Sauce Labs adds live video to app testing platform

San Francisco-based Sauce Labs Inc. has updated its cloud-based, cross-browser testing platform to allow Web developers to watch live video of their programming tests.

The new Sauce TV feature means application developers using the company’s Selenium software testing framework will be able to watch their off-site tests in real-time as opposed to waiting for reports or recorded video. The functionality aims to shorten the debugging cycle and get instant feedback to developers as they work.

Prior to the Sauce TV addition, developers had to wait for the cloud-based service to send them back recording of these tests.

“You kick-off the test, go to, find the test you’re running, open up that page and up pops a little TV screen where you can watch,” said Jason Huggins, a co-founder of Sauce Labs and the creator of the Selenium software testing framework. Developers will also be able to pause the Flash-based test video, he added.

The Selenium platform is a visual feedback tool that gives users the ability to run tests in a number of Web browsers and programming languages, including C#, Java, Ruby, Python and PHP. The tool can also be described as a “browser automation tool,” as it uses a software robot to open up the Web application, type text, and click through the app’s various features.

Ian Danforth, head of quality at San Mateo, Calif.-based hosted collaboration software firm PBworks Inc., said his company recently completed a large refactoring project which made heavy use of the Sauce TV feature. Danforth said tens of thousands of lines of code were cleaned up and few bugs made it out of the development stage.

“Each run of a test can take up to three or four minutes and you need to run that up to a dozen times while fixing a bug,” he said. “If you had to wait for the test to complete each time it would be a monumental time sink. SauceTV is probably three to four times faster than developing in the cloud without it.”

In addition to speeding up the debugging process, Huggins said Web developers working for large enterprises will be able to use the tool to demo their unfinished applications to project sponsors, business executives or clients.

“At any moment you can have a live demo at your desk,” he said.

While the text at the bottom of the screen after a successful test is enough for many developers to “geek out” on, Huggins said, it isn’t very inspiring to the less tech-savvy stakeholders.

Sauce Labs said the Sauce TV feature will be added without any additional costs for existing and new customers.

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