Monday, August 8, 2016

Testing Conferences and new tools

Going around Github, it soon becomes evident: there are a lot of testing tool projects out there. Some of them have become popular both looking at downloads and discussions from users others than the tool developers. Others may include new insights for actual problems we are still facing, but the sheer volume is exhausting.

As a conference organizer (and previously proposal reviewer) I get to see a lot of new tool related proposals that don't do too good in getting selected for the major conferences. Even with open-source type of approach, they still appear sales pitches. Sometimes giving the visibility is justified, and my rule of selection, I notice, is basing on the users other than the developers.

So I wonder: what are the forums in which these great innovators of new tools meet? Where do they go to see if other people are solving the same problems? Are any of the places online, so that travel cost would not be preventive?

(There's one academic background tool that I really want to get more info on, about multi-locators. Yep, the challenge of locating an element in Selenium is something I experience and would love to see if there is something that helps with that for real)

I'm also thinking through (with support from my European Testing Conference co-organizers) my personal stance: what would make a tool-based presentation stand out enough to be presented in "mainstream" conference, even when the focus is both on how testers and developers perceive testing? What are the challenges in the world of developer testing that are so interesting that they deserve to be highlighted?

Most conferences just reject these proposals, we've selected an approach where we talk to each of our submitters and with them taking the time to submit with us, I'd really like to help them forward even if the conference does not seem like the right place this time.

Ideas and views are welcome.


  1. What would make such a proposal fit a general conference? I would say that it should be one of two things:
    1) The tool is widely used and so knowing a bit about it could benefit a lot of testers. In that case, an introductory workshop is great (Examples that come to my mind could be selenium, Jenkins,docker, UFT, some mobile automation frameworks)
    2) When the tools are not the main focus - when there's an interesting problem\story where a specific tool helped, the story about the problem is interesting enough to mention the tool. In such cases, though, I would not want to delve too deeply into the tool.

    Besides, the big tools have conferences and meetups of their own (With selenium as the most handy example, there's meetups for other software projects such as Spring or Hibernate -they are not a test tool per-se, but I think the same principle stands)

    At any rate, I would not want to see vendors speak of their tool in a conference I attend to. Those talks should be in the pay-to-speak conferences (where speaking is one of the benefits of sponsoring the conference). There could be, naturally, exceptions, but that's my rule of thumb.

    1. I too was thinking about this, and I think there's two possibilities I came to realize in discussion of this.
      1) the problem is complicated, and tool captures it in good implementation (I expect user base)
      2) the problem is simple(r) and the idea of how to fix it is useful for larger audiences

      I really want sessions on Selenium and Docker on the program. But there might be other great and useful stuff too, and we will be striking a hard balance of program that has 50:50 testing as testers and programmers know it. I bundle BAs with testers and automators most of the time with programmers.

      You seem to suggest very similar idea, but add a story part that I should consider too.

      Open source devs might find it hard to see themselves as vendors, and be resource-limited in sharing about their creations. And there's a lot of good there. But to understand that, there might be a frame of understanding that is required first, and thus specializing conferences may be best places to seek and present that information.

      It's still awesome I get to learn about this stuff as an organizer. And I really want to figure out what other ways I would have to help these people than giving them a stage.