Level Up Your Robot Framework Skills at RoboCon 2024 with Miikka Solmela, René Rohner, Guido Demmenie and Liviu Avram

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Miikka Solmela René Rohner Guido Demmenie Liviu Avram TestGuild Automation Feature-2-guests

About This Episode:

Welcome to the TestGuild Automation Podcast! In this episode, we're diving into the exciting world of the Robot Framework, focusing on the upcoming RoboCon 2024 event. We'll be joined by experts Miikka Solmela, Guido Demmenie, René Rohner, and Liviu Avram as they share their insights and experiences with the Robot Framework community.

You'll discover the unique aspects of the RoboCon event, both in-person in Helsinki with a special emphasis on the diverse range of speakers and interactive workshops available to attendees. From developing the Robot Framework style guide to creating successful projects and advanced browser library workshops, we'll delve into the valuable content and knowledge exchange opportunities the conference offers.
Join us as we discuss the importance of networking, community engagement, and the welcoming atmosphere at RoboCon, with firsthand accounts from attendees who have found great value in connecting with others and gaining valuable insights.

We'll also touch upon the highlights of the Finnish RoboCon experience, from the renowned after-party to the community-driven Community Day, and even give you a taste of the unique Finnish culture, including traditional sauna experiences, licorice, and reindeer meat :)

So tune in as we explore the world of the Robot Framework and the exciting opportunities that RoboCon 2024 has to offer. It's an episode you won't want to miss.

Don't forget to register for RoboCon 2024 after you listen.

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About Miikka Solmela

Miikka Solmela

Miikka Solmela is the Executive Director at Robot Framework (Foundation). He is pivotal in growing and enriching the Robot Framework community, focusing on strengthening partnerships and broadening the network. He's at the helm of the annual RoboCon conference, a key event for Robot Framework enthusiasts and is deeply involved in workgroups, actively contributing to discussions on Robot Framework topics, fostering a collaborative and progressive community environment.**

Connect with Miikka Solmela

About René Rohner

rené-rohner

René Rohner is a Principal Consultant for Quality Management, Product Owner of the Value Stream Test Automation at imbus in Germany and Chairman of the board of Robot Framework Foundation. He is member of the Core Team of Robot Framework Browser and developer of Robot Framework DataDriver. He is trainer and coach for Keyword-Driven Testing in multiple small and huge projects in Germany.

Connect with René Rohner

About Guido Demmenie

Guido Demmenie

Guido Demmenie is a senior consultant at and He started his testing career 13 years ago in test management and moved into test automation 7 years ago. He implemented robot framework at several clients and made existing frameworks future proof. He also is an advocate of readable and understandable code.

Connect with Guido Demmenie

About Liviu Avram

liviu-avram

Liviu Avram career spans over 8 years in quality assurance, where he's honed his skills in both manual and automated testing. He's not just proficient; he's an expert with a wide range of development tools like Git, Jira, Jenkins, as well as automation, covering Web, Mobile, API, and Desktop platforms, primarily using the Robot Framework alongside Selenium and Appium. Plus, he's the brain behind the ‘Robot Framework T' YouTube channel, a testament to his passion and expertise in the field.

Connect with Liviu Avram

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[00:00:04] Get ready to discover the most actionable end-to-end automation advice from some of the smartest testers on the planet. Hey, I'm Joe Colantonio, host of the Test Guild Automation Podcast, and my goal is to help you succeed with creating automation awesomeness.

