SeleniumConf came to London!

23 Apr

As mentioned on the Selenium Conference 2012 website, this year conference would be across the pond and it was London.  Conference venue ‘IET London‘ was amazing place situated on the bank of Thames river and great view of historical London Eye. I live and work in London so it’s very convenient for me to get down to the location of the conference. I met with with selenium users all across the world and shared thoughts and ideas about open-source testing. Selenium conference started on Monday April,16 and wrapped up on Wednesday, April,18. I spend three memorable days at Selenium conference and learned a lot about new tools, methodologies and approaches of testing applications with Selenium. I would like to take this opportunity to thank SauceLabs and all other sponsors of the Selenium Conference.

Let me see, how can I explain what happened in the conference.


It was drizzling, when I came out of the Embankment tube station, and need to walk for 2-3 minutes to get to the venue. It wasn’t difficult to find venue and reception of the Selenium conference. I met with Ashley Wilson, (Customer Development Manager at SauceLabs) at registration desk. Ashley played key role in organizing and managing Selenium Conference. then I didn’t forget to pick a T-Shirt labeled with ‘Selenium Conference 2012’. The breakfast and tea was ready.

It was difficult to choose a workshop as both were interesting. I decided to go for workshop ” Contributing to Selenium” by ‘WebDiver Guy‘ (Simon Stewart) in the morning session.

“Contributing to Selenium” Workshop

The workshop aimed at contribution to selenium open-source project. I was ready with all the code downloaded from googleCode and brand new IntelliJ IDE.  I have heard about cool features of the IntelliJ but never tried it before. It is really awesome. Simon already mentioned in technical requirements that ‘ Setting up project in Eclipse is not supported’.

Within the workshop, I had a look at directory structure of the selenium codebase, setup the project in the IntelliJ and also done some code modifications as suggested by Simon. At the middle of the workshop, I was lagging behind while running the JavaScript tests. I ran build with ‘build.desc’ file also ran some test with Firefox driver. Lately, I realised that I was surounded by ‘software engineer in test’ from Google. Lucky me !!

After the break, we started with running tests within IDE. Being new to the ItelliJ, I faced some issues while running tests but managed to get it worked with the help of Simon.  At the end of the workshop, someone asked question about ‘How to measure coverage of the Selenium/Functional tests’  and there were interesting discussion around this topic. Being from PHP background, I couldn’t resist myself to ask about ‘PHP Webdriver bindings and current development on PHP bindings’. Simon said ” In terms of PHP, FaceBook-Webdriver bindings are recommended”. Simon then introduced me to Damien Sereni who works in Facebook. At the end of the session. Me and Demien spend some time discussing about future of the PHP webdriver bindings also shared contact details. The lunch was waiting for us then.

After lunch, again I had to make tough decision about selecting workshop. I have decided to go to “If Ikea made instructions for Selenium (or: How to fix bugs in Selenium for yourself)” by  Daniel Wagner-Hall, and the Selenium Committers. I really missed the another one “Handmade Etsy Tests” by  Stephen Hardisty & Michelle D’Netto. Lately realised that Etsy uses Behat and Mink for functional testing which is interesting topic for me which I missed a lot.

How to fix bugs in Selenium for yourself

In this workshop, Daniel talked about selenium codebase and different drivers. I have already checked out selenium trunk in my system and need to look into Selenium bugs to pick up. Being a tester and having limited development knowledge, I realised that I can’t fix any bug in selenium so just started doing some interesting stuff. I managed to get the tests running on my Andriod phone with the help of Andriod driver. That was enough for me it this session and it was end of first day of the selenium conference.


April,17 is my birthday. I reached early on that day in order to register my unconference talk on “Behat and Sauce Labs Integration”. I registered my talk at 10PM  on that day. I was very excited to talk on the occasion of my birthday.

Anyway, I saw huge crowd on second day of the conference and met with people from different countries while having tea and breakfast. At 9 PM, we get into the lecture hall, which was huge and amazing. There was one tweet from Frisco Del Rosario (@frdelrosario) saying ” Auditorium at #SeConf had balconies, microphones at each chair, flawless wi-fi.

As per the schedule, Jason and Simon introduced sponsors and explained schedule of Track A and Track B talks.

Testing Rapidly Changing Applications With Self-Testing Object-Oriented Selenium Infrastructure

Most people turned on for Track B talk which was on ” Testing Rapidly Changing Applications With Self-Testing Object-Oriented Selenium Infrastructure”  by  Dan Cuellar. I also headed over to that talk. Slides of his talk are available on here Dan explained how to test rapidly changing applications with just small code change in the test infrastructure. Dan implemented object oriented approach that can handle such a rapid change. As per the Dan if you abstracted the code well then you can build robust automated test scripts. Dan is looking for someone who can help him to extend his work to support iOS. If you are interested to help him then email him at

Web acceptance Testing with Behat

After Dan’s talk, it was my turn to give talk on ‘Web Acceptance Testing with Behat’. There was another Track A talk where Anand Ramdeo was talking about “One Step At a Time” most people turned out there. I was bit disappointed seeing only 10 people attending my talk but still I carried it forward. My talk covered BDD and ATDD with the Behat, Sauce Labs , Jenkins and Relish. Slides of my talk are available here.

