Jaroslaw Hryszko, Amy Phillips and Bas Dijkstra (UKSTAR talks Day 2, Part 2)

It has been 3 weeks but I’ve finally completed the last of the UKSTAR blog posts. The final few summaries were difficult to write, it is amazing how much you can forget in just a few weeks. Fortunately, my note taking skills were good enough to keep my memory fresh.

Adept: Artificial Intelligence, Automation and Laziness by Jaroslaw Hryszko

Jaroslaw gave a highly technical talk about automated defect prediction using static analysis tools and machine learning. In real life, more bugs are often found later in the lifecycle. Jaroslaw demonstrates that using prediction based QA, more bugs can be found earlier in the lifecycle. This saves a significant amount of money as the cost to fix is less.

I found it very interesting that Jaroslaw gave 2 different definitions for bugs and defects. Previously I’d always thought of them as always being the same:

  • Bug – mistake in the source code, doesn’t have to result in a defect.
  • Defect – discrepancy between users expectations and actual behaviour, does not have to be caused by a bug.

I’ve already studied techniques for static analysis so that bugs can be found earlier in the lifecycle, but never really thought much about how machine learning could be applied. This is a subject that I need to read a log more of. My notes are filled with suggestions for papers, articles and topics which I plan to search for online. This talk was highly technical but provided enough information to use as a basis for further research.

Keynote 3* – How to lead successful organisational change by Amy Phillips

We’ve attended this amazing conference, learnt many new facts and developed new ideas that could potentially improve what already takes place at our companies. However, applying these changes is easier said than done.

How do we apply these changes? We can’t just tell everyone this is how we should start doing things. First, we may not have the authority to do this. Second, people don’t like change. In this talk, Amy talks us through a process that could help us gain support from within the organisation. This will increase the chance of the change being embraced instead of rejected.

Steps suggested include:

  • 0. Create foundation
    • Establish credibility so that colleagues are more likely to trust that the change might work
    • Ensure that there is capacity for change. If we attempt to introduce the change at a critical time, like when there is a deadline approaching, the change is more likely to be rejected.
  • 1. Build an emotional connection
  • 2. Identify a north star
    • The north star represents something that we should aim for, a mutual goal.
  • 3. Small steps in the right direction
    • Don’t try and do everything at once.

Originally, this talk was meant to be at the start of the day. I don’t know the reason for moving the keynote, but it seemed to work better this way. This talk seemed well suited to take part at the end of day, giving us a final piece of advice to ensure that we got the most out of the conference.

Deep Dive F – Building Robust Automation Frameworks by Bas Dijkstra

For the final deep dive session, I chose to attend Bas Dijkstra’s session on building automation frameworks. Bas walked us through a series of steps to setup a basic automated test and improve on it. Most of my experience with test automation is self taught so it is interesting to see what steps someone else would follow. It confirms that I am also following recommended steps and fills in any gaps in my knowledge.

Iteration 1 – creating a basic test using record and playback
Once this was done, Bas highlighted some potential issues such as all steps being in one method, everything being hard coded and no browser management.

Iteration 2 – Better browser management
Ensure that the browser is closed down in a tear down script once the test has been run.

Iteration 3 – Waiting and synchronisation
Implement a timeout and waiting strategy, for example “all elements should be visible within 10 seconds”. If this does not happen, a timeout exception should be thrown.

Iteration 4 – Page objects
Makes tests more readable by separating out the flow of the tests. This makes it easier to update and maintain tests.

Iteration 5 – Test data management
Each test run will change the data. Therefore there needs to be a way to create and control the required test data. One option is to reset the database. It is worth talking to the developers who could provide something to make this possible.

Iteration 6 – Quick! More tests!
Make the tests data driven so the data can be varied. Using the same values doesn’t really prove much once the test has already been run. Data driven testing allows alternative data values to be used and allow more edge cases to be covered.

Iteration 7 – Narrowing the scope
Run data driven tests through the API to speed up tests and make the tests more efficient.

Iteration 8 – Service Visualisation
Dependencies aren’t always accessible, which can affect robustness. Use a fake or virtual process to keep the test environment under control.

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