• Test the Web Forward 

    There was a time, long, long ago, when writing a standard was a simpler, more angelic process than it is now. If you had a good idea, you could just write it up succinctly, send it to a mailing list, and if people liked it it would get added to a specification with a few tweaks — and then ship. In those days, large handwaving features roamed free across the Web's tundra, grazing peaceably from host to host.

    I for one recall fondly those sleepless nights of passion when as a fledgling Web developer I would tweak the innards of a page to make that table cell just the right shade of chartreuse green.

    But that came at a cost. The time you spend tweaking a basic feature to make it work everywhere is time you can't spend with friends and family, exploring the deeper meaning of life, finally writing that action movie adapted from Descartes' "Meditationes de Prima Philosophia", or, you know, hacking on yet something else.

    Today, far more care goes into writing stricter specifications. But that alone is not enough: the way to properly ensure interoperability is to write test suites. Years ago, W3C had a QA Activity that produced a lot of excellent work that is still the foundation of much of what we do today. But in those times there was still too little interest in testing, and it eventually had to be shut down for lack of participation.

    Thankfully, interest in testing has done nothing but grow in more recent times, and we can dedicate resources to testing again. One project that we in W3C are particularly fond of is Test The Web Forward. Part of the larger Move The Web Forward initiative — a grassroots movement true to Web form — it endeavours to get developers “more involved in contributing to the web platform [they] help define”.

    More specifically, TestTWF is running events that are part-conference, part-hackathon, in which Web experts from Adobe, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera, and W3C are at your disposal to help you write tests for W3C specifications.

    Why would you want to attend? First, you'll learn a lot about Web technology, from some of the best experts that can be found. By expanding the number of tests and becoming a contributor, you're making the Web a better place. That's obviously good for karma, but it's also great for yourself a few months down the line when you'll be spared tearing your hair out thanks to a test you wrote. Overall, such improvements to the Open Web Platform are ripe with virtuous circles: by making the platform more interoperable you're not just helping yourself down the line, but you're also helping countless others, some of whom will use that saved time to craft awesome libraries you might use, write informative blog posts you might read, or simply contribute more tests themselves.

    So Test The Web Forward is a great occasion to come be a hero and help save the Web from its own bugs!

    That's why W3C is proud to sponsor TestTWF, why we'll attend and help, and why we encourage all developers who can to join! There's a session in Beijing on Oct 20-21, and another in Paris on Oct 26-27. I'll be at the latter myself — I look forward to hacking on some tests with you there!

  • Test The Web Forward coming to Beijing and Paris 

    Adobe, in partnership with multiple organizations and individuals, is organizing two Test The Web Forward hackathons in Beijing (October 20-21) and Paris (October 26-27). The goal of these events is to bring the web community together to create test cases in order to improve the quality of the web – Like the slogan says “Better tests for a better web!.”

    The individual pages for Beijing and Paris have more information on the topics that will be covered, experts that will be attending and logistics. You can also follow @testthewebfwd on twitter to get the latest information.

    We are really excited to join forces with a growing number of organizations like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera, the W3C and others to Move the Web Forward. We hope that you can join us too! The registration is now open for events in Beijing and Paris. See you there!

  • Test the Web Forward Weekend! 

    Test the Web Forward took place in San Francisco last weekend and we are happy to bring you the gory details of what went down! In short, we had more than 70 people writing about 90 tests (and reviewing a similar number) for at least 9 CSS and SVG specifications!

    The Beginning

    The Web Platform team is always looking to find ways to make the web better. One of the ideas that was put forward was to assist web developers in learning how to write W3C tests. The germ of this idea is suggested in Move the Web Forward.

    At first, this idea seemed daunting. Would developers care about testing? How difficult would it be to learn to write a test? Could the W3C test harness deal with a big influx of new contributors? But gradually, we all warmed up to the idea and started planning the event.

    On June 15th and 16th, about 75 people trooped in to learn about writing tests for specifications. A whole slew of editors of various specifications and other W3C experts were on hand to assist the developers as they wrote tests: Fantasai, Tab Atkins, Simon Fraser, Edward O'Connor, David Baron, Vincent Hardy, Dirk Schulze, Alan Stearns, Doug Schepers, Glenn Adams, Sylvain GalineauArron Eicholz, John Jansen, Peter Linss, Gérard Talbot and more.

    The Day before D-Day

    On Friday evening, Arno Gourdol welcomed the audience setting the context for what we were about to do. Alan Stearns gave anoverview of what these tests are and how to go about writing them. Peter Linss, who maintains the CSS Testing framework, gave us an in-depth look at it. Doug Schepers talked about how to use the framework to write tests in SVG. Fantasai closed off the evening with a talk on writing good bug reports. Recordings of the talks are available.

    The Dinosaur

    Dinosaurs are integral to the Move the Web Forward initiative (just see the banner!), so we thought why not get a big inflatable dinosaur to make it more fun? So behold the dinosaur:

    We are actively processing applications for a suitable name for this dinosaur in the comments! The best suggestion will win a Test the Web Forward T-shirt!

    The D-Day

    On Saturday morning, Rebecca Hauk & Jacob Goldstein, WebKit Contributors, gave us a step-by-step tutorial on how to write CSS and JS tests for the W3C. Armed with this info, we started scouring the specifications for testable assertions and writing tests. The best part was sounding a gong whenever anyone got their test reviewed and submitted to the W3C!

    Cross-platform, cross-browser tests were written and submitted to the W3C. Where we found differences, we logged bugs. This event produced bugs for individual browsers, bugs on the specifications themselves and even uncovered a problem with the W3C test harness.

    At the end of the day, 6 prizes were up for grabs:

    Most tests reviewed

    • Simon Fraser was hard at work reviewing test cases, so much that he reviewed 56 tests!

    Most tests written (2 prizes)

    Best bug

    • Andres Ugarte wrote a test on perspective rendering that worked fine on all of the Mac browsers he tried. Another person at his table took the test and tried it out on some Windows browsers, and found and reported a bug in Firefox on Windows. So Doug May won the prize for best bug.

    Best test

    Coolest thing

    Honorable Mentions:

    • Melanie Archer wrote a test that checks for this rule stated in the Backgrounds & Borders specification: "If 'background-attachment' is given the value 'local,' then the background image scrolls with the containing element's content when the element's content is scrolled."
    • Doug Schepers wrote a monstrous SVG rotation test that checks rotation one degree at a time through the whole 360°. It uses a neat trick of making a red-filled path that is identical to the rotated SVG object which will show through if the transform fails.
    Here is an interesting commit graph of the test repository at the event. It seems like there was - at one point - 38 simultaneous branches!

    That's a wrap!

    Vincent Hardy held the fort as the presenter for the two days, while Israel Noto Garcia acted as the background manager ensuring the event went smoothly. Marie Nedich helped with the organizing of the event and Liz Arroyave-Frederick reached out to the community to spread the word about this event, while almost everyone on our team pitched in to help set up and help the audience write more tests! Thank you everyone for participating and making the web more awesome one test at a time.

    What's next?

    We would love to continue making this happen in the future. We just do not know yet in what form. No doubt we would let you all be the first to know when we do decide on a course of action. Meanwhile, please do follow @testthewebfwd for links, updates, and information on other Test the Web Forward events when they happen.

    Were you at Test the Web Forward? If so, we would love to hear from you on what you liked, or didn't and what you recommend we do next time (if we host an event). Please email us at testthewebforward@gmail.com with your suggestions!