Could this be a BUG with IE7 and Mozilla Firefox2?

Recently, I received an email from Akhilesh Ghildiyal (who is a regular reader of my posts and also a software tester), about the presence of a bug in “Software Testing Zone”! When I saw the subject line (Bug in your blog), my heart stopped beating for a moment, thinking of yet another bug in my blog. Because, just now I had got rid of the Invisible Bug after 17 days of hard work! How ever, here is the excerpt of his email.

Hi Debasis,

I have found out a bug in your blogs (
http://software-testing-zone.blogspot.com/ and http://software-quality-testing.blogspot.com/ ). The bug is in the Sticky Notes section of your blogs. Sticky Notes in which you make your readers to Shout.

Bug Description:
The data you input in details of Sticky Notes in one Tab gets visible in the Sticky Notes of some other blog of yours in another Tab.

Steps to Reproduce:
1. We will be using Mozilla Firefox 2 or IE 7.
2. Open all of your blogs in different tabs.
3. Enter the Data in the fields of Sticky Note in one of the blog under tab 1.
4. Open tab 2 and click on Shout button of the Sticky Note.

Actual Result:
The data entered under one tab in Sticky Notes is getting visible in Sticky Notes under another tab!

Regards,
Akhilesh.

I felt lot better after I finished reading his email completely! Reason? I knew this could not be a bug with the components of my blogs. Though I had not tested this before, I could tell this because, I had faced similar situations before. My past experiences (Testing Oracles!) were suggesting this to be due to some problem with tabbed browsing. But how could I come to any conclusion without proper evidence?

So at first I retested the issue submitted by Akhilesh. And as I was expecting, his observations were correct and I could reproduce the bug. Now the question was to prove that this was a problem with tabbed browsing and not with my blog. My tester’s intuition was telling me that this might be happening due to wrong handling of session variables in different tabs of a single browser window.

Hence I planned to test this using my own Gmail Id. For your information, I use my Gmail Id credentials for a variety of related Google services like Orkut, Blogger etc. And here are my observations.

Prerequisites:
You must be using your Gmail account as your Orkut account.

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Open IE7/Mozilla Firefox 2.
2. Open 2 new tabs under the same browser window.
3. In 1 tab logon to your Gmail account.
4. In another logon to your Orkut account.
5. Now logout of any of these accounts (lets say Gmail account).
6. Try to continue working in the other tab (in this case Orkut account).

Actual Result:
You will find the Orkut account has automatically been logged out!!!

My Conclusion:
I observed this problem (could be a feature too!) to be associated with tabbed browsing. This can happen with any browser with tabbed browsing (like IE7, Mozilla Firefox 2 etc.) facility.

Actually, it seems as if, the input entered in all the tabs are handled as single data (improper session variable handling!). In this case, this happened because; my Gmail and Orkut accounts are same. And logging out in one tab is being considered as logging out from all tabs where the same account information is being used.

Now I logged on to my Gmail and Orkut accounts in different browser windows (instead of same browser window with different tabs). Then logging out in one window did not automatically log out the other window. Even I could reproduce this bug while testing with my Blogger account (as NEW Blogger uses your Gmail account as login criteria).

A little observation has led to my above conclusion. My conclusion can be wrong too. But circumstantial evidences do suggest that this must be the reason for such unexpected behaviour. And I think same reason also applies to Akhilesh’s observation in case of Sticky Notes in my blogs.

Have any of you observed such behaviours in case of tabbed browsing? Do share your experiences too. And also let me know if you think my above conclusion is wrong (by leaving behind a Comment).

Happy Testing …
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About Unknown

Debasis has over a decade worth of exclusive experience in the field of Software Quality Assurance, Software Development and Testing. He writes here to share some of his interesting experiences with fellow testers.

9 Comments:

  1. This is not a bug in IE7 or in Mozilla firefox 2.0.This is just a implication of how the sessions are handled by the two.For IE7,different windows corresponds to differenr sessions for same application but different tabs under the same window for same application corresponds to same session. For firefox 2.0, it is always the same session for the same application even if you are opening a new window or a new tab under the same window. for any clarifications write to amolk@cdac.in

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Debasis!
    This is MrSharma56.Firstly I thank you for visiting my page and passing your valuable comment.

    Yes What you have told is 100% correct.The New Tab is the same session ID and hence it is behaving so.

    But I don't agree with your steps to reproduce as you are saying with an example of ORKUT and GMAIL opened in two different tabs.

    Reason: It happens the same way even if you open two different browsers.One containing ORKUT and another browser containing GMAIL.

    Please suggest/Comment.
    Thanks & Regards,
    MrSharma56
    http://Truetesting.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. @ MrSharma56,

    Thanks for leaving your comment.
    You said: But I don't agree with your steps to reproduce as you are saying with an example of ORKUT and GMAIL opened in two different tabs.

    Reason: It happens the same way even if you open two different browsers.One containing ORKUT and another browser containing GMAIL.


    For a clarification, THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN THE SAME WAY, IF YOU OPEN TWO DIFFERENT BROWSER WINDOWS. I am assuming that you are using IE7. Please check this once again.

