As every craftsman needs his tools, testers are no exceptions.
I was this weekend at SOCRATES SWITZERLAND (SOftware CRAftsmanship and TESting) where we also talked about useful everyday tools.
This list tries to be as general as possible to provide tools which can be useful to most parts of everyday work, more specialised test-useful tools are very context dependent. I use most of the tools mentioned here and believe they can provide value also to you.
- Screenshot – A good picture is worth a thousand words, this applies especially for testing, the following are some screenshotting tools and editors I used and can recommend
- Lightscreen – simple tool for capturing pictures, free, cannot edit the pictures
- FastStone – screen capturing tool and editor, cheap & gets the job done
- Snagit – very powerful screen capturing tool and graphics editor, many functions which you never knew you can do, but won’t be able to live without afterwards, a bit pricey
- Recording (Flashback Express) – well and a recording is worth a thousand pictures. This tool provides a very good platform for recording, sharing and viewing. It can record also keystrokes and has a very lightweight format for storing these recordings (for this you need to set up a blank desktop background)
- Text editor (Sublime or Notepad++) – keeping track of your test notes or writing drafts of some test planning requires a good distraction free, extendable text editor. I have used both of these and they do the task ideally
- Breevy (Textexpander for Mac) – a useful tool for text abbreviation and also launcher of apps, just set up an abbreviation for your frequently used words or application and observe how it replaces these when typing in any application
- KeePass (also LaspPass or 1password) – have all your passwords in one place + remember mostly just one password
- uBlock Origin – younger brother to Adblock and Adblock+, advisable mostly because his older brothers lost some of their vigilance. Keep in mind that if you testing websites that this app can interfere (assuming some users use adblockers I would advise testing sometimes also with this turned on)
- IFTTT, Nuzzel – let’s face it, everybody uses some social media parallel in their work, this service provider helps you to automate some predictable processes around it and save you time
- Fences, Deskscapes – bring some order to your desktop, organise icons into fences and set some cool wallpaper order
- Brain.fm (or Noisly, respectively playlists on Google Play, Spotify, etc) – basically music to improve your focus in work or for help with relaxation after a stressful meeting
- Pomodoro technique (and useful timer) – aimed at increasing productivity through time-boxing your work. Useful also in the context of SBTM
- Keep track of the spot you left before the break – developers advise leaving with one red unit test, I would advise leaving an unsubmitted bug report before you leave (you can always look at it with fresher eyes) – of course if it’s not a critical one;)
Not every tester must know how to code, but many do, here are some general useful tools to help
- Shells – not everybody likes the default option of shell provided by your OS, I got some recommendations
- Diff programs – not only developers have the need to compare text or files for differences, here are some useful tools for it
- Bikablo – not directly a tool, but a guide on how to write impressive graphic elements on flipcharts and whiteboards, useful at workshops and presentations