Exploratory sessions

This topic describes how to perform manual tests in exploratory sessions. Exploratory sessions are saved for you to return to, and run again.

Exploratory session results are saved with other test results, and are accessible from the RESULTS tab.

Start a new session

Start a new exploratory session from the SRF EXPLORATORY tab.

  1. Click NEW and select one of the following:

    Mobile Apps Session

    Test your mobile app.

    Web Session Test your website on a desktop or mobile browser.
  2. On the right, define your session's name and other settings, such as application modules or environment. For details, see Basic exploratory session settings.

  3. Click START to start your exploratory session. Then continue with During your exploratory session.

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Find and manage your sessions

The EXPLORATORY tab displays all manual testing sessions performed.


On the left side of the EXPLORATORY tab, click a filter toggle to enable or disable it.

Then define the filter you want to use to display your sessions.


Click the search icon above the grid to search for a string from your test name.


View details about your testing sessions in the grid, such as last run dates and statuses.

For details about a specific session run:

  1. Click your session.
  2. On the right, click the LATEST RUNS tab.
  3. To zoom in further, click a specific session run. For details, see Exploratory session run history.

Edit any session details as needed, and then click START to reopen your saved session.

For details, see Basic exploratory session settings and During your exploratory session.


To delete a session, hover over the session row and click the Options bar on the right. Then, click Delete to delete the session.

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Basic exploratory session settings

Define the following for any new session or when modifying a saved session.


The amount of minutes you expect your session to take. See if you can meet your target time!


Modify this value if you want to enter a user other than yourself.


Define objectives and/or possible testing methods.


Click Add Tag, then enter text to add a tag. Filtering by tags can help you locate your sessions and results.

Application modules

Click APPLICATION MODULES to manually list the elements in your app that you want to test.

Use this as a checklist of areas to explore during your testing session.

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Define your session environment

Define your environment using the options displayed, depending on your test type.

To delete an item, hover over the row and click the Options bar on the right. Then, click Delete to delete the session.

Define a web environment

Do the following:

  1. Click Browser Lab to get started, or CHANGE if you've already defined an environment.

  2. In the ENVIRONMENT SELECTION dialog box, click items to add them to your environment.

    Note: Results for exploratory sessions on Internet Explorer do not contain step details and automatic snapshots. Add comments and capture screenshots as you go to add these details.

  3. Tunnel: After closing the ENVIRONMENT SELECTION dialog box, select a tunnel to use if you are testing an app installed behind a corporate firewall. For more details, see Manage tunnels.

Define a mobile environment

If you have not yet selected a mobile device, click Select Device From Lab to select a device from the device lab.

Then, in the ENVIRONMENT SELECTION dialog box, click items to add them to your environment.

If you already have a mobile device defined, click OPEN LAB to update your selection.

Use any of the following tips when defining a mobile environment:

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During your exploratory session

A remote access window opens for your exploratory session, displaying your selected environment.

Your session starts immediately.

  1. Explore your app, testing each of the application modules you listed for the session.

  2. Use the toolbar to:

    Pause your session if you need to take a break. Click to start it again.
    Add more time to your session duration.

    Open a defect. For details, see Connect to a lifecycle management system and Create defects.

    Capture an image to save a screenshot of the current view.

    Use the annotation toolbar to draw or write on your screenshot.

    Note: When testing on Internet Explorer, the capture image button is disabled by default. Add a manual step by adding a comment to enable the capture image button.

    Add a comment at this point in the session. You can also use this button to add manual steps in your test.

    When testing on Internet Explorer, this also enables you to capture screenshots.

    Display the session steps.

    Toggle the SRF clipboard on or off.

    Use the SRF clipboard when you want to copy text from outside your recording to inside the remote viewer, or from inside the remote viewer to a local file.

    For example, to copy your website URL to the browser window SRF, do the following:

    1. Copy the URL from your local desktop.
    2. In SRF, click the Toggle Clipboard button.
    3. Paste the URL into the SRF clipboard field that appears.

    4. Click the browser in the recording window to ensure that it's in focus.

    5. Click the Copy to clipboard button to paste it into the address bar.

    If you are testing a mobile device, use the CONTROL PANEL options on the left to interact with your device, such as changing your orientation, zooming in and out of your device, or sending text to your device. Use the simulations options to perform common event simulations:

    Simulate incoming call. Indicate the number calling, and how to handle the call.
    Simulate incoming SMS. Indicate the number sending the message and the message text.
    Simulate sending app to background. Indicate the duration for which the app should be sent to the background.

    Simulate GPS relocation. Specify the latitude and longitude for the simulation. Note that for iOS, GPS simulation is only supported for packaged apps.

    For Android 6.0 and higher, you need to set the mock location app as follows: Developer options > Select mock location app and select MC Agent.

    Simulate authentication. Supported for package apps only. Allows you to simulate Fingerprint or Face ID authentication on mobile devices. Authentication Simulation is active by default on packaged apps that require fingerprint or face ID authentication. Navigate to the screen in the app that uses authentication. When prompted, select an authentication result. For details, see Fingerprint and Face ID simulation.

    Note: If you are connecting to your device over a secure connection and a message appears requesting you to accept the certificate, follow the instructions in the message to accept the certificate before continuing with the session.

  3. When you're finished, click DONE. Select whether your session passed or failed, and enter a session summary for later reference.

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Exploratory session run history

In the EXPLORATORY grid, click a saved session to view your run history on the right under LATEST RUNS.

Then, click a specific run to view the steps and any other recorded data.

On the RESULTS page:

  • Click a dropdown arrow to view a snapshot you saved for a specific step, or for details about errors or warnings.

  • Click SUBMIT DEFECT at the top to open a defect in Octane based on the results you see. For details, see Create defects.

Note: Exploratory sessions run on Internet Explorer or Edge will not include step details and automatically captured snapshots.

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Convert an exploratory session to an automation script

If you have a particularly helpful exploratory session saved that is a good candidate for reuse and automation testing, save it as an automated script.

For details, see Automate an exploratory session.

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See also: