Still Life

A Series of Mental Snapshots

Anatomy of a Bug Report — Presented via a MSOffice ‘Bug in the Wild’

Posted by Steve on September 13, 2008

The importance of a bug report is definitely understated; it is the difference between something getting fixed, and something getting filed away. I am going to present my version of a ‘good’ bug report through reporting a bug I found while I was MS Office 2007. First though I am going to outline the sections:

Title
The title is actually the most important part of the bug report, it is essential that it is possible to know what the whole problem is simply based on the title. If you cannot express what the bug is completely in the title, you have to think more about before reporting it.

Preconditions
Pretty straight forward, put what needs to be setup before the bug occurs, it can also include what machine configuration you used (if its meaningful)

Steps To Reproduce
Another straight forward area of the bug report. what you want to aim for here is that someone who knows nothing about the bug and possibly very little about the product can reproduce it. There preferrably should be no questions about how to hit the problem again (I do realize this is problematic with the bugs that appear to happen ‘randomly’)

Bug Details
The important things to include here are what the problem is (as you see it) and what you think should be happening. If you do not but a suggestion or desired outcome, the bug is not nearly as useful.

Frequency
This is a field that does not always apply, it generally is important with bugs that have to do with scalability and ones that seem to happen intermittently.

The Bug Report:

Title: Having the ‘Create Source’ window open results in any other open window becoming unusable

Preconditions:

  • Two instances of MS Office Open

Steps to Reproduce

  • In the first MS office window click the references tab
  • In the toolbar click ‘Insert Citation’
  • In the drop down list click ‘New Source’, the create source window will open
  • Click the mouse onto the second Office window

Bug Details

  • At this point nothing can be done in the second open window, you cannot click, or manipulate the window in any way.
  • Desired Outcome: The second MS Office window should not be affected by the Create Source window in any fashion
  • Note: A further issue is that a new Office window does cannot be opened (for example from the start window)

Frequency

  • Anytime the Create Source window is open

So there you have the bug report, if I had access to the proper software I would also have made and attached a video of the problem, video is a great bug reporting tool, one that I suggest is BB TestAssistant .

Let me know what you thought of my bug report! Does it match how you file bugs?

–Steve

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