EuroSTAR’s Test Lab: Bravo!

One of the coolest things about EuroSTAR 2009 was the test lab set up by James Lyndsay and Bart Knaack.

James and Bart (who self-identified as Test Lab Rats) provided testers with the opportunity to have a go at two applications, FreeMind (an open-source mind-mapping program) and OpenEMR (an open-source product for tracking medical records). The Lab Rats did a splendid job of setting things up and providing the services and information that participants needed to get up and running quickly.

Sponsorship in the form of five laptop computers was provided through the good graces of Steve Green at Test Partners, Stuart Noakes at Transition Consulting Ltd., and Bart Knaack at Logica. James Lyndsay also lent a server and a router to the event.

Sponsorship was also provided by tool vendors (here in alphabetical order) Andagon, Microsoft, MicroFocus, Neotys, and Testing Technologies. These sponsors had their tools installed on the laptops, and presented their demos by applying them to OpenEMR and FreeMind as they were installed in the Test Lab. On a loose schedule, some of the presenters did talks and demonstrations of how they tested.

The aforementioned Stuart Noakes and Mieke Gievers gave advice and assistance to the Lab Rats.

Well, that’s all very nice, but what was it like?

As someone who spent a couple of hours in the lab, exploring the applications and listening in on the presentations, I’d say it was terrific (although the prospect that OpenEMR is being used in actual medical practices seemed faintly alarming). Both applications were sophisticated enough for some reasonably serious testing, and had interesting problems to discover and report.

Interestingly, none of the certificationists or the standardization folks sat in the lab and tested, to my knowledge.

Bravo to James and Bart, to the sponsors, to the conference organizers and to the program committee for putting this together.  Let’s see more actual testing at testing conferences!

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