Early the other day, I noticed some of the tweets of testers I followed had a #parkcalc hashtag. At first, I couldn’t exactly get what they were saying, but I guessed that they must have been testing something collaboratively. At the time, I couldn’t stay online long enough to find out more about parkcalc. Luckily, when I got home that evening, I found a blog post on the topic. The author of the post suggested to click the link to the parking calculator before reading any further, and so I did.
The first thing I tried to do was to click the Calculate button without changing any of the default values. A page with error messages (e.g., Warning: mktime() expects parameter 4 to be long, string given in /home/grrorg5/public_html/Includes/Calculator.inc on line 72) got displayed before the page refreshed to show a more user-friendly error message.
The next thing I noticed was the layout seemed a bit off. I thought maybe it was just a Chrome thing. I tried loading the page and the pop-up calendar in Firefox, and I was able to confirm my hunch.
Next thing I did was to play around with the inputs for the entry date and time, and exit date and time. I tried the usual stuff — entering no values, entering invalid values, non-existent values (e.g., 13 for month, non-existent dates like Feb 29 on a non-leap year), cases wherein exit date/time came before entry date/time, etc. Most interesting finds I think were triggering the “Not Acceptable” page and managing to get an estimated cost of $3,946,162,582,627,248.00 for 1.64423440943E+14 Days, 15 Hours, 21.6 Minutes of “Short-Term Parking”.
I then checked out what the rest of the blog had to say as well as the recent tweets tagged with #parkcalc. And apparently, I’m not the only one who enjoyed tinkering with parkcalc. 🙂 Finding the bugs on my own is in itself a good exercise, but more than that, it was pretty interesting to read about how other testers attacked the app and to read about their finds even if they make mine look lame. For instance, someone used exponential notation for the inputs, someone managed to trigger a cost value of $5,124,095,576,028,720.00, and my fave so far is this link that I got from one of the tweets: http://is.gd/bknIb
[Edit] Additional links:
- EWT: Please park my bug – This has a chat transcript of their weekend testing session with ParkCalc.
- ParkCalc — Review and Discussion – Matt Heusser’s wrap-up for the testing exercise