Selenium HtmlUnit driver separated in 2.53.0

I’ve been a user of Selenium testing for several years, though I noticed that some classes related to the HtmlUnit WebDriver were missing after upgrading from 2.52.0 to 2.53.0. After some research, I discovered that it is now a separate dependency allowing for a separate release cycle. Additionally, if you don’t use this (relatively generic) webdriver, you will no longer need to have it in your binaries.

Here’s all you need to do to add it to your Maven projects for testing.

In your pom.xml file:



Adding TestNG support to Eclipse

Most Java developers are familiar with the Eclipse IDE, even if they use alternatives.

One thing that’s bothered me for some time is that while JUnit is natively supported in Eclipse, TestNG is not. Thankfully, you can easily add this functionality.

  1. Help; Eclipse MarketPlace;
  2. Find – enter: testng
  3. Click on "TestNG for Eclipse" and install by stepping through the prompts.
  4. Restart of Eclipse is required to enable the new functionality.

Website testing with SortSite

SortSite is a popular desktop software for testing of web applications for broken links, browser compatibility, accessibility and common spelling errors. It is also available as a web application known as “OnDemand“.

You can generate a free sample test of your website at:


Deque FireEyes accessibility testing plugin

I’ve done a lot of accessibility testing and development work over my career. One of the many free tools that I use in that role is FireEyes. Deque also has some commercial packages for developer use.

FireEyes adds a new tab on the Firebug tab bar and adds the ability to analyze a web site for WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA and Section 508 accessibility violations. The Stand-Alone version of FireEyes is a browser plugin to the FireFox browser. It requires that the FireBug plugin already be installed


  • Firefox 31-41

    As of 2015aug21, the current version of the extension is NOT signed and will not execute on later versions. [See my later post on this topic]

  • FireBug 2.x – Do NOT install Firebug v3 alpha as the tab will not show.

NOTE: should be on Firebug tab labeled “Worldspace Fireyes”, but does not seem to be available in Firebug3.

NOTE: if you try to download in MSIE, you must rename the .zip to .xpi, and then open with Firefox.


Prevent Firefox browser auto update

Often you find a neeed to keep an old copy of Firefox around for testing or to use a specific plugin (Example: Selenium). In these cases it can often prove problematic to allow the browser to auto-update. Here are some simple steps to prevent this behavior.

Enter “about:config” into the Firefox URL bar, then change the following values. You can click on them to toggle. = false
app.update.enabled = false

Alternately, on Windows you can edit the config file at: %APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\.default\prefs.js


Browser capabilities comparison testing

Browsers tend to evolve quickly, but they often do not offer the same capabilities cross-platform. As a result of this, there are many standard tests available to the developers of browser software to test for compliance with modern web standards.

Before making use of a specific capability in your web application, it’s often best to determine which browsers can support it.

Firefox Beta and Aurora Release Channels

With the recent rapid release cycle (currently every 6 weeks) for Firefox, it’s a good idea for developers and testers to use the upcoming release versions before they are released to the general public.

For Windows users, you can download and install an appropriate version from:

On Ubuntu, it’s a little more difficult, but rather straight-forward:

  1. Open a new Terminal window
  2. sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-next
  3. sudo apt-get update
  4. sudo apt-get install firefox


That’s all…. Happy Testing!

MSIE browser testing

Testing web applications with various versions of MSIE (Internet Explorer) often proves problematic as it’s generally not possible to have more than one version installed on a single Windows installation. There are various approaches, such as:

  • Having an entire test lab with different browser configurations.
  • More often, it’s also possible to run a set of virtual machines on a single desktop.
  • Another option is to find a package that ‘hacks’ around some of the Windows limitations and installs (at least partially) the browser rendering capabilities.

NOTE: the final method above has some quirks, but you can generally use it for preliminary testing by developers as it’s obviously easier to maintain.

Here are a few common packages that I’m aware of:

Happy testing!

Open Source Desktop Virtualization

Through the years, I’ve had to develop, maintain and support software on a variety of systems. Unfortunately, it’s often impossible to maintain specific software versions or configurations installed on physical machines. In the realm of web development, this becomes increasingly complex because of the rapid release of multiple browser versions.

To aid in testing, I’ve found that it’s often best to run these configurations in Virtual Machines, I’ve used VirtualPC and VMWare in the past, but have recently become a fan of Sun‘s OpenSource release of VirtualBox as it runs on a wide variety of host systems and supports most x86 based operating systems as clients.