Knowing your Automation

Joel Spolsky famously wrote in 2002 that “All non-trivial abstractions, to some degree, are leaky.”

This of course doesn’t mean that abstractions are bad – in fact we wouldn’t be able to do anything non-trivial without them – but instead that we need to understand the underlying mechanism to be able to use the higher level concept.

Over the years I’ve created many frameworks and abstractions for UI test automation, for both coders and non-coders alike. Looking back, were these good or useful abstractions? How leaky were they and what were the consequences for users of these abstractions?

If you’re just starting out on your automation journey, how would having this knowledge affect how you write tests and what those tests look like? What about if you are using APIs like Selenium, or frameworks that have been created on top of Selenium? What leakiness exists, and how much do you need to know, regardless of the abstraction in place? And can you abstract too far?

Join me as I take you through some lessons learnt, patterns and approaches that have personally been successful, and how things might look in the future for UI test automation.

  • Speaker


    Hugh McCamphill - , ShopKeep, United Kingdom

    Hugh has been involved in a testing related role for nearly 15 years. He is currently a QA Lead with ShopKeep in Belfast, where he helps shape the organisations approach to testing. He is also keenly involved in the testing community, being the organiser of the Belfast Selenium Meetup since 2013, a SoftTest Ireland committee member and was a co-organiser of TestBash Belfast 2017.