Register now to attend the Charity Workshop on March 22!

Want to learn about Page Objects and Cucumber?  Do you like the idea of supporting local charities in the Austin area?  Then join us at one or both of our charity workshops before the Test Automation Bazaar!

We’re offering an afternoon workshop on March 22 – the day before the Test Automation Bazaar officially gets underway.  To join in, just donate $50 to one of the list of charities below and sign up using the email form below.  Then, bring a receipt for your donation to gain entry on the day of the workshop.



The workshop will be held at the Mitte Carriage House:

The Mitte Carriage House is located at 1008C West Avenue at the corner of West Avenue and 11th Street in downtown Austin, situated behind the Mitte Foundation Offices and accessible from 11th Street. Map and directions to Mitte.

Workshop Topics

Page Objects and Cucumber

1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Are you already familiar with test automation, but want to take your framework to the next level?  Are you interested in learning how to implement Cucumber?  Then join Jeff Morgan (aka Cheezy) and Jari Bakken to learn about Page Objects and Cucumber.

To sign up for the workshop, enter your name and email address and which workshop you’re attending and then select a charity to make a $50 donation.  Space is limited to 25 people, so sign up soon to reserve your spot!

Follow up:  The workshop was a great success!  Cheezy did a great job teaching us about Page Objects and we raised $750 for local charities.  We’re considering putting the video up for an optional donation – more to come on that.

Would you like to sponsor the Test Automation Bazaar?

If your company is interested in sponsoring the Test Automation Bazaar, please express interest via the form on the sponsors page on this site.

There are various types of sponsorships available, whether it will be an event (such as happy hour) or some merchandise (such as T-Shirts).

Join us at the Test Automation Bazaar

On March 23rd and 24th (Friday and Saturday), the Watir Conference and Test Automation Bazaar will be held in Austin, Texas. I am hosting this event with Alister Scott, Hugh McGowan and as much of the Watir Team as we can get to Austin. This conference is for the Watir Community and any one who wants to learn more about how people are successfully automating testing. As Watir users are turning to using Selenium’s Webdriver technology, the focus is less on the traditional Watir/IE core and more on using what works, whether that be Watir, Selenium, Capybara or whatever. It’s not even necessarily about web-testing. We are, however, mostly looking for solutions in Ruby and Ruby will be the official language of the conference. We are looking for people to join us and help us make this the best place in the world to learn about effective automated testing. Because we are taking this broad focus, we are calling this a Test Automation Bazaar.

We will follow this schedule on both days:

 9:00 - 12:00    Presentations with moderated discussions
12:00 -  1:00    Lunch
 1:00 -  2:00    Lightning Talks
 2:00 -  4:30    Open Space
 4:30 -  5:00    Group Circle

Therefore we are looking for people who would like to give short, focussed presentations of 10–20 minutes each for the mornings. These will be followed by 5–20 minutes of moderated discussion. The actual time will be determined by the moderators based on the interest level of the audience. We are also looking for 5 minute lightning talks. The morning program and the lightning talks will be single-track, so they will be tightly facilitated. The open space in the afternoon will be multi-tracked and will provide an opportunity for breakout groups, coding demonstrations, and impromptu collaborations. If you have ideas of things you would like to present please contact Alister Scott and me with your ideas. We want to have lots of short presentations from lots of different people.

For some, this may be an unusual format, but it is based on years of experience organizing small conferences. The morning program is based on the LAWST format that we have used in the AWTA workshops and comes from the Context-Driven Testing community. Lightning talks come from the open-source community. And Open Space has been popular in Agile circles. People don’t learn from long lectures, so we are trying to make this as interactive as possible.

If this sounds like fun, please join our mailing list (where we are organizing the conference) and buy a ticket. I am asking everyone who plans to attend to buy a ticket, whether you are host or a speaker or a volunteer. I’ve already bought mine. We don’t have event staff, so we will need lots of help. This is a conference by and for the Watir community.

The conference’s primary financial purpose is to fund the travel expenses to allow the Watir Team to all meet face-to-face. Our team is distributed around the world, so this isn’t easy or cheap. This goal is consistent with membership in the Software Freedom Conservancy a non-profit umbrella group that we are in the process of applying to join. In order to help with this, we are asking everyone attending to buy a ticket, so our overseas contributors can make their plans.

Right now we are offering a limited number of “Early Bird Volunteer” tickets. This includes organizers, speakers, volunteers. We have already started accepting proposals, but will not be selecting “speakers” until very late in the process. We want to work with presenters to help them with their talks and will probably be arranging the program up until the last minute. This is how we have always done it with the Lawst format. Recently I realized that this really amounts to using the Fieldstone writing method to conference planning. So if you have made a proposal and are discussing it with us, please go ahead and consider yourself eligible for the volunteer ticket. We need help with facilitation, particularly from people with experience with the Lawst, Lightning or Open Space formats. We are also looking for people to blog and tweet and video record the event so that the people who can’t make it can benefit. We are also are trying to organize charity workshops for March 22. Maybe you can help with that. Please join our mailing list, where we have been discussing volunteer needs. We also consider any one who has been contributing to the Watir project, answering questions, blogging about what they’ve been doing, to be volunteers. Being a volunteer is as much a state of mind, a willingness to pitch in and help others, rather than just watch the world go by. Buy your ticket today.

Test Automation Conference in Austin in March 2012

From Austin

We are planning a test automation conference in Austin in February March 23-24.

  • Thursday: Pre-conference Workshops
  • Friday Morning: General Assembly – Single Track
  • Friday Afternoon: Working Groups – Open Space
  • Saturday Morning: General Assembly – Single Track
  • Saturday Afternoon: Working Groups – Open Space
  • Sunday Morning: Final Assembly
  • Sunday Afternoon: Coffeshops and Biking


  • Alister Scott, Australia
  • Bret Pettichord, Austin
  • Charley Baker, Denver
  • Tiffany Fodor, Denver
  • Marek J, Austin (relocated from Poland via Dallas and Seattle)
  • Hugh McGowan, Austin
  • Jim Matthews, Austin
  • Carl Schaulis, Austin
  • Mark Anderson, Austin
  • Mike Canzoneri, Costa Rica


  • Open source test automation workshop – not Watir specific – but primarily focused on Watir/WebDriver
  • Specification by Example a key theme
  • Limited to 100 attendees
  • Fairly cheap entry
  • Feb 2012
  • In Austin, which is a great place to be in February
  • Sponsors similar to Watir Day
  • Interesting varied workshop with hands on demos, presentations, challenges and competitions, including a Watir vs. Selenium cage match.

Love to hear your thoughts about this.

A Ninja Strike to the Brain

Last month, I gave a keynote address at the Selenium conference, and the video has just been posted to Youtube. The talk is about many things, including the persistent attraction of test recorders even though no one ever really believes in them. Although I used to speak at conferences a lot, I haven’t done much for the last several years, and this is really my first talk on Youtube. So I am interested in seeing what kind of reception it gets from people who weren’t at the conference.

I feel like it may be the best talk I’ve ever given, but I’m not sure how well it plays out of context. In it, I make several references to earlier talks at the conference, and in particular the keynotes by Jason Huggins and Patrick Lightbody. When I say it was my best, what I mean is that I don’t think I’ve ever captured the attention of the audience the way I did this time. But the video doesn’t capture the audience reaction so you can’t see that. There were also some great questions at the end, but those got edited out too.

To add some context, here are excerpts from the twitter livestream during the talk, with emphasis on tweets that were retweeted the most:


The talk is now also available as a podcast.

Watir and Selenium in San Francisco

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.