My Eclipse Testing Day

At September 7th I attended the Eclipse Testing Day 2011.

In the morning we heard several talks about various testing strategies in different commercial products. Alexander Klein from BeOne held an inspiring talk about testing the users experience for a product. Among other ideas he recommended to watch users while they are confronted with the product to get ideas for the next iteration.

In the afternoon things became more hands-on. Michaela Greiler presented her Eclipse Plug-in Test Suite. This is a test runner that allows static and dynamic analysis to report on executed extension points and OSGi services. By itself it is merely interesting, but imho not interesting enough to be a standalone project. I think this technology should go as additional metrics in something like EclEmma. Maybe JaCoCo will provide a home? Hear me, Marc?

Jubula was a major point of talk. Felix Ziesel from BREDEX showed how he uses the Eclipse for Testers download to define an automated smoke test suite to test the completeness of the Eclipse for RCP and RAP developers. I hope he will repeat this talk at an EclipseCon where other packagers are present. This just looked as it ought to be, but obviously it wasn’t feasible before Jubula.

The last talk was mine. I presented an example of a full-featured PDE build from a git repository with test automation. Even though it was the last one of a full day of talks the discussion afterwards was interesting and showed I had hit a sore spot in many projects.

At the side where a few booths from various companies. I was excited to see Xored advertising Q7 there. This is a UI testing tool that only supports Eclipse. Because of this exclusiveness the scripting language gets right to the point. Capture and Replay functionality is also available. Why was I excited about that? – Coming as complete outsiders, they did a talk at last years Eclipse Testing Day about this side product they developed to make testing their application easier. It was extremely well perceived and for a while they where the focus of attention with this thing that’s now Q7. I’d really like to see them more involved with the Eclipse community. Specifically I think their tool might be in a good position to allow UI testing for a RAP workbench.

As a conclusion I have mixed feelings about the Eclipse Testing Day. It shows that things are moving and keeps a handful of people talking. I think it could be a real benefit for the community, if it would show up. But while last year all talks where held in english, now only 3 out of 10 did so, making the Testing Day too much of a german and too less an international event. Many key players where missing. Nobody mentioned SWTBot or JaCoCo. WindowTester didn’t even seem to exist. Is FrogLogic still in business (Their website says, yes)?
It seemed to me that compared to last year there was almost an entirely new audience. I recognized only a handful people and 2 of them where speakers.
It think that the talks and the audience are a bit too diverse. The name “Testing Day” brings together developers people who drive test processes in larger companies, but did’t lead them to talk to one another. Instead of accepting just mixing them in a single branch of talks, the Testing Day could improve by cutting down the program for the whole audience to maybe half a day. Fill the other half day with special interest topics, i.e. bring together the developers to talk about TDD, JUnit, issues about test automation with their test runners and hard times with AspectJ. Bring the people together who want to discuss test processes in big projects, but separate these two groups for a while at least.

The organizers are aware of this, too, so I’m looking forward for a strong and interesting Eclipse Testing Day 2012.