[00:00:25] Joe Colantonio Hey, it's Joe, and welcome to another episode of the Test Guild Automation Podcast. And today, we'll be talking about a must-attend event for Robot Framework users RoboCon 2024. And we'll be joined by four Robot Framework experts to talk about why you should register for the 2024 On-Site Conference. We have joining us, René, who is a principal consultant for Quality Management, Product owner of the Value Stream Test Automation at Imbus in Germany, and he is the chairman of the Board of Robot Frameworks Foundation. He is a member of the core team of Robot Framework browser and developer of Robot Framework Data Driver. He's a trainer and coach for keyword-driven testing in multiple small and huge projects in Germany. If you do anything with Robot Framework, you probably know René. We also have Guido, he's a senior consultant and he started his testing career 13 years ago in test management and moved to test automation 7 years ago, he implemented Robot Frameworks at several clients and made existing frameworks futureproof. He has a lot of experience in this area. He's also an advocate of readable and understandable code, which I think is critical for any automation effort. We have Liviu, whose career spans over 8 years in quality assurance where he really honed his skills in both manual and automated testing. He's also proficient and an expert in a wide range of development tools. I think Git, Jira, and Jenkins as well as automation that covers web, mobile API, desktop platforms, all the things primarily using Robot Framework, which shows you how robust Robot Framework is. If you haven't used Robot Framework after this podcast, you definitely should check it out. And he also has skills with Selenium and Appium. Plus, he's the brain behind the Robot Framework YouTube channel that you should check also. I will have a link to all these in the show notes after the show. And he's a real expert in the field. And joining us as well, we have the executive director of Robot Framework himself, Mikka, is pivotal in growing and enriching the Robot Framework community, focusing on strengthening partnerships and broadening the network. He's at the helm of the annual RoboCon conference for the past few years, I believe, and he is one of the key persons that really drives the Robot Framework and is deeply involved in the workshops. I think he's contributed to the discussions on the Robot Framework topics that go on, as well as collaborating and helping really to push forward the community and a really great community environment that's going on at Robot Framework in RoboCon as well. Really excited to have our four experts join us. You don't want to miss this show. Check it out.

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[00:03:26] Joe Colantonio Hey, experts. Welcome to The Guild.

[00:03:30] René Rohner Hello. Thank you for inviting us.

[00:03:32] Liviu Avram Hello, Joe. Thank you.

[00:03:35] Joe Colantonio All right, guys, before we dive into this awesome event and learn more about the conference, I want to learn more about like, who organized this conference. I think it's done a little bit differently than maybe other open-source projects. So, Mikka, maybe you could tell us a little bit more about, I think, the unique role of the Robot Framework in general, the committee, and such.

[00:03:55] Mikka Solmela Yeah. So thanks for the question. So the Robot Framework Foundation is the organizing party here and the Robot Frank Foundation is the body that develops and maintains the Robot Framework and the community around it. So we are the one responsible for everything and we are a nonprofit organization. We are a democratic association in Finland, but all members come across the globe. So members are companies who join and want to contribute to open source to Robot Framework, to pay a little bit of an annual fee, which we tend to pile into to speaker development budget, then everybody wins in the end. And so the organizers of Robot Framework Foundation. And within us, it's a foundation we then have a RoboCon workgroup which is open to all community members. And we have a group of 10 people organizing the conference.

[00:04:48] René Rohner And maybe the one addition to that question, the uniqueness. Why that thing is so unique? It's not an organization, not a company that organized RoboCon. It's really this association of individual companies that join that association. And as he just briefly mentioned, we are fully democratically. We have one employee, which is Mikka, and then we have the board of directors and I'm one of the members of the board, but I'm just one member of this association and the board is reelected every year. No one in the foundation has any more rights than any other. So it's not like the funding members have more rights of everything and therefore we are really kind of on nearly 70 shoulders here standing with our decision-making process. And not anyone can go nuts and just tear down the tool or use the money for any weird situations. And that's also a good kind of leading over to the community of contributions that we have on the conference. I think we definitely will talk about that later in this podcast how that all works out.

[00:05:53] Joe Colantonio Awesome. Awesome. So I'm really excited about this event. This is the third time I'll be involved with it. Before we get into it, I just want people to get a feel for why I think this event is different because when I joined I'm always amazed by the community and really the expertise and passion around Robot Framework. I'd like to get each of your opinions on what you think RoboCon, what makes it different maybe from other events or other events that you've attended. So René, let's start with you.

[00:06:18] René Rohner Yeah, I actually also joining the very first RoboCon, but back then as a normal user and what kind of impressed how easy it was to get entrance to this community, kind of get in touch with the core developers, get in touch with library developers. You have just known as kind of the big contributors on GitHub to these projects and you can drink a beer with them. And the most important for me here is not the talks. The talks are great, the talks are super nice, but I personally like watching talks on my sofa. I really like getting in touch with the people, having discussions, having ideas, exchanging ideas, or also like just explaining to people my needs. And they say I have the same need, but I have a solution for that. So this exchange is really cool that you have real experts there that can help you with this.

[00:07:07] Joe Colantonio Love it. How about you Guido?

