GTAC 2010, Hyderabad India


This blog entry has been in my queue for quite some time. But here it is now. Late last October I attended the 5th annual Google Test Automation Conference. The GTAC conferences are held in different cities every year and this year it was held in Hyderabad, India on Oct 28th and 29th. This was quite an adventure as it was my 1st trip to India. I had submitted a talk proposal way back in July with the title “Crowd Source Testing, Mozilla Style“.

Given that the conference was geared more towards test automation, I had little expectation that it would be selected. But an email from Google in late July invited me to come to the other side of globe to talk about how we do crowd sourced testing here at Mozilla. I was pretty excited about the prospect, but at they same time it gave me some trepidation because I haven’t done a whole lot of public speaking lately and I wasn’t to sure how I was going to translate the abstract given above into 50 minute talk with lots of slick graphs and poignant thought provoking slides. Not too mention, I was plenty busy with managing the Mozilla QA team and working on Firefox 4 beta releases. After some weekends creating slides, interviewing various folks and practice sessions with the team I got my GTAC talk together and I was ready for the trip to India.

India is a long trip from Mt. View, CA. About ~19 hours in the air. I decided to get there a couple days early so I could be somewhat recovered from jetlag. When I arrived there was some confusion as to where I would stay for the 1st day of my trip. Fortunately, Google put me up at their Google House where visiting Googlers stay. Very nice accommodations and I was fortunate to meet and hang out with James Whitaker who is pretty famous in the testing world for his book series on How to break software and exploratory testing. His talk on the value of late stage manual testing is quite compelling and he is also a very entertaining speaker.

The conference took place at the Novotel conference center near Hitech city in Hyderbad. It was spread over two days with only around 180 attending. The attendance is purposely kept low to allow for more interaction amongst the attendees and speakers. It seemed to be just the right mix of presentations, lighting talks and keynote speeches. There were some very interesting talks and presentations given. If you haven’t seen them, all of the presentations are recorded on youtube. My talk on crowd sourcing is located here. I think it went fairly well, but seeing and hearing yourself perform just doesn’t quite come off right.  Also the cut aways to the slides show a very badly rendered version of the slides for some reason. A good copy of the slides are located here.

At any rate the conference was a great success in my opinion. I think the conversations and interactions among everyone present is what makes this such a unique and worthwhile event to attend. In fact I did have a lot of conversations with an attendee Matt Brandt. Surprisingly, he paid his own way from Colorado to attend this event. He made an impression that he would be a great fit to our Mozilla QA team so I invited him to interview at Mozilla in December. I am pleased he will be joining Mozilla’s Web QA team later in January.

After leaving India I stopped over in London for a few days where Mozilla QA hosted along with Google, a local selenium meetup. Thanks to Dave Hunt for putting this on and there was lots of good talks from the Mozilla QA team; Henrik Skupin, Stephen Donner and David Burns. And of course Simon Stewart from Google who always steals the show.

So it was a very successful trip. I certainly hope to do more traveling next year to promote what we do here at Mozilla QA. What I want to capture from the GTAC conference is the sense that the Mozilla Firefox is the platform of choice for doing test automation and experimentation for automated testing. I certainly got a sense of that from talking to folks at the GTAC conference and the meetup in London. A theme I want to amplify in 2011.