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STPCon wrap-up: SpeedGeeking, testing Web 2.0 applications

It’s been an amazing week here in Boston while attending the Software Test&Performance Conference.  Friday morning, we ran SpeedGeeking; in the afternoon, I gave my testing Web 2.0 talk, then it was time for dinner and some amazing conversation, and, eventually, sleep.

Similar to lightning talks, SpeedGeeking is a series of seven-minute talks, in rapid fire, one after the other, with one big “BUT”.  Instead of having the whole audience of 100 some-odd people, sitting through the talks in order, we split the room into seven different tables and had the speakers walk around. They chose not to use powerpoint but instead using old-fashioned flip charts and markers.

Justin Hunter, David Gilbert, James Bach, Michael Bolton, Jon Bach, and Scott Barber all lined up, waited for the bell, and … pandemonium ensured. I was stuck between Jon ad James Bach – yes – “inside the Bachs.”

My talk was on productivity on test teams, how teams measure the time they spend testing, as compared to support activities like documentation, status, meetings. Some were surprised to find that as little as 10-30% of time is spent actually testing. Thus, to improve throughput, many test teams don’t need to adopt a fancy methodology or purchase a tool. Instead, they could simply spend more time testing. James Bach covered his “Huh? Really? So?” approach to testing certain claims, while Michael Bolton talked about Testing Vs. Checking. David Gilbert talked about testing as a social, humanistic activity. Aside from some issues with the acoustics, I was really happy with how SpeedGeeking turned out.

Ironically after being stuck “Betwen the Bachs” at SpeedGeeking, the next session I attended was a keynote called “Testing outside the Bachs”, where Jon and James explained exploratory testing

In my “Testing Web 2.0 Applications” talk, I discussed the user-centric web including, ironicaly, blogging, where the buisness model is to have the user’s themselves develop the value, with the tools acting as a enabler.  I covered techniques such as testing with a dirty environment, segmenting the tests, and testing race conditions.  I’ve also placed the slides for the talk online here.

Then I went out to dinner with a few attendees, where I asked for a blueberry beer and got regular beer with physical blueberries in it.  (I was expecting a blueberry flavored beer.) I guess I didn’t specific enough with the requirements, eh?

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