Tester’s Diary: When Domains Collide!

  • Posted By: admin
  • Posted On: November 18, 2016

Domains are the big new thing, or are they? I think they are, because what I believe that information technology is compressing itself into several independent forums. Within these forums, requirements will arise for specialist human resources. These resources are not always likely to be highly technical in their skills, but they will be master of the game.

Invasion Domains!

This is what changing the whole ball game. As the software applications started to address the very common problems, the complexities within the phase space of the software increases. Thence converting each space into separate domain.

Banking, Manufacturing, News, Education, Textile, Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Engineering, Security, Human Resources, Administrations, Transaction processes, e-commerce, Food, entertainment, and social media. These are just a few examples of what information technology infrastructure is now founded on and then develop solutions for.

Testers to the rescue!

For testers the things are getting pretty interesting. You should understand, that there is a difference between developing solution for a domain specific application, and the one which is spanned over multiple domains. This becomes quite a challenge for developers, and even bigger when it comes on a tester’s table.

The context of testing a transaction corresponding over multiple domains is very critical. Here is an interesting story:

A true story…

I love movies, and when I got the chance to acquire Netflix, I was all happy and did a cart wheel with excitement. It’s pretty simple to get a Netflix account. You only need to register and then they ask your credit card details. First month is free, but you need to subscribe for a certain package. After a month, the amount will be charged and you will be in for a ride, simple right? Well, till the next domain comes along.

What happened with me, is something which must be happening to a lot of people. I hope that people would taking this under account.

What happens is that, Netflix will take all your credit card details, but will not charge you, till next month. What the user does not know, is that they do send in a “ZERO” amount transaction over to the bank. So, I entered my VISA card entries. Number, Name, and Security code, all good to go. As I clicked the “process” button, the form responded in a couple of second, “We cannot proceed, something went wrong”.

Oops! Okay, I rechecked all my entries, and then hit the process again, but it was the same message again.

Hmm… Something must be wrong. Okay, I left it right there, and got busy in my work. One minute later, my phone rang.

“Hello, is this…” the female voice on the other end knew my name.

“Yes speaking”

“Sir, did you make a USD transaction on your credit card?” She asked

“Y…Yes I did, it must be from Netflix” I just realized what had happened

“Sir, would you please ask them not to try a transaction with “ZERO” amount, we cannot process it!”

“Why not?”

“Our system does not allow that”

“But how would I tell that to Netflix?”

“You can talk to them”

I tried to stop my laugh for a moment and said “Okay…” and hung up.

A bug is…

What happened here? As a user, it was frustrating for me, as I was really looking forward for the freebie by Netflix, and as a Tester, I was like all excited to see this interesting buggy scenario. Why do I call it buggy? Because;

“A bug is something which bugs somebody” – James Bach

It was as simple as that, I was bugged by this.

Netflix and the bank are two entirely different domains, and neither have any issues while operating independently. The bug happens when these two collide. Both these domains are also unaware of the protocols each following, they are relying on the credit card transaction bridge and are assuming that everything will just go fine, in reality, it did not.

Who suffers? The customer.

In the above case everything will go as per normal plan, if the user does the payment transaction at the first instance. But, I believe that there would be a very thin number of users who would go for such a choice.

On the other hand, the bank does not realize and nor does it care, that the transaction limit should be brought to zero. All of this combined, lead to an unavoidable situation. In simple terms, it is called missing millions. A simple glitch which seems tolerable, is actually making your business loose in millions.

Let’s think about it for a moment.