Automating web actions with selenium IDE

I’ve discovered a new tool which I find quite cool: Selenium IDE.

Selenium is a plugin for firefox which allows to automate actions on a web browser in a similar manner that microsoft excel allows you to record macros and them play them back. This can be very useful if on your day to day you manually repeat the same actions on a web application, for example downloading every day the status reports from the company issue management tool in excel to check the top outstanding issues.

To get selenium up and running just follow these simple steps:

  1. with firefox, open and download by clicking on “Add to firefox”, click on Install and restart Firefox.
  2. Open Selenium IDE from your firefox browser by clicking on the top right icon called “Open menu”, click on Developer, and click on “Selenium IDE”, you should see your selenium IDE window pop up.
  3. As the Selenium IDE window opens, it’s ready to record your first test, open a tab in firefox, go to , right click and select “assert Title”
    1. seleniumide1
  4. go back to the Selenium IDE window and click on the green Arrow with a dash, you will see that the action has been replayed and that the test has passed successfully.
    1. seleniumide2
  5. To test that this works we can change the assertion so we can check that with the wrong title the assertion fails
    1. change the assertion to “wrong title” and click on the green arrow with a dash again. you will now see that the test fails, as expected, proving that the assertion works.
    2. seleniumide3
  6. That’s it, you are now set to start using selenium IDE, explore the rest of the commands available with right click. In a future post I will investigate how to integrate this with Java programming so you can perform more complex tests.

Chinese Government intervention in China Bitcoin Markets plummets bitcoin price

It seems Bitcoin isn’t as independent as I thought it was.

Today around 13:00 the price of bitcoin fell sharply after the Chinese central bank announced that they would not allow two of the major Chinese exchanges to permit bitcoin and litecoin withdrawals for a month.

How I read it is:

  1. Bitcoins can be freely exchanged between individuals. Blocking this would be as restrictive as blocking internet access to certain webpages (something that China has already done in the past)
  2. Since it’s hard to block people from exchanging bitcoins, what governments can do is force the hand of the exchanges (Kraken, Poloniex, or in this case Chinese exchanges Huobi and OKCoin) to block withdrawals or exchanges into fiat currency.
  3. Since businesses, salaries and day to day life still happens in fiat currency. By blocking the exchange from cryptocurrency to fiat currency, the value of the cryptocurrency can be put into question. If you can’t turn your cryptocurrency to “money”, you are stuck with something worthless.

This could change in the future if payment in cryptocurrency becomes ubiquitous. Then people would not have to change back into fiat.

This could also change if the central banks issued their own cryptocurrency and guaranteed a 1 to 1 matching between their fiat and their cryptocurrency. This would also reduce the volatility of the cryptocurrencies.

As we speak,, one of the major UK Based Exchanges is offline, probably due to the excess traffic from so many people panicking to sell their bitcoins. Also, as a side note, my personal bitcoin portfolio has taken a big hit, I will follow with interest the next days for this rare new world of virtual value 🙂