Workshop  | Bret Pettichord

Fifth Annual Austin Workshop on Test Automation (AWTA)

January 9-11, 2004 - Austin, Texas

Open-Source Test Tools

AWTA5 Participants

Participants: (top row ) Drew Pritsker, Ken Sommerville, Cem Kaner, David Vydra, Danny Faught, Barton Layne, Ross Collard, Carl Erickson, Bill Nasuti, Yuesong Wang, Carl Nagle, Pete TerMatt, (second row) Michael Kelly, Bret Pettichord, Rob Sartin, Todd Bradfute, Pat McGee, Bob D'Antoni, Jamie Mitchell, (third row) James Bach, ( not pictured ) Charles Rankin, Chris Morris.

Reports from the Workshop

The Simplicity of Complexity, James Bach
AWTA5 Report, Bret Pettichord

Call for Participation

Join us as we review existing open-source tools for system testing and discuss new work that is planned or needed. Help us identify overlaps in existing tools and gaps not currently covered. Our goal is to support and help focus open-source test-tool development and usage.

The workshop will consist of presentations and discussions. These will be facilitated to ensure wide participation and deeper understandings. We seek participation from developers of open source test tools, builders of home-brewed test suites, developers considering releasing tools as open-source or contributing to existing open-source projects, as well as test automators with significant experience with either open-source or proprietary tools.

Workshop Goals

  • Survey existing open source test tools.
  • Identify stengths and weaknesses of different tools and approaches.
  • Identify overlaps and gaps with existing open-source test tools.
  • Suggest areas that would benefit from further work.
  • Encourage contributions to open-source test tools.
  • Make connections between developers on different projects.
  • Encourage publication of papers on related topics.


There is no direct fee for attending this workshop. However, participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging (details below). The nominal cost of the meeting room will be covered by the workshop hosts and indirectly by staying at the workshop hotel.


There are many ways to contribute to the workshop program:

  • Demonstrate a open-source test tool.
  • Describe how an open-source test tool was developed.
  • Present a case study of the usage of an open-source test tool.
  • Raise informed questions regarding information presented.
  • Raise uninformed questions.
  • Provide a categorization or overview of existing open-source tools.
  • Suggest key areas of improvement or opportunity for open-source tools.
  • Write a paper on a related topic for distribution to the other attendees.

We also need help with the logistics of running an event like this. There are many ways you can help:

  • Take notes during the workshop and share your notes with other participants afterwards.
  • Volunteer to be a scribe, writing key information on flip charts for the benefit of group discussion.
  • Help plan dinners or other evening activities.
  • Compile and copy the workshop proceedings for other attendees (either hard copy or digital).

We expect all workshop attendees to contribute in some way. The biggest contribution is really to make a test tool available as open source and to share what you know.

Attending the Workshop

Participation in the workshop is by invitation based on a letter of introduction. Your letter of introduction should have two parts:

  1. Background. Describe your background and experience related to the workshop topic.
  2. Contribution. Describe how you would like to contribute to the workshop. If there is a particular presentation you want to make, and would be disappointed if you didn't get a chance to make, please make this clear in your letter.

Your letter should be one to three pages long. Please send it as text, HTML, PDF, or Word document format. Send it to and . Letters will be reviewed on a rolling basis. In most cases, we should have a response within a week. Upon acceptance, your letter will be shared with other workshop attendees.

The workshop agenda will be based on the letters of introduction.


The workshop will be held at the Austin Four Points Sheraton. We have a block of rooms reserved at $79 a night (including breakfast). To get this rate, mention Pettichord Consulting and contact the hotel directly -- call 512-836-8520 or email (This rate is not available on their website or by calling their 800 reservation number.) The hotel is at the northwest corner of the intersection of Interstate 35 and Highway 183.

Time Frame

The formal program will be during the following times.

9 am to 5 pm, Friday January 9
9 am to 5 pm, Saturday January 10
9 am to noon, Sunday January 11 (open time will follow)

The workshop will start promptly at 9 am each morning. Participants from out of town should plan to arrive Thursday evening. We'll have a welcoming dinner on Thursday January 8, which will be open to family, friends and colleagues. The workshop will formally conclude at noon on Sunday. We'll have space available in the afternoon to allow small groups to meet on topics of mutual interest.

The Organizers

Please contact us if you have questions about this workshop.

Bret Pettichord is the founder of the Austin Workshops on Test Automation. He is a consultant, author and trainer specializing in software testing and test automation. He has introduced open-source tools for automated testing at several clients. He also contributes to an open source tool for testing browser-based applications using Ruby that he uses in classes he teaches with Brian Marick.

Carl Erickson, PhD, is the President and founder of Atomic Object LLC, a contract software development and consulting company located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has published work on object-oriented integration testing ans system test automation. Atomic Object started using Extreme Programming as the basis for its development process four years ago. The Atomic Object open-source Haste framework for system test automation was presented at XP Universe 2003.

Cem Kaner is Professor of Software Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology. His primary research interests are software testing, software metrics, and the law of software quality. Kaner contributes to the free software community primarily by developing free courseware (at and by testing open source software in development in his courses. Kaner is the senior author of Lessons Learned in Software Testing, Bad Software: What to Do When Software Fails, and Testing Computer Software.

James Bach is one of the authors of Lessons Learned in Software Testing, and author of the much cited article Test Automation Snake Oil. He wrote and distributes an open source all-pairs test case generator, and teaches rapid software testing and test automation. A charter member of the Los Altos Workshops on Software Testing, he also facilitates the Workshops on Training Software Testers and the Workshops on Performance and Reliability Testing.

Information about AWTA4   |   Copyright 2002, Bret Pettichord