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Competition and Exhibition Featured at Seattle-area Software Testing Conference

The Association of Software Testing held its annual conference (CAST) from July 9 - 11 at the Meydenbauer Center, which featured two events intended to celebrate and highlight software testing skills.

With the theme: "Testing Techniques: Innovations and Applications", 176 people attended the conference, whose first day featured 13 teams competing to win prizes totalling $3,000 and a second-day non-competitive expert testing exhibition.

The competition, sponsored by Microsoft, comprised of teams of conference attendees testing ShapeUp Tracker, a new product by SiriusSQA developer and president David Gilbert, who was one of the competition's judges.

General principles used in judging included: value to the client, risk awareness, coverage awareness, oracle awareness, resourcefulness, and professionalism.

Over 300 bugs were filed by the teams using a TestTrackPro database provided by Quardev Laboratories, a Seattle software testing lab.

The winner was the "Hey, David!" team who gained special merit using a technqiue called "co-location" - the act of sitting close enough to the developer so as to result in rapid information exchange.

For the second night of the conference, the first Expert Tester Exhibition was held, sponsored by Google. The brainchild of Google Software Test Engineer and noted Model-Based Testing expert Harry Robinson, the exhibition featured Robinson as well as Jon and James Bach, Lydia Ash, Robert Sabourin, Danny Faught, Doug Hoffman, Mike Kelly and Scott Barber, assembled as a team to approach and discuss the testing of the CAST 2007 registration page.

The aim of the exhibition was to show how recongized testing experts would collaborate on an approach toward a real testing problem.

Jon Bach, Manager for Corporate Intellect at Quardev, Inc., served as Team Lead for the exhibition, but as President of CAST, said that both evening events prompted the kind of conversations that he's always wanted to see at testing conferences.

"Competitive or exhibition, the mission was to have innovative ways to show good testing in action," said Bach. "The feedback from the audience exceeds our expectations, so want do more of the same at CAST next year."

Other CAST conference innovations included:

  • Q and A sessions for each speaker, led by trained facilitators, wherein each attendee had numbered, colored placards to raise when they had a new question or added something to a question raised by another attendee;
  • 5-minute preambles for each speaker for the audience to get an idea of which talk they wanted to attend next;
  • A separate breakout room for conferring, in case a talk ran long and the speaker still had questions to answer.

The conference program will be published on the CAST website as well as artifacts from the testing competition.

For details, go to http://www.associationforsoftwaretesting.org/conference

The AST is a non-profit organization started in 2005.

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