[00:07:09] Guido Demmenie Yeah, I think can relate a lot to what René just said. If you go to RoboCon, you can have a chat with Pekka or anyone else and they're really open for talks. One of the things that I have seen is if you walk around, as always, people that you can just get to have a quick chat about anything Robot Framework related, but also outside of that and there are always people around, even for experts, there's other people that you can still connect with that have an expertise in a different bit or you can then have like the cross expertise that then will help you even if you are an experienced Robot Framework user.

[00:07:51] Joe Colantonio Awesome. How about you Liviu?

[00:07:52] Liviu Avram Well. I'm a first-time attendee at RoboCon in person. I was a previous attendee in 2021 when it was 100% online and I must say that I am very excited to meet the people who I talk to usually only buy chats and I think here lies the value of the community. And I like the fact that in the Robot Framework community, there is a wide range of people who are always willing to help. And since I joined in 2020, I saw that the number of community members has always grown and that's a good thing. And I think that overall the Robot Framework is heading in a very good direction. And as Guido said, you can never know too much Robot Framework. After more than 8 years of experience, I just found out a good debugging solution a few months ago. So getting knowledge from other people in the community is just a goal.

[00:08:55] Joe Colantonio How did you find out that knowledge? Are you speaking to someone in the community or from your YouTube channel?

[00:09:00] Liviu Avram I had a very tricky issue and René helped me with that and he did some magic and I said, Whoa, What's that? You've got to show me how you do that?

[00:09:09] Joe Colantonio Very nice. Mikka, and your thoughts?

[00:09:11] Mikka Solmela I think other people are quite to covered it, but I would still emphasize a little bit about the atmosphere maybe. I think that's something not to overlook especially into in-person conferences. Everybody always feels very welcome. And for example, one of our famous speakers last year said, I feel like to this conference that I can come to the stage and I feel support at talking here on this stage. I think that's something that can be really proudly said as an organizer of this conference that we have created or, of course, the people here have created this kind of funny environment where speakers with their support, that it's friendly and heartfelt and genuine. I think that's one of the key things besides everything else mentioned here already.

[00:10:01] René Rohner Yeah. Can I add something? Because, I mean, Mikka is a Finn, so that's obvious because that conference is also in Finland and we are a Finnish association. But me as a foreigner coming to Finland first time, I was kind of impressed also how welcoming these people are living there, the atmosphere there and compared to other communities. That is really a community where you can really get in touch with the people. And as I said, it's really like a safe zone. I think we have never had any kind of issues in our community with any insults or something like that. And that's also what you will feel when you join this conference. And on the other side, Helsinki is an awesome city. So that's a difference between online and onsite.

[00:10:47] Joe Colantonio Yeah, I've been to similar countries and I think it was near Finland, Sweden, and it was really different and I really loved it. I don't know if it's the same. They had some weird fish. They made all the speakers eat some weird canned fish that they're into. So it's like a uhh.

[00:11:03] René Rohner No no. We have just liqueur and gin in Finland basically. And you may get an elk or reindeer, but. You're going to get that then Sweden as well. But they are not as crazy as we are, so that's awesome. And the sauna is hotter in Finland than Sweden.

[00:11:20] Mikka Solmela You don't read the newspaper here in the sauna like you're doing in Sweden.

[00:11:25] Liviu Avram Oh yeah. Because it's colder outside.

[00:11:29] Joe Colantonio Another interesting thing I found out with this online, I know it's even better on-site is the community day. I don't think a lot of other events have these aspects to their event. So maybe we could talk a little bit about the community day. I don't know if anyone has any strong opinions about it, Mikka, maybe we'll start with you?

[00:11:45] Mikka Solmela Yeah, definitely. I think the community day is one of the great things about our conference. So in person of course, you can join there at our partner location and then we huddle up in the first hour to see who wants to discuss what then do what our code, do some actual coding or just have a late discussion on a few topics during the day. Then everybody splits the smaller groups and it's really a community effort. So whatever comes from the community we attend, put on the table, find peer groups for everybody. Then after lunch, we regroup and do kind of a similar thing. And of course, it's a drop in, drop out kind of thing. You don't have to be stick with one work group if you say like, maybe this is not for me after all. So then you can go to some other discussion group or do something else. It's really from community to community. It's 100% free of charge. This goes for both kinds of in-person and online. I'll tell you, we do have tickets, there's something that you could potentially attend to even without the possibility to purchase into actual conference tickets. That's kind of what it is and how we run it, more or less.

