I delivered a talk on Test Encapsulation at QAI’ STC held at Chancery Pavilion, Banglaore. I’ve uploaded the slides @ SlideSahre. Welcome to the colorful world of test automation!

Last week I attended GTAC2010 – the 5th Google Test Automation Conference held at Hyderabad. It’s the first time that GTAC was organised in India. I traveled along with Pradeep Soundararajan and Dhanasekar. After reaching Hyderabad we had a Hyderabad testers meet. It formed the basis of a very interesting discussion on experience and opinions by various testers.

As for the GTAC, first the participants were selected – about 1/5th of total applicants. The presenters were selected based on a selection process mainly comprising of participants voting for what they want to listen to. I was a little disappointed to see some of the papers that I voted for as not being a part of the conference, but for most part of it, all papers that were selected were a good choice and a complete package, keeping in mind that I was not the only attendee 🙂


The keynote speakers were the highlight of the conference. I got a chance to listen to Robert Binder, Jeff Offut and James Whittaker, in that order.

Robert spoke on the critical role of testability. Later during the day I had discussion with Robert w.r.t. the book he has written on testing object oriented systems and its lack of availability in India. We also had a discussion on the subject of test design patterns that he discussed in his book, which he thought should have picked up as a strong concept but didn’t.

Jeff gave interesting insight into automated test generation and its relation to code flow/data constraints. I asked him whether he’s done any research in the field of fuzzing w.r.t. test data generation wherein only the protocol of the data is known (at best) and the not the processing logic, but got to know that his focus is mostly on the context where the processing logic is known.

James Whittaker’s presentation was visually awesome and interesting. For the first part it, was based on how developers and testers score w.r.t. each other. The latter part discussed on a tool that assists in fetching existing bug information to provide feedback on whether a bug exists for the the problem that you plan to report. I asked him whether Google has built on the concepts of sharing test ideas across test teams beyond non-verb techniques giving reference to Vipul Kocher’s work w.r.t. Extensions to Noun-Verb Techniques and Q-Patterns. James suggested that Tours are a good way to share test ideas across teams.

Paper Presentations

I liked most of the papers at GTAC because of their technical quotient. It’s difficult to relate to all the papers because I work and learn in a certain context which made it possible for me only to relate to and comprehend a sub-set of all the papers.

I especially liked the presentation by Matt Evans on Crowd Source testing due to its visual style & overall message to the community; Shreeshankar Chatterjee’s talk on Measuring and Monitoring Experience in Interactive Streaming Media applications due to the way he dealt with quantification of otherwise vague description of user experience in this area; Russ & Tracy‘s talk on “Flexible Design? Testable Design?” due to the in-depth treatment of the subject and their no-latency coordination; and Vivek Prahlad‘s talk on Twist as it discussed on testing DSLs and how ThoughtWorks has developed an automated tool around the same.

I had a follow up discussion with Shreeshankar, Russ and Tracy w.r.t. to the subject of their presentations. The most interesting information that I got was w.r.t. testing encapsulated classes.

Lightening Talks

These were 5-minute talks with minimal or no slides with on-the-spot entry. There were in total about 20 of them at the conference.

Amongst the lightening talks I liked Vassilis’s talk for its sheer humor and Pradeep Soundararajan’s talk (Brainual Testing) for the message it gave and the-one-and-only Pradeep style humor & presentation style 🙂

I too got a chance to get a slot in lightening talks and got totally manipulative 🙂 (afterall GTAC is a big platform). I joked about this on stage that because the participants had rejected my paper submission, so I have split the same into about six 5 minute talks which I would covertly deliver as lightening talks. I gave 3 lightening talks across Day 1 and Day 2:

  • Test Encapsulation
  • Using Functional Tests as Application Performance Indicators
  • Making Your Regression Test Automation -> Auto-Regression Test Automation

I was extremely pleased to see the follow up discussions they generated especially for the one on performance testing. Towards the evening I explored the technical aspects of these with various Googlers especially Jagdish and Mayank. It felt that after a long time I’m meeting testers with similar interests as mine w.r.t. exploring the areas of design of test automation tools/frameworks and performance testing.

The Fish Bowl

The last event of the GTAC was the Fish Bowl which can be understood as an open panel discussion. Anyone with a question/new thread/additional point would board the stage and occupy a chair amongst the panelists (thereby becoming a panelist himself/herself). I liked the format. I got a chance to ask a question w.r.t. why during most of the talks testability was being associated with refactoring. I checked regarding how contextual reporting can help instead of verbosity levels in reporting and also how scripted interfaces on top of product developed in formal programming languages can increase the testability of a product by becoming approachable to testers.

Food, Committees and Miscellaneous

Apart from the above there were other things that were great about the conference, the foremost being a highly focused, polite, energetic organizing team. I vouch for this based on my interactions with Googlers including Sujay, Antara, Rachit, Sheela, Ankit etc.

Arrangements in terms of food were excellent in terms of quality and options. Add to this, a big spacious hall with tables arranged with labels mentioning testing topics suggested by the attendees to encourage fruitful discussions during breaks. They also arranged various games to get people connected. It was due to such interactive atmosphere that I got a chance to share ideas with Vassilis, Rahul Gupta, Matt Brandt, Renato Gabriele etc.

Overall GTAC was well thought in terms of content and arrangement. I am extremely happy that I was selected as a participant and got an opportunity to interact with some very intelligent testing minds.

2 Responses to “A Short Experience Report of GTAC2010”

  1. Antara

    Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  2. Rahul Verma

    Hi Antara,

    Welcome to Testing Perspective!

    GTAC caused a hang-over :-). There is so much to follow-up based on the notes I took from various presentations and discussions.


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