So you’re automated… now let’s make it fast!

I have decided to stay at Track B where Sauce Ninja Santiago was about to talk on making test automation fast. The title of his talk was ” So you’re automated… now let’s make it fast!”. Santiago shared some tips to make selenium tests faster like avoiding static waits in the tests or running tests in parallel. At the end of the Santiago’s talk, there are couple of raised which sounds interesting to Santiago. There was a question from Mitch about database integration with selenium tests which was interesting. I asked question about flaky tests that fails in the cloud complaining “element not found” but works well in local machine. As per Santiago, it’s bit tricky to judge random failures in browsers in the cloud.

Using Selenium to Improve a Team’s Development Cycle

After the break, I headed over to lecture hall to hear Mike Devis talking about “Using Selenium to Improve a Team’s Development Cycle“. Mike shared some cool tips about improving quality of the functional tests. Mike also talked about involving developers to write tests. I really like the idea of profiling the tests.  Ultimately, it was very pleasant talk with lots of good tips

Geb: Very Groovy Browser Automation

This is one of the best talk from my point of view. Thanks to Luke Daley. This talk was about Geb. Geb is a browser automation framework which combines cool features of WebDriver, jQuery and the Page Objects. Most interesting thing, I found in this talk is $() method. The dollar method can be used to interact with the web pages and accessing web elements. Another interesting thing is integration of Geb with different frameworks like JUnit, TestNG, Spock, Cucumber. At the end of the talk, I asked question on integration of Geb with new Cucumber JVM. Once Luke finished his talk, we went to reception to have a lunch.

Robots: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Build ‘Em

Well, This was most interesting demo to watch that how Jason “Teach Robot to play Angry Bird“. Click the link and watch the video inside the presentation, you will be amazed by seeing that how it can be achieved with Selenium. I think, only God and Jason knows how to write code for this. I just enjoyed the demo and applauded at the end of talk.

Building Quality with Foundations of Mud

After Jason’s talk, Kristian Rosenvold was talking about ‘Building Quality’. Kristian explained how to build test environment, test data and Continuous Integration practices in order to build quality products. He again explained some cool tips to handle flaky tests and errors. His slides are explanatory. Kristian made one statement who liked by selenium contributors. It was “Make your dev team live and Breathe the build”  At the end of the presentation, I asked question on Tolerance rate of their functional tests. Kristian answered that they can tolerate failing integration tests but not the functional tests. Well, then it was time for quick break then.

Massively Continuous Integration

Continuous Integration is area of my interest so I didn’t want to miss talk on my favorite topic. I headed over to the Track B where Jesse Dowdle & David Tolley were talking on their huge continuous integration system. As per their slides, they have reduced cycle time of running tests from 3 days to 30 minutes. The amount of selenium tests and cycle time to run them over Grid literally amused me. They used Jenkins and amazon web for running the tests. I would rather recommend looking at the slides of the presentation. It was amazing talk.I would like to see demo how they run massive test suite within 30 mins. Thanks to speakers & Jenkins.

How to Test the Inside of Your Head

Speaker Liz Keogh is vary famous agile/BDD coach and international speaker. I was impressed by her talks on BDD at Skills Matter. No wonder her talk at Selenium Conference was one the best. Liz talked about collaboration between developers, testers, BA, project managers and customers. As per Liz “Testers are Evil so let them think before writing code“.  Most of people on twitter channel were saying it was brilliant talk.

Well, how can I forget that there was amazing party sponsored by FaceBook at the GlassHouse Store, London. I met with people all around world and had great chat with them. Food and drinks were amazing. Great opportunity to celebrate birthday with unlimited drinks and food. Thanks Facebook.


Last day of the selenium conference was full of interesting talks, lighting talks and end up with closing keynote session. At the start of the day ‘ Simon Stewart’ kicked off with his talk on status of Selenium projects since last selenium conference

State of the Union

Simon didn’t forget to mention that he is on twitter (@shs96c) at the start of his talk. Simon highlighted recent enhancements of the Selenium project. He also point out an year in a browser and new selenium committers. The most interesting part of his presentation was his analysis of job trends in year, the graph amused everyone.

Simon addressed future development will be on mobile drivers as they are being valuable in recent days. He also expecting new stuff with respect to W3C standard. Let’s see how it will go on in near future. Slide of his talks are available here.

