So I admit to not being too active on the forums so I may be blowing smoke here, but Selenium seems to be losing traction in the market right now. I don’t think we’re at the turn-off-the-lights-when-you-leave phase, nor do I think it will ever really come to that given the number of existing users, but from a going forward perspective I think there might be some pain.
I use Selenium as part of larger tools that I build. I might buy a tool if it did everything I wanted, but like to build my lightsabers. Let’s follow the the Star Wars analogy for a bit.
- Leadership – At the top of the Jedi heap is the Jedi Council who lead and guide the rest of the herd and in that group there is a single, identifiable, recognized leader. Watir has Bret Pettichord, but Selenium has …? We need someone to come out and take ownership of Selenium, coordinate the parts and releases and plan out the roadmap.
- In-person gathering – The Jedi Council would often get together to work on problems and assign tasks either in person or using remote presence technology. Skype, IRC, forums, etc. are all great, but nothing beats in-person communication. I seem to think that the Selenium developers got together at Google once, but that sort of even needs to happen more often; twice a year maybe? The Watir community is having an event January which is not necessarily just the developers, but I would bet that the core group will be there.
- Corporate Support – All member planets / systems in the (Old) Republic contributed to the expenses of the Jedi. Watir now has the backing of WatirCraft. Selenium has…? Well, ThoughtWorks is where it came out of, but are they actively promoting it or employing core members of the team? Google poached Jason Huggins from ThoughtWorks and seemed like it could be the corporate sponsor, but he left. So who is there?
- Outsourcing – When things got tough and the Republic needed a lot of (relatively) cheap bodies to do the grunt work, they called in the clones. (Well, sorta. But it could be argued that the outsourcing much like the clone army often backfire). But what offshore outsourcing firms have Selenium expertise? Most I have seen / talked with are HP/Mercury shops that if pressed will tell you they have a couple people on staff with some clue. But clue to what level? I think this is a potentially untapped market just ripe for exploitation
- Consulting / Training – Aside from ThoughtWorks, I couldn’t come up anyone who is billing themselves as a consultant or offering training on selenium. (PushToTest does to some degree, but that is in the context of their TestMaker product). Look at the industry around Mercury toolset. Training and value-add is often cited as the path to success with open source, so where is it with Selenium? (Sorry, no Star Wars metaphor on this)
- Books – There is a Short Cut on using Selenium, but that seems to be about the extent of commercial documentation. A consultant who has written the book on Selenium could make a decent living I think.
So how do we address these? Or do we want to? (And now I have to go re-subscribe to all the Selenium mailing lists since I seem to be jumping back in.)