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Bug Reproductions and Why They Matter

John Kensinger

Bug reproduction is a critical element in the process of fine-tuning a product. When a tester alerts you of a bug, if you are able to recreate it in the development environment, there is a greater possibility of you discovering exactly what is going wrong and fixing it (before your users find it). The more detailed the steps are from the tester that led to the bug, the better your chances are of seeing it for yourself. In other words, details are important.

Imagine you want to bake a cake. If you have two people communicating a recipe to you and one says, “Mix oil, water, eggs, and vanilla; then, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Next, put the batter in a pan and bake it,” the chances of you producing an edible cake are pretty slim. But if the other person gives you a detailed recipe, with step-by-step instructions and tells you the exact amount of each ingredient you should add as well as what the temperature and duration of the bake should be, then the odds are pretty good that you will be able to produce a cake successfully. The same principles apply to bug reproduction. If you can’t reproduce the bug because you don’t have all the information and the step-by-step instructions that led to detecting the bug, then the chances of fixing it are dramatically decreased.

“If you can’t reproduce [a bug], then you are only guessing at what’s wrong, and that means you are only guessing that your fix is going to work,” says Jim Bird in Fixing Bugs--If You Can’t Reproduce a Bug, You Can’t Fix It. That’s why it’s important for testers to document each step that led to the bug and effectively communicate them to you. It saves both time and money. He says there are two important factors for determining if a bug will get fixed or not:

  • The description of the problem is detailed enough that the programmer can understand the nature of the problem and why it occurred
  • Having access to the steps to reproduce the bug, including basic information about what the user was doing when the problem arose

Of course, not every bug can be reproduced. First, a lack of details might prevent the programmer from being able to reproduce it. Second, you might not have the tools in place to reproduce it. However, sometimes the reason may be user error or a local issue on the part of the tester. The first two issues can potentially be circumvented by utilizing a professional testing service. 

test IO understands the importance of detecting and reproducing bugs. We know that releasing buggy software can negatively impact your business in a variety of ways, from poor App Store ratings to damage to your brand’s reputation to lost revenue. Our recipe for helping you avoid those pitfalls and successfully finding and fixing bugs quickly includes:

  • You initiating a test cycle
  • Our crowdtesters using your software on a vast array of device/browser combinations and providing you with a detailed bug report
  • Us reproducing bugs so your team can fix them
  • Our community of testers utilizing Bug Fix Confirmation within 30 minutes to verify the issue is resolved
  • The bug being reported as fixed

Not only that, but when our testers initially find and report a bug, they use their testing expertise to evaluate the severity of the bug. This helpful factor makes it possible for you to address major problems before minor ones. 

To learn more about how test IO can put you on a successful path for reproducing and fixing bugs, read Make Sure Bugs are Fixed for Good.



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