[00:13:03] René Rohner Maybe I can add a little bit how this also feels or the situation is for a participant and maybe you have known concept or heard about concepts like an open space or an unconference. So that's basically what that day is. We have prepared, I think, to workshop this year's tutorials for beginners, but we also will have definitely discussions about Robot Framework core development. So it kind of starts with an agenda setting. So we asked people what is the topic you want to discuss today? So as MIkka said, you can do coding, but you can also just participate a tutorial like a beginner's tutorial, and then maybe a group of people find together and say, okay, we want to talk about new features and Robot Framework core and just discuss like the first half of the day with Pekka. Or maybe some people said, I wanted to try out this thing I learned yesterday on my workshop. And is there anyone who wants to peer up with me a little bit coding? So it's kind of totally flexible. And there are these kinds of rules like you can leave, as Mikka already said, and there are multiple workshop rooms there where you can talk, where you can sit down and we have pizza and free drinks.

[00:14:12] Mikka Solmela Remember one thing to top up, especially for a trained person. Unfortunately, not everything is possible online. We will be having a sauna there after the open space day, so maybe that's something that can be exciting for some people, at least. At least, for all the Finns and I hope most of the other people.

[00:14:31] René Rohner But I think for all foreigners, maybe we should explain the Finnish sauna a little bit. I think that the most important thing is, yes, it's naked, but it's gender separated. So don't worry. If you come in there, you will have a separate slot for your gender. And if you want to say, I want to try out the sauna, but without any people, also, that is absolutely possible. So you don't have to be afraid. And if you say, I'm not comfortable with getting undressed, no one will force you so you can stay dressed if you would like to join the sauna. But you have to get comfortable with that other people do not wear that much stuff.

[00:15:13] Joe Colantonio All right. All right. I guess something that could be a benefit or not for the onsite event for sure, but definitely, that's something you're into. Definitely, you want to be onsite for sure. So talking about different topics of why they should join the onsite event, I just want to get a few insights into maybe what maybe we can pitch what you're speaking about. Guido, I think you're talking about the Robot Framework style guide. Maybe you can give a little teaser of what that's about and what people need to fly over to Finland or take a train or walk over to it to learn more about.

[00:15:45] Guido Demmenie Yeah, the style guide is actually we write a lot of code, of course, but everyone does it in their own way and there are definitely different ways you can write your code, but what is a good way to write it? What is readable and what are the things that you should be doing and what shouldn't you be doing? We did not have any style guide like for instance, for Python, you have Pep 8 and we did not have anything. So everyone was doing it on their own. And I think two years ago, Kelby Stine, he came to talk, Hey, shouldn't we have one? And that is where one of the work groups started to well to actually get one. And I was thinking, well, that's an interesting thing to start contributing to the Robot Framework community. So that's where I jumped in. And well, currently we have our first version already out. We're hoping to get a lot of feedback and we already have some feedback also from people who created the tools that help us with it. I'm really looking forward to getting some more feedback now, hopefully, have a little bit more or add to it until we get to the conference and then release the first version of it.

[00:17:01] Joe Colantonio Awesome. And I heard this is your first time speaking or is it your first time speaking at RoboCon?

[00:17:06] Guido Demmenie It's my first time actually to have a talk at RobotCon, yes. Bit nervous for that, but.

[00:17:12] Joe Colantonio You'll nailed it, I'm sure.

[00:17:13] Liviu Avram Welcome to the group.

[00:17:15] Joe Colantonio Yeah. And Liviu, you mentioned something like you've been using Robot Framework for a while and you learned something new. I think that's one of the pros of Robot Framework. It's so vast, it has such a great ecosystem. There are so many ways of doing things you're not locked into, like a specific way of doing it. I believe you're doing something on how to create a successful Robot Framework with an automation project because I think a lot of people may stumble with it.

[00:17:37] Guido Demmenie Yes, indeed. So you can set up your project in many different ways and you can write your code in many different ways. So in the past seven years, I've been together with one of my colleagues. I've been working out an architecture how we want to write our code so that it is easily readable by also our product owners so they already know what is being tested, but also making sure that even if you have across different teams with different applications that might interact with each other that you can share your code. It's also scalable across more teams. And well, we decided, okay, let's get that out there because it might help other people too to solve the problems they run into when they're implementing Robot Frameworks somewhere.

