OpenQA.org was a website that described itself as "the premier source of QA projects and news." Some of the notable projects hosted by OpenQA.org included Selenium and Watir. Other less known projects included Session Tester, Pylot, Floyd, PyWinAuto, Frankenstein, Recorder, WET, and JTC. The site also hosted a job board, forums, blogs, and project pages. Attempting to find OpenQA.org today shows that the website is no longer available.
We took some time to find out what happened to this site. We follow the history of the website, provide a summary of projects hosted by the site, and finally look at where some of the projects that used to be hosted by OpenQA.com can be found today (Source).
The Man Behind OpenQA.org
The founder of OpenQA.org was Patrick Lightbody. Lightbody holds a computer science degree obtained from the University of California, San Diego. He also established other sites. One was BrowserMob, a “free utility to help web developers watch and manipulate network traffic from their AJAX application” (Source). The other is HostedQA, an online QA solution.
Lightbody is mostly remembered for his work on Selenium Remote Control, a tool for user interface (UI) tests. He also co-created Struts 2, “a free, open-source, MVC framework for creating Java web applications” (Source). Lightbody is also the author of two books Java Open Source Programming and WebWork in Action. He states that he is a frequent contributor to open-source software, particularly in the fields of open source QA automation technologies and Java web development (Source).
The History Of OpenQA.org
OpenQA.org was founded in 2005. At its inception, the website had a forum where clients would interact with different project teams and developers. The website also provided a wiki page where users would collaboratively modify content using their browsers.
OpenQA.org also had a bug tracker that kept track of reported software bugs in project developments. Through the site, users requested and offered assistance in forums, wrote documentation, and reported bugs and patches. The resource was sponsored by several organizations in the online and digital fields such as Contegix, Jive Software, Caucho, ThoughtWorks, and Atlassian (Source).
Shortly after being launched, OpenQA.org welcomed the Selenium project, created by Jason Huggins. Huggins wore several hats: testing engineer, coder, builder of robots, and former employee at Google (Source).
Selenium is an open-source tool for testing web applications. The tool helps in running a functional test aimed at verifying that a system is working correctly. The tool imitates what users do when they interact with a website by running within a web browser itself. It is most valuable for someone who wants to run tests for verifying the functionality of web applications and acceptance by users (Source).
Over time, other Selenium tool features like the Selenium WebDriver and Selenium IDE were developed. Selenium WebDriver permits for the creation of robust, browser-based regression automation suites and tests. The Selenium IDE creates quick bug reproduction scripts, which are valuable for automation-aided testing (Source).
The latest Selenium project versions can be found here.
Even though OpenQA’s most popular project was Selenium, it also hosted two other well-known open-source projects: Watir and PyWinAuto.
Watir is an open-source tool for automating web browsers. It allows users to write tests that are easily readable and maintained. The tool clicks on links, presses buttons, fill in forms and also checks browser results.
Watir lists a few dozen companies that use it, including Facebook, Yahoo, Oracle, HP, and Expedia. Watir uses Ruby, a modern scripting language, and supports any website regardless of its mother technology (Source).
The Watir project currently lives here.
What Then Happened to OpenQA.org?
OpenQA.org stopped publishing in the second half of 2013. Some of the projects that the site hosted went on to operate as separate and independent projects. Other projects like the Cubic Test found new hosts, while others seem to have been abandoned (Source).
Lightbody provides a hint as to why he decided to shut down OpenQA.com: “In the era of GitHub, these kinds of organizations seem so odd, but at the time, they were critical to some really important projects. Nothing is forever, I suppose!" (Source). This statement seems to suggest that OpenQA.org was less useful -- and therefore less used, than services such as GitHub (Source).
GitHub seems to have an edge in that it manages and stores project revisions, and provides a web-based graphical interface and access control. Also, the site has several collaboration tools like wiki and other project management tools. GitHub’s functionality of copying repository files from different accounts, sharing changes with original owners, and merging the repositories makes it unique (Source).
Where are the Other Open-Source QA Tools?
Now that OpenQA.org is no more, where could some of the projects it hosted be now? We found some of them.
Session Tester: Is a free exploratory web testing tool that manages and records testing based on sessions. Users can record session notes in XML format and convert them into any other formats using Session Tester. It’s compatible with different Windows OS: XP, Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 9. Download a link here.
Pylot: Is a tool used for testing web application performance and scalability. It functions by stimulating HTTP requests and checking server response. It then generates a web test report with crucial insights and metrics. Here is a live version of the tool.
PyWinAuto: Is a GUI automation tool that allows users to send keyboard and mouse actions to dialogs and controls. It allows users to add new platforms and also provides continuous documentation on the ReadTheDocs. The home of PyWinAuto is here.
WET: Uses a Proxied UI methodology for creating initial scripts. It uses Ruby to give users a powerful scripting ability. It has a test assistant, which makes testing easier. Find the home of WET here.
JTC: Java to Cli enables the management of web-based applications by remote UNIX command line. It functions by showing the API layer of the java application in the Linux command line. Download JTC here.
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