The “LTG Workshops” conference is a two-day, two-track conference consisting of eight 4 hour workshops over the two days.
I had the privilege of running a workshop on the first day, about “Visual Creativity” with Christina Ohanian. We spoke about Sketch Noting and Mind Mapping, and how they are extremely useful things to incorporate into your requirement gathering and analysis and your testing processes. But I’ll blog about my experiences of the workshop in another post soon… This post is about my experiences of the other sessions at the LTG Workshops.
Before me and Christina’s workshop, Tony Bruce and John Norris ran their workshop on “Pairing”. Although I missed the first part of the session, I arrived as the pairing games started. There was the “spaghetti marshmallow tower” game, the “balloon animals” game, and a “Jenga” game too, with people working in pairs to complete the various challenges.
Some of the pairing going on was incredible! The room was very noisy, which is great – people communicating and collaborating. And many people completing the challenges and having so much fun, while simultaneously teaching and learning from their partners. And of course my favourite “quote of the session” came from Tony during this activity: “It’s perfectly OK to cheat! Walk around and spy on what other people are doing and use that information”. I think this is great advice! We should do more of that in our jobs too. Learn from others that you work with. Learn from Google and Bing too! It’s perfectly acceptable.
Tony and John then did a quick recap and got some feedback from the audience before moving on to introduce “Scratch”, which is a free programming language that you can use to program interactive games and stories with. It’s a great learning tool. And it was great to see people continuing to be so active with their pairing, again being very vocal and collaborative. And the output to some of the Scratch applications were great too.
Tony and John, then did another recap to get some feedback and talk more about pairing, the benefits and the outcomes before we broke for lunch.
So skipping past me and Christina’s workshop which was after lunch (again, that’s coming in another post soon), there was some pizza and beers on offer, and some great conversations flowing, before we all went over to the Shooting Star pub to get involved in the LTG meet-up evening, with a talk from David Evans and some free drinks sponsored by SOASTA.
David’s talk was fantastic. It was based on of his new book, co authored with Gojko Adzic and Tom Roden: “Fifty Quick Ideas To Improve Your Tests”. It went into detail about 4 key ideas from the book, showing some great examples of how not to write feature files and how to move the focus away from the HOW onto the WHAT regarding the feature being tested.
But on to day two of the LTG Workshops!
This morning, I started my day attending Mark Winteringham’s session on “Understanding and Testing RESTful Web Services”. Although this session isn’t really applicable to what I’m currently doing regarding my work, it is a topic that is very relevant as more and more people are producing mobile applications and web services, or moving towards a service oriented architecture. You can tell it’s an important subject due to the amount of people attending Mark’s workshop – it was packed!!
I was introduced to a new tool in Mark’s session – “Postman”. It’s a tool that allows you to easily edit and manipulate GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, etc commands and reads the responses and HTTP statuses back within the tool. We had some hands on sessions with getting to know the tool working on a booking service that Mark had set up for the workshop. I’ve definitely got some good things to take away from this session, including some extra reading material from Mark to learn more about RESTful web services.
Mark is a great presenter too. Full of humour and plenty of confidence, which always helps with keeping people’s attention and making the presentation fun and entertaining.
After lunch, next up was Alan Parkinson’s session titled: “Decapitating Webdriver For Faster Automation”. Alan started by talking about the struggles of having an automation suite that takes hours to run. He said that he has managed to reduce his automation suite’s time to run down to 17 seconds by essentially turning the automation triangle on its side and utilise headless browser automation incorporating unit level checks.
We installed NodeJS as well as “Karma”, “Chai” and setting up a repository for an app called “ToDo”. The session was quite hands on, with the first half being mainly about setting up our environments and the tools, and getting used to them, and the second half was about using Chai and asserting some things in ToDo and getting used to the language. We also looked at MockJax for being able to return a response and intercept a request as part of our test. MockJax allows us to also inject errors by pushing different HTTP responses, which is something that will be extremely useful!
Alan done really well with this workshop. I definitely felt as if I was well out of my comfort zone, but I’ve got a lot from this workshop and the style that it was run enabled me to learn rather than just feel out of my depth. I feel confident enough to be able to continue experimenting further with headless automation.
So… Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this 2 day set of workshops! I definitely suggest that you try to get along to the LTG Workshops next year. The tickets are already available for next years workshops too, and are on a special super early bird rate of only £175 right now. You can get them here: https://skillsmatter.com/conferences/7219-london-tester-gathering-workshops-2016