[00:18:25] Joe Colantonio Awesome. And Liviu? What are you going to be speaking about and maybe give a little tease for your topic, why people should definitely attend?

[00:18:30] Liviu Avram Yeah, my topic is called How to Create a successful Robot Framework project. It comes from the beginning of my Robot Framework journey where I started with the already developed project, and I continued it on a very wrong way. And then when changes came, I realized I needed months to repair that. And over the years, stuff like that kept happening at one level or another. And I started to realize that in order to do things right, you need to follow some blueprints, you need to follow some principles, you need to keep some things in mind before actually implementing. Just so you can edit later, you can add to it later, and you can have a project that is stable, it's scalable, and it offers good value. Two of the most important topics I believe you are aware of are dry and kiss. Don't repeat yourself and keep it simple stupid. Well, that's the base. That's the foundation of a successful Robot Framework project. And of course, a lot of documentation.

[00:19:40] Joe Colantonio Nice. Do you know if there's one thing people new to Robot Framework maybe stumble on? I know you have a very popular Robot Framework YouTube channels which are most popular, maybe video that maybe people should know about.

[00:19:52] Liviu Avram I have a full tutorial on Robot Framework basics where I explain what Robot Framework is and then I go through things like what are variables, what are keywords, what are resource files, and so on. And then I have a full tutorial on mobile automation. And the reason I wanted to do that was because when I searched for Robot Framework tutorials or courses, I only found a few and they were teaching you just a little bit. I wanted to do something that will get you beyond the basics. For example, the full tutorial I have on mobile automation teaches you from scratch how to set up a mobile environment and how to run a project that runs to Android devices, launching a chat app, and talking to each other. So it's beyond the basics.

[00:20:46] Mikka Solmela Yeah, I can maybe add to that. So previous videos are also partly embedded to our new guides. So during the past few years we have greatly improved our especially getting started that material, but also kind of starting to make a little bit more videos on the side with Liviu, but also with Pekka. Now a few more press videos that shows how to get started and so forth. I think we are in many ways in a better shape than we were a few years back when Liviu started. But also Liviu's work has been very, very important ground work and I hope he continues the good work and spread the word about Robot Framework.

[00:21:29] Joe Colantonio Awesome. And René, I know usually kick off the conference. Do you have a session as well or what will you be doing at the live event?

[00:21:37] René Rohner Yes, I typically open the conference as chairman of the board together with Mikka as the executive director. I also have some kind of a very secret thing going on in the end of the first day we are not telling what it is, but it will be a lot of fun. And I'm actually doing a workshop together with one other core member of the browser library, it was Tatu Aalto. And that is happening before the community day. So maybe we can talk a little bit about the idea of the workshops, how they work. There are different tickets, so you have to kind of buy a workshop ticket for those. But in the workshops, we have some very cool workshops about, for example, what I'm doing, browser library advance. So if you learned with Liviu's tutorial how to use Robot Framework, how to really work with like automation and so on, and then you want to go to the next level. You can come to this advanced workshop where we can give you really like insights. We will teach you some basic JavaScript knowledge, but also how to extend and use the APIs of the browser library, how to use Playwright APIs to make own keywords, develop keywords that you have not yet there. And we also have workshops about how AI is used Robot Framework. We have a workshop about how you do your own library development. We have a workshop about how you use Kubernetes and Docker with Robot Framework. So there's a broad variety of these workshops and that's particularly cool because there you can really sit down with a small group of people, like 10 people, and really work a full day and learn from the best of the best. I mean, except me, but I will be there as well.

[00:23:17] Joe Colantonio You have a lot of workshops, at least 10 of them, so it looks like a lot for people to choose from.