After Simon’s talk I headed over to Track B where “TFT Test Automation Framework” talk was going on. It was all about maintaining and writing automated tests just by using spreadsheets.  I really missed “Introducing Selenium Builder – the Future of Test Development” talk by Adam Christian and David Stark. Hope to see videos of the talk soon.

Selenium in the Enterprise: What Went Right, What Went Wrong (So Far)

Noah Sussman  was talking about how they used selenium at Etsy. This talk was more about test maintenance and test infrastructure at Etsy. Being a big fan of Behat, I came across one the slide saying “Etsy used Behat & Mink for functional testing”. I was keen to know more about that and asked question on how they used behat in their projects also had a chat after talk with Noah.

 Automated Security Testing

Alan Parkinson was talking about  ‘Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) Web-Driver’ for automated security testing. Alan introduced ZAP during his talk and then integrated with build system like ANT. Alan’s demo of ZAP and Jenkins was amazing. I couldn’t resist myself to tweet about that. It’s great approach to perform automated security check on build. I will definitely give a try.

Pluggable Test Infrastructure

As far I remember, I have seen video of last selenium conference Dima talking about Selenium and Cucumber. This year Dima and Jeff comes up with Pluggable Test Infrastructure. They are using Cucumber, Capybara and webdriver at Groupon. Jeff said that using Cucumber is debatable. Jeff & Dima combined API tests, iPhone tests, Sauce tests and Selenium tests with Cucumber. It would be interesting to see demonstration of how they achieved this.

Speed up Your Selenium Tests with PhantomJS, the Headless Browser

Ivan De Marino was then talking about PhantomJS  in order to make selenium tests fast. In his talk he showed how you could run selenium tests with PhantomJS and Ghostdriver. Ghostdriver is wire protocol on PhantomJS. One of the tweet was saying Ghostdriver has awesome potential but needs your contribution. If you wish to contribute then fork Github repo now.

Robot Framework

Once Ivan finished his talk on PhantomJS, I have decided to go for Track B where Philip Noetzel was talking about “Robot Framework: Semicolon free testing”. I heard a lot about Robot Framework but didn’t got chance to look into it. This talk was very beneficial for me as Philip shows some cool stuff about robot framework and also shown sample code. Philip also shared his thoughts about pros and cons of using Robot framework. At the end of the presentation we asked Philip if we can use Robot framework for PHP applications.

More Than Automation – How Good Acceptance Tests Can Make Your Team Happier

I was keen to hear Matt Wynne, author of Cucumber book talking about ‘More Than Automation‘. Matt introduced Mortgage Driven Development (MDD) where developers try to make feature completely readable and unmaintainable in order to save your job!. Matt also added concept of “Refuctoring” where developers try to add brittle steps and scenarios in order to make it messy. Well, Matt also said ” Cucumber is a threat” but then audience understood whats intention behind all this idea. As per Matt, Cucumber is cool take which allow everyone to collaborate and write tests. Matt also suggest to read Cucumber book in order to get yourself familiar with Behavior Driven Development (BDD). Matt shared cool tool for living documentation called ‘Relish’. At the end of the talk, there were couple of question around Relish. one of them was asked by me.

Lightning Talks

There were about 10  lightning talks (including mine) scheduled on the board and each one of 5 minutes. Lightning talks was fun. I liked Anand and Komal talked about how to do things wrong. It was nice talk. I am keenly waiting to see videos of Lightning talks.

Closing Keynotes

After the lighting talks there were another session called ‘Closing Keynotes’ where all the selenium committers discuss about the future enhancements and answered questions. There was one interesting question comes up in this session about Selenium 3. Conference was then wrapped up by thanking everyone who attended the conference.


 I bet, everyone who attended conference had loads of fun and learned new things. Those were was not able to attend the conference, they got live conference updates from twitter hashtag #SeConf. I got a tweet from Michelle Flynn (@MichelleFlynn) saying “Great twitter chat about #SeConf, love how you can follow a conference even if you cannot attend

Many people all over the world was getting updates on selenium conference every minute. Thanks to organizers for creating such a unique hashtag also thanks to all twitter users who twitted in #SeConf

Interesting things I found.

  • Mortgage Driven Development
  • Mobile Drivers
  • Use of BDD tools with Selenium like Cucumber, SpecFlow, Behat
  • Geb: Very groovy browser automation framework
  • ‘Atkins’ plug-in for Jenkins
  •  Robot Framework for BDD and DDD
  • Large scale Continuous Integration with Jenkins and Amazon cloud services


Selenium conference taught me lot of new things around Selenium also given an opportunity to meet with Selenium users all across the globe which was amazing experience. Great speakers, great learning experience and amazing location. Thanks SauceLabs, Google and all other sponsors. Looking forward next year !


2 Responses to “SeleniumConf came to London!”

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