rOpenSci | Last Night, Testing Saved my Life · Community Call
December 5, 2019

Last Night, Testing Saved my Life

To the uninitiated, software testing may seem variously boring, daunting or bogged down in obscure terminology. However, it has the potential to be enormously useful for people developing software at any level of expertise, and can often be put into practice with relatively little effort.

Our 1-hour Call will include two speakers and at least 20 minutes for Q & A.

As someone with a background in science, not software engineering, Steffi LaZerte will share her experiences using automated testing in R to ensure that packages do what they’re supposed to do, on all the operating systems they’re supposed to do it on, and that they handle weird stuff gracefully.

Rich FitzJohn will talk about how to make testing much more useful than a chore that one does just because it is “best practice”, focussing on how testing has been useful in his work - refactoring code bases, preventing regressions, and improving how code is written in the first place. He will discuss how testing can help at the heart of processes, particularly in collaborative work, and how automating your testing leaves you with more time and energy to focus on your software, and describe strategies for testing as systems grow more complex, such as using mocking to simulate components.


Portrait of Steffi LaZerte
Steffi LaZerte

Steffi LaZerte is a consulting R programmer and teacher, and Adjunct Professor at Brandon University in Manitoba. She is the author of the rOpenSci-reviewed weathercan package. She has a PhD in Behavioral Ecology and recently received the Society of Canadian Ornithologists Early Career Research Award. Steffi’s research career has involved exploring seasonal changes in chipmunk activity patterns, effects of anthropogenic noise on communication in birds, and the development of R packages for behavioral ecology. See more on GitHub, Twitter, Their Website, and rOpenSci.

Portrait of Rich FitzJohn
Rich FitzJohn

Rich FitzJohn is a research software engineer in the RESIDE group at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis in London UK. His focuses are infrastructure and tools that generalize problems common to research groups across the department. He is interested in reproducible research and in helping researchers get more science done per line of code that they write. Rich has a PhD in zoology. His research career involved modeling coexistence in tropical forests, diversification over macro-evolutionary timescales and the potential for gene flow from genetically-modified crops. Rich is part of rOpenSci’s Leadership team. See more on GitHub, Twitter, Their Website, and rOpenSci.