Coded UI Testing, from an intern's perspective

Do you remember what web pages used to look like? On the right is a picture of MSN from 2000, taken with the Wayback Machine. Quite different from MSN today isn’t it? Today, MSN is powered by HTML5, at least in parts if not altogether.

But just what is HTML5? Is it another buzzword that people use to make their product sound really awesome? It could be. Is it a real technology that has been experimented with in browsers for the past few years? Absolutely. Is it quite possibly the future of apps and the internet? Without the shadow of a doubt!

I began a tutor website here at Windward some time ago, and when I started researching web technologies, I looked into using things like PHP and ASP.NET which we’ve used on the internet for so long, and I looked at JavaScript which we have also used for a long time. These are some of the accepted ways of writing code that runs on the server side and client side respectively.

As I began my research, I quickly found jQuery. This is another technology that has aided web development, and has brought the web to a fancy new place. But we are still clicking buttons on white pages with text. Why isn’t the web in 3D? Why don’t we have more interactive games on the web? Why aren’t pages in general more interactive?! Why the hell do web pages have to use COOKIES to store my information, and why don’t cookies feel secure AT ALL? Why do we have to download Flash or Java for all the cool things, and wait forever on the overhead of said chosen technology? Isn’t Java being talked about every other day because of one security issue or the other?

What I am describing—3D, interactivity, memory, security—mobile phone apps seem to have fixed this, and often times they replace certain web sites. Who goes to from their phone when you have the Facebook app? Why would you go to when you have the Google Maps app (Its understandable if you have the Apple maps app that you would do anything, even throw your phone at a wall)

The problem with mobile phone apps, though, is that you have iOS, Android, Windows, and a host of other mobile phone operating systems, and as an app developer, maintaining an app for one operating systems sucks enough in itself let alone three or four!

This is where I think HTML5 makes its grand appearance. One thing that can run on most mobile phones (at least, the smart ones) is a web browser. Even if the current generation of browsers that come with smart phones are still running a little behind in regards to HTML5 features supported, there are alternatives such as Chrome, Firefox and Opera.

So instead of writing an app for iOS, an app for Android, and an app for Windows, why not just write an HTML5 app that will run on all three? Testing may be a different story, but there is definitely the option of debugging tools for mobile phones. We can always wait to see what the future holds, but how can you take risks if you don’t jump on the emerging technologies early?




I'm a computer engineering student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, intern at Windward Studios in Boulder and I love to read on my Kindle. I'm interested in parallel programming and high performance computing--hope to study that in graduate school after graduating. Favorite book series is the Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card and I watch Star Trek occasionally--also a fan of the Avengers, especially Iron Man.

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