Announcing Austin Test Automation Bazaar Jan 15-16, 2016

Another Test Automation Bazaar will happen January 15-16 in Austin, Texas. Once again, I will be co-hosting this event with Zeljko Filipin and the Austin Homebrew Testers. We will be using the same format we used last year: it will be an open-space event, organized under the umbrella of the Open Information Foundation. We will open and plan the conference the evening of Friday Jan 15 and then spend Saturday in presentations, discussions and demos. You can read more about last year’s event.

I host these events mainly for my own selfish reasons. This is one of the ways that I keep up with what is going on in the world. I am looking forward to hearing others share what they have been doing and what has worked for them, and also to share what I have learned about automated testing. I started doing mobile app automation this year, for example, and would love to discuss what I’ve learned.

I also like to use these events to help others get involved in open-source software, and am hoping to see other contributors to projects like Selenium and Watir attend.

If you are interested in helping us plan the event, or want to be included in updates, please join our mailing list.

We also have the event posted in Facebook.

Update: Please register for the event if you are coming.

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Report from the Test Automation Bazaar

I organized the Test Automation Bazaar earlier this month with Zeljko Filipin and the Austin Homebrew Testers. I had a good time, getting to reconnect with old friends and meet new people. I’ve been running conferences every year or so since 2000, but it’s been nearly three years hosting my last conference, the 2012 Test Automation Bazaar. Previous to that I had regularly hosted the Austin Workshops on Test Automation.

This event was planned at the last minute, and we didn’t give out-of-towners much advance notice. Sorry about that. For the first time, we had an actually non-profit entity sponsor the event. This was made possible by a recent arrangement with Paul Julius and Jeffrey Frederick and their nonprofit, the Open Information Foundation. This was also the first time that I organized a conference as a pure open-space event. This is how CitCon conferences are organized, and I have attended several of these over the years, often finding them to be more interesting and informative that more formal, better marketed events. When I hosted conferences in the past, we had often included some open-space time on the schedule, but also had a more formal program as well. I am pleased with how the change in format worked out.

Many of the attendees had attended some of these previous conferences, and therefore had some experience with the open-space format. Nevertheless, I was anxious as the start of the event approached. Would the unplanned format work out? But the feedback I have heard has been very good and several have said it was better than previous conferences — the ones that I had spent a lot more time and effort planning.

As an open-space conference, we met on Friday evening, people proposed topics, and then they were arranged on a schedule on a whiteboard. People could vote by putting a tick on the topic post-it with a marker and topics with more votes were scheduled in the larger rooms. The scheduling was done by whoever wanted to.

Opening Circle

I tried to follow the traditional CitCon format, but one last-minute change we made was to run the opening circle as a standup. Traditionally, chairs are put in a circle and then the organizers open the conference, explain the format, give everyone a chance to introduce themselves, and then everyone has a chance to suggest talks and topics of discussion. We did this all as a standup meeting. This was an impromptu decision. The natural center of the space we had at HomeAway (the Bistro), just seemed to work better as a standing meeting. Standing isn’t for everyone, especially for an hour or so that the meeting took, so a few people did sit down. But in general, standing worked well. It helped us all focus on moving along and it also made it easier to start moving around when it came time to suggest topics and put the schedule together. So I plan to do this again next time, and suggest that other open-space events consider running the opening gathering as a stand-up.

I would like to thank our sponsors, HomeAway, Atlassian and Lithium for making this event possible. Like all events organized by the Open Information Foundation, attendance was free, and this was made possible by the support from our sponsors. We also gave attendees of donating when they registered. I’d like thank all of those who did, including the large number of donations we got from the BazaarVoice attendees.

Thanks also go to our volunteers: Brent Lavelle, Michelle Powers, Carl Shaulis, Mark Anderson, and Hugh McGowan. Most of us meet monthly as the Austin Homebrew Testers, at 6:30 pm on the third Monday of each month at the BlackStar Coop. You ware welcome to join us. Our next meeting will be Feb 16.

To get a feel for the event, check out our twitter feed.

To get involved with future events, please join the the Test Automation Bazaar mailing list.

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Announcing Test Automation Bazaar Jan 16-17 in Austin

I am pleased to announce that the Test Automation Bazaar will be held in Austin, Texas on  January 16-17, 2015 (Fri – Sat). I am convening this event with Zeljko Filipin and the Austin Homebrew Testers, and we are pleased that the event will be sponsored by the Open Information Foundation, a non-profit which we have recently joined and which also sponsors the Citcon conferences.
This is a follow up to the 2012 Test Automation Bazaar, also held in Austin.
Like all OIF events, this conference will be free and open to the public, but we also will be asking for donations and sponsors to cover the expenses of the event. We are currently confirming a location in the Domain.
We invite people to come, share their experiences with test automation and learn from others. The organizers have a bias for Ruby, Webdriver (Watir/Selenium), and open-source tools, but we invite people to share whatever has worked for them. The theme of the event is “show us your tests”.
The event will be organized with an open-space format, which means the session topics will be hammered out Friday evening (1/15).
6:00 PM – Sign in
6:30 PM – Introduction
7:00 PM – Topics & Timeslots
8:30 PM – Social Hour
9:00 AM – Breakfast
10:00 AM – Session 1
11:15 AM – Session 2
12:30 PM – Lunch
2:00 PM – Session 3
3:15 PM – Session 4
4:30 PM – Session 5
5:45 PM – Final Address
7:00 PM – To Dinner and Evening Activities
Each session is scheduled for one hour.
Please mark your calendar for this event, and stay tuned for more information about registering to attend.
Posted in Test Automation Bazaar | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Long time, no blog

It has been a long time since I blogged, not since I started working at Convio over a year ago. I just finished up being lead QA on a new product: Common Ground Forms, a fundraising platform for smaller non-profits that just launched. I’ve also been working with Hugh McGowan and the entire test team on Convio’s testing framework. Hugh and I have actually been pairing on this framework for several years.

We are in the process of migrating our test suites from Rasta to Rspec and Cucumber. We are also working on adding Firefox support using Watir WebDriver.

The Watir development team has also been putting out a series of releases, working towards integration with WebDriver, the core technology that powers Selenium 2.0.

Most of us are also making plans to attend SeConf in April.

I plan to use this blog to write about how we are using Cucumber and Watir at Convio. I am very happy that Alister Scott has agreed to also contribute to this blog. He has been a long-time contributor to the Watir project and is currently working as a testing consultant for ThoughtWorks. He has also been writing the Watirmelon blog.

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