With the country in lock down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been forced to work from home – including myself! As a result, I have lost a lot of motivation when it comes to blogging. It is less appealing to sit at my desk and write when I’ve been sitting at the same desk all day due to remote working.

Let’s see if a Test Sphere story will inspire me to start writing again.

The card I’ve drawn is the Log-Digging Pattern card.

Logs are important and testers should be using them. Do you know how to access logs for the application you are testing? If not, you need to find out.

How? Speak to the developers. Don’t worry, they won’t bite!

Useful And Easy To Understand Logs

For logs to be useful, communication with developers is essential. If you need some specific information, ask the developer to add some additional logging. If you don’t understand the messages already stored in the logs, ask the developer what they mean. You could also ask them to make the messages easier to understand.

I remember one project I was working on where the logs were full of codes which could not be understood by anyone. We had to lookup what the code actually meant. We asked the developers to start providing more meaningful message in log details so we could understand them.

It is in the interest of both testers and developers for logs to provide useful and human readable information.

Testers Helping Developers Using Logs

Have you ever witnessed some strange behavior in an application? Of course you have. When we do, we need to provide as much information to the developer as possible so they can fix the issue. Logs could contain an abundance of information which will help developers to fix the bug.

Rather than just sending the developers pages and pages of logs, maybe actually ask them what information will be useful to them. It saves them having to find the information themselves, or having to scroll through pages of data. Scrolling through that information is a challenge, and is made harder as time passes. As witnesses to the anomaly, testers are in the best position to find the desired information. We know precisely when the error occurred and the circumstances that led to its occurrence. A developer might struggle to find this information.

The burden of fixing bugs is often placed entirely on the shoulders of developers. As testers, we should be helping them out as much as we can.

Developers Helping Testers Using Logs

There have been times in the past where I’ve been required to test something that could not be easily observed or controlled. How was I suppose to test this?

I spoke to the developer who offered to add some extra logging so I knew exactly what was happening under the hood. This improved the testability of the application.

During test planning, it is important to ensure that everyone has a shared understand of the work item. A ‘Three amigos’ meeting brings the tester, developer and business analyst together to properly discuss the change. As well as ensuring all parties agree on the nature of the change. This is a good opportunity to discuss how it can be tested.

The developer can provide some useful information about what will be available to help with testing. This can include information already recorded in the logs, or even new information that can be added to the logs.

Communication Is Essential

Developers should advise testers of what information they need to help them fix bugs.

Testers should advise developers about what information they need to help them test bugs.

Logs are just one aspect of an application that can mutually benefit both testers and developers.

Further Reading

Testers, Please Speak To The Developers!
This isn’t the first story I’ve shared about logs and communication with developers. This blog post was inspired by a 99 second talk I once gave.

Three Amigos
Agile Alliance provides some information about Three Amigos meetings including some benefits and pitfalls.

Logging, Monitoring and Alerts
Interesting article by Kristin Jackvony (aka the thinking tester) about some situations where logging might be useful.