Testing Tales: Cookie Monster

jason arbon
2 min readAug 9, 2022


“Yum! Yum! Yum!”

The lab was a dark place at night with rows and rows of computers running test automation. The CPUs spun up, the heat went up, and the screensavers turned on. Thousands of tests exercised the secret new hardware and software that would soon power internet and cable for millions of people.

Test after test executed as violently fast as possible, Logging thousands of passes, and a few failures. Everything from firmware to drivers, and operating system components to networking. Such serious and frenetic activity — as if the tests knew the world depended on them.

Then one machine awoke. Its screen burst with light and a loud “Yum! Yum! Yum!” noise rang out. Cookie Monster filed the screen throwing cookie after cookie into his mouth. Then another machine awoke, and another, until the lab was filled with cookie monsters dueling for attention. Almost as soon as they appeared, the cookie monsters disappeared, the screens went dark, and the lab was quietly humming again.

Yum! Yum! Yum!

Inside the machine, my tests were running. I was charged with testing the HTML 4 features of the browser. What a treat for my first assignment at Microsoft. The test code was generating all sorts of cookies — little strings that remember your website preferences and now power trillion-dollar ad companies.

The test scripts generated as many conceivable types of cookies as possible. All different lengths of strings, zero-length, one character long, ASCII characters, extended characters, foreign characters, special characters — everything my testing brain could come up with. That JavaScript code’s job was to make sure that the Internet’s cookies worked as expected.

For weeks, rumors spread in the halls of weird noises in the lab at night. There was a noob tester on the floor, having a little bit of fun.

Yum! Yum! Yum! Make testing fun!

— Jason Arbon



jason arbon

blending humans and machines. co-founder @testdotai eater of #tunamelts