Six Secrets for Exploring Non-Graphical Systems

W8     Start Time : 11:00     End Time : 11:45

WATCH: Shmuel offers an insight to his talk:


“A company peer asked me: “”the software I test is embedded and has a programatic interface instead of a GUI, the only tests I can do are automated ones – how do you do exploratory tests that are mainly exploratory on such a system? Is it even possible?””. The presentation is the story on how my team solves that question, with examples of real-world applications.

It is easy to grasp the idea of an exploration process in software with graphic user interfaces (GUI). Exploration and discovery is a result of the engagement of senses, and our day to day software running on Desktop operating systems and web pages presents testers visual (and sometimes auditive) guidance and easy active inputs.

But… how does one explore embedded or remote or web-service systems, which sit built-in inside other systems, far away from the testers’ eyes and hands? How does one solve the problem that testing embedded system calls for developing test code, which is hard to be done in the same fast cadence of test-learn-change-test used in exploratory testing of systems with GUI?

This riddle is solved by innovation in the testing method and the testing tools. In this talk I propose fundamentals of exploration that can be applied to non-GUI systems – explaining how well-prepared innovative environments and tools can enable the learning process and maximize the exploration factor.

The presentation will present a set of abstraction principles that will allow automated-tools to provide support for exploratory practices. More than theoretical concepts, the six points are real and being used by my team at work for the creation and organization of our test tools.

The explanation of such principles will be accompanied by short and vivid examples of systems beyond reach: Physical objects (polystirene balls), NASA Space Rovers, Text-Based Games (like Zork or AdventureLand), HTTP Requests generators, Hardware test suites…”

  • Speaker


    Shmuel Gershon - Test Lead, Intel, Israel

    Shmuel Gershon has experience in both firmware and software testing; and also in coaching testers and helping friends. Today he works in Jerusalem testing sensor products with his team of Super-Heroes, and his experience includes working for big companies, small companies, and as freelancer — spanning the world from South America to Israel. He is convinced that the most significant factor in our quest for quality is people (not features or technology), and used to be a programmer but discovered that testing is twice the fun. Writes about software testing at and publishes the open-source “Rapid Reporter”, an exploratory testing note taking tool.