Key Take-outs from the Selenium Conference Chicago, 2018 – Christina Thalayasingam

by Sysco LABS Articles 6 February 2019

The SeleniumConf 2018 ( ), Selenium’s flagship event, was held from 17-19th of October in Downtown Chicago and I was delighted to be invited to speak. My session titled, “Run the load down your mobile app” was all about mobile app performance testing and which types of performance test aspects need to be covered.

I have been in the Test Automation field for about 4+ years now in which I have mainly been working with Selenium and JMeter.

As a Senior Quality Engineer, I am passionate about functional testing for mobile and web applications but my key focus is to grow and contribute to nonfunctional testing.

This was the 3rd Selenium Conference that I was asked to speak at. Prior to this I had spoken at the 2016 Selenium Conference in London and  the 2017 Selenium Conference in Austin, Texas.

I come from a development background, but I am more inclined towards test automation, as the industry is moving into test automation, and the quality of the end system is key, Automation Testing needs to be done right with sophisticated techniques to produce better outcomes. I love to be part of this process. Moreover, test automation is not just part of functional testing, but it plays a major role when it comes to nonfunctional testing.

My Talk: Run the load down your mobile app

My talk was held as part of Track-1 on the 1st, I spoke on the topic “Run the load down your mobile app.”

My talk was inspired by the performance challenges I have faced when it came to mobile applications. The lack of focus on the app’s behavior in the way it affects the device performance and network performance are the key reasons that mobile apps tend to fail to meet end user expectations. As the usage of mobile devices has become a vital part in today’s world, the expectations of end-users have risen especially in terms of performance. My talk covered aspects of how we can make sure that our mobile application performance is meeting user expectations.

My Thoughts and Key Take-outs from The Selenium Conference

The event started off with numerous workshops conducted by a few of the Selenium Committee members and Contributors on the 17th of October 2018, which was followed by the Speakers’ Dinner at The Hampton Social. This is where speakers were introduced to each other. It was a diverse group of people, most of them were from The United States of America, and others were from India, Australia and Europe. As we met for drinks and moved to have dinner, I was able to have various conversations related to Test Automation and we discussed how each of us have worked to overcome technical challenges.

This time the conference commenced with a difference. The first keynote was delivered by Angie Jones and she made the audience see the test automation field as a game and how we can level-up our automation game.

Simon Stewart and Jim Evans together covered the most highly anticipated keynote of all. They spoke on “Selenium Conferences – The State of the union”. The key points they discussed were how they were currently working on enhancing the Selenium Documentation and Website with the Selenium Branding. They discussed the new Selenium IDE developed by Tomer Steinfeld, Frontend Developer – Applitools. Tomer also delivered a talk on his experience in “Developing the new Selenium IDE”.

Selenium IDE support for Chrome is in the bucket. As we all know, Selenium IDE is a record and playback tool which will now be available with much richer and more advanced features, such as

  • A New plugin system – Any browser vendor will now be able to easily plug into the new Selenium IDE. You can have your own locator strategy and plug in the Selenium IDE.
  • A New CLI runner – It will be completely based on node.js, not the old HTML-based runner. It will have the following capabilities:
    • WebDriver Playback – The new Selenium IDE runner will be completely based on WebDriver.
    • Parallel execution — The new CLI runner will also support parallel test case execution and will provide useful information like time taken and a number of test cases passed/failed.

Selenium4 is expected to be shipped out for Chinese New Year along with this – the Selenium Grid will be improved. In Selenium 4, the Grid experience is going to be easy and smooth and there will not be any need to set up and start the hub and node separately. Once Selenium Server is started, the Grid will act as both hub and node.

Selenium 4 will come with a more stable Selenium Grid in terms of removing all thread-safety bugs, and better support for Docker.

Selenium 4 will come with a user-friendlier UI for Grid, with relevant information about sessions running, capacity, etc. while the Selenium 4 WebDriver will be completely W3C Standardized. A test in Selenium 3.x, on the local end (through the JSON wire protocol), communicates with the browser at the End node. This requires encoding and decoding of the API. In Selenium 4, the test will directly communicate without any encoding and decoding of API requests (through the W3C Protocol), though Java bindings will be backward-compatible, focusing more on the W3C Protocol. The JSON wire protocol will no longer be used.

Another keynote speaker was Aslak Hellesøy, Co-founder – Cucumber Ltd who spoke on ‘Sub-second acceptance tests’.

The talks on the Artificial Intelligence approach were some of the most interesting talks of the conference. They were: ‘AI for element selection’ – Jason Arbon, CEO – and ‘How AI is transforming software testing’ – Raj Subramanian Developer Evangelist –

Ru Cindrea, Senior Test Consultant and Managing Partner – Altom Consulting spoke on the topic ‘Using Appium for Unity games and apps’ and elaborated on the need to test games and apps built with Unity on real mobile devices and served as a true mind opener.

Mirjana Andovska -Senior Software Engineer – Netcetera  spoke on ‘Context: The missing ingredient in multilingual software translation’ and showed how automated end-to-end tests can be involved to support and speed up the software translation process.

The talk on scaling up the Selenium tests to run from hours to just for 4 minutes using AWS Lambda by the Senior Software Engineers – Wes Couch and Kurt Waechter from Blackboard was also helpful, as it showed how they were gradually able to level-up their UI Test Suite performance.

Jump starting your testing with Selenium Grid Docker Containers, Selene, and Pytest’ by Derrick Kearney, Software Developer – RStudio, Inc introduced a setup based on the Selenium project’s Selenium Grid Docker images, a Python library named Selene, and the Pytest framework that is easy to maintain, version, upgrade, and distribute to members of your development team.

On a concluding note: all the talks were interesting and had a lot of work and research put into them. I was delighted to be part of a great league of speakers once again and I owe a huge Thank You to the Selenium Conference Organizing Committee for having such a well-executed and flawless conference and I am excited for the two conferences planned for 2019 in Tokyo and London.


Article by: Christina Thalayasingam — Senior Quality Engineer at Sysco LABS

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