27.5.2014

Taking screenshots and capturing video

This article introduces you on an easy way to capture and annotate screenshots during testing. We show you couple of easy ways to use screen capturing and recording tool Monosnap.

The latest Testlab release brings you inbuilt integration to Monosnap, a handy screen capturing tool with possibility of annotating the screenshots before uploading. Testlab supports desktop clients of Monosnap for Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. You are ofcourse free to use any screen capturing tool you prefer but we feel Monosnap really stands out from the crowd feature-wise and in the ease of use.

 

Why take screenshots or record video

When you are testing software on your workstation taking screenshots is a great way of documenting issues. A picture is worth a thousand words, right ? For example, when you are testing and an issue such as a defect is encountered capturing a screenshot, annotating the capture by highlighting the issue in an exact way and uploading it to Testlab usually tells the team members very well what went wrong. If the capturing tool allows you to annotate the shot, it’s perfect – the amount of textual description you need to enter for the defect is typically much less when you can mark and highlight the relevant parts of the screenshot.

The benefits of using screenshots in issue management are quite self-evident. But screenshots and recorded screencaptures can be quite beneficial in requirement management too. For example, when you are documenting new features on existing user interfaces, taking a screenshot and annotating it properly is a great addition to documenting your requirements. Same applies to test cases: If a test case is testing a complex user interface a well annotated screenshot or two can be a great help for a tester when testing.

 

Monosnap introduced

monosnapMonosnap is a collaboration tool for taking screenshots, sharing files and recording video from your desktop. The tool is available for multiple platforms (such as a Google Chrome extension, for iPhone and iPad) but here we talk about the desktop installable clients for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems as they can be integrated and used seamlessly with Testlab.

When Monosnap is installed and run it runs as a desktop application and is accessible in a way depending on your operating system. For Mac OS X, the tool is available in your desktop’s menu bar as an icon. Similarly in Windows, the tool is available in your so called system tray and as a hovering hotspot on your desktop if you prefer.

For capturing screenshots the basic way of working with Monosnap is as follows:

  1. You capture an area of your desktop by selecting “Capture Area” from Monosnap’s menu or pressing the appropriate keyboard shortcut.
  2. A Monosnap window appears with the captured area shown. The window has functions to annotate the capture: For example draw different shapes on it and write text on the capture.
  3. When you are happy with the capture you can upload it to a service of your choice or save the capture on your disk.

For capturing video, you

  1. select “Record Video” from monosnap’s menu or press the appropriate keyboard shortcut.
  2. Monosnap’s recording frame appears. You move and resize this frame to the area on your desktop which you would like to record as a video capture. You also have options to record video from your workstations web cam, record audio from your microphone if you prefer.
  3. To start recording you press the Rec button. You can annotate the video during recording by drawing different shapes on it. When you have recorded your video you press Rec button again to stop the capture.
  4. When recorded, the video is encoded to a MP4 format and depending on your workstation if might take a few seconds. A window appears with the encoded video in it which you can preview before uploading. You can then upload the captured video to a service of your choice or access the encoded video file on your disk. 

 

Using Monosnap with Testlab

To use Monosnap with Testlab you have two options: Take screen captures with Monosnap and upload them manually to Testlab by dragging and dropping or, integrating Monosnap to Testlab’s WebDAV interface which allows you to upload captures to Testlab with a click of a button.

 
Uploading manually

When uploading manually no pre-configuration is needed. You can use Monosnap in a way you prefer and when you have a capture ready upload it to Testlab in same way you would upload a regular file attachment. Keep in mind though, that Monosnap makes this quite easy as it features a “Drag bar” on the right hand side of the capture window. From this, you can just grab and drag the capture on your Testlab browser window and attach it to the asset open in the window just by dropping.

If dragging and dropping is not possible for some reason, as a workaround, you can ofcourse save the capture on your disk and upload it regularly to Testlab.

To see how it actually works play the video below:

video_reports

 

 

WebDAV integration

Monosnap is great in a way that it supports a possibility of uploading the captures with a click of a button to service of your choice. This enables Testlab to act as a WebDAV storage for which into the Monosnap can push the captures to. When configured, you can just push the Upload button of Monosnap and the capture is automatically uploaded to Testlab and attached to the asset open in your Testlab browser window.

To make use of this feature some pre-configuration is needed:

  1. Open up Monosnap’s menu and select “Preferences…” or “Settings…”. Monosnap’s settings window opens up.
  2. Select “General” tab and configure the following:
    • After screenshot: Open Monosnap editor
    • After upload: Do not copy
    • Open in browser: no
    • Short links: no
  3. Select the “Account / WebDAV” view and configure the following:

    For Mac OS X:

    • Host: https://COMPANY.melioratestlab.com/api/attachment/user
      Note: Replace COMPANY with the virtual host of your own Testlab. For example, if you are using hosted Testlab from mycompany.melioratestlab.com enter “https://mycompany.melioratestlab.com/api/attachment/user” to this field. For on-premise installations, set this field to match the protocol, host name and the port of your server to a /api/attachment/user context.
    • Port: Leave as blank (shows as gray “80”)
    • User: User ID of your Testlab account
    • Password: Password of your Testlab account
    • Folder: Leave as blank (shows as gray “/var/www/webdav”)
    • Base URL:Leave as blank (shows as gray “http://127.0.0.1/webdav”)
      Click “Make default” button to make the configured WebDAV service as the default upload service of Monosnap. When set, the Upload button always uses this service by default.

       

      For Microsoft Windows:

    • Host: COMPANY.melioratestlab.com
    • Note: Replace COMPANY with the virtual host of your own Testlab. For example, if you are using Testlab from mycompany.melioratestlab.com enter “mycompany.melioratestlab.com” to this field.
    • Port: HTTPS or HTTP port of your Testlab server – if you are using hosted Testlab enter 443
    • User: User ID of your Testlab account
    • Password: Password of your Testlab account
    • Directory: /api/attachment/user
    • Base URL: Leave as blank

The preconfiguration is documented in detail in the “Screenshots and recording” section of the Testlab’s integrated help manual.

Keep in mind, that the pre-configuration step needs to be done only once. Once you’ve configured your Monosnap to upload captures to Testlab it just works – no need to configure it again later.

Where is the capture uploaded to

When captures are uploaded via Testlab’s WebDAV interface the uploaded captures are automatically attached to the asset which is currently open in your Testlab browser window. So when uploading, make sure you have an asset (a requirement, a test case or an issue) open in your Testlab window in a way, that a file can be attached to it. If for example, your Testlab user account wouldn’t have proper permissions to attach files to assets the uploading will just silently fail.

To see WebDAV integrated Monosnap in action play the video below:

video_reports

 

 

Advantages gained

Having easy to use screen capture tools make your documenting easier and speeds up work in multiple tiers: Documenting issues and other assets is faster and people dealing with the documented assets have a clearer understanding on the issue at hand.

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Tags for this post: example features screenshots usage video 



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