It’s been about a week since AWTA 2009 in Texas, and since I had a 30+ hour journey home I think I am excused for not posting this redux until now.
I had an amazing time at both the workshop and also doing things outside the workshop with the people I met there. Everyone was super friendly and make me feel very at home.
At the Workshop
I enjoyed talking about what people expect in a test automation framework. It’s great to see that the list of things is slowly changing as the ways that people work change. For example, continous integration and running ‘headless’ tests was mentioned quite a bit whereas this probably wouldn’t have even been a requirement for people not too long ago.
All the individual presentations were great. I especially enjoyed MarekJ‘s on Watirloo and Dave Hoover’s presentation on Cucumber (code here). I like how Opera are going to use Watir to run web tests on any Opera browser through remote control: nice.
I enjoyed many conversations I had, especially those with Hugh McGowan and Gregg Yows about Rasta as well as a great conversation I had with Pete Dignan and Janet Gregory about ethics and choosing who you work for.
I also shared my experiences in running automated tests in live production environments to many people’s amazement. This is why my ears pricked up when I heard mention the possibility of one day replacing Watir’s engine with that of Selenium. The problem I have with selenium is the server side components make it almost impossible for me to use it. I would have lots of trouble convincing the right people to install server side components for automated testing on public facing web applications in production environments: too risky.
On the final day Pete shared some information about a great non-profit aptly named Charity: Water and what they are doing in Africa to improve sanitation. I couldn’t help but share the slightly non-relevant gapminder.org just because it is too cool not to.
Using twitter at a meetup is really fun. You can view all the #awta posts. Someone raised the point of why we don’t just use IRC but since I received a fair amount of interest from outside AWTA via twitter, I think it’s best not to use IRC which wouldn’t have generated this interest.
My two lightning talks are both available on Google Docs: talk one and talk two.
Zeljko (aka Z*) was busy recording heaps of podcasts at AWTA. The one I did with him is published here.
Outside the workshop
I had one afternoon to spend in sunny Los Angeles and so I caught a bus to Santa Monica to see the Pacific Ocean from the other side of the world. It was surreal.
I enjoyed experiencing a few different places to eat in Austin, Texas. Huts did a mean burger downtown.
Rudy’s BBQ and picnic was superb. We got a full tour of the kitchen including the smoke pits by the manager.
I enjoyed going to the Broken Spoke on Friday night for some Honkey Tonk action, and then partaking in an entirely different scene downtown on Saturday night. What variety: wow.
I felt special when MarekJ gave me this sticker from the 2008 US election:
and also when Bret signed my Lessons Learned in Software Testing Book:
One the flight home I drafted the AWTA attendee survey on the back of two Air Pacific sick bags. It was then straighforward to put these questions into Google Docs and sent out a link. Man I love pen and paper!
I happened to notice a singer on the Austin music channel on TV that I really liked. She is from Austin and her name is Suzanna Choffel. Here’s a song live from Austin.
I have been approved to attend. It means three long flights from Australia (about 25 hours each way) but I am really looking forward to attending and meeting different people who are involved in Watir.
I haven’t been to America before either, so it should be really good.