I thought I would share some experiences from the Milwaukee PHP meeting last night. If you're running a TestFest event, you may find this helpful. Our attendees really enjoyed the event and a few wanted to know when we were doing it again. We even submitted two tests as a group.
1. Make sure all attendees set things up before arriving
We did not do a good job communicating how to prepare for the event. This is mainly because I only really prepared the day of, so it was mainly poor planning on my part. People showed up with Linux and Windows laptops and all had some form of issue walking through the two tutorials on phptestfest.org <http://phptestfest.org/>. (On the plus side, one determined Windows user had started creating a Windows bat version of the bash scripts in the docker-phpqa project. Another started documenting steps to get it working with the Linux subsystem on Windows 10. Hopefully they'll contribute that back.) Just to clarify, the tutorials are very helpful and I'm extremely grateful for them. No knock on them in any way!
2. Have a couple tests in mind to work on before starting the event
Thankfully Sammy K came prepared and had two areas of code that were uncovered and relatively easy to write a test for. I have a feeling we would have probably gone to the bug tracker and clicked around for a while before settling in to writing a test. Having these 2 areas to work on made our evening far more productive.
3. Try to have someone in attendance with PHP contribution experience
I can honestly say that our evening would not have been as good as it was without Sammy K driving up from Chicago to assist. He helped people running into PHP compilation issues, test tooling issues, as well as pointed us at sites like gcov.php.net <http://gcov.php.net/> which I had never looked at before. In addition, he had some contextual knowledge about the kinds of things that should and should not be tested. Many, many thanks to Sammy for helping out! If you don't have someone like that in your immediate area, maybe even trying to have someone remotely on IRC could be useful as well.