On April 23rd, 2011 I participated in the European Weekend Testers online group testing session. We tested some boundaries of the Skype test chat. While the session was facilitated from Europe we seemed to be about evenly split between Europe, USA, and India. A couple of observations:
I was impressed that even though we only used Skype chat to communicate as a group – no voice – the discussion was fairly easy to follow up and I was able to stay fairly focused. Perhaps its even advantageous not to have a voice session for such activities. There was a separate shared doc on typewith.me, but it did not get much use. Since the test session only lasted one hour and the ‘mission’ was not announced prior to the session, I would characterize most of the activities we did as team exploratory testing.
What impressed me? People! There is no substitute for engaging in your profession with Awesome Collaborators! Next: Tools, tools, tools! I have never used the excellent perlclip tool before. Using Google Translate to generate interesting char sets was a good move by Petteri. In addition, our discussion turned pretty technical – we talked about sniffing network traffic with Wireshark, about possible internal representation of the Skype chat data (XML?), etc. This is something that I am always challenged to explain to folks in enterprise testing – exploratory testers can be VERY technical and still enjoy it.
We spent a surprising amount of time discussing whether testing the _production_ installation of Skype was either ethical or legal. I remember uTest running massive test challenges on commercial sites and I wonder if they had to get permission from all of them?
A few highlights:
Ben Simo: Not to be a party pooper, but is such potentially-destructive
testing permitted by Skype’s TOS?
Ben Simo: As computing professionals, we have a moral imperitive to
avoid harm to others. If we do not have confidence that testing skype in this way will not harm
anyone, we should not be testing in this way.
David Vydra: Ben brought important points…but…there is also
the ‘reasonable person’ test
David Vydra: unless we use massive data generation scripts, i.e. DOS
attack, Skype will not notice a few strings being sent via chat.
Ben Simo: You assume Skype will not notice a few string being sent via
chat. Without knowledge of what Skype does with the data, how can we know whether or not a
data sting we send with intent of finding limits will cause any harm beyond our own client.
Read more here: http://weekendtesting.com/archives/1956