Review: North West Tester Gathering Meetup

I started attending the North West Tester Gathering Meetup to gain professional knowledge about the testing industry and to make valuable connections, all in the aim to greatly improve the testing structure of our internal applications here at Evolution.

In the IT team, we are currently planning the process of developing an incorporated testing process into companywide deployments we release to users in the future. These meetups help us gain innovative ideas on how to potentially perfect our testing procedures, so the employees at Evolution can work more effectively, and better provide an outstanding service to candidates trying to acquire their dream jobs.

What I learnt at this month's North West Tester Gathering

The gathering earlier this month taught me a lot about testing centric deployment pipelines. The extraordinary speakers - John Shand from Money Supermarket, and Dan Smart from BookingGo - both talked in depth about the deployment strategies they strictly put in place to make sure that their consumers get a smooth, reliable and bug free experience.

The event, hosted by Amy Newton from BrightBox, was perfectly planned, providing attendees with a very knowledgeable and informative session, while at the same time presenting it in an exciting, fun and sociable environment. Meetings like these are useful to both young developers and testers to effectively learn and make connections, and to more senior people in the industry to spread their knowledge in a bid to making a better tomorrow.

The first speaker, John Shand, gave an informative talk about PACT and consumer driven contract testing. PACT is a consumer-driven contract testing tool; contract testing is a way to ensure that services (such as an API provider and a client) can communicate with each other. Without contract testing, the only way to know that services can communicate is by using expensive and brittle integration tests.

A great analogy that was used by both John and the PACT website is: “Do you set your house on fire to test your smoke alarm? No, you test the contract it holds with your ears by using the testing button. PACT provides that testing button for your code, allowing you to safely confirm that your applications will work together without having to deploy the world first.”

When using PACT, the contract is written as part of the consumer tests. A major advantage of this pattern is that only parts of the communication that are actually used by the consumer(s) get tested. This, in turn, means that any provider behaviour not used by current consumers is free to change without breaking tests.

The second speaker, Dan Smart, talked in depth about BookingGo’s entire deployment pipeline, using Unit, Browser, Contract and Service Integration tests, all at the click of a single button. The entire release process described by Dan was automated from start to finish, providing the developers and testers with confidence that their product is reliable.

Each of their microservices (UX, API) and the user front end are both tested individually and together as one. This should provide confidence that the entire system works together in harmony. The testing process described by Dan included a mixture of mock and real-world data, providing truly complete coverage of all systems involved in providing customers with the best user experience.

Who is attending the next meetup?

I would recommend the North West Tester Gathering to everybody in the IT industry - not just testers. I have gained a lot of knowledge and ideas from the events I have attended, and I have been able to bring that back to Evolution with the intention to improve the internal systems, providing all parties involved with a better and more productive experience.

Meetups like this one are also a great place to make acquaintances in an industry you are interested in, to boost your career in ways you couldn’t do just by browsing the internet for contacts on social media!

To join me and attend the next North West Tester Gathering meetup, RSVP here: https://www.meetup.com/North-West-Tester-Gathering/