A little bit of history before we jump to January meetup notes. About four years ago I got a chance to lead South Florida Test Automation Meetup, together with Philip Daye we started organizing meetups where local Test Automation enthusiasts would come and discuss different topics related to the subject. We got few people to present including me and we didn’t have space at the time so we started out at Dunkin Donuts, then few local recruiters offered their space, and then Philip got us into Ultimate Software(the company he is working at). There I met Jairo Pava our 3rd co-organizer and from that moment three of us organizing the events. There are also folks who come to every meetup, and whenever I see all familiar faces it feels like meeting old friends I haven’t seen for a while. Sometimes I even feel bad for not saying hello to everyone personally.

So in January, we got special guests Moshe Milman (on the picture) and Applitools team was in town, they offered to present at South Florida Test Automation meetup. Just a little remark here, this is not paid to advertise ( I wish it was 🙂 ), they reached out, we decided why not. So Moshe was presenting “Fixing Your Automation Challenges in the Era of CI/CD”. And there are few notes I took from the meetup:

Visual Testing – sure thing Moshe presented their product which I have no problems with, it’s actually really well-engineered. The idea of Visual Testing not new. Back in 2014, I have been working at a startup where we would take pictures of a shoe and then compare with shoes in our image library, look for similar or the same shoe then give it back with prices and places to buy. In visual testing the concept is pretty much the same you will take a screenshot of a page and in the next run, you take screenshot again and compare those images. I have been implementing something like that in the company I work for, of cause it was basic and folks at Applitools took it to another level with different browser capabilities, test runners, everything cloud-based and integrated with 3rd party tools commonly used in software development. There was a reasonable question raised in regards to security concerns and guys from Applitools assured that everything is secured and you have nothing to worry about.

Fast Delivery – Moshe also spoke about fast delivery and he showed us tests running in parallel, and then asked if it even worth running the same tests 30 times? At the end of the day what you really testing Functionality or UI issues in different browsers? A good point was brought up why run the same functional tests and waste time on debugging (if something goes wrong ) if you could just run visual tests and find issues quickly related to pixel density and other browser rendering issues.

Cypress for testing – in presentation Moshe also showed different ways of running tests(with Cypress and Selenium), I heard about Cypress from my Product Team Lead, but to be honest first time I have seen it on Applitools site. There was no clear understanding of what it is and why someone would switch from good old Selenium WebDriver. Per my understanding, the difference with Selenium is that Selenium interacts with the browser on the protocol level through the driver, and Cypress straight on the UI side of a web page, similar like you would use Vanilla JavaScript through Chrome dev tools. Cypress is built for Front-End engineers so unlike Selenium with the ability for tests to be written in multiple programming languages Cypress tests can be written only in JavaScript. You can run Cypress only in Chrome. But to be honest I’m going give it a try myself as I believe the time is coming for all test automation engineers learn JavaScript and I will explain why in the future blog post. You can read more about the differences and benefits one over another here.

Test Automation University – Moshe touched on learning resources and Applitools doing a big thing for the testing community and providing free education for those who would like to get into automation. You don’t have to pay anything and get to learn cool automation tricks from industry influencers (I don’t even know if that word exists, forgive me my accent). To be quiet honest it frustrates me to see all the crooks with expensive “boot camps” and teachers who were in the testing industry for 2-3 years and call themselves “industry experts”. So it is really nice from Applitools to give something back to the testing community. Even though from time to time they pitch towards their product, but you get free education, nothing to complain about, a little bit of advertising small price to pay for it.

In conclusion, it was great meetup, we were happy to have Moshe Milman and team Applitools as presenters and I wish them all the best in their effort of making test automation better.