The Role of Attachments in Bugs Reports

When the software quality assurance people and the software developers are member of two different teams, bug discovery and reporting could often be a source of conflict caused by misunderstanding. This article explains how the quality of a bug report’s attachments can help to improve the communication between software testers and developers.

Author: Nataliia Syvynska, TestMatick,  https://testmatick.com/

The  software testing company faces the challenge to correctly explain to a software developer the detected bug and make it as clear as possible. There is no doubt that the best option for this is an illustrative example or attachments that are considered as one of the main parts of the bug report. This is why you should attach all that you found to your bug report. Let’s see what are attachments: they are the files that describe bugs and are attached to bug reports.

Types of attachments

There are three types of attachments:

  • Video file;
  • Logs;
  • Screenshots.

video file is a recording of the screen that has all the developer’s bugs. It would be better to attach the video in file formats such as «.avi», «.mp4» and «.mkv» because they are played by almost every modern media player. Besides, they are accepted by the  Mantis Bug Tracker . You can upload the video of the bug in the Upload files section. But it is worth remembering that there are limits to the video file size (up to 5 000 KB).

Logs (log files) are the text files that record the activity and describe the performance of the service and the computer in general. During software testing, people use logs when the bug cannot be displayed on a screenshot or a video file. In most cases, it happens when there was an emergency shutdown. In this case, you need to write all the steps in the logs. Such attachments contain all the data needed to reproduce all the steps.

The screenshot is a digital photo of the display that is created with a built-in functionality of OS or some other special program. It is better to attach screenshots using the formats like «.png», «.bmp», «.jpeg». They are generally available. Hence, you can analyze the screenshot without installing additional programs.

It is recommended not to use the «.gif» file format since you cannot play it back. If you work with  Mantis bug tracker, you should attach a screenshot to the bug report in the Upload files section. It is much easier to analyze the screenshot in the bug report skipping the need to get information following some links or downloading information. This significantly saves your time for studying and working with reports.

The Role of Attachments in Bugs Reports

Different attachments for different situations

Sometimes developers don’t look at the description and steps if there is a screenshot or video file. This is why it is so important to understand the relevance of using each attachment depending on the context. In most cases, when we describe visual bugs (interface, layout), the most popular kind of attachment is a screenshot. Attached files have to be completely informative.

If there is a bug with a cursor, it should be displayed on a screenshot. It often seems that there is no need in a screenshot and everything is clear. However, experience has shown that found bugs aren’t fixed right away.

Sometimes, the interface has been changed and without a screenshot, it will be unclear what and where is the defect. The screenshot allows analyzing the previous interface and comparing it with the current one.

If the bug cannot be displayed on one or two screenshots, then it is better to make a video. You have to show particular defects in more detail because it is seen during the program running or in the end. In this situation, the best bug report will be a video file that will help to see inappropriate behavior of the program, website, or game application.

Sometimes specialists have to study screenshots for a long time to see the nature of the bug. If there is a difficult application ‘s interface , you should pay more attention to the screenshot’s details.

Requirements for good attachments

If you want your screenshot to be totally informative and clear, you should follow these recommendations:

  • Highlight the bug on the screenshot: place it in rectangle or point it with a red arrow;
  • When you work with a screenshot (add some frame or arrow), use the specifications of the built-in editor;
  • Except for the red arrow and rectangle, the screenshot shouldn’t have any other captions that can distract attention from the defect;
  • If the bug is connected with displaying or placing the cursor on the program detail, it should be shown on the screenshot;
  • During software testing, you have to show the whole page with the browser address but without additional elements (bookmarks, desktop background, player, and so on).
  • Attached video files should be of the following formats: «.avi», «.mp4», «.mkv»;
  • Screenshot format should be «.png», «.bmp», «.jpeg»;
  • A link to a video file or screenshot should be added to the section with additional information.

It is essential to understand that it is very difficult to make an informative attachment without a special graphic editor. Screenshots with the arrows and rectangles that you drew by yourself will look careless and unprofessional.

Here is a list of the most popular applications that help to make a high-quality screenshot or video:

  1. Monosnap – simple and clear interface, screenshots are saved in the cloud storage.
  2. Snagit – works with all operating systems, has a lot of functions for the image editing.
  3. Bandicam – make a high-quality video in such formats as «.avi», «.mp4», and 2D and 3D games as well.
  4. Jing – you can quickly and easily make a screenshot of some part of the display, and share it in Flickr or ScreenCast. The disadvantage of this application is that it makes a video only in the «.swf» format.
  5. LightShot – this service quickly makes screenshots in the «.png», «.bmp», «.jpeg» formats and uploads them.

Conclusion

Attachments are an important and integral part of the qualitative bug report and an essential when using bug tracking tools. Only a good bug report allows software developers to fix bugs as soon as possible. This is why when software testers write a bug report, they should make a screenshot or a video. Thanks to a big number of special applications, this important activity of software quality assurance is quite easy.

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