Recap: #TAS19 - Test Automation and Digital QA Summit in Washington, DC

April 15th, 2019 by inflectra

We were recently asked to attend and speak at the 2019 Test Automation and Digital QA Summit event organized by leading consulting firm TestingMind. The goal of the summit was to provide a forum where Quality Assurance Leadership, Management, and Strategy could converge. The Summit showcased the trends, innovations and challenges in the emerging world of Software and Automation Testing.

The panel of speakers included some of the most active members of the Washington, DC software testing and quality assurance community, including Peter Kim from D-CAST, Brijesh Singh, Gene Gotimer from Coveros, and Brian Penn.

Opening Talk - Testing Today’s Applications - Making Automation More Effective

Kicking off the event was our very own Director of Technology, Adam Sandman discussing the findings from our Rapise R&D team that had been involved in a research project to find out why testing web applications is so difficult and providing ways that tool vendors and automation engineers can make the job easier:

In the presentation we described how we created a simple bot that downloaded the HTML Document Object Model (DOM) trees for the 500 most popular websites (as ranked by the Moz SEO tool) and compared the structure, attributes and other factors that assist or hinder in test automation efforts.

During the talk, Adam presented some of the key findings around use of IDs, attributes, hidden layers, nested elements, repeating IDs, static and dynamic ID components, with recommendations on ways you can improve your XPATH and/or CSS locators to find elements more reliably and make your automated tests more stable, reliable and less "flaky":

During his talk, Adam discussed how you can ask your engineers to make your life easier by making the application Section 508 compliant with robust use of ARIA attributes and other meta-data that not only helps disabled users, but also makes it easier for automation engineers (a win-win).

Wrapping up his talk, Adam outlined how the software testing industry is adapting to these challenges by employing use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to make the tools handle change more seamlessly, with features such as 'self-healing' locators, adaptive playback and self-generating web profiles.

Brian Penn - Building a Culture of Automation in a Non-Technical Company

Providing a manager-level viewpoint into test automation, Brian's talk discussed how we was able to transform the QA organization of a large healthcare IT provider to become automation-first. Using real life case studies and performance anecdotes, Brian provided practical tips for understanding how to effect change in your organization.


The presentation including topics on how to build trust between the developers and QA teams, ways to incrementally introduce automation, demonstrate value and prove the ROI to often skeptical managers and teams.

Dmitriy Korobskiy - How Slow Can You Go?

In this session, Dmitriy Korobskiy presented ways you can Integrate Performance, Load, and Stress Testing into Your DevOps toolchain and Agile development process. In addition, he covered tools for profiling applications, performing real-time monitoring, and tools for performing transaction tracing.

The presentation included information on commercial and open source tools that you can use for load generation, load controlling, scheduling, reporting, monitoring and analytics.

Gene Gotimer - Tests Your Pipeline Might be Missing

The presentation from Gene Gotimer of Coveros was very insightful, covering various ways you can 'shift-left' your testing to include automation earlier within your DevOps  toolchain without sacrificing speed. His talk demonstrated that you can balance finding problems early by doing some performance, security, load, vulnerability testing in each build cycle without having to completely shift all of your tests into the CI pipeline.

The mantra throughout the presentation was to balance "early and rapid feedback" with "no late surprises".

Peter Kim - Advancing GUI Testing with Application Modeling

First up after the wonderful lunch at #TAS19 was Peter Kim from D-CAST with practical techniques to move beyond the dreaded Selenium "Page Object" paradigm that seems to have trapped so many automation engineers and Selenium frameworks.

Peter's talk covered ways to model the application using JSON files that let you separate out the application behavior from the automation code.

Brijesh Singh - Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Changing gears, Brijesh Singh introduced the relatively new topic of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) - and how it is transforming Software Testing to enable business users that are not programmers by trade to be able to automate complex business applications using RPA tools.

There was much interest in the talk, with attendees understanding that the next generation of RPA tools promise to free automation engineers from being the bottleneck for test and process automation. Empowering business users and functional experts to create automated scenarios that can be used to perform menial tasks such as data entry and data migration as well as automating QA activities.



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