I attended my third Software Testing Club Meetup last night, this one being held in Cardiff. As is usual for these events, I spoke to a lot of interesting people not just testers but recruiters and developers also. I had a conversation about automation is the big thing that companies are looking for, to a developers about testability and test driven development, as well as a number of other software testing activities (e.g. documentation, performance etc).
There were four lightning talks given, the first given by my friend and organiser of the event, Sean Robbins. He showed us how to use Watir to run an automation test (in this case, search for something on google and check for results) by using it to run the browser, or by just sending HTTP requests which allows the test to run much faster. Very useful if you do not need to touch the form, which can be very susceptible to breaking your automation test from the smallest of changes.
Thirdly, there was a quick overview on performance testing requirements from Vicky Dibble. She made the very reasonable point that a performance requirement cannot be simply 'the page will load in under five seconds', since that is giving no information on user load or considering the simple fact that sometimes, especially with web pages, you just get a slow response without a seeming underlying reason (hence she suggested changing the requirement to '98% of the time, the pages will load in under five seconds'). What she showed that was of particular note, was to use the User Community Modelling Language (UCML) to build up a picture of your systems typical user flows and be able to work out what tests you need to create.
Lastly, Mark Coakley talked about the issues facing him where they have lots of very old legacy systems that require regression testing, but they are also hiring a lot of new people from outside the business and have to be able to get them up to speed as quickly as possible. What he showed was how they began testing their documentation looking for clairty and accuracy. They then build up a picture for each document with a red, amber, green lisiting for each area they are looking at, which indicates that it is completely wrong (red), wrong but usable (amber) or all ok (green).
I highly recommend these meetups, so be sure to check the Software Testing Club Meetup page for upcoming events and do be sure to attend one. I'm hoping there will be another in Bristol in the next few months and will be sure to ramble on about it here when it does.