Announcing the Sauce Labs iPad Selenium Contest Winner

Posted May 4th, 2010

On April 1st, Sauce Labs kicked off a contest, awarding an iPad to "the person proposing the most creative, useful, and ethical use of Selenium for something besides website testing" Today, we're happy to announce Chris McMahon as the winner of the contest. Here's an excerpt of Chris' idea:

I live in a small town with very few tech jobs, so I am a dedicated telecommuter. One of the best sources of telecommuting jobs is Craigslist. Unfortunately, Craigslist does not allow a global search, and requires users to search state by state and town by town, which is incredibly tedious... ... So here it is: 30 lines of Ruby/Selenium2.0 to do a global search of Craigslist for telecommuting QA job listings, for every town in every state.

We picked Chris McMahon's idea because:

  1. It's a useful and practical idea, and more importantly, it worked! According to Chris: "The script landed me one job and several job interviews in two separate job searches."
  2. Though it wasn't a requirement of the contest, what differentiated his idea amongst the many other great submissions was working code and a job offer to go along with the idea. And as they say, "One test is worth a thousand expert opinions".

However, the other requirement for our contest was the idea also had to be ethical. Here things get a bit controversial. Using "automated means" to script violates Craigslist's terms of use prohibition to "use automated means," Craigslist previously enforced in high-visibility cases such as crgslst and craigslittlebuddy. which involved (quasi-innocent to abusive) spamming of honest advertisers. However in this case, Chris proposes an honorable use case that technically violates the Craigslist TOS.  But telecommuting jobs are by nature city-agnostic.  Since this represents multi-city search use case clearly serves the public-good, we're confident that a request for "permission" per the Craigslist TOS policy would be approved. So, Chris, enjoy your new iPad. But as you're testing it out, please send an email to Craig Newmark and ask for permission to keep using your Selenium script. We wouldn't be surprised if you already have a Selenium script for that, too. :-) Here's a video of the iPad contest winner in action:

In addition to Chris, there were a number of really excellent entries.  The runner-up awards of 1000 cpu test minutes on the Sauce OnDemand service go to Thomas Market and Cecilia for their excellent entries:

Thomas Market:  In the modern age, computers have solved many of mankind’s problems by automating tasks that are prone to human error. Many of the remaining unsolved problems in several fields, including mathematics, science, and medicine, can be closely approximated through intensive computation. In particular, problems that involve a complete search of a well-defined solution space, such as protein folding, are well suited to computational methods. With the recent Javascript performance optimizations in several browsers, I propose implementing a client-side web application that can search for solutions and run simulations for many outstanding problems, such as identifying optimal protein structures, modeling the threats of near-Earth asteroids, and exploring the effects of climate change. We can then leverage Selenium to run these distributed browser instances in parallel to maximize computational throughput.
Cecilia: I could use the Sauce OnDemand services to become a Computational Cluster on Demand service. There are many people using the MapReduce approach to process large data sets.

Congratulations Cecilia and Thomas!  Go ahead and create your account on then email us at help[at—sign] and we’ll populate your account with 1000 test minutes.

Written by

Jason Huggins