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Romania – here we go!

Very excited, but from the early morning compact and ready for our Romanian adventure with testing and vampires in the background. September 25th started very early for us.

 

Alarm clock at 4 AM, train to Warsaw at 5:30 AM and finally, the plane to Bucharest at 12:30 AM. Yet the duration of the journey and our tiredness stopped to matter when we finally got out of the plane and took off our jackets, as they were not necessary anymore. Right after checking-in into our hotel, we immediately decided to visit Arcul de Triumf. We took a subway train to visit the smaller brother of the famous Paris triumphal arch. The monument is placed in the center of a roundabout and it looks truly impressive, as it is visible from a huge distance.

 

Make use from project experience

Since two of us are ODK tools testers, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to use the ODK Collect Android app out in the field.

We used a form with a geolocation widget to collect geographic points of places that we were able to explore during our whole Romanian experience. After going back to Poland, we submitted all created instances to ODK Aggregate, which provides the functionality of converting the form with geographic points to a KML file. The Google Earth web app enables one to import KML files and visualize them. This is how we created our own 3D map of Bucharest:

 

 

About the conference and workshops- the first day

On the first day of the conference, we participated in two tutorials.

The first one was “Agile is Human” by a speaker from Belgium, Olivier Denoo. He is the president of CFTL – the French ISTQB Board and is also currently the Governance Officer at ISTQB. For 20 years, he has been an international speaker, who spoke at Test-IT Africa, SQA-days, BA-days, JFIE, TestWarez, ReQuest, SEETEST, STF, Iqnite, JFTL, JMTL, JTTL, Analyst-days, Quality Week, Eurostar and Dasia. The tutorial concerned our responsiveness to the continuously-changing world and people. It also underlined aspects such as communication, teamwork, and psychology in the tester’s job. It provided practical examples that helped us to understand what it takes for an agile team to align and deliver when humanity becomes the main driver and a key success factor.

As all of us work actively as software test engineers and we understand the value of the design of the test cases that we execute in our daily jobs. For this reason, we decided to participate in the “Practical Test Design Techniques” tutorial hosted by Michael Pilaeten from Belgium. Currently, he works as a learning & development manager and is responsible for guiding the company’s consultants, partners, and customers on their personal and professional path towards excellence with overall 15 years of experience in test consultancy. The presentation was about black-box test design techniques, like Equivalence Partitioning, Boundary Value Analysis, Decision Table Testing, State Transition Testing, Algorithm Testing, Classification Tree Testing, and All Pairs Testing. We have already heard about most of them – we use them in our projects or we had a chance to learn about them when we were preparing for our ISTQB exams. Michael gave a solid revision of all of them and showed plenty of examples that involved all of the lecture participants in the solution and in the discussion about them. 

One of the subjects was completely new for all of us – the All Pairs Testing Technique. It is a combinatorial method that, for each pair of input parameters, tests all possible discrete combinations of these parameters. Its basis is the use of a tool generating test cases for all pair combinations. The tool enables one to optimize the number of test cases.

 

 

After a long day at the conference, we went to the SEETEST social event, organized for all participants.

There, we had the chance to socialize a little bit with others, with glasses of wine in our hands and in the rhythm of live music.

 

 

 

About presentations- day two of the conference

For the second day of the conference, short presentations were organized.

We decided to give those concerning test automation a try. The first presentation was “Layered test automation for Selenium WebDriver projects” by Georgi Rusev from Bulgaria. It guided us on how to amend the Page Object Model and compose containers and/or components when using the Selenium WebDriver, depending on the number of lines of code. The second one was “OpenSource Mobile Automation in the cloud with Appium and TravisCI” by Dimitar Todorov from Bulgaria. It described how to integrate the Appium test automation framework in the GitHub repository with the continuous integration platform TravisCI and automatic deployment of the app to the shop. The third presentation was “Transforming to New Test and Assurance Approaches” by Paul Gerrard from the United Kingdom. Paul touched upon the topics of implementing agile practices by means of transforming linearity into events, understanding the test automation process and identifying new skills needed in order to adapt to constant changes.

Then, we went for a walking tour of the city. Our first stop was the Palace of the Parliament. The Internet did not lie about its size. It turned out to be so huge that it was difficult to fit it in total on a photograph. 

 

 

The second stop was the CEC Palace – one of the most interesting buildings in Bucharest.

And finally, the lovely Old Town. In general, one can see many French inspirations in Bucharest architecture but there are also some communism elements noticeable.

 

 

By the end of the day, we had dinner at Caru’ cu bere, which is the most famous restaurant in the city.

Romanian cuisine turned out to be quite similar to the Polish one. Mostly, it is composed of meat, sausages, mushrooms, cabbage, and Mămăligă – a kind of corn porridge served with sauce or cream. We also tried the most popular dessert in Romania – Papanași, cheesy doughnuts with cream and cherry jam.

 

Transylvania- the most awaited point

Saturday was the only day off we had.

To be in Romania and not to visit Transylvania? No way! Because we didn’t have much time to explore it on our own, we decided to buy an international trip with an English-speaking guide. It was the only way to see Peles Palace, Bran Castle and Brasov in a day – and it was definitely worth it! On the road to Peles Palace, our guide told us stories and facts about Romania and on all stops of our trip. We found out that on the last weekend of September every year, people in Transylvania celebrate the return of sheep from the mountains for the winter and they organize a huge fiesta, which we actually saw on our own eyes when we were visiting Bran Castle. 

 

 

The road to our first stop, Peles Palace, took longer than it was initially predicted because of traffic jams.

Building a highway there is still a plan for the future. Our tour guide also discussed a bit of politics and healthcare in Romania. Our first stop was the Peles Palace. It turned out to be one of the most stunning castles in Europe. It was built by the Romanian Royal Family. The richness and the fairytale style were both recognizable from the inside and on the outside. Secondly, we had the opportunity to visit Brasov. There was a walking tour planned for us, during which we could discover medieval Saxon walls and bastions, the towering Gothic-style Black Church and lively cafes. We had time for lunch on the Council Square in the cobbled Old Town surrounded by colorful baroque buildings. 

 

 

And finally, our cherry on the top of the cake – the Bran Castle, known also as Dracula’s Castle.

After a whole sunny day, when we arrived, the sky became mysteriously cloudy – was it a coincidence or maybe the magic of vampire legends? The castle was built for the purpose of defending Transylvania’s border but accidentally, it is the only castle in the area that fits the description of Dracula’s one from Bram Stoker’s novel. We heard the intriguing legend of Vlad Palownik, the main suspect of being Dracula. Isn’t it a funny fact that his body was never found?

 

 

All good things must come to an end

To sum up, our trip to Romania was very intensive.

It gave us the opportunity to talk with our Eastern neighbors about how software testing is doing in their countries. The conference was very well-organized; the multitude of topics meant that sometimes, it was difficult for us to decide which lecture would prove more useful to us. Of course, the beauty of this country full of contrasts made a unique impression on us, too. On the one hand, immeasurable forest areas, beautiful valleys, and hills; on the other hand, no roads and villages that look like at the beginning of the 19th century, including people, who are constantly struggling for survival. Because of all of this, we will remember this journey for a long time.