Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Exploratory Test Assistant - a tool for recording your exploratorytesting notes

A long time ago I started writing a tool to help me with my exploratory testing [on GitHub].
I wanted a tool that would sit out of the way unnoticed until I needed it (at the call of a hot key), then I could type in a little note, save it and forget about it. And in the background the tool would go away and format the notes as I wanted them so at the end of a testing session I would have a report.
I didn't actually get to use the tool a lot because I started doing a lot more management work. But now I've done a bit more hands on testing recently I dug it out of my hard drive to see where I got to.
Since this comes in the category of "development project" I have placed it on Compendium Developments and at some point I'll create a proper project page for it, should demand warrant that effort.

The tool has plenty of bugs of its own. At the time I knew how to use it and its foibles so I didn't productionize it (I just eviltesterized it). Out of the box it has templates to support James and Jon Bach's session based test reporting, and you can amend the templates and entities to create your own.
A whole bunch of features remain unimplemented. And I may well amend and tinker with it in the future. But since it has lain dormant on my hard drive for the last two years I thought I better give it a wee airing and if you like it you can use it. And if you think it should have some features you can amend the source code (I wrote it in AutoIt).
Feel free to contribute any changes back to me so I can add them into the main code branch.
It has plenty of usability 'issues', and not as fully keyboard driven as I originally wanted it.
Comments welcome - just don't hold out a lot of hope that I will spring into action and turn it into a fully featured exploratory testing note taking tool. I built it as a prototype to see what kind of functionality I would need at my fingertips to support my testing. I still haven't found a 'one great tool' to support me so I still have a need for a good, simple, small exploratory testing support tool.
And - all things can change so here you go eviltester/exploratoryTestAssistant the Exploratory Test Assistant. [Download from GitHub]


  1. Cool. A programmer friend and I have been developing something similar in Java as an open source project. We should be releasing our beta version quite soon. Maybe we can compare notes?


    Thanks for the comment Jonathan - always happy to compare notes - full source code is in the archive as well so you can have a look.

  2. ETA.exe… hmmm…. Why not call The Evil Tester’s Axe or something along those lines.

    How can you not be evil and not hear the MMMMWWWWWWWAAAAHAHAHAHAHA every time you log something that may be a bug!!! Or a Risk or an Issue!

    Only kidding, thanks for the utility. I'll slap it on my system on a keychain.

    I'm currently evaluating an exploratory testing tool that seems pretty good so far. Don't want to mention the name as I don't want a clatter of people slagging it off or praising it to high heaven. If you want to know, just call me ok, we'll do lunch yadda yadda yadda. However it works out, maybe ET will accept a post of the report?!?!?!

    Anyways, back to never never land!

    I never thought of that as a missing feature but a configurable option to play a sound when making notes would count as anti-social, and not evil.

    You picked up on my subliminal message hidden in the ETA.exe, :) but of course I
    never wrote a subliminal message because such things do not exist and if we ever
    saw one then it obviously wouldn't work. And don't go looking for it y'all, because in
    this text there obviously ain't no hidden this message in here. (or is there more than
    one?). Please - do - not - waste your time. Now, - time to say thanks.

    Thanks Ivor

  3. [...] « Exploratory Test Assistant - a tool for recording your exploratory testing notes [...]

  4. Great little tool and very intuitive to get to grips with. Currently I do all my noting, bug drafts etc in Notepad2 but there's no clear cut way of separating log items as your tool provides.

    The 'only' thing I dislike is the lack of new line between log items, e.g.:-

    Raised: 04/02/2009 03:14:14

    My bug
    04/02/2009 03:14:28

    This is a note!

    Ideally there'd be a line break between 'My bug' and 'NOTE' above to make it clearer when looking at a log (I'm not skilled enough to write a perl parser etc) ;)

    Anyhoo even with that niggle I still think it's phenomenal so nicely shared, thanks!

    All the best,


    Thanks for the comment TestingMuse. AutoIt is easier than Perl so you could amend it to add a new line - or amend the template so that it has a new line in it.