Cooking The Sauce for Cloud Based Open Source Testing

Browser and Mobile Comparability Testing Can Tax Resources, Sauce Labs Can Help

With the explosion in web applications coupled with the explosion in mobile computing, testing performance, scalability and compatibility is an expensive and consuming process. One company, Sauce Labs is leveraging the open source Selenium web application automation testing suite and the cloud to make this process quick, easy and very affordable. I recently had a chance to sit down with Jason Huggins, the Executive Software Chef at Sauce (OK, cut them some slack it is a food theme) to see what is cooking over there (sorry I couldn't resist).

Jason is an interesting fellow. Prior to founding Sauce Labs he ran Google's "Selenium farm" where Google tested many of their web based apps like Gmail and Google Docs. Prior to that Jason actually was the original driver of Selenium.  Selenium is now actually a whole family or system of web application testing projects. It covers a wide range of scenarios and needs in automating testing.

What does automated testing do you might ask?  Good question.  Back in my days at StillSecure we were on pretty regular development and release cycles of our products. QA testing, scalability and compatibility testing were some of the most time consuming and expensive parts of the entire project. The problem was we never could satisfy the engineer's specs for the full range of tests they wanted to perform prior to release. No matter what we did, the one thing we did not check would come back to bite us after release and we would get busy on a patch.  The money we spent on testing and testing gear was astronomical. Moving to an automated testing environment involved a large initial outlay in equipment and time but did result in fast release cycles.

Now Sauce Labs comes to the rescue. Using the combination of open source test automation and the cloud to provide elasticity and scale, you can test your web applications against the known universe of browsers. Whether you are talking the big three desktop browsers or the myriad of mobile browsers Sauce Labs lets you perform your tests on demand in a cloud based hosted environment. Using virtualization technology they can emulate all of these browsers.

What a great example of the cloud and open source combining to solve real world engineering problems! 

Sauce Labs has been able to add to the recipe (there I go again, I couldn't resist) by taking in some venture money from the Contrarian Group, the VC firm headed by Peter Uberroth of baseball and the LA Olympics fame. Some of its customers include household names like Motley Fool, VMware, Digg, etc.  The Selenium open source project upon which Sauce is based is used by just about all of the larger companies delivering web apps today.

So Sauce Labs seems like a tasty dish (promise last time I do it), showing that the cloud and open source go together very well.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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