The Promise and Failure of Record and Playback

I came across the below video of Bret Pettichord’s keynote presentation to the Selenium Conference in 2011 called “Science and Stories and Test Automation”. Much of the talk covers his experience with Test Automation, specifically the promise and failure of record and playback over the last 20 years (I think). Just this historical perspective makes the video worth watching.

Pettichord, best known in the testing community as one of the authors of Lessons Learned in Software Testing, towards the end of the keynote calls out the Selenium community for falling victim to popularity like the commercial market did on Record and Playback with the Selenium IDE (their version of record and playback). Instead Pettichord says doing what we know is right should triumph in the long run which, in the case of Test Automation, means creating maintainable and useful automation code. Not building a product (like Selenium IDE) to make it easier for people to use but that doesn’t actually work.


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Jamie Larson