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Test the Web Forward Seattle Recap

We were pleased to attend the fifth successful Test the Web Forward on April 12-13, held this time in the Pacific Northwest. The event took place at Microsoft’s Seattle office, graciously hosted by the Internet Explorer Developer Relations team. Experts, web developers, students and other newcomers came together and wrote over 500 tests on a rainy Saturday, the highest number of tests at an event to date. You could say it was raining new tests in Seattle.

Following the usual format, the event kicked off on Friday evening with a series of tech talks. Elika “fantasai” Etemad began as the keynote speaker, giving an inspiring and thought-provoking talk on how to approach writing W3C spec tests. She gave advice on how to extract testable assertions, how to design robust tests, and things to consider when reviewing tests.

Kris Krueger

Then Microsoft’s Kris Krueger and I each gave short talks on how to write W3C tests. I covered reftests, which are used when a test case requires a browser’s rendering to be verified and Kris covered testharness.js, which is the W3C’s JavaScript test framework. The attendees were very engaged and interested in all of the talks, evident from the good questions that followed.

After the presentations, there was a series of lightning talks, where several experts introduced themselves and tried to recruit new test writers for their favorite specs. After the pitches were made, people formed groups to write tests for HTML5, Pointer Events, CSS Flexbox, and CSS Transforms. The evening wrapped with a great spread of food and plenty of cold beverages. Everyone was ready with a plan to hack the next day.

Dave Methvin leading Pointer Events testing

On Saturday, groups formed in three rooms – Kris led a team in the HTML5 room, Arron Eicholz from Microsoft joined Elika and me in the CSS room, and Jacob Rossi (also with Microsoft) paired with the president of the jQuery Foundation, Dave Methvin to lead a group writing tests for Pointer Events. This was a great example of the community having a voice in how each TestTWF is is run. Dave reached out to the organizers suggesting a focus on the Pointer Events spec, so he was invited as an expert and along with Jacob, turned out lots of new tests!

Over in the HTML5 room, Kris’ team was also writing lots of tests and finding bugs. Greg Bulmash quickly exposed some interoperability issues with the HTMLOptionsCollection tests he wrote.  It was also very cool to see some remote people participating in this event. Opera’s Odin Hørthe Omdal (and expert alumni from TestTWF Paris) was online in Norway reviewing tests.  Ms2ger was also reviewing tests and even quickly fixed a bug in testharness.js found by Alan Stearns during the event. This was the first truly global TestTWF.

In the third room were the CSS folks. Those writing tests for CSS Flexbox were in good hands with Arron and Elika.  They put the spec on a large projector and walked through the sections to help people identify test cases.  Elika then went into further detail on the points she had discussed in her talk the night before, reiterating the three main points every test author should consider:

1. Does the test pass when it’s supposed to pass?
2. Does it fail when it’s supposed to fail?
3. Does it test what it thinks it’s testing?

The rest of the CSS people wrote tests for CSS Transforms. It was great to see people learning and collaborating on the best test design for this very cool CSS feature.

Designing a CSS Transforms test

Designing a CSS Transforms test

All in all, it was another great event, producing over 500 new tests!. People left knowing more than they did when they came, we grew the community, and we moved the Web forward just a little bit more.

Next stop: Tokyo!

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