Posted in Miscellaneous

Open Source

Oh boy.  It’s been a while…sorry.  And most people who read this site probably won’t be interested in this update anyway.  I’m thinking about maybe shifting focus of this to a more technical blog, and putting personal/family stuff somewhere else.

Yesterday was really frustrating for me at work.  I’ve been working on automating some of our regression tests for our iOS app, and it’s just been giving me a headache.  The toolset for mobile automation just isn’t nearly as mature as it is for the web…but it’s getting there.

My current problems revolve around the fact that iOS 10 / XCode 8 drove some major changes to the automation framework Appium, and it’s forced me to rewrite a fair chunk of what I’d previously had working.  But yesterday was especially challenging because even simple basic things weren’t working.  When you make an asynchronous call in Javascript (called a Promise) it’s supposed to call one of two functions when it’s complete, depending on whether the operation was a success or failure.  For me the success call was working, but the failure wasn’t…and in an operation where I’m waiting for an element to be displayed on-screen it should automatically retry when it hits the failure case.  But it was just hanging.

But (and this is the entire point of this post), since all of the software I’m working with is open source I was able to read it and debug it myself.  I eventually tracked it to a known issue in the WebDriverAgent (written by Facebook) that handles the actual automation on the device/simulator.  Not only was it a known problem already, but the developer had a fix…but wasn’t going to be able to merge it into the baseline until after Christmas.  BUT (again) since it’s all open source I was able to take his fix and manually apply it to my local copy of the software, and I’m up and running!

It’s things like this that make me so happy about working in the open source community.  It’s a pretty stark difference to the world of defense contracting I left behind just over a year ago…although to be fair there are large parts of the government that are making the move over to OSS.

P.S – I mentioned a while back that I was moving over from QWERTY to Colemak.  It’s been a great success so far!  I’m already up to 50-60 WPM (although I was ~90 on QWERTY, so still a ways to go).  But I’m writing this post from a different machine, and I’m back to QWERTY.  It’s pretty painful, but the muscle memory is still mostly in place, I’m just making a lot of mistakes.  So blame any typos on that.

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I'm an Excellence Wrangler at Automattic. I enjoy coffee, and debating who would win in a fight...

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