Exploratory Testing Tools

I appreciate the insight here. It definitely makes sense that the simpler the job, the less complex of a toolset one would want.

Permutations is another interesting idea though…. It seems like a visual modeler that generates and tracks permutations could be useful. (Something like a mind map but with a little more logic behind it?)

It’s largely the templating and quick note taking using markdown. I started using it for personal projects, the get away from wiki style knowledge management, and it just sort of filtered into my professional day to day.

Have you tried the free Xray Exploratory Testing desktop app?
It can help you:

  • define the charter/scope of your sessions
  • taking text notes
  • record (vide/audio) sessions
  • take screenshots and add visual annotations
  • export resuls/findings to PDF
  • create defects in Jira
  • export results to Jira, if you have Xray

Next week, October 12th, I’ll be delivering a workshop for MoT open to the community around this theme and this tool, if you want feel free to participate!.

You don’t need Jira nor Xray (a test management tool for Jira) to use it.

Note: I work for Xray.

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Dennis from Testmo here. I just wanted to mention that some test management tools also already include built-in support for exploratory test sessions. If exploratory testing is an important part of your testing efforts (like for most teams nowadays), you might benefit from using a tool that supports test sessions natively, so you don’t need to import/convert things to test cases or similar.

E.g. in Testmo we include full exploratory test session support (with note-taking) besides manual cases & automation. We also show this in our video here. There are also other test management tools that have some support for test sessions as well. I would just make sure to choose a tool that supports this natively and doesn’t require any browser add-ons or downloads. You might also find our recently published list of additional exploratory testing tools interesting (it also lists Notion among other note-taking apps).

Thanks for the response Sergio!

My only issue here is that I want the option to upload things to wherever I like natively without having to hack automation around a tool. (With the inevitable brittleness that brings.)

Likewise, some of the folks on this thread have given really good ideas about features that I don’t see in your app, so I’m keen to explore those.

I may attend your session though - I’m always keen to learn more about what’s out there!

Thanks for your response Dennis -

My main issue here is that it isn’t a free tool and it locks me into a specific platform.

Generally, there seems to be an unfortunate amount of that in the test management space.

I’m likewise a huge fan of data portability and owning one’s data but when I look at the Testmo API, I don’t see the option to access any of the data programmatically. (It’s all POST and no GET!) Maybe there are better options for that in the UI?

It’s very cool that vendors are starting to get on board with exploratory testing though!

The reason professional test management tools cost money is that they are very time and resource intensive to develop & build (many many years), and vendors also need to invest to run & maintain them. But you can also find other note-taking apps in the above link and tools like Notion can be a good starting point (although Notion also costs money if you need non-basic features; it’s just expensive to build software).

100% agreed, and this is an important aspect when I choose products as well. You can always export your full data to open JSON files, no API needed for this. Plus also CSV files for Excel etc. and more. Feel free to email or DM if you have any other questions.

No offense meant!

I just said that a paid tool locked into a single platform isn’t what I am looking for.

Likewise, the “walled garden”, export-it-all-or-nothing approach to data management is also not what I am looking for.

I’m building an exploratory testing tool called Replayable that records your screen in the background. When you catch a bug or finish a test, you can upload the video and embed it wherever you want.

Would love to hear what you think and open to feedback! Email me at ian@replayable.io

Hi David,

It’s indeed a pleasure to see Exploratory Testing and its related tools being discussed.

The tools, as you rightly pointed out, could become a mishmash, or a jungle, if you will. I would always go with the definition of Exploratory Testing to start with, as it was coined back in 2008:


I would reckon that the tools that you build or use be better aligned with the definition and helps you explore in the context in which you are working with. As some wrote here, short notes or tools that help make short notes could be useful. The objective is to have something that would keep your mind engaged and attentive during the process, so that you can make progress with your learning, test design, test execution and test results interpretation in parallel, and of value.

Hope that helps, and all the best. Please do feel free to let me know of your opinions, feedback, and comments. Thanks & Regards.

Thank you for the link and thoughts Venkat!

I like the idea of using “Exploration” as a guide when thinking about potential features and UX. The core question for any decision should always be “Does this help users explore better?”

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Not sure if you managed to attend the session but it was really interesting. I’m probably going to can my tool as the xray app looks really useful and pretty sure it can do everything i need but better. Possibly requiring a few extra clicks here and there but its really pretty powerful!


I didn’t get to catch it. (Family duties took precedence in that time slot!) Do you know if there is a recording?

But I did get a chance to look at the tool. I really like the direction… (Their timeline idea and capture methods were spot on for what I was already working on.)

But it seems like it’s been out for a while without a lot of material changes to it. Likewise, I’m not always working in the JIRA ecosystem. Meanwhile, I’ve got a ton of ideas (many thanks to everyone on this thread for some great ones!) and I am aiming to make it very open to the community to drive the direction that makes it most useful.

On my end, I’m probably a week or two out from releasing my tool (YATTIE) which covers a lot of the same ground.

I’ll let you know when I have something - I’d love your feedback!

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Looking forward to checking out YATTIE, @dacoaster.

Let me know if ever you’d like to speak on call about my experience of building and marketing TestBuddy. Happy to share with you.

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I’d really appreciate that @simon_tomes! I’ll DM you and see if we can find a time.

This last week got busy and I’m traveling next week, but all the while I’m finding time to squash my last few bugs before YATTIE is ready to share.

I’m quite excited to get some community feedback!

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Oh, I’m curious about it :slight_smile:
We can only make better products with great competion :wink:

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It’s really cool, @darktelecom. Defo worth a chat with @dacoaster if you get the chance.

@dacoaster I was able to build it and give it a try. There’s a lot of work there I have to say. However, unfortunately, with the exception of mindmap feature, I found it to be a clone of Xray Exploratory App, having the same kind of UI, timeline concept, comments, actions. I was expecting something different.

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I’ve had a chance to play with all three tools now and one thing that I think all three could benefit from is the ability to add a summary / tldr that goes to the top of the report when testing is completed.

I was using XRA over the past couple of days for testing a larger project and then provided links to the PDF reports to the team afterwards. My manager asked if it was possibly to have a summary and it was a fair point. From a quick look you can’t tell if there’s anything that needs attention. Obviously I could/should have said “No defects found” along with each of the links but it would have been handy to have an overall summary displayed at the top (perhaps immediately after the charter?).


Great idea!

When we developed TestBuddy we offered a summary feature.

  1. User marks their session as complete
  2. The UI automatically creates a section called Summary. It included an auto-count of all notes labelled with a PQIP (Problems/Question/Idea/Praise). Plus a space to add a manual text narrative.
  3. When someone exported the session as a PDF it added the summary counts and summary description to the top of the report
  4. Our customers liked it! :smile:

The tool actively encouraged a written summary. Folks could leave it blank if they wished though, and the PQIP counts would appear automatically.