitechco. It is a free online service where it is easy to create your own checklists, store results, share them with the team, view reports and statistics.
To Sum Up
Of course, this is not all. Each test engineer has his own “portfolio of tools”, which he actively uses (and which he loves dearly), but it’s recommended not to stop looking for the best tools and solutions, but be sure to try new things and continue testing.