Fresh ideas from SoCraTes BE

I’ve just returned from SoCraTes BE 2017, which took place in the damp and picturesque Ardennes (this leafy picture shows the centre of town!) I come home from every SoCraTes buoyed up my the strength of our community, and full of new ideas and associations.

Here are some of the ideas that excited me this time:

Event Sourcing

Mathias Verraes ran a session on event sourcing that brought my understanding of this technique to a new level. We discussed how it doesn’t just give us a new way of modelling and storing data, but a new and transformative ontology for understanding our systems. He explained a great technique for dealing with outside events, for example the passing of time, which span off a whole set of thoughts about testing techniques. And he showed how this way of thinking can help us improve our BDD.

After this session, I started pondering whether an event-based model can be used for projecting the result of future events. I’m looking forward to exploring this further.

Claim-Based Access Control

Johan Peeters ran a session on Security in RESTful applications. This turned into an enlightening discussion of claim-based access control, and how it differs from role-based systems. I’m particularly interested by the idea of using event sourcing techniques to implement a claim-based identity system.


I’m preparing my talk for the European Testing Conference, and I wanted to gather thoughts on testing patterns. I ran a workshop to gather and briefly characterise as many of these patterns as possible, and came a way with some fantastic material.

Conversations arose from this in which we discussed the tendency amongst TDD practitioners to sideline exploratory testing, and in a discussion led by Jo van Eyck we thought about how property-based testing can provide a technique for reintegrating this practice.


Earlier in the year I was telling Annelies de Meyere about the Bells and Algorithms sessions I ran at SoCraTes UK, and she persuaded me (it didn’t take much!) to bring my bells to SoCraTes BE. Amélie Cornélis had been inspired by my session to buy her own set of bells, and she brought them along as well, so we teamed up and ran the biggest and most lively Bells and Algorithms session so far, including a 16-bell bubble sort. I’m always captivated by how much everyone enjoys these sessions, how many ideas they prompt, and by the magical way our bell ringers spontaneously self-organise as soon as they start feeling the patterns they’re enacting.

Edited on 15 November 2017 to correct typos spotted by Nick Tune.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s