Categories: meetmozwebqa

“I Am Mozilla Web QA” – meet Bob Silverberg

Bob SilverbergWhat do you do at Mozilla?

Officially, I am a QA Engineer with the Web QA department, which means that I spend a lot of time writing and maintaining automated tests for many of Mozilla’s web sites, as well as working on our test automation frameworks. These tests run on desktop browsers, android and even Firefox OS. I am also the lead and sole developer of the One and Done web site, so that ends up taking nearly half of my time as well. The site is written in Python using Django.

What do you like to spend your spare time on?

I love to cook, and to eat, which seem to go well together. I also enjoy reading, photography and am a huge board game enthusiast. I play often with my friends and have a collection of close to 100 board games.

How did you get started in testing?

I started off writing unit tests for web applications that I was writing, probably about 7 years ago. I really enjoyed writing the tests, and the security it gave me as a developer to have coverage for code that I was refactoring. I started to evangelize unit testing to my peers, and, a couple of years later started writing functional tests with Selenium as well. I guess you’d say that for quite some time I’ve been a big fan of automated testing, from a developer perspective, but I’ve never really considered myself a tester, per se.

How and when did you get involved with Mozilla?

I was using an old, out-of-date technology for all of my web development and I both wanted and needed to learn something more modern. I decided to pursue Python and found out about volunteer opportunities at Mozilla via a test day organized by David Burns. I made a couple of small contributions to automated tests using Python and Selenium, but then moved on to other things. Then, about a year later I met some of the members of the Web QA team at a Selenium conference in London. They encouraged me to start contributing again and I did. I became a very active contributor to Web QA’s automated tests, and when the opportunity arose to become a Mozilla employee I jumped at the chance. The rest, as they say, is history.

What’s your favourite testing tool, and why?

I’m not sure that I have a favourite testing tool, but I would have to say that, despite being in the Web QA department, my favourite types of test are unit tests. I just love the simplicity of them, the fact that they run fast, and the fact that they give you immediate feedback when you’ve made a coding error.

What’s coming up that you’re excited about?

I’m excited about Marionette replacing Selenium’s FirefoxDriver as it will allow us to push the envelope with some of our functional tests for web sites.

What have you read recently that inspired you?

I don’t read much in the way of tech, but I did recently finish reading a non-fiction book called “Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind”. It opened my eyes to a number of things and has changed the way I think about others. It’s also extremely well written and a joy to read. I recommend it heartily.

What’s your favorite city?

These are tough questions! I love my home town of Toronto, but I have also travelled a lot and visited so many wonderful cities. One that comes to mind is Hoi An, a beautiful city in Vietnam where my wife and I spent a few days many years ago.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Well, I’m Canadian and I live in Toronto with my wife and two boys, aged 8 and 10. I work remotely from home and I love it!

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