September 19th, 2007 | Published in Google Testing
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Many projects at Google have started using or are considering using Selenium. We recently interviewed Noogler (new people to Google) Jason Huggins, who is the creator and developer of Selenium, to learn about how it all started and where it's going.
[Side note: Even before his first day at the Googleplex, Jason showed an amazing dedication to Google. After leaving
CG: Why did you invent Selenium? What was the motivation?
CG: Why does the world need another test tool?
CG: What's special about it?
CG: When did you realize that Selenium was a big deal? What was the tipping point?
CG: Have you discovered any interesting teams using Selenium in ways you'd never intended?
Huggins: At my previous company, I did see some developers write Selenium scripts to create their time and expense reports for them from YAML or XLS files. Since we hadn't exposed a back-end API, automating the browser for data entry was the next best thing. It was never designed for this purpose, but I started (ab)using it as coded bug reports. Asking users for steps on how to reproduce a bug naturally lends itself to looking like a Selenium test for that bug. Also, I've used the Selenium IDE Firefox plug-in to enter NBC's "Deal or No Deal" contest on their website from home, but I stopped doing that when I read in the fine print that the use of automation tools to enter their contest was grounds for disqualification.
CG: What advice do you have to offer Google groups interested in Selenium?
Huggins: Well, one of the biggest drawbacks with user interface testing tools is that they're slow for various reasons. One way to bring the test run times down is to run them in parallel on a grid of servers, instead of sequentially. Of course, that isn't news to your average Googler. Engineers would be more likely to run automated browser UI tests if they could run 1000 tests in 1 minute total time on 1000 machines instead of 1000 tests in 1000 minutes on 1 machine. Sadly, though, most projects allocate only one machine, maybe two, to browser testing. I'm really excited to come to Google with the resources, the corporate interest, and the internal client base to make a large scale Selenium UI test farm possible. Eventually, I’d like to take Selenium in some new directions that we’ll talk about in later blog posts. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I have to survive Noogler training first.