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Monday, July 18, 2005

No Fluff Iowa - Day 3 (Selenium Rocks!!!)

Day 3 at No Fluff Just Stuff at the Central Iowa Symposium in Des Moines was a great way to end (even though I didn't win the Sony PSP). I started off the morning by attending "Give the DB a Break! Peformance & Scalability" from Dion Almaer. Dion had some awesome content in this session, and I was most interested in the caching architectures for taking load off of our db. I'm very interested in Tangosol Coherence after he built it up so much. Distributed cluster caching is something we must get deployed soon on our app.

My second session was Neal Ford's "Advanced Enterprise Debugging Techniques". The "Advanced" word didn't really play in, as he covered debugging from the ground up. His bits about jdb and classloader hierarchy were ok. Then he showed us ThoughtWorks' Selenium testing product... WOW!!! It's an open source testing engine, that runs in JavaScript! This means it tests in any browser that you tell it to. It actually tests from the user's point of view! I'm very excited, because we didn't want to throw down the cash for Silk or Mercury. You really have to see the demo for Selenium. It's going to change our user acceptance processes very quickly (from manual to automated). I downloaded and played with Selenium for 2 hours today, and it was even easier than I had predicted. The only shortfall I could find was it doesn't handle mouse moving, so it doesn't fully test things like dynamic menus that only work on hover, but this is a small limitation that could be fixed as Selenium is only in a 0.5 release.

That ended our weekend in Des Moines (after a quick Web Tier BOF with Neal Ford & Scott Davis). I would have attended Scott's Testing the Web Tier sessions, but we had to get back to Omaha. I've talked a little to Jay Zimmerman, and hopefully they can bring NFJS to Omaha next year! Great conference, I totally recommend it to everyone, and I'll be going again next year!

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