Frequently Asked Questions



What does Status Machine do?

Status Machine is a tool that automates the QA (Quality Assurance) process for your websites.

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How does Status Machine helps for Quality Assurance?

Status Machine’s main focus is to find visual difference among the pages of your website, by comparing snapshots (collection of page screenshots) made at different points in time.

This is useful for determining whether a recent change broke something, somewhere in your website.

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What is a “site environment”?

What we call a site environment, in Status Machine, is basically a site of your project that serves a certain purpose. For example, let’s say you develop your website on your laptop. This is normally called the “development” environment. Then, maybe you deploy somewhere just you and your client know, that is meant for showing off your work, before you deploy your changes on the real site. This is often called the “staging” environment.

And then, the real site, you can call it whatever you’d like, but we suggest keeping the convention of naming it “production”, just for clarity.

So, a “Site environment” in Status Machine has two properties. It has a name, and an URL prefix. The URL prefix is everything in the URL that precedes what is specific to certain pages. For example, the https://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Category:FR_Genre URL of the Gutenberg project website would have a URL prefix of https://www.gutenberg.org URL prefix, so that every page of that site would be crawled. Including the /wiki/Category:FR_Genre page.

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Can Status Machine compare “staging” environment with “production”?

Yes. If you have other environments for your website, like “staging”, for example, Status Machine can compare the related pages among those environments. This might be useful, for example, when you are about to publish some changes to your “production” environment, but you want to make sure it won’t break anything, by comparing with a similar version on staging, where your changes are there.

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What is a “Snapshot”?

In Status Machine terminology, a Snapshot is a collection of full-page screenshots, for a given website, or, more precisely, for a website environment (like “production”).

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What is a “Visual Difference”, and how is it computed?

Status Machine creates what we call a “visual difference” between 2 snapshots. What it does is that for every page in the snapshot that you created, we take the screenshots, and compare them to the other snapshot you’re comparing to.

As for detecting those visual differences, every pixel of the screenshots are compared to the homologous screenshots of the compared snapshot, and if the pixels are different, they are marked as such. And a map (a resulting image) of the different pixels is generated for those pages. This map is the visual difference for a single page, where all the different pixels are in red, and everything else is white.

In the visual comparison view of Status Machine, this image is useful for quickly spotting differences found in a given page, between two snapshots.

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