At Last – Test-Driven Academy, Guest Post by Vagif Abilov

Oslo – a town in Minnesota, USA

Oslo – Californian rock band

Oslo – Microsoft modeling project

Oslo – a large test-driven community centre chosen to be a place for the 1st Typemock Academy

When I was told about Typemock Academy, I said to myself: you should be there. But then, where will it be arranged? Tel-Aviv? Seattle? Okay, if it’s in London, that’s not bad, but what if they choose Sydney? So when I received a mail that said the Academy would be held in Oslo, I was speechless. Is this because of me?

From that day it was not a question if I was going there. Of course I was. I had to meet face to face these guys who wrote the piece of software every developer had on his machine in our organization. What else every our developer had? Windows, Microsoft toolset, and then Typemock Isolator. Even ReSharper was a matter of a personal preference. But not Isolator.

Bu the way, I had to remember to ask them why Oslo?

Typemockians would let me speak on the conference. What should I speak about. I called my presentation “A road to true unit tests”. Our road was not easy. Test code is still treated as second class citizen by many developers – it is never installed in production, so why should they care? Well, eventually we learned that we should care. And we do. I decided to speak about our challenges, our lessons and our current practices.

There was a huge crowd around Grand Hotel in Oslo when I came there around 1 p.m. on 27th of April. Police cars, policemen, impatient people with cameras. Wow! I didn’t know Typemock had so many customers in Norway. Rumors said that all this buzz was because of Russian President Medvedev who stayed in the same hotel. But who knows what was the real reason?

Then I saw Gil in the lobby. Being on TV helps, I saw him on Typemock TV a few times. We went upstairs where I was introduced to the rest of the team. I met Avi before, but it was a first time I spoke to Eli and Tal. I didn’t forget to ask my question. Why Oslo? Eli explained that Scandinavia in general and especially Norway has very strong TDD community. Developers are actively practicing unit testing. So maybe the crowd downstairs wasn’t waiting for Medvedev?

Sessions went very well. Even mine. My favorite presentation was the one from Richard Fennell where he showed how to ease the life of a SharePoint developer by isolating him from… SharePoint. I feel I am not scared of SharePoint anymore. I can isolate it!

After a dinner break there was a telepanel with Roy Osherove and Robert “Uncle Bob” Martin. The panel was led by Gil who showed his concerns about relatively slow rate of converting not-unit-testing developers to unit-testing developers. Uncle Bob did not share the worries. “Developers not following TDD practices will eventually die and be replaced by those who follow”. I feel safe. I am not the one who will eventually die. I will be a replacement!

After the technical program was over, the participants left Grand Hotel and went to Icebar nearby. This was an… ice bar. Yes, everything made of ice. Chairs, tables, even glasses. Oh, not everything. The drinks were made of drinks.

And in the very end there was a Guitar Hero competition that I will not write much about, because apparently I am a lousy drummer.

So, seriously, what was it? How do I feel about it? It was very unusual. Not like anything else. Of course we have giants like Microsoft or IBM who can arrange huge launch events for thousands of developers. But does it often happen that a small company flies several thousand miles to the place they believe they have strong supporters of their philosophy and gathers them together to share their plans and ideas? I can’t recall anything like this in my professional carrier.

I hope they enjoyed the event and plan a next one. Because I really did. And I plan for the next one.