Last week, I had an opportunity to attend Test Automation Days 2023, a 2-day conference in the heart of Rotterdam about (surprise) test automation. It was quite a nice and well-organised event with interesting talks, and I had a lot of fun. Here, I’m going to write my impressions down, and, perhaps, they’re going to be useful for you, if next year you decide to visit the next conference edition as well.
World Trade Center Rotterdam, which is quite handy because it’s in the city centre. I was initially going to travel to Rotterdam Central which is within 18-20 min walking distance from the conference location. But then I changed my mind and stepped off the train on Rotterdam Blaak (the next stop after Rotterdam Central), and reached the destination in 7 min. You can choose either way – in both cases, there’re nice buildings on the way to enjoy Rotterdam architecture.
Accommodation and facilities
What was definitely noticeable is the experience of WTC in hosting these kinds of events. Plenty of space, a large hall for keynote sessions, several coffee machines for conference attendees (even more on the 2nd day), a lot of bottled water in the rooms, tasty lunch… I’ve visited quite many events and definitely can compare different ways of organising conferences. TAD 2023 was well organised, so the attendees could concentrate on absorbing testing wisdom and networking instead of staying in a toilet queue.
The first day consisted of 2 parallel rounds, 4 masterclasses each. So, attendees could attend 2 of them, one before lunch and one after. I went for:
- “Improving your test automation code” by Bas Dijkstra. It was quite insightful, especially the last exercise. But I was probably expecting more advanced challenges (or maybe I do coding too much 😀 ). The audience was engaged and buzzed like a beehive discussing the exercises and sharing their thoughts, and this is the most important sign.
- “Dockerization in test automation” by my friend Alexander Chumakin. This masterclass was initially marked as “for experienced attendees” in the program. I found it moderately complex but didn’t have any problems with following the speaker and replicating his actions. Not sure about the rest of the audience as I occupied the front row.
This was my initial pick when purchasing a ticket. But now, after the keynotes of the 2nd day of the conference, I wouldn’t also mind attending future workshops from Melissa Tondi and Tariq King. So, I probably, see you at one of the future conferences 🙂
On this day, there were 4 parallel 40 minutes rounds with 5 sessions each, and this was probably the biggest frustration of the whole event. There were many cool and insightful talks going on in parallel but in the best case, people could attend only 20% of them live. While I do understand it’s impossible to make a schedule that makes everyone happy, it was still a bit difficult to prioritise which one to pick.
On day 2, I visited:
- “Modular automation” by Alexander Gyulai. Good talk, useful insights that resonate with what I do and principles I promote as well. If you see Alexander with this topic at future conferences, I definitely recommend attending and getting some inspiration to implement the same.
- “Autonomous teams, become autonomous and get rid of those brittle, time-consuming E2E tests” by Mark Abrahams. Can’t say I completely agree with this one. But it was a real story and probably worked in that specific situation that I don’t have all the insights from.
- “Look beyond what the eyes can see – reviving visual validations with AI” by Geosley Andrades. It’s been a while since I haven’t touched any visual comparison tools/tests and got curious what are the latest trends in this area. The talk was built around the use cases of the Applitools Eyes tool (which is probably a wrapper on top of the open-source ImageMagick library). Not a bad tool, but in the end it still requires lots of manual supervision in terms of re-creating base images used for comparison. This can be very time-consuming if you have, for ex, 50 tests running on multiple platforms, and a high pace of new features development.
- “Build confidence in E2E API test automation using Flows” by Sowmya Sridharamurthy. I wasn’t really tracking the latest Postmant developments, but the guys definitely moved forward with a bunch of perks, and Flows is one of them. Can’t say it’s an automation tool, but I’d visualize some API E2E user scenarios and then use them for educational purposes to onboard newcomers and consumers of that API.
Quite a tough schedule for day 2 could also fit 4 keynote talks, each in the big hall. Unfortunately, I almost missed the first one from Jitesh Gosai but will catch up online. The rest were interesting, with a lot of personal stories but at the same time connected to the current challenges we face. Of course, “Testing the Metaverse” was the most futuristic one but I also took a lot of photos on the “Automation, we’re doing it wrong” to review later.
Test Automation Days 2023 was a cool event with interesting talks. I am glad I met old friends and got to know new people. I would probably prefer a bit more advanced tech talks, but again, a program should also be insightful for everyone, not just for technical geeks like me. Anyway, I am looking forward to the next year, and who knows – maybe we can have a coffee or a drink together 🙂