Here is day 2 of the 30 days of testing challenge, introduced by the Ministry of Test. For this challenge, I analyse what a tool is and what makes something a testing tool.
Day 2 – What makes a tool a testing tool?
If we look at the dictionary definition of a tool (see above) we can determine that a tool is something that carries out a particular function. Personally I don’t like this definition that much as it implies that we, the person doing the task, are not actually completing the task. The tool merely helps us complete the function, often faster or more efficiently.
Testing is most effective when a human is doing it. Tools should not be doing testing for us, but they can be used to help with testing (especially in the case of test automation tools). If we specifically consider testing tools, the tool is a testing tool if it helps us with testing. This can include tools that directly help with testing and are designed to help with testing, like scripting tools or test automation, and it can also include tools that help with testing but might not have been designed specifically with testing in mind. An example of this is Google Translate which can be useful when testing websites that aren’t in English.
As software applications become more complicated and advanced, testing is going to become more difficult. We’ll need tools to help us test faster and more efficiently. To do this, we need to consider the tools we have available and how we use them.
Questions From The Challenge
What’s your definition of a testing tool?
Based on the above analysis and the dictionary definition of a tool, I’d use this definition to define what a testing tool is:
A device, implement or software program that can be used to help complete a particular test related function.
This allows the definition to include software programs (like postman or testrail) as well as physical devices (like pen and paper). It also doesn’t exclude devices that merely help with completing a test related function rather than completing the function in whole.
How do you know it’s a testing tool?
Simply put, the tool has to help with a testing task.
It doesn’t have to complete the task in full, it can just help with completing the task. It also doesn’t have to be specifically designed to help with testing. If it helps with testing, then its a testing tool
What things help you decide if a tool is not a testing tool?
Another simple answer, if it doesn’t help complete a test related task then its probably not a testing tool.
Although it might not be as black and white as this. If listening to music helps me focus while testing, then is Spotify a testing tool?