|Fourth Annual Austin Workshop on Test Automation (AWTA)
January 25-26, 2003 -- Austin, Texas
Building and Using Test Interfaces
Workshop participants were: (standing) Chris Sepulveda, Michael Silverstein, Brian Marick, Andy Tinkham, Elisabeth Hendrickson, Cem Kaner, (seated) Rob Mee, Bret Pettichord, and Ward Cunningham.
Call for Participation
Based on early discussions, we have decided to broaden the scope of the workshop. We are interested in discussing various approaches for creating and utilizing programming interfaces to product software to facilitate testing. We'll discuss IPC-based interfaces as well as other kinds of API's, language-based interfaces, and built-in test fixtures. If you were going to create an interface to directly support product-level testing, what would it look like?
Brian Marick's position paper. "It touches on architectures to support product-level tests, the way I use test automation to explore design, and my increasing inability to tell the difference between acceptance and unit tests."
What interfaces should we use to test software? One
tradition uses Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs), typically with GUI
testing tools. Another tradition uses the programming interfaces provided
by the methods and functions of the software under test -- often used for
unit testing. This workshop will explore other methods for providing
interfaces to software to support testing. One alternative we'll explore
is creating and utilizing interfaces for inter-process communication (IPC)
using the many interface technologies that are maturing, such as XML-RPC,
XMI, SOAP, COM, or Java RMI. A related area of interest is the the
practice of embedding interpreters into products to support testing
scripts. We are also interested in the use
Possible topics include:
Attending the Workshop
Participation in the workshop is by invitation based on a position paper. The workshop is limited to 15 participants. Your position paper should have two parts.
So far we have received inquiries both from talented testers who are concerned that they may not have sufficient technical background and from perceptive developers who are concerned whether they will fit in. The topic of this workshop is challenging because it deliberately cuts across traditional boundaries. We encourage submissions from interested testers and developers who are open-minded and interested in learning from others. We expect that some participants will only have tangential experience with the topic under discussion.
Position papers should be between one and three pages long. After acceptance, they will be posted to a private web site that will be shared by other participants. Thus, a web-based format is preferred. We can publish text, HTML and PDF. We can also generate PDF from MS Word files.
Position papers should be submitted to Bret Pettichord (firstname.lastname@example.org ). Papers will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with replies in three days or less. The workshop website will indicate when the workshop has been filled.
What Will Happen at the Workshop
The workshop will be organized as a moderated discussion, following the format of the Los Altos Workshop on Software Testing .
Participants will be selected to present particular techniques and experiences of using test interfaces. The workshop will explore the techniques and the conditions that favor or disfavor the technique.
We expect that subthemes will emerge from this discussion. If suitable, we hope to for subgroups to explore these themes and report back to the larger group.
Participants are responsible for own travel and lodging. The workshop expenses, including some meals, will be covered by the workshop sponsors.
Bret Pettichord is the founder of the Austin Workshops on Test Automation. He is an independent consultant and trainer specializing in testing and test automation. He has had several opportunities to test software using test interfaces and would like to see more developers provide them and more testers use them. He is co-author of Lessons Learned in Software Testing and editor of the TestingHotlist.com.
Brian Marick specializes in code-based software testing. He is currently developing a reference application that has an IPC interface for testing. He is the author of The Craft of Software Testing and technical editor for STQE magazine.
Cem Kaner is professor of Computer Sciences at Florida Tech, where he's developing a curriculum for training test architects. He is the founder of the Los Altos Workshop for Software Testing (LAWST), and lead author of Testing Computer Software and Lessons Learned in Software Testing .
Sat Jan 25, 9 am to 5 pm
The workshop will start promptly at 9 am on Sat Jan 25. Participants from out of town should plan to arrive the night before. There will be a welcoming dinner on Friday Jan 24; participants are welcome to invite family, friends and colleagues to dinner.
We expect all participants to attend for Saturday from 9 to 5 and Sunday from 9 till noon. Prospective participants who won't be able to attend for this time should so indicate when they submit their position papers. Usually most participants plan to attend until 3 pm on Sunday. We'll have the space until 5 pm; often a subgroup will be active until then.
The workshop will be located at the Homewood Suites in Austin, Texas. We used the same location for AWTA3 and the participants enjoyed the cozy setting.
Upon invitation, mention Pettichord Consulting to get a group rate of $79 a night, available through Jan 5.
Why Position Papers?
Previous AWTA workshops have not used position papers. Instead, invitation was based on acquaintance, referrals, interviews and occasionally on email exchanges. The use of position papers formalizes this process. We have used them successfully in other workshops and are introducing them to AWTA for the following reasons:
In short, position papers help assure that we get qualified participation and streamline the workshop so that we can get the most accomplished during a limited time. This policy supercedes the previously policy whereby previous AWTA participants were automatically invited. However, they will continue to get early notification of the call for participation.
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