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Selenium Gets Some Sauce for Open Source Testing

  • January 20, 2010
  • By Sean Michael Kerner
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As increasing numbers of applications move online, the need for functional cross-browser testing continues to grow, which is good news for the open source Selenium project—a popular automated application testing tool with nearly 3 million downloads to date.

The project now has a commercial backer courtesy of Sauce Labs, which is fresh off a $3.1 million Series A financing round, and which is led by Selenium creator Jason Huggins, who serves as the company's Executive Software Chef (essentially the CTO).

And having the backer had led to some big changes: Sauce Labs today unveiled the Sauce IDE, a commercial version of the Selenium IDE with expanded testing capabilities.

Huggins explained to InternetNews.com that the Sauce Labs IDE expands Selenium so that it can do automated application functional testing with Sauce's Cloud-based service. The Sauce on Demand service provides Selenium testing on a pay-per-use basis for multiple browsers including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome. With the regular Selenium IDE, users had been limited to running Selenium as a Firefox add-on, making it somewhat restrictive for testing on multiple browsers.

Now, Selenium's backers see the software—coupled with the Sauce Labs IDE and On Demand services—positioned to capitalize even more effectively on its core offering.

That's because the two additions help address a common problem with application tests: They often run slowly. The way Selenium works is that it emulates what a browser would do when a user interacts with a Web site. As a result, it takes time to start up a browser and actually execute a test.

Prior to starting Sauce Labs, Huggins worked for Google, which also uses Selenium. He explained that Google threw hardware at the slowness problem, building out a Selenium farm to test all of its Google Apps. The Sauce Labs IDE and On Demand services are an attempt to provide a similar kind of fast testing capability to regular developers.

"For people using Selenium IDE today, now with a single download [of Sauce IDE,] they get a much broader piece of the Selenium value chain than what they could get with just the open source Selenium IDE," Sauce Labs CEO John Dunham told InternetNews.com.

Doing cross-browser testing is a growing market, with vendors like Adobe—with its