[00:23:21] Mikka Solmela Yeah, maybe one of the things we could still clarify a bit. So actually if we talk about the conference, so we technically have two conferences, so there will be a Robot Framework, in-person conference which is the main conference, lots of talks and engagement with the participants and so forth will happen in Helsinki that will be in February 8th and 9th. But before that there is the community day on 7th and workshops on 6th. There is actually kind of like a more or less full week of program. Til Saturday we will do some walking tours on this kind of low key activities that anybody can join. But the second conference is actually at two weeks later with awesome Joe, as a host. And that's the online conference. And it will happen in .... So you have your avatar to move your little kind of like this 3D character that you can interact with other people. And also there will be 100% fresh content with a live Q&A it's an online conference. And it is also followed by the Community Day. It's online conferences from 28th to 29th of February. And the 1st of March is the community day for the online. And then on top of all of this, we actually have test tutorials a few spread out into in-person and a few around online conferencesRené . So it's a really hefty package of Robot Framework for anybody from beginner to very experienced user. Whatever is your level. I'm certain you will find your kind of spot there.

[00:24:57] René Rohner And maybe what I wanted to add to also show this community thing. All the speakers we have, they are all community members. They are all volunteering for their talk. Of course, they have a lot of effort with that. They get a free ticket from us, but it's not that we are paying them. We use that to really gain knowledge for the community and the same with the workshop days. So the money we collect with the workshops and also the money we collect with the conference is used to directly spend for Robot Framework itself. So to develop the tool further and also sometimes fund ecosystem projects. So libraries around Robot Framework, they can also apply for funding money and we use that for that. And also these full-day workshops that are typically people that are sometimes get the time from their employer to make a workshop there for free, like pro-bono workshop. Sometimes they are even doing that in their private time and they also see this kind of engagement of the people. It's not like the company has bought a tool and you have to use it. You really feel that the people are burning for it, that they really like what they are doing. So they want to spread the word like Liviu, said, Hey, that's an awesome tool. I have to make YouTube videos about that.

[00:26:09] Liviu Avram Awesome. And I will.

[00:26:10] Joe Colantonio Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. No, I'm biased. I definitely love the online event, but if someone can attend the on-site, I highly recommend you do. It will be an experience. I know I'd love to meet everyone face to face myself. So if you can go on-site, I highly recommend you take advantage of it. And when you register we'll have a link to this in the show notes as well on how to actually go there in person. Also, one other thing I'm just curious to know because you all will be there on-site, is there one particular session or workshop you're most excited about? And maybe that'd be a good way to get people to find out why they should attend as well on-site. Liviu? Any thoughts on a session that you may be looking or eyeing other than your own?

[00:26:53] Liviu Avram I was going to say that, but now that you said it, I cannot say it anymore. Well, as a first-time speaker and as an experienced user with the community, I believe that all talks will be great. And I say that because each time somebody asks a question in the Slack community, there's always somebody who helps him. I had the opportunity to attend this kind of meetings between people who are on the same subject, and you always find something useful by talking to other people. And if we can do that online on Slack, imagine the amount of information and the amount of help you can get on-site. And I'm excited about every talk because they are all related to what we are doing each day.

[00:27:43] Joe Colantonio Absolutely. How about you Guido?

[00:27:44] Guido Demmenie Yeah, actually, I haven't really looked at the line up yet. The funny thing when I go to a conference, what I usually do is have a quick look also for the talks that I think of that's not something for me. And then just go there because there's always something you can pick up from that and you get new ideas because if you go to two things that you already know, you'll expand your knowledge but with a tiny bit. If you go to something that you didn't know about or that you think, I'm probably never going to use that, then still you get usually a lot more knowledge that, well, maybe come up like next year or in a program or in an assignment that you are on two years ahead. I mean, you will always get something valuable out of it. I always tend to go and look. What is something that I might not use right now, but maybe in the future.

[00:28:38] Joe Colantonio Great advice. How about you, René?

