JSConf and NodeConf – 2011

Last week was both JSConf and NodeConf in Portland, OR and it was absolutely epic. I spend all year looking forward to the various Portland conferences, but this year happened to also be my first, the first ever NodeConf and a lot of thick bacon. If you aren’t aware of that term, it has become a great way to gauge the accumulated awesomeness regarding the quality of experience at a conference. I believe this was coined at one of the previous JSConfs and I have found it to be a useful addition to my vocabulary. The opening party was […]

Node.JS is a Swimming Pool

Over the past six months I have heard about the unbelievable awesomeness involved in this project called Node.JS. At first I thought, “Server Side JS NOT on the JVM” – YAY! Then after a few days of that I thought, “I really don’t care about server side code, even if it is JS”. See the thing is, right out of college I started fooling with raw DOM, cross browser event firing and capturing and building pretty big cool projects without the help and support of jQuery. So I developed this sick enjoyment of writing tons of raw uninhibited, IE 6 […]

September, Month of Travel

This summer has been relatively light on conference travel for me, minus some time in Portland for Open Source Bridge.. (which was awesome, again). Next week I will be heading up to Couch Camp at Walker Creek Ranch. I am really looking for it for multiple reasons, but having visited the venue when it was being considered I couldn’t help but be blown away with the hidden little Marin valley. I really look forward to participating in the CouchDB geekery, general Open Source geekery, and outstanding scenery. After which I have a week to prepare for a lengthy trip involving […]

Considering in-house web automation?

Recently I have had numerous conversations with people at various tiers of companies all over the place who are toying with the idea of building their own test automation and continuous integration infrastructure. Since I have spent a considerable amount of time dealing with such undertakings I decided that it might be worth the time to brain dump some of the issues you may want to consider before you dive in. Choosing Tools Boxes, VM’s or Cloud? A common first reaction is to take a couple of those old boxes sitting around to run the first “couple” tests you have. […]

PyCon 2009 Recap

Getting back in the swing of things after conferencing for weeks can be pretty painful, thus the lateness of the post. However I think it’s important to go over some thoughts still lingering in my brain as a result. First off, I have to say that for those of you who don’t know, PyCon is a community organized event, and amazingly well done. I was impressed by the design of the conference, the way they had four talks going on at once and they tried to keep them in a similar interest track. Every talk I attended was at least […]

Skinning Windmill with JQuery UI Themes

I have been doing a lot of UI work on the Windmill trunk, and over the past few months I have had multiple requests for the ability to apply skins. Of course my reaction up until this point has been… alter the CSS! Which is not exactly the answer people were looking for. Here is your answer, and it is now easier than ever. 1. Go to: and create your theme (or pick a pre-defined one) 2. Download and unzip the file. (it doesn’t matter what you select for jQuery components) – On a mac you will find something […]

MozMill 1.1 UI Overview

During the Open Design session at Mozilla with Aza we were informed that we could load a HTML file with a Chrome URL, allowing me to rebuild the MozMill UI a bit more like a web page instead of using the XUL constructs that I had been struggling with. Granted it feels a lot more like a web page than it does a desktop application, but the speed that I can build new UI features by using libraries like JQuery UI have made it worth it. The combination of writing content style HTML, and the good advice we received have […]

Micro-Bookmarking with MyTabs

A few weeks ago I realized that every time I boot my laptop, one of the first things I do is to open Firefox, and immediately load about 7 web sites as tabs. Some of them requiring user interaction to navigate to the desired state. I didn’t realize that this was actually a phenomenon called “micro-bookmarking”, and that I may not be the only person who has this routine. I don’t necessarily want to bookmark these sites, and this process of opening them is somehow part of my routine, however spending this kind of time every time I want to […]

XUSH (.01), you know it’s fun to say.