    Regards,
    -Debasis
    Software Testing Zone

    ReplyDelete
  4. @ Amol,

    I am not sure if this is a bug. Thats why I have used "Could this be a bug...". But no doubts it bugs me and as an user I find it disturbing. Anyway many people belive that this is a feature error. Recently I came across this thread. Please take a look: http://community.sgdotnet.org/forums/thread/36529.aspx

    Regards,
    Debasis.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The behaviour documented between the gmail and orkut logins seems like a bug to me. Loging out of one should: (server-side) remove associated objects stored in the session and abandon the session and (client-side) remove any session cookies associated with the domain at issue. These actions should not adversly affect the other site (which has its own session cookies and domain).

    Two causes for this behaviour seem likely:
    1) IE has a bug in that the session id changes or session id cookies for unrelated domains are destroyed.
    2) gmale/orkut have a bug in that they showhow share a cookie (with the domain property set so both can read it).

    What are other's thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  6. When you sign into Orkut, it sets cookies for both. There is no bug anywhere. Orkut login page shows Google login form in an IFRAME element. That is how cookies are set for both.

    When you sign out of one, it clears cookies for both by using a tricky redirection between both the domains.

    So the conclusion is ....... No, the browser is not letting two different domains share the cookies.

    In one browser instance... only one copy of a certain cookie is maintained for one site. Various tabs of a browser share the same cookie. This is a known fact. What is so suprising in it??? :O

    ReplyDelete
  7. @ Jeetendra,

    In one browser instance... only one copy of a certain cookie is maintained for one site. Various tabs of a browser share the same cookie. This is a known fact. What is so suprising in it??? :O

    Known fact! Known to whom? Known under which context? This might be a *known issue* to a technical person, but I think you are forgetting another *fact* here. Most of the people who use browsers like IE7 or Mozilaa Firefox2 might not be equally techno-savvy as a developer or a tester! And, when the user opens the applications with IE 7 and open the applications parallelly with multiple tabs, the problem is ASP.NET server issues the same session key for both of the tabs in the same IE browser. So, ASP.NET Server side knows both of the requests are coming from the same session key and then the session objects created by the first request process is overwritten by the successive second request process. Then the application gets into problem for data inconsistency. And trust me, this can be quite confusing for a novice end user!

    Thanks for sharing your piece of thought on this issue.

    Regards,
    Debasis.

    ReplyDelete
  8. One more similar case and it seems that this difference is due to different handling of cookies by IE7 and IE8

    I have two machines: one with IE7 and one with IE8

    Steps on machine with IE7:

    1) Open a window of IE7
    2) Go to http://mail.yahoo.com and log in to Yahoo! Mail (or any mail) using user name XYZ
    3) Open other window of IE7
    4) Go to http://mail.yahoo.com and login page appears, I am able to logged in to Yahoo! Mail using user name KLM.
    5) I am able to simultaneously check my mails on both accounts XYZ and KLM using the same browser IE7

    Steps on machine with IE8:

    1) Open a window of IE8
    2) Go to http://mail.yahoo.com and log in to Yahoo! Mail (or any mail) using user name XYZ
    3) Open other window of IE8
    4) Go to http://mail.yahoo.com and login page appears, I logged in to Yahoo! Mail using user name KLM.
    5) Now, if I go to previous window in which I was logged into Yahoo! Mail from XYZ and refresh that window, I am automatically logged into Yahoo! Mail from KLM in that window as well.

    How is the behavior different in both the browsers for same steps?


    Another Query:

    1) I logged into Yahoo! Mail using XYZ on IE 7
    2) Delete cookies
    3) Refresh the IE7 window in which I am logged in using XYZ
    4) I remain logged into XYZ

    Similarly, if I follow the same behavior using IE8, I am logged out of XYZ.

    How is this possible? Behavior of IE8 looks correct to me.

    Please let me know if you have any explanation of this behavior on vijaycreative@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I want to post one issue also as it may seems like a similar issue but it is a different issue related to different behavior of different browsers with the same steps related to cookies.

    I have two machines: one with IE7 and one with IE8

    Steps on machine with IE7:

    1) Open a window of IE7
    2) Go to http://mail.yahoo.com and log in to Yahoo! Mail (or any mail) using user name XYZ
    3) Open other window of IE7
    4) Go to http://mail.yahoo.com and login page appears, I am able to logged in to Yahoo! Mail using user name KLM.
    5) I am able to simultaneously check my mails on both accounts XYZ and KLM using the same browser IE7

    Steps on machine with IE8:

    1) Open a window of IE8
    2) Go to http://mail.yahoo.com and log in to Yahoo! Mail (or any mail) using user name XYZ
    3) Open other window of IE8
    4) Go to http://mail.yahoo.com and login page appears, I logged in to Yahoo! Mail using user name KLM.
    5) Now, if I go to previous window in which I was logged into Yahoo! Mail from XYZ and refresh that window, I am automatically logged into Yahoo! Mail from KLM in that window as well.

    How is the behavior different in both the browsers for same steps?

    Another Query:

    1) I logged into Yahoo! Mail using XYZ on IE 7
    2) Delete cookies
    3) Refresh the IE7 window in which I am logged in using XYZ
    4) I remain logged into XYZ

    Similarly, if I follow the same behavior using IE8, I am logged out of XYZ.

    How is this possible? Behavior of IE8 looks correct to me.

    I know that this is because of cookies and IE 8/Firefox is doing correct. My query is regarding IE 7?

    Please let me know if you have any explanations on above behaviors?

    ReplyDelete

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