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Episode 007 - Finding Tools Special 2019 - The Evil Tester Show

In this podcast we consider how do you find tools, and how to decide between them when you do find them.

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Show Notes

Have you ever built a tool list?

Yes? Me too. I don’t any more. And in this show I explain why, and what I do instead.

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Show Notes

Original twitter thread:

The Observatron tool

Exploratory Testing Chrome Extension

Exploratory Test Assistant - autoit script for making notes while engaged in exploratory testing - eviltester/exploratoryTestAssistant

I like tools that augment my process and work together. So I use multiple proxies to observe, interrogate and manipulate HTTP traffic.

I use FreePlane for mind mapping, because I can write Groovy Scripts that allow me to output the information in different ways. Here’s an extract to markdown script that I use regularly when creating conference slides and other written material

Simple scripts for use with Freeplane. Contribute to eviltester/mm-script-repo development by creating an account on GitHub.

I write most of my logs as text in markdown format so I can use multiple tools for reporting in different ways, and it is easy to parse for custom tools I write.

I often write scripts to augment my existing tools, or extract information from them, or combine information from multiple tools together. Rather than look for a new tool. Often these are tactical, and just for my use.

I sometimes wonder what other tools I don’t know about, but I don’t maintain a tool list any more. I tend to use a combination of tools, and only look for tools when I have a gap in my modelling, observation, interrogation or manipulation abilities.

It was only as I was writing this extension that I stumbled across @bugreplay which is a commercial cloud tool that captures similar information as the extension I’ve written

I built this extension because I realised I had a gap in my observation and interrogation abilities… and because I wanted to learn more JavaScript, and experiment with extensions.

Do experiment with multiple note taking approaches and tools to find a way that works for you, based around the process and the software that you test. Caution: spend more time using the tools, than augmenting and looking for new tools. (I’ve fallen into that trap too often)

Actually I wrote it around 2004,2005,2006 but only released it to github in 2012

And I only found it because it was mentioned in the channels


  • Don’t try to find “The one true tool”
  • Don’t build a list of tools
  • Learn to search well
  • Every list of tools you find will be incomplete and out of date
  • Look at native, built in OS functionality first
  • Learn to search in places where your tool might appear - e.g github, slack channels, forums etc.
  • Think like a marketeer - how would the ideal tool you need be marketed? search for that

Go Meta:

  • make sure you understand your model of how you work
  • I have a meta-model for my work that uses Modelling, Observation, Interrogation, Manipulation as high level categories
  • I look for tools within those categories when I identify gaps in my ability to implement those categories for different technology

If I am not observing a particular attribute of a specific technology. Then I go hunting. And my search is more specific.

When choosing a tool:

  • Don’t evaluate, experiment: you know what gaps you want to fill When given a choice between tools:
  • look for tools that can be combined e.g. ffmpeg, automator
  • pick tools that can be augmented e.g. work with their files, APIs, plugins etc.
  • we want tools & utilities, not frameworks or funnels
  • pick tools that make it easy to work with - cross platform, cloud storage
  • do you have to make a choice? identify what they do well, use it when it works best