SeleniumConf 2016 Recap

Selenium is the leading tool for browser and mobile app automation and functional testing. Each year the Selenium community gets together to talk about emerging trends with Selenium and testing best practices in general. This year’s event was held in London at the Mermaid Theatre along the Thames. The conference provided an excellent opportunity to meet the key members of the Selenium team and other people and companies focused on testing. Here are some highlights from this year’s conference.

Simon Stewart
The Zen and the Art of Open Source Maintenance

The opening keynote was delivered by Selenium co-founder Simon Stewart. The talk was a humorous intro to the state of Selenium (3.0 just shipped), as well as strategies for fostering an active open source community. Simon discussed ways to be inviting, helpful, thankful, and kind in creating software that people can comprehend so that they are incentivized to contribute. The Selenium team is also working to help finalize the W3C WebDriver recommendation by the coming spring. He also reminded the audience that people treat Selenium like a utility, at times without much respect, and feel great frustration if something does not work as expected.

Adam Carmi
Advanced Test Automation Techniques for Responsive Websites and Apps

Adam is co-founder and CTO of Applitools, a platform for automating visual regression testing. Adam created a series of demos showing the usage of NUnit and Selenium (“because there aren’t enough C# Selenium examples”).

Umar Hansa
The State of Browser Automation with JavaScript

Umar gave an excellent talk about things to automate besides tests. His examples included screen scraping for content and randomly visiting Wikipedia, running through links until you end up in the philosophy section! Umar also talked through some of the benefits of testing with ES6+ async/await.

Dheeraj Joshi
Let’s Talk Security – Beyond Scanning

Dheeraj spoke about some of the simple things that may go wrong from a security perspective, showed some example scripts for testing security, and things to fix. The main takeaway from his talk is that it is easy to make bad choices that lead to client-side security vulnerabilities, but it is also relatively straightforward to test and fix these issues.

Jason Huggins
Robots – The Nuclear Option

Jason, the early founder of Selenium and co-founder of Sauce Labs, is now working on robot automation with the Tapsterbot. Jason showed scenarios of using robots for automated testing and talked about the next challenges with increased automation with UIs moving into every environment. For example, Jason spoke of the challenges in running automated tests for car-based consoles.

Sauce Labs evening reception

After the first day of talks, Sauce Labs hosted an evening reception at Madison with lovely views of St. Paul’s Cathedral, discussions around testing, and follow-ups on the earlier discussion topics. It was an excellent opportunity to get to speak further with many of the great people that help make Selenium.

Lightning talks

I gave a lightning talk with a 3-minute overview of Intern and its new features in 3.4, including performance testing, visual regression testing, and accessibility testing! There were several other interesting lightning talks. In particular, a fun session from the creator of

Jonathan Lipps
StarDriver Enterprise: Appium to the Future

Jonathan gave a very entertaining talk about the rearchitecture of Appium and WebDriver splitting each driver implementation out from the main core of the project. He did this by re-purposing 1980’s science fiction characters!

Closing thoughts

It was great to attend a conference with the people who actively create and maintain Selenium. While many of the conference talks were insightful, as is often the case, the hallway track was even more interesting. Here I learned about some of the motivations behind Selenium in the early days and over the years, some of the back story in how Selenium and WebDriver merged, and more.

It’s great to see an open source community that is healthy and thriving after collaborating for more than a decade! It was also great to attend another excellent conference organized by White October Events. They are a very coordinated bunch and seem to do a very solid job in creating a healthy conference environment for attendees, speakers, and sponsors!

We look forward to attending SeleniumConf 2017!

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