I have been thinking recently that the Robot Framework development must seem quite opaque to anyone outside the core team. We occasionally communicate when a development effort of some project is started, but at other times releases just come out of the woods.
To alleviate the lack of communication, I thought that a monthly newsletter would be in order. My intention is shed light on things that have been done in the recent past as well as highlight the things that we are likely to engage in the near future. I also figured that a slightly longer "feature article" would be nice in each newsletter.
And now you are enjoying the very first issue of the said newsletter. Hopefully it won't be the last. I would be grateful for any feedback, as well as suggestions for feature article topics.
Some of these are actually already "olds", but in my opinion important enough to list here anyway.
Robot Framework 2.7 in development
We recently started the development of Robot Framework 2.7. The list of issues initially targeted for 2.7 is quite long, and subject to heavy pruning, probably during next week.
The core team has been working on faster and less resource consuming rebot, and we've been making good progress. Whole rebot was basically written from scratch and it is now integrated, and all tests are passing in the current HEAD.
If you have any contributions towards 2.7, now is the time to act.
Projects moved to GitHub
We've created a GitHub organization for Robot Framework, and have already moved some projects there. The reasoning for this move warrants its own post, but the short story is that we hope to
- ease our own work
- lower the barrier for contributing
We are likely to continue moving projects to GitHub, although the migration of core framework itself has not yet been scheduled.
New test librariesRyan Tomac has released Selenium2Library, which is a drop-in replacement for SeleniumLibrary, but it uses the new Selenium2 WebDriver API instead of the Remote control API used by the old library. Thanks Ryan for this major contribution!
The core team has released first version of Rammbock, which is a generic network protocol test library for Robot Framework. Rammbock is still in its early stages, but shows great promise.
Feature of the month: How Robot Framework development is organized
As mentioned in project pages, Robot Framework was started as an internal project at Nokia Networks (which was later merged with Siemens network business to create NSN), and was open sourced later. It is widely used at NSN, and NSN still funds RF development.
The core team (currently numbering one part-time NSN person and 4,5 externals) is paid by NSN and works at NSN premises in Espoo, Finland. Pekka Klärck, creator of the framework, is part of the core team.
In addition to developing the core framework and RIDE, and maintaining several test libraries, the core team is responsible for NSN-wide training and support of Robot Framework.
Priorities for RF development arise mainly from the internal users, and these needs affect the order in which, for example RF and RIDE releases are made. However, we tend to fix bugs regardless of who opened the bug report. Similarly, generic, useful enhancements of reasonable scope are also often made without direct internal need.
All the core team projects have issue trackers, and even though sometimes neglected for a while, the issue tracker is the most accurate source of information about the scope of any upcoming release.
We do not have any kind of roadmaps, or deadlines for releases. We try to work on only one project at any given time, and after a release is made, next project is chosen based on the priorities at that point. This also means that most of the time, most of the projects are on hold.
All the above applies obviously only to projects that are directly maintained by the core team. There's a growing number of test libraries and other tools maintained by active community members, and those projects have their own governing rules.
If this raises further questions, use comments, or start a thread in mailing list.
Here's a list of upcoming events that are going to feature Robot Framework in one way or another.
- 2011-11-07 FinnStar, presentations from CAST and EuroSTAR by Finns, (sold out)
- 2011-11-24 EuroStar in Manchester, Acceptance Test Driven Development Using Robot Framework
- Robot Framework Hands-On training at Skills Matter, London