March 28, 2007

Upcoming Conferences

I will be attending the Continuous Integration and Testing Conference in Dallas Fort Worth on Friday April 27 and Saturday April 28. Continuous Integration is the term of art for the practice of automatically building and testing your software whenever the code is updated. Cruise Control is the commonly used tool that manages continuous integration. It can be configured to watch a source code repository and automatically trigger a new build when there are changes. Many people have also used Cruise Control to trigger system acceptance tests; indeed I recently used it to automatically run our Watir tests at DataCert. Continuous Integration thus refers both to this technology as well as the development philosophy it supports: encouraging automation, stability, frequent commits and collective code ownership. One of the things that I really like about CI (as they call it) is that it really encourages you to make your tests fully automated—so any one can run them. Another great thing about CI, is that it collects results in a common dashboard making it easy for everyone—managers, developers and testers—to have a common, real-time view into the current state of the software under development. This conference follows previous continuous integration conferences held last year in Chicago and London. One great thing about it is that it is free. I also hear that Martin Fowler (co-author of the seminal article on continuous integration) will be there. The conference is organized using an Open Space format. If you haven’t seen it before, it sounds like chaos, but my experience is that you actually end up with better conferences than you do with the traditional approach. (Yet another example, really, of the advantages of agile over planned approaches.) I’ve been off the conference circuit for a while and am really looking forward to attending. Registration, though free, is limited to 100 people, so don’t wait.

I will also be attending the Austin Code Camp on Saturday May 5 and expect to be giving a presentation on Watir. This is also a free event. This event is sponsored the Austin .Net User’s group. They should be announcing their program (organized the traditional way) shortly.

The deadline for submitting abstracts for the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference” (to be held October 8-10 in Portland, Oregon) is this Friday, March 31. This is a great conference. This is actually the longest running quality/testing conference in the world. This will be the 25th year for the annual event. I may not make it this year, but have attended several times and have always enjoyed it. Because it is run by a local non-profit group, pricing is reasonable, vendors of tools and services do not dominate the program, and they do not hew to any software ideology. Because it is reasonably priced and long-running in the same location, most of the attendees will be return attendees—not newbies like at many conferences. If you would like to write up a paper about a practical software-quality related practice, this is a great place to take it. They have a supportive review process and provide an informed audience.

Posted by bret at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2007

Update on the Schools of Testing

A couple of years ago, I gave a talk on the schools of software testing at several conferences. It was a popular talk. Usually, once I have a talk that I’m comfortable with, I write it up as an article or essay, but this talk has resisted write-up. I’ve written for hours on a couple of occasions, but wrote nothing worth publishing. I think part of the trouble comes from the fact that it is more a way of understanding than it is a set of fixed categories. In any case, I’m not even going to try right now. But I will be giving the talk again this Friday here in Austin. Lately, there has been some discussion over the very wisdom of classifying the intellectual activity surrounding software testing into schools, both on the context-driven software testing mailing list and on several blogs ( Kaner, Bach, Heusser, Rollison, Kulkarni ). I’ll be presenting an updated version of the talk, including my thoughts on this controversy, as well why I now consider Agile Testing to be a fifth school. This lunch-time talk is being hosted by TestCo. If you would like to attend give Talmadge Boyd a call ASAP at 512-964-9149.

Posted by bret at 03:32 AM | Comments (4)