Testing Tutorial -- It's Over, Man!

Steve Holden and Doug Napoleone both attended our testing tutorial, (as did AMK, which was a bit of a surprise!), and had fairly positive things to say about it. This was a relief, because Grig and I always wonder whether or not this stuff is useful to anyone.

Our hope for this year was to stir things up by making the tutorial more interactive. We succeeded to the extent that there were a few more questions and a bit more interaction, but we would have liked to get more in the way of pre-tutorial feedback. In retrospect, the tutorial might have worked better if two things had happened:

  1. People signing up for the tutorial had actually sent us a bunch of things to test. As it was, we got about 5 e-mails, which didn't give us a lot of problem choices; some of the suggested problems were out of scope or too big to tackle in the time we had.

    This is not really anyone's fault, although probably Grig and I could have done more in advance.

  2. Grig and I had had more time to prepare.

    Both of us are crazy busy (he has a job that is a big timesuck, and I am in the middle of a transition from postdoc to prof, which means that I'm trying to finish some research while setting up a new lab 2000 miles away, PLUS I have a wonderful new daughter who is also quite the timesuck.

Now, don't get me wrong -- we did prepare adequately, but I would have liked a week or so to actually do some Really Cool New Stuff.

I'm not sure what to do next year, if anything. This was our third tutorial, and people seem to attend them and like them, but I feel like we should try something different. Unfortunately, the lack of reliable network access really limits our ability to push forward into doing live tutorials and code writing; Web testing depends on the Web!

Regardless of our thoughts, I am interested in any suggestions that people may have. If you've attended our tutorial -- what would you have liked to see, OR now that you've seen it once, what would you want to see the second time around, if anything? If you haven't attended our tutorial, what would you imagine to be the most interesting "testing tutorial" possible?

thanks, --titus

Legacy Comments

Posted by Daryl Spitzer on 2008-03-15 at 11:52.

Titus,    Would it be possible for you to make your slides and/or
other tutorial materials available online (for those who did not
attend)?  (I'm not being a cheapskate--I attended three other
tutorials and it was a difficult decision for me to not attend yours.
Perhaps next year.)  I'll do my best to give you some useful feedback.
--  Daryl Spitzer

Posted by Steve Holden on 2008-03-18 at 16:32.

@Titus: as a newbie at the tutorial I found you r material really
interestting (though I let it get away from me when I left the room to
get water). I think if the growth we saw this year continues then we
will have to ensure that such material doesn't get thrown away.    How
about two tutorials next year, one a the "same old, same old" for
people who need to understand the technologies and the second a more
advanced one?    @Daryl: I believe all tutorials were recorded, and
the the slides will be published fairly soon.

Posted by Schnappi on 2008-03-20 at 21:43.

Hi Titus,    I attended your tutorial, and quite frankly I do not
think you need to change anything. You talk was interesting, engaging
and very inspiring (and now that I've finished an sqlite backend for
the project I am working on, the testing setup should be considerably
easier). Mind you, that's coming from someone who was jetlagged and
had two tutorial sessions before showing up at yours :)    The web
traffic recording/replay demo was awesome. Simple, useful and very
very cool. As was your OLPC presentation (attended that one too after
the tutorial), where you could not log in with the keyboard, but
could, in fact, with your test harness. Testing -- now **easier** than
doing it by hand :)    A possible suggestion to consider for next
year: write a really small project and walk through setting up testing
for it (first something simple, like nosetests/py.test, then the web
coverage example you had on the OLPC talk). I am not sure what could
fit within a tutorial session, but something small, self-contained and
obvious?     Thank you for your contribution to PyCon. It was very

Posted by Ken Whitesell on 2008-03-25 at 07:00.

Titus,      I'm going to echo Steve's comment - I think there will
likely be those who are new to automated testing that will be able to
get benefit from your existing presentation next year, and the year
after, and the year after...      There were more than 400 people
attending their first PyCon this year - with 50 people / tutorial,
you've got at least 8 years worth of students yet! <g>    Ken

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