Watir and Selenium in San Francisco

Written by: bpettichord on April 16, 2011

I’ve been back home for a week after a very busy week in San Francisco. I hosted a one-day Watir conference and then attended a three-day Selenium conference where I gave a keynote talk. After the conference was over we parked our car in a sketchy part of town for dinner, and me and three others had our laptops stolen out of our rental van. Some one broke the window and snatched our bags.. I also spent a day in Convio’s Berkeley office where I got a chance to catch up with several of my colleagues there. This week I’ve been catching up on my day job and replacing the things that were stolen.

There has been increasing cooperation between the Watir and Selenium teams, both on our projects and in organizing the conferences. Although we sold our own tickets to Watir Day (Sunday), the Selenium conference team made the hotel arrangements for us (both conferences were at the same hotel); and in the end, ended up subsidizing some of our costs. They also wanted to make sure that some one from the Watir team was on the Selenium conference committee. Charley Baker was generous to volunteer to help them select talks for the program. And of course, they invited me to keynote the Selenium conference. That talk should show up on Youtube at some point. I’ll talk more about the points I made in my keynote some other day.

We had about 60 people for the Watir Day and some 250 for the Selenium Conference. Both events were sold out. They did a lot more promotion for the Selenium conference that we did, and ended up with a waiting list of a 100 people, many of whom were waiting for multiple tickets. They are planning to have a much larger event next year. We’ve also been talking about folding the Watir event into the Selenium conference, something that actually sounds very attractive to me. I forsee having a one-day Watir track and then having a track on the second day that would focus on topics like Cucumber and Jenkins (nee Hudson) that would appeal equally to Selenium and Watir users. I see a lot of benefits to pulling our communities more closely together. For example, the conferences had several talks on Page Objects, but I thought the best was during the Watir day, and that Selenium users would have benefitted from the chance to see it.

I have a whole lot more I’d like to talk about, but am going to post this now. I do need to give my thanks to Alister Scott who’s help was invaluable for getting the Watir Day organized and Ashley Wilson who ran the Selenium conference and was a big help for the Watir Day too.