Beating them at their own game!

This is a post about Google Chrome, the F12 Developer tool feature and how I felt very smug after using it to get around restrictions!!

I installed an Ad-blocker into Chrome, which is the main browser I used, and I noticed that certain sites were showing messages asking me to remove the Ad-blocker (like the images below), or sign-up for content – neither of which I want to do to be honest. I have ensured that the sites cannot be identified from the screenshots below, as it is not my intention to draw attention to any specific sites, as there are many out there that have these restrictions in place.


There was one particular article I wanted to read and I could see no reason why I couldnt do so, seeing it as it wasn’t something that was exclusive to this particular site. I could have searched elsewhere, but was feeling in a less than co-operative mood, so decided to have a play.

Pressing the F12 button and opening the Developer Tools gave me the chance to inspect the element on the page that was blocking the text, by clicking on the button (highlighted in yellow)….

….and then clicking on the blurred area on the page that I wanted to inspect:

This then showed the element in more detail and I could then investigate further.

I found that I had two different choices, depending upon the type of restrictions imposed:

  1. To read the plain text within the Developer Tools pane rather than on the screen, but that meant having to expand every element in order to reach each paragraph:
  2. To try removing the blocker itself in order to read the text on screen as intended by just deleting that line of text.

On one site I had to use option 1 to open each element to read it as deleting the element actually deleted the text within. On another site I used option 2, and simply deleted the element off the page and the text was then visible with no restrictions.

I was surprised how easy it was and I guess that over time, the website builders will try to make this more difficult to do, but not many people really know about the F12 function, so I feel it my duty to help spread the word a little.

It really is that simple. If you are not sure, just have a play. If you delete things that you didnt want to, just reload the page and try again. It really is satisfying to beat people at their own game sometimes!




Exploratory testing isn’t just playing!

Exploratory testing is something that has been discussed, put on CV’s, and probably put in the syllabus of testing exams, but I wonder if we really understand what it is.

I’ve heard it described as ‘playing’, ‘random testing’, ‘unstructured testing’, and ‘the tests you fit in before you look at a user story’.

Out of those, the only one that gets close is ‘unstructured testing’. The point of performing exploratory testing is to step away from the user story confirmations and acceptance criteria, and as a tester allow your mind to really think about what is being delivered.

The questions we need to ask ourselves are:

  • Does the story make sense on its own.
  • Does the story offer functionality that fits in with the rest of the application. There is no point it working but then not making any sense when added to the application!
  • Are there any provisions for the edge cases that users will do:
    • hitting F5,
    • accidentally pressing the Back button,
    • right mouse clicking,
    • accidentally clicking on a link and going back to the page,
    • trying to by-pass a process to save time,
    • pasting text into a text or search box rather than typing it in.
    • etc

You get the idea from the above list.

We don’t often have time to think much about what we do – there are always time pressures, so it makes sense to put aside even just 15 to 20 minutes to step back, and allow your mind to come up with other scenarios that are not part of the acceptance criteria, because no-one can possibly think of everything before the code exists. There will always be something that you spot once the code is delivered and there is something tangible to navigate through.

Based on my own experience, exploratory testing has real benefits and should be actively encouraged within teams.

So, after reading that, do you agree or disagree with my view of what exploratory testing is and whether it is a benefit or not? Feel free to comment, thank you.