This page provides a quick overview of exploratory testing and how you can use Xray tools to assist you during the process.

Xray Exploratory App

Xray Exploratory App is a side companion application that assists testers during exploratory testing, so they can focus on exploratory testing and not on other side activities.

The purpose is to ease the task of documenting activities performed during exploratory testing like the problems, bugs, ideas, doubts, and evidence related to testing.

This way, you can focus on performing testing and use your knowledge and skills to explore the target test object.

The application can be installed and used on your computer/laptop (e.g. Windows or Mac-based systems) and integrated with Xray and Jira seamlessly.

You can test web, desktop, or even mobile-based applications, and use Xray Exploratory App to assist you during the process.

The "Xray Exploratory App does not perform exploratory testing for you; however, it can surely help you stay focused while testing and ease documentation/note-taking so you can review all you did and discuss it later on with your team.

Scripted and Exploratory Testing

In the testing community, many refer to something that is considered tested, as something that has been simultaneously checked and explored.

tested = checked + explored

Scripted tests, sometimes incorrectly called "manual tests," are composed of a set of well-defined actions and corresponding expected results. 

These tests are essential in regulated markets or for detecting regressions as they exercise the same conditions every time.

They can be executed manually or automated using some automation libraries (e.g. Selenium/Webdriver) and frameworks.


Please note

In Xray, scripted-based tests are, for legacy reasons, still called "Manual".

In Xray Cloud you can define a custom test type, of "structured" kind (i.e. composed of steps), and name it whatever you like.

No matter what you call the test type, these tests can be executed manually or with automation.


With exploratory testing (ET), the tester is in control of testing; they're no longer blindly executing what someone has predefined for them.

On the other hand, with ET, the tester starts with a purpose, a mission. This means, they're no longer goes in a route previously defined, which may no longer be valid.

Using knowledge and human-based trained skills, the tester dynamically explores the test object, test ideas, and looks at possible impacts. While (exploratory) testing, actions are conditioned by how the system behaves, by the tester expertise and all things going in the tester's brain.  The tester iteratively explores and learns more about the system. Previous results influence how testing is performed on the upcoming iteration.

This is why James Bach describes exploratory testing in this way:

Exploratory testing is simultaneous learning, test design, and test execution.

While scripted-based testing provides information about the expected, exploratory testing provides information about the unknowns.

Xray and Exploratory Testing

Xray provides the basic foundations for exploratory testing.

Unstructured (e.g. "generic") Test issues can be used to abstract an exploratory test charter. 

Results and artifacts produced during testing (e.g. notes, screenshots, etc) can be reported against a test run of that type of test.


Please note

In Xray for Jira Cloud, an unstructured test is one whose kind is "unstructured." The by default available "Generic" test type is unstructured; however, users can create additional unstructured test types.

In Xray Server and Data Center an unstructured test is one of test type "Generic" or any other custom value (which internally will be handled as a "Generic" test).

Thus, you can create a "Generic" Test, for example, and "execute it" to open the execution screen where you can attach evidence and leave notes.

However, Xray by itself does not provide much more than that; users still have to take screenshots, record videos, and annotate them manually. That's when the Xray Exploratory App enters the game.



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