Sunday 16 September 2012

What My Leaving Google Means for Selenium

TL;DR: nothing.

Longer version:
One of the questions I've received most since announcing that I was leaving Google was "what does this mean for the Selenium project?"

My answer is "not much" The project itself is Open Source, and more than half the commits are coming from developers outside of Google. These developers range from people working at other browser vendors (notably Mozilla and Opera) to people who are just interested in the project and write amazing code. Those people aren't going away. The OSS project has already demonstrated that if I'm not around things still get done (though the releases slow waaaay down :), but I'll still be reading every commit and still contributing where I can. Better still, I'm just one person, and the project is vibrant and humming with activity.

What about the browser vendors? One obvious impact might be that the ChromeDriver stops moving forward. That's deeply unlikely to happen: the chrome driver is maintained as part of the chromium OSS project by members of the Chrome team itself, rather than the team I was TL of (Browser Infrastructure at the last name change) This is also true of the OperaDriver, which is maintained by Opera Software, and will be true of the FirefoxDriver once the Marionette project is available on release builds. The trend we've been encouraging is that browser vendors should be responsible for their drivers --- given the complexity of the task, this is the best way to ensure that what our users want is what our users can actually do --- and the browser vendors are rising to the challenge.

Of course, this does beg the question of what my team at Google does. The answer is "a heck of a lot". Google has made a massive investment in browser automation. A lot of that investment is visible in the contributions to the Selenium project (where most of the team have earned the commit bit), but it can also be seen in other projects such as Wicked Good XPath, Web Puppeteer and the Browser Automation Atoms. The team also works on integrating these APIs with Google's infrastructure, and providing support and guidance to teams, and they're constantly striving to make writing web tests so stable and easy that even a software engineer can write them :) I may have left that team, but that investment continues unabated.

Sotto voce: if you'd like to join that team, I can pass on your CV....

Which leaves my involvement with the W3C spec. It's true, over the next couple of months I intend to spend a lot of time with my family, but I'm also planning on spending time working on the spec. Once I join Facebook, I fully intend to continue co-editing it. That work is going to continue.

So overall, my take is that my leaving Google isn't going to have an appreciable effect on the OSS project or the spec.

Which is nice.