Earlier this week, Facebook announced a new tool for developers to enable them to test new implementations of Facebook Connect and to ensure that the service is always running. The tool leverages Waitr, an open-sourced Ruby library for automating internet browsers. It will automatically run browsers for you and provides an interface for quickly navigating and interacting with a web page’s various components. The point is to ensure that Facebook Connect is always working.
Funny enough, I tested out StreamDiff, a Connect-enabled application that was tested with this new tool but I couldn’t get through the entire authentication process. Regardless of StreamDiff working for me, Facebook has taken the time to outline how to automate tests and I have to say that it looks pretty cool. Watir looks like a fun tool to mess around with, especially if you are in to developing your own spiders.
For those developers that have used Facebook Connect on their own websites, you probably know of some of the minor issues that can take place when implementing it. That’s why this new library is so useful as you’ll be able to ensure that your implementation works across browsers and at scale. It’s interesting to see Facebook doing Ruby demos rather than PHP, the language that the company typically releases libraries for.
A clear trend is that the modern web developer needs to be language independent if their going to take advantage of all the tools available to them, willing to switch between Python, Ruby, and PHP depending on what’s needed. While I know some developers would argue otherwise (snobby Ruby developers ) flexibility is key as new development products are released daily. Have you build applications with Ruby? Do you enjoy using the language? What do you think about Waitr?