Monday, January 7, 2008

The Overwritten Bug

When you're writing a bug, detail is great. However, there is such a thing as drowning the bug reader in too much information. Your job as a QA engineer is to provide enough detail do diagnose and resolve the issue, and not more.

This, for example, is an overwitten bug:

Login error when I use a certain password

Here's how to reproduce the bug:
1. Log in to a Windows XP machine. Username "foo", password "bar".
2. Click the Start button
3. click the Internet option (note: this should open IE 7. If it doesn't call QA.)
4. Wait for the browser to open
5. Click in the address bar
6. type ""
7. Press enter
8. Wait for the page to load. You should see a login screen with a username field and a password field. The username field should be 2" long (at 1024x768), the password field should be as long as the username field. The username field should be labeled "Username". The password field should be labeled "Password". Both fields should be blank.
9. Click in the username field
10. Type the username "foo"
11. Click in the password field.
12. Type a bad password.
13. Click the Password button. Do not press enter! Click it. Be sure you click on the letters on the button, not on the background.
14. Wait for the error to load.
15. The login page shows with an error in read. The error says "Wrong".

Logs from the machine are attached. I could only get the last week.

So what's bad about this bug?
  • It's way way too long. It's hard to find the information that matters among all the noise.
  • It doesn't tell you what you need to know. What is the bug really reporting as the error?
  • It doesn't tell you what should happen. The expected behavior is undefined.
There's a lot out there about things you should put in a bug, but be careful to not put too much in.

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