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Thoughts on GTAC

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Automated Model Based Testing of Web Applications (GTAC 2008)

Last year at the Google Test Automation Conference (GTAC) 2007, the talk by Atif was one of my favorites. He had been working on a system of model based testing for desktop GUI applications (affectionately called GUITAR) and hinted that he will be applying the work to web applications next. Now, at GTAC 2008, here is a taste of what his dept. has been up to. The talk is by Oluwaseun Akinmade and Prof. Atif M. Memon. Both are at University of Maryland.

The idea of automated model based testing hints at a future where software can be used to figure out how to test itself. That is, when software is modeled in a way that exposes inputs, outputs, event handlers, and end-points, then introspection can be done to find all possible interactions within an application and test them. Yes, it is one step away from artificial intelligence. This is fascinating to me but I think it still needs a lot of work. Atif is asking for as much feedback as possible from industry professionals to find out how this can best be used in the real world.

Here are my notes from the talk ...

Taming The Beast: How To Test an AJAX Application (GTAC 2008)

This was one of the talks at GTAC 2008 that I was most looking forward to before the conference. It was excellent, I was not let down. The talk was given by Markus Clermont and John Thomas who work at Google. Since the talk was right after lunch they decided to take a Q & A approach. It sort of went off in tangents at points but overall the format seemed to work.

In my own work I've been struggling at maintaining a now bloated test suite for an AJAX website but their approach made something click in my head. I'm already working on a refactoring plan.

Here is my abbreviated interpretation of the talk ...

The Future of Testing (GTAC 2008)

Google Test Automation Conference (GTAC) is my all-time favorite conference. It's free. It's on a single track — this means you don't miss any talks and everyone experiences the same journey of thought. Also, since you have to apply for admittance with a short essay, everyone who attends is really passionate about testing. It's still sort of "underground" which keeps it small and very social.

Last year, I made some kind of attempt to live blog summaries of the GTAC talks but I never made it past part 1. We'll see how far I get this year, stay tuned.

The videos for 2008 aren't online yet but check youtube often because last year they were up in less than a day.

The Future of Testing was the first talk of the GTAC 2008 conference on Thursday Oct 23rd given by James A. Whittaker, a very entertaining speaker who works for Microsoft. His talk was excellent and I highly recommend keeping a lookout for the video. Here are my notes...

GTAC Highlights Part 1 - Selenium is Alive and Well, Model Based Testing Is Smart, And...

I just got back from the GTAC (Google Test Automation Conference) in New York and had a great time. It spanned 2 days and had a single track — this made it very laid back (no headaches trying to decide what talk to attend) and the timing was perfect. Especially since my traveling managed to dodge one of the worst summer storm systems to hit Chicago in at least a decade!.

I've put together some highlights using the notes I took at each talk. Please bear in mind that this is not a comprehensive report on the conference and may contain misinformation (feel free to comment with corrections). The Google folk did an impressive job of posting video of most talks online within hours. A youtube search for GTAC lists them all. Or ... you can watch them from a playlist

Allen Hutchison - First Principles

Patrick Copeland - Keynote

Simon Stewart - Web Driver for Java

Ryan Gerard and Ramya Venkataramu on Test Hygiene

Matt Heusser & Sean McMillan - Interaction Based Testing

Adam Porter & Atif Memon - Skoll DCQAS

Apple Chow & Santiago Etchebehere - Building an Automated Framework Around Selenium

Doug Sellers - CustomInk Domain Specific Language for automating an AJAX based application

Risto Kumplainin - Automated testing for F-Secure's Linux/UNIX Anti-Virus products

Jennifer Bevan & Jason Huggins - Extending Selenium With Grid Computing

That's all I have time for at the moment. Check back for Part 2 - coming soon!

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