Watir 6.4 Release Candidate

Written by: Titus Fortner on June 20, 2017

Watir 6.4.0.rc1 is now available on RubyGems. This is the performance release you didn’t realize you’ve been waiting for. Please help us test this new code before the official release.

To install:

gem install watir --pre

or in your Gemfile:

gem "watir", ">= 6.4.0.rc1"


Watir development over the past year has focused on useful new features and facilitating increased test reliability. For the most part we’ve done a good job of accomplishing this without dramatically affecting performance.

Now that I’m working at Sauce Labs, though, one of our clients approached me to discuss how slow he felt his tests were using Watir. Fortunately, I recently created a basic test suite for my SauceCon presentation that I implemented in both Selenium and Watir to show off Watir syntax. When running locally, the tests written in Watir took about 15% longer than the exact necessary code in straight Selenium. This performance loss is well worth the trade-off of increased reliability of results, readability of code, and decreased time of writing and maintaining code. Unfortunately, when running these tests on Sauce Labs I found that the Watir suite ran significantly more slowly. This will likely be the case for anyone running on a remote grid due to the extra latency for the wire calls.

The changes in this Release Candidate appear to decrease run times by about 10% when run locally, and decrease run times on Sauce Labs by 50% - 66%.

Please try out the new gem on your test suites. We’re interested in finding out about new unexpected exceptions as a result of this change, but feedback on how much it speeds up your tests.


See the Changelog for the complete history of updates.