An Invisible Bug that Bugged a Tester for 17 days!

What could be the biggest impact of a bug on someone’s life? Ask me. And my answer would be dark circles under your eyes! Yes, dark circles. I have spent many sleepless nights due to a bug during past 17 days!

And this bug was not a member of the family of bugs, which I usually catch daily while testing the Products in my office. Rather, this was a bug in my own blog on Software Testing! Yes your guess is right. The bug was present in your very own “Software Testing Zone”! How many of you had noticed it? Any way, I must admit that, I was informed about this bug by few of my blog readers though (Thanks Purna Chandra Gudipati, Shaifali). But before them, this bug was caught and reported by another tester and that’s me. :)

Now coming to the bug, it was a scripting error (Java Script Error), which was coming with each Page Load. For your information, I was using IE7, and the bug was equally reproducible in Fire Fox too. The Error said “Object Expected” in Line No: xxxx and Char No: 2. The Line No was different for different pages of my blog. But the Char No always pointed out the 2nd character. There were two interesting things about this bug. They are:

1. The Script Error was disappearing on its own after few minutes of the Page Load! And ‘Done’ was taking place of the Script Error in the status bar (left bottom corner of the browser window).

2. The line number, which was displayed in the Error Message, was beyond the total number of lines that I have in my template! For an example, the Error message on the home page always said that the error was in Line No: 1445, while actually I have only 1118 lines of codes in my template! Isn’t that interesting? So the error was supposed to be present on a virtual line of code, which was at least invisible to me.

These are the two main reasons why, I preferred to call it an “Invisible Bug” in the title of this post. Any way, bug is always a bug. Be it invisible or whatever. According to James Bach, “A bug is something that bugs somebody”. And this bug was definitely bugging me and my readers. Moreover, thinking of a bug in the blog of a tester was sufficient to drive me nuts. I was desperate to get rid of this little cramp. But I had my own problems too. I could have reverted back to the basic template easily, thus getting rid of the bug. But that was easier said than done. If you will take a closer look at my current template, then you will probably understand my problem. I have done so much modifications (enhancements!) in the basic template that, now it would have cost me dearly (in terms of time spent, if not money) if I had to change the template.

So I was left with no other choice than to hunt down this little smarty. And this was going to be the most difficult part. As for the first time in my testing career I was to fix the bug myself after finding it out. And to be honest, I loved doing it. To start with, I looked for my template backups. But the latest one, which I could find was more than 1 month old! Now I have learned an important lesson to take regular backups for my blog template. If I had a recent backup, I could have reverted back without much pain. So I had only one choice of scanning the whole HTML source code to find out the error. Let me tell you, this can be really tiresome. Soon after starting this, I realized that this was not going to help me in a big way. So I stopped doing it and started looking for better possible approaches. You can adopt this method while testing software too. If you are not able to find any bugs in a particular approach, shift gears. Change approaches. Who knows you might get success in the new approach! This little testing experience helped me here while hunting this bug. So I started scanning newly added features (based on Java Script) one at a time and looked for possible problematic areas. Thanks to Bizwhiz and Gokulanand Narayanan for guiding me in this direction. And suddenly, I can’t believe my eyes. I don’t see any script error while loading my homepage. Is this true or a mirage? Few more tests and yes I have done it. There is no more java script error on my blog. Actually, it was a problematic java script code in ZoomClouds code snippet. I removed the snippet and “No More Object Expected”! Hurray.

I can’t explain my feeling. The feeling of getting freedom from an annoying bug, which was continuously hurting my tester’s ego. The feeling of great satisfaction. The feeling of finally achieving something after a long hard work. And the feeling of victory of a tester over yet another bug!

Now, you won’t have to bear with the annoying java script error, every time you surf through the pages of my blog. Now I can sleep peacefully during nights. At least, I am glad that I could fix the error on my blog much faster (well, 17 days) than Google! Three months back (on Jan 12), I had
found a Java Script Error in Google Suggest and written a blog post about it. Also I had informed Google about it. Although I received a confirmation from them within a day of reporting the bug, still the bug is there in Google Suggest! In that point of view, I think I have fixed the script error in my blog much faster than Google. I hope someone from Google is also reading this post. :)

Did anyone of you face similar situations, when a bug bugged your tester's ego? If so, please do share your experience by leaving behind your comment.

Happy Testing …
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About Debasis Pradhan

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.


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