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How to use SessionLog in a nutshell

SessionLog main screen

In essence SessionLog supports a structured way of taking notes. Each log entry is tagged by a type, a timestamp, a reporter who created the entry and has text or a photo as its content. In addition, SessionLog continuously maintains an up-to-date statistics of your logging activities.

At the beginning you need to create an entry with the Reporter type in order to specify who is doing the logging. Then you start reporting by choosing the appropriate type (e.g. Note) and entering text. Instead of typing text you can also take a picture (if your device has the capability) or add a picture from your photo library. If you need to take a break, create an entry with the Pause tag and at the end, use the End type.

You can export your log by email using the Mail Log button. Alternatively you can export your log via iTunes by pressing the Export Log button and then (in iTunes) saving the sessionlog.csv file to your computer where you can process it further (e.g. in Excel). The same applies to the photos you have created resp. added.

Types, Filters and the Timer

SessionLog settings screen

The built-in types (or tags if you prefer) have the following meaning:

  • Reporter: The person who is currently reporting, can be changed during the session
  • Charter: What this session is about
  • Setup: An activity for preparation
  • Note: A generic log entry
  • Bug: Description of a defect
  • End: Typically the last entry of a log
  • Photo: Entry associated with a picture
  • Pause: Logging has been temporarily suspended
On the Settings page you can also do the following:
  • In the text field you can create your own type
  • The Default button resets the type list to the standard types and ordering
  • The Edit button enables editing of the type list and allows you to re-order the items or to delete types. When you are finished with editing, press the Done button.
  • By touching a checkmark you can change the filter state of a type. The session log will only show entries with types that are checked. The same applies for the statistics which is based only on checked entries.
  • With the button All Filter On you can set the checkmark for all types.
  • With the button All Filter Off you can remove the checkmark for all types
  • The control at the bottom allows you to specify a duration in minutes for your session. You can start the timer by pressing the Start Timer button. You will see a progress bar on the Main Log screen showing how much time has already been spent in this logging session.

Correcting mistakes in the log

You can delete a log entry by swiping on the respective row and the pushing the Delete button. You can also select an entry and modify it in the text entry field.

Statistics

SessionLog statistics screen SessionLog statistics screen

While you create your log, the statistics are continuously updated. The pie chart gives you an impression how the logging is distributed among the various types. If the switch Time based statistics is on, then the weight of each logging entry is the time spent on it. Otherwise each entry counts as 1. Note that the filter settings determine which types are taken into account.

Session-based Testing with SessionLog

Session-based testing is a software test method that aims to combine accountability and exploratory testing to provide rapid defect discovery, creative on-the-fly test design, management control and metrics reporting. The method can also be used in conjunction with Scenario testing. Session-based testing was developed in 2000 by Jonathan and James Bach.

Other uses

SessionLog can be used for all kinds of purposes where a structured log with continuous statistics is useful. Use it in a meeting (add the participants as types), or in a lecture, or when reading a document, or when attending a sports event (add the players as types), etc.

Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to Philipp Minnig for the introduction to session-based testing and for valuable feedback regarding features and defects.