My selection for the TestNet Autumn event


Each year TestNet, the Dutch society for testers, organizes a spring event and an autumn event. The event is a single days conference with the morning reserved for workshops and the afternoon and the evening reserved for two key notes and parallel tracks. On Wednesday 14 October, the autumn event takes places. Its theme is ‘Trends in Testing’. Most of the presentations are in Dutch and therefore the descriptions of the sessions may not make a lot of sense to those who do not understand Dutch, but I am going to try and describe some of them, together with my personal selection for this conference.

The conference attracts more than five hundred visitors! Part of its attraction must be that the program is varied, the venue is excellent, and the admission price is zero euros if you’re a member of TestNet. TestNet membership costs next to nothing, so basically you get two big conferences for free each year. There is no reason why you, as a professional tester, would not show up at these conferences, other than personal circumstances.

As I said the theme of the autumn event is ‘Trends in Testing’. Let’s have a quick look how this theme is reflected in the presentations. Besides the key notes there are four presentations about test automation, two about performance testing, two about security, one about big data and one about the internet of things and that’s just about it for the buzz words. The other presentations are about the selection of test data, about roles in testing, about information ethics (nice find Nathalie!), about operational intelligence, about handling functional specifications in a more efficient way, and one (only one?) about exploratory testing. For a conference theme that could easily end up facilitating a buzz word bingo, it turned out pretty well.

From the four track sessions I selected the sessions that I am going to attend. The first one is ‘Subset: Less is more’ by Marten Bakker. I do not know the speaker, but I am drawn to the topics of his talk. Marten is going to talk about test data management and the creation of subsets of data. From personal experience I know that testers easily focus on functional specifications and easily lose sight of test data. In my current project there is almost complete ignorance of test data. This, of course, is very bad, but when one deals with large sets of data and a large variety of data, it can be become quite intimidating to handle this with some form of elegance. I hope Marten has some good suggestions.

The second track session that I am going to attend is ‘Panacea – A test framework for all’ by Adonis Stanislas Sheeban. Again, I do not know the speaker. The talk is about test automation, specifically about the tools Protractor and Cucumber. I heard of these tools, but never worked with them, and I am taking this chance to get to know a little bit more about them.

The track session that I am really looking forward to is ‘Google naar fouten met operational intelligence’ (Google for errors using operational intelligence) by Albert Witteveen. Albert is going to talk about complex, linked systems and how to check if these systems are functioning correctly. In my current project, and in the one before that, I’ve been digging through databases and logs quite a lot, in order to establish how well the system is functioning or to find out the root cause of a defect. This can be a tedious and yet very difficult, time-consuming job. Albert envisions software that can do the gathering of relevant data for us and that make this data easily accessible. I am sure such tools can save a lot of time. I tried my hand at building a log analyzer once and loved doing that. So in this talk I am also going to look for opportunities for self development.

The last track session that I want to visit is ‘Trifolium Repens: de nieuwe testbasis voor Agile en Waterval testen’ Trifolium Repens: the new test basis for Agile and waterfall testing) by Rudi Niemeijer. I am not entirely sure what Rudi is going to talk about. I think he is going to introduce a method to reduce overhead (functional specifications) by combining the strong points of the tester and the developer. At the very least he is going to have to explain why he uses a plant (white clover) as a metaphor. I am looking forward to his explanation.

I do not know if any of the sessions that I am going actually describe trends in testing. I hope they do.