Software Behaviors: When I Log In, the Browser Spawns a New Window

The longer I work as a tester, the more that I realize that to provide the most value for my team I need to not only be able to report on what’s happening, but also to be able to report in an intelligent fashion, synthesizing what we’ve seen in the software along with supporting information to provide context.

Last week a fellow tester reported an interesting bug in a web application’s login form: after he entered his username and then his password, when he hit Enter to submit the form, the application opened in an entirely new browser window.

This wasn’t behavior built into the system design… when operating normally, the software should have presented him with the application’s landing page after login.  I wasn’t able to immediately reproduce the behavior, and none of the system’s users had reported the issue.  Yet this tester insisted that it happened nearly every time he accessed the application.

You Know This One

Even without knowing our application… you probably have information to solve this puzzle.

Once I figured out what was going on, I decided to see if I could lead folks to the same conclusion.

I asked the tester: “Is the last letter of your password a capital letter?”  He said no… but it was a symbol.  “A symbol accessed via the Shift key on your keyboard?”  Yep.

What happens when you click a link in Chrome while you hold down the shift key?

You get a new window.

So when you’re still holding down Shift from the last character of your password, then hit Enter which activates the form submission… boom.  New window.

Testing is Information with Context

As testers, we provide information.  In this case, we can provide more information beyond “sometimes this thing happens.”  We can provide information of “This thing will happen every time, but in this set of circumstances.”  That’s useful.

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