Building open source automation library

Mar 15, 2021 / by Qentinel

Antti Heimola, Senior Automation Architect at Qentinel, has been involved in QWeb library development since the beginning. QWeb automation library was originally created as a project for Finnish Tax Administration and is now finally published as open source. Heimola shares his insights about open source software, QWeb, and how he sees the future of software testing. 

1. Tell something about your background and how you started your career in testing world?

I started my testing career at VTI Hamlin in 1995, nowadays part of Murata Electronics. I was working in accelerometer customer product testing and later as an automation developer in the R&D. There were several interesting automotive customers from Japan, Italy, and Germany, so tight automotive quality standards became familiar. Later I moved into Software Lab - Software Process Improvement team at Nokia Research Center in 1998 and during two years there I was lucky to meet the world's top software quality gurus, whose lessons still guide my work today. 

2. Why was QWeb initiated and what have been your personal learnings related to it?

I gained quite a lot of test automation experience during 11 years at Nokia. In 2011, when I started my first web application testing project at Qentinel using Robot Framework, I was struggling a bit due to some reliability and performance issues in the tool chain. A software developer joined the team and we started developing small libraries to improve the test automation efficiency which formed the base for what QWeb is today. Finnish Tax Administration test automation project started in Fall 2015 and the system under test was so challenging, we needed to develop own library for web application testing. The library was first called QSelenium2, which was redesigned in 2016 and named QWeb.

There are two learnings related to QWeb:

  • Anybody who is using the application under test on a daily basis can also review test automation scripts
  • Anybody who wants to learn how to automate with QWeb can do it

It has been a pleasure to see people succeeding and smiling while automating, ones who never have dared to even think about test automation. Of course, there has been many test automation experts with doubts and oppositive comments regarding the PaceWord technique.

3. What do you think about open source and what has been your experience with the library development? 

I have been involved in open-sourcing software before, so I was really happy to see QWeb being open-sourced. It was already the target in 2016 when QSelenium2 was developed. Of course, it will bring new challenges, but on the other hand more opportunities. It's important to understand that test automation system development project, or library development, is like any other software project: you need to have CD pipelines in place.

4. What is your learning style? 

No notes, use brains. Nowadays, I am happy to see more online courses, so that I can watch them double speed -- courses are often too slow speed.

5. Who do you admire personally in test automation & open source area and why?

OpenCV and the OpenCV team. Open Source Computer Vision Library is the best in its field in terms of performance and reliability. It also requires excellent skills in mathematics to be able to implement such features that OpenCV provides.

6. How do you see the future of software testing and test automation?

At the moment, there are a lot of hype around RPA and automating basic office tasks. RPA will also come to test automation, even if it may sound funny that an automation tool will automate test automation tasks. It will change test automation engineers’ work in the future. There hasn't been any big test automation innovations for years - or more like for a couple of decades - so, I am curious to see what changes AI will bring to test automation. Exploratory testing is still the most effective testing method and it’s a great companion together with a test automation solution, and it will continue to be in the future. A human touch in testing cannot be completely replaced by a robot in a long time.


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Topics: Software Testing, Test Automation, Robot Framework, Software Development, Test design, Test architecture, qweb, open source

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Written by Qentinel