Wednesday, October 31, 2012

UDS-R: Rise of the the (quality) machines

Greetings from Copenhagen! I thought I would give a mid-UDS checkup for the quality team community. You may have already heard some of the exciting stuff that is already been discussed at UDS. Automated testing is being pursued with full vigor, the release schedule has been changed, and cadence testing is in. In addition, ubuntu is being focused into getting into fighting shape by targeting the Nexus 7 as a reference platform for mobile.

I was honored enough to have a quick plenary where attendees here got to see and hear about the various automated testing efforts going on. Does that mean the machines have replaced us? Hardly! The goal with bringing automated testing online is to help us be more proactive with how and why we test. We've done an amazing job of reacting to changes and bugs, but now as a community I would like us to focus on being proactive with our testing. The changes below are all going to help set us firmly in this direction. By proactively testing things, we eliminate bugs, and repetitive or duplicated work for ourselves. This frees us to explore more focused, more interesting, and more in-depth testing. So without further ado, here's a quick rundown of the changes discussed here in Copenhagen -- hang on to your testing hats!

The Release schedule has dropped all alphas, and the first beta, resulting in a beta and then final release milestone only. In addition, the freezes have been moved back a few weeks. The end result is the archive will not be frozen till late in the cycle, allowing development and testing to continue unencumbered. This of course is for ubuntu only. Which brings us to flavors!

Flavors will now have complete control over there releases. They can chose to test, freeze, and re-spin according to there own schedule and timing. Some will adopt ubuntu's schedule, others may retain the old milestones or even do something completely different.

Iso's will now be automatically 'smoke' tested before general release. No more completely broken installers on the published images! In addition, the iso's will be published daily as usual, but will not have typical milestones as mentioned above. Preference will be given to the daily iso -- the current one -- throughout the cycle. Testing will occur in a cadence instead of a milestone.

Rather than milestones, a bi-weekly cadence of testing will occur with the goal of assuring good quality throughout the release cycle. The cadence weeks will be scheduled and feature testing different pieces of ubuntu in a more focused manner. This includes things like unity, the installer, and new features landing in ubuntu, but will also be the target of feedback from the state of ubuntu quality.

State of ubuntu Quality
A bold effort to generate a high level view of what needs testing and what is working well on a per image basis inside of ubuntu. This is an experimental idea whose implementation will garner feedback early in the cycle and will collect data and influence decisions for testing focus during the cycle. *fingers crossed*

This tool will integrate xpresser to allow for a complete functional UI testing tool. One of the first focuses for testcases will be automating the installer from a UI perspective to free our manual testing resources from basic installer testing! From the community perspective, we can join in both the writing, and executing of automated, as well as the development of the tool itself.

Hardware Testing Database
This continuing experiment will become more of a reality. The primary focus of the work this cycle will be to bring the tool, HEXR, online and to do basic integration with the qatracker for linking your hardware profiles. In addition, focused hardware testing using the profiles will be explored.

I hope this gives you a nice preview of what's coming. I would encourage you to have a look a the blueprints and pads for the sessions, and ask questions or volunteer to help in places you are interested. I am excited about the opportunities to continue bringing testing to the next level inside of ubuntu. I  owe many thanks to the wonderful community that continues to grow around testing. Here's to a wonderful cycle.

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