[00:28:40] René Rohner Yeah, I would honestly say I'm mostly looking forward to the breaks and maybe the community day and most importantly, the after-party. But I would come to that afterward. So I must say, regarding the talks and watching through the lineup, the one good thing here is we are single threaded so we don't have multiple tracks being side by side. We had more than 80 proposals this year and really had to kind of sort them out or made it possible that, for example, the tutorials are not part of the one conference stream, but they have the day before and the day after. We will also have some tutorials on open spaces after the conference or fully detached off the conference. But we want to give the people the possibility to look them all out. And therefore, for example, we are also not streaming again these talks that we had on-site. So first last year, the last two years, I think we had on-site talks that were recorded and then we are streaming them on the online conference as well, or at least the last year. And this time we had so many applicants and applications that we have just the full on site conference and then we have a full new lineup for the online conference. And all of these talks are recorded. All of these talks will be released later in the year to the public as well. But the real advantage is to be there and be there. Talk with the people, grab a speaker if you know something or if you heard something in the talk who is really interesting, go to the speaker's corner, talk with the speakers directly face to face and discuss these topics, which is also possible on the online conference. But it's much more direct. And I had, for example also the situation that I think it was maybe the third conference or second, I don't know, some women approached me and said, Hey, René, you do the data driver, right? Yeah. You're manipulating the test cases within the row. I want to know how that works. And so. Okay, how familiar are you with Python, that stuff? Yeah, I know, quite a bit. And then we just grab our notebook and it was during the break and we set down in this cinema location we have back then and we just sit down and did some coding there. And this kind of situation, if you just do some peer coding with someone on the conference, is really like an impressive situation. Or we had this situation that there was someone saying, I would like to have this feature. And in the end, in the afternoon and during the evening party, you saw two of the core developers sitting there and doing the Git commits and implementing this feature because they were so kind of fixed on this new idea. And I think this is the real value of the conference getting the exchange. And then also have some breaks of talking and listen to someone during the talks. And I think there is a lot of variety. And maybe something about the after-party. So of course, we will have an after party without sauna actually, but we will have an after party after the conference. And that's another point that I want to kind of bring on top. So don't leave Helsinki on Friday. That would be a huge mistake and stay until Saturday on the one hand and or stay even until Sunday or Monday. Helsinki is in my city. If you are not from Helsinki and we will have a nice after-party. But also there you have the possibility of exchange and also some private exchange. Like not like we are always talking about Robot Framework that people talking about their lives, their work balance, doing automation. There are issues with all the developers creating all the bugs all the time and stuff like that. So there's a huge, huge exchange possibility.

[00:32:20] Joe Colantonio And I've always heard the after-party is epic and legendary, so people definitely know the reason why you definitely want to join the on-site event and to learn more. Also definitely head on over to RobotCon.io grab your ticket now so you can make it to the onsite event. Mikka, I didn't ask you, being the executive director of Robot Framework, what do you get out of the conference? Do you just go round and get a feel for what's resonating with the community and what's not? Or like what do you get out of the on-site of that from that perspective? What are you excited to see?

[00:32:51] Mikka Solmela One of two things I must confess now, like when you were referred to the Robot Framework expert that was really honored, but I don't really feel myself to be an expert in a Robot Framework per se. I maybe be on an expert Robot Framework related to things like our community and what's out there. But at the same time, with the hard core technical stuff, I'm not a real expert here, so my background is not technical. I am learning a lot more all the time. And that's one of the things I do love about the conference. Like many people don't know that I'm not the technical expert there, then they come to me to talk about, Hey, I had this thing with Robot Framework and then I run into this issue and then I'm like. I have never heard about that. That so fascinating. Tell me more. What the thing is? When they tell more about that, then I can usually kind of have a hunch like, what is the actual issue there? And I can connect that person with the actual expert who knows about that domain or might help with that issue. For me, it's about preaching people, finding kind of what's topical. What issues that might be with Robot Framework? What enhancements we need? What is happening in the field overall. So that's kind of like one of the main things I love about the conference because people just give us so much about themselves and how to use Robot Frameworks. So they're not just they're like a sponge to absorb information and then trying to make it better community and a better tool for everybody.

[00:34:18] René Rohner I have to add something and maybe tell a short story about that. So it's always a situation like Mikka is standing there together with me opening the conference. I'm just the chairman, but he's the executive director, so he executes stuff. I mean, honestly, it's a total different so he knows the numbers and I'm more involved, but it's always fun because he gets approached during the break. I have this super nerdy question and here, let me show you my code, what I did and it doesn't work. And he said, Oh, okay, cool. That they'll let those on your screen. And then there was the other situation where we're sitting in the open space and we were talking and there was this one Finnish dude talking to someone, never been to Finland and they were talking about Robot Frameworks. So real technical stuff and they were talking about the APIs. And the Finn was explaining the one I think the Finn was, I think the name was Pekka Klärck or something like this, and he was talking to that foreigner. And then the foreigner I said, Hey, you really know well about Robot Framework. Do you work a lot with it? I invented it. Oh, you are Pekka Klärk. Yes. It was so like he didn't recognize him at all. So they were just talking about that stuff. And that's also this. It kind of mirrors how you feel there. You have the whole variety and occasionally you just run into some people and you don't know who they are and you just chit chat with them. And it's nice.