Over the past 8 months I have been neck deep in XUL and XPCOM and with Venkman being as unintuitive as it is I have badly needed a shell with access to the trusted space in the browser. I also had a couple more requirements, which were that it was super easy to get at (keyboard shortcut), and that it looks awesome (transparency required). Since making things looks really nice in XUL is really hard, I decided that I would build the UI in the current Firefox content window (sorry tbird etc, but I built a less shiny version of this […]

This thing I’m calling Windmill-Lite

In preparation for the Windmill 2 client side re-architecting, and an article I am writing about simulating user sessions with JavaScript, I decided it was time to go through the Windmill JavaScript source and pull out the pieces necessary to drive a user session in JavaScript. It turns out that it’s easily broken into a few pieces: Events: Cross browser compatible event firing functionality ElementsLib: DOM element lookup functionality via many methods called ‘locators’ Controller: The logic for firing the right events to simulate user actions such as ‘type’ In order to test all the functionality I wrote a small […]

Windmill Gets a Facelift for 1.0Beta1

Working up to the Windmill 1.0 Beta 1 Release, I finally had the opportunity to put some time into making the IDE (that a lot of you live in when in test writing mode) a little bit nicer to look at. The IDE has been growing organically since 0.1 and there was a lot of functionality hacked into it that wasn’t in the original game plan, so I did what I could to improve the beauty of the CSS/Layout as well as the whole mess of code behind it. Launching If you have used our latest release, or are running […]

Bringing Windmill to Life

Project Status I have spent nearly every day since July 7th working to bring the Windmill Project up to a level where it can be used reliably in a production environment. Our mission starts with “Windmill is a web testing framework intended for complete automation of user interface testing”, of course this refers to the web including everything and anything inside the browser window. This turns out to be a very large task, one that only an Open Source labor of love could possibly attempt to accomplish. Windmill has slowly evolved as a project with user contributions, a moderately active […]

Mozilla Summit

I am currently up here in Whistler BC for the Mozilla Summit. There is about 400 people here staying at the Westin Resort & Spa up here in scenic Canada.  The schedule for the con can be found here; I do have to say that Mozilla is doing a great job at taking care of all their contributors and employees this week, and I feel like a lot of progress is being made on many levels. It’s very useful to see details as to how people are going about this, but it’s even more useful to see things on a […]

OSCON 2008 Recap

This year was my second year at OSCON in Portland, and it’s pretty amazing for me to look back at last July and know that I was working at OSAF. A lot can happen in a year, but what didn’t surprise me was the amount of people that I interacted with at the con that I had met during my OSAF experience. A few things come to mind when I think about the conference as a whole. First off, who gave OSCON a Ruby adrenaline shot? The Ruby track was pretty extensive, and I would say more prominent even than […]

Oscon 2008 Schedule

Every year I like to make myself a road map of how I will be spending my time during OSCON. As there are so many interesting possible talks, gatherings and social events it’s tough to get to all the things you care about. At this point in my career my focus is on Web Development, Test Automation (specifically for the web & browsers), and social networking. Obviously on a moment by moment basis your interests are pulled in varying directions, but that sums up the bulk of my attention. If you are interested in the full schedule grid, it can […]

Leaving Rearden Commerce, What’s Next?

What happened? As some of you may have heard, today I resigned from my position at Rearden Commerce. Leaving a company is never a fun thing, because you know how you feel when you hear that someone else is leaving.. and you can see it in people’s eyes. I have reminded myself multiple times today that I am still going to be 30 mins away, most of my communication with those people has been via email and IM and there is no reason for me not to stay in touch. Why did I resign? That’s a very good question. Let me preface […]

IE Web Development Tips

As a web developer you are probably aware of that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that you suffer when posed with the idea of testing your freshly written JavaScript that works perfectly in FireFox. For years now, we have had to ‘suck it up’, and pour a glass of scotch to get through an afternoon of testing in IE. As I am now a Web Developer at Rearden Commerce who currently caters to an audience of enterprise users instead of your standard bay area geek population — I have to make sure everything I commit works nicely […]