210: Selenium WebDriver Past, Present & Future with Simon Stewart

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In this episode, we test talk with the creator of Selenium Simon Stewart. Simon shares his view on the past, present, and future of the Selenium project. So get ready to discover how and why Selenium was created, AI, W3C, Simon’s approach to automation and more. Simon also reveals his top actionable advice around succeeding with automation.

About Simon Stewart

Simon Stewart is the creator of WebDriver, the open source web application testing tool, as well as a core Selenium developer. WebDriver remains a hot topic as it is currently going through a W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) specification process, which Simon is a co-editor of. He describes himself as “undeniably hairy”, and holds a BSc in computer science from Nottingham University.

Quotes & Insights from this Test Talk

  • I think one of the interesting things was at the time and talks were doing this there just wasn't that much tooling around. And then the other thing was that we were being told to be like goods Agile developers as good XPers like Extreme Programming. And then you do TDD. And the problem is there isn't a framework to do the testing, so you know what are you going to do. You're going to write the framework that allows you to do the testing. And the other thing as well is there were a group of people who are very talented and ThoughtWorks allowed them the space to open source of things they are working on.
  • I think also we're now in a different part of the product lifecycle. So we've got the W3C standard coming through. And like I was having a conversation today with someone who goes like I'd like if WebDriver did this if selenium did this and so well the way you get that in is you put a pull request through you for that W3C spec that gets accepted. You write the test of the Web testing platform where platform tests even and then once that happens the browser vendors go and they implement things and then it happens and it becomes available. And that is a far more bureaucratic thing than we've ever had before. But the nice thing is it's now not dependent on an individual it becomes a sort of piece of community infrastructure where anyone is more able to contribute in a way.
  • It doesn't bother me if folks create their own browser automation solution rather than add on or make Selenium better. Like I do open source because I feel like, we have accidentally taken over the world but I wasn't like the intent. You know it's there scratching an itch and having fun and solving the problem. I think if people want to burn limited engineering hours doing something that is a bit unusual then that's fine. There are always cases where WebDriver isn't a great fit.
  • I think one of the things we're going to say that's happening that will happen is I think the debugging protocols will end up being standardized as well. Like you can see so much tooling built around it and find it useful that it will be really nice to be able to share that stuff. So I wouldn't be surprised if Mozilla, Chrome, Ege, and Safari at some point all adopt a shared debugging protocol which is standardized thru W3C.
  • The term artificial intelligence became so polluted that people working in that field had to rename it machine learning. And then you got deep machine learning and deep doesn't mean anything particularly clever it just means that neural networks like a certain depth a certain size. If you treat AI as the application of statistics to a problem then I think you end up with something far more interesting.
  • Pass Or Do Not Pass There is No Flake!

Connect with Simon Stewart

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