[00:35:39] Joe Colantonio That's what I love about the on-site event those type of interactions, the stories you take home and you'll remember forever and you'll make lifelong connections. So I love that. All right, guys, I think it's time to wrap it up. But before we go, any piece of actual advice for people that want to get started with Robot Framework or maybe piece of advice that you think would help them be successful at a RoboCon conference? I'll go by the way, I see people on my screen. So, René, we'll start with you.

[00:36:03] René Rohner Okay. I would just say if you want to start a good start is going to docs.RobotFramework.org or just go to Robot Framework.org. You will see the docs and the docs you have to the user guide. There is written everything. I don't know everything that's written in there. There's definitely written everything. Then we have the actual guides, which is the page we are just creating. Liviu's use style guide will be there. Liviu's YouTube videos would be there. Guido's style guide is there. There are some real kind of hands-on how you start with that. And then my other advice would be go to the community part of our page and go to the slack and sign up for the slack and sign up for the forum and the slack channel. We have a Slack channel. We have, I think, 14,000 members there. They are not all active. They're not all writing stuff. But then kind of go there and ask questions or if you know anything. And that's maybe even more valuable. If you know anything about Robot Framework, just occasionally drop by, see if there is any question that you can answer. And even if you are a beginner and just started with Robot Framework and then, you know, maybe a piece, you could still answer in the newbie's channel and help the next generation of newbies there. I think this is my advice like be active, approach the people, but also give something back to the community.

[00:37:26] Joe Colantonio Love it. Guido?

[00:37:27] Guido Demmenie Yeah, I think just a bit on going to the conference. Don't be afraid to go on your own because it's a really nice bunch of people. You will not feel alone, but if you go with a group of colleagues or something, make sure that you don't stick together all the time. I've done that myself once. Well, it was a great conference. I learned a lot. But since I started going on my or at least branching off my colleagues, I got to know René and Mikka and well, that makes a hell of a difference if you go on your own walking around.

[00:38:05] Joe Colantonio Great advice, Liviu?

[00:38:07] Liviu Avram There were two questions. The answer to the second question how to be successful at RoboCon. I don't know how to answer that because I'm a first-time participant, I'm waiting on somebody to tell me that or I will discover it myself. But the first question was, how do you start with Robot Framework? And here I think I have a good advice. Robot Framework is a keyword-driven framework. It's very easy to create automation with Robot Framework, but if you dive right into the keyword writing and you get excited about the fact that you have opened the browser or opened an application on a mobile device and you start things from the middle, you will find yourself lost along the way because you are lacking important information. So as René said, start with the documentation, start with the guides, start with some tutorials. And then for certain questions it's incredibly helpful to join the Robot Framework community and the Slack Channel.

[00:39:10] Joe Colantonio Absolutely. Mikka, any parting words of wisdom?

[00:39:12] Mikka Solmela I would say just join RoboCon. You will be amazed.

[00:39:17] Joe Colantonio Absolutely. And the best way to do that once again is RoboCon.io. Is that correct?

[00:39:21] Mikka Solmela Correct.

[00:39:23] Joe Colantonio Awesome. So definitely go to the URL, type in RoboCon.io or in the show notes will have a big button there that says RoboCon.io. click on it and make sure to register and hope to see you there.

[00:39:33] Thanks again for your automation awesomeness. The links of everything we value we covered in this episode. Head in over to testguild.com/a476. And if the show has helped you in any way, why not rate it and review it in iTunes? Reviews really help in the rankings of the show and I read each and every one of them. So that's it for this episode of the Test Guild Automation Podcast. I'm Joe, my mission is to help you succeed with creating end-to-end, full-stack automation awesomeness. As always, test everything and keep the good. Cheers.

[00:40:07] Hey, thanks again for listening. If you're not already part of our awesome community of 27,000 of the smartest testers, DevOps, and automation professionals in the world, we'd love to have you join the FAM at Testguild.com and if you're in the DevOps automation software testing space or you're a test tool provider and want to offer real-world value that can improve the skills or solve a problem for the Guild community. I love to hear from you head on over to testguild.info And let's make it happen.

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