Contributor spotlight: Bob Silverberg


WebQA has been thriving with the help of our contributors lately! Our team has been actively growing, thanks to the contributions of people like Bob Silverberg [bobsilverberg on Github!].

Bob Silverberg has made a big splash in our automation projects. He’s been actively contributing for about three months now. During this time he’s contributed to at least 5 different Web QA automation projects! He’s been most busy helping out with our Marketplace tests, having a solid lead on contributor check-ins.

If you’re curious who our contributors are, and what they’ve been up to – we’ve started tracking their awesomeness in our wiki. It’s so great to see all of the people helping out- and you can see them on our Contributor’s Corner wiki page.

Lately we’ve had a real influx of people helping out on our projects. We asked Bob Silverberg how he found Web QA when looking for a project. He said:

” It all started when I saw a blog post from David Burns (@AutomatedTester) about a Selenium Test Day with Mozilla WebQA ( in March of 2011. I joined in the test day and wrote a couple of tests. I found the experience to be fun and interesting, and all of the folks in irc were helpful and welcoming. They were also quite enthusiastic about my participation which was very motivating.

Numerous tasks got in the way of me making further contributions for over a year, but in June of this year I had some extra time and decided to get involved again. I went back to the irc room, offered my help, and was welcomed with open arms. I have been contributing regularly ever since. “

We’re all glad that Bob had some extra time in June of this year, and that he decided to get involved again!

Getting started on IRC can be a hurdle for newcomers to Mozilla and to Web QA. Here’s some advice straight from Bob:

” I think the best thing to do is to visit the irc channel and introduce yourself. There is a bit of a learning curve when you first start, even if you have experience with Python and Selenium, and the folks in the channel are always happy to help a new contributor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be afraid to jump in and try something. “

Great advice! Community means a lot to us, and the team really does value those contributors who not only want to help- but who come to hang out in our IRC channel. If you’re interested in what we’re up to you can hop in the #mozwebqa channel on IRC or by clicking this link: #mozwebqa on IRC


Bob’s focus has been automated testing. We asked what he enjoyed most. He said:

” I have a particular interest in automated testing, so I enjoy writing automated tests, refactoring existing code, and reviewing other’s pull requests. The pull request system at GitHub makes this all quite easy.

If you are interested in learning, or improving your skills in, Python, Selenium or Git it’s an excellent way to do so, and to be contributing to open source as well. “

Some words from Bob, about Bob!

” I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where I was born and raised. My wife and I lived in New Zealand for a year and a half around ten years ago, and we hope to return one day.

It really varies from week to week, a light week might be only a few hours [spent contributing], while a heavy week could be over 20 hours. One of the nice things about being a volunteer contributor is that you can choose how much, or how little, to contribute based on your schedule.

I run a small web development consulting firm from my home in Toronto. While I do enjoy testing and am interested in all forms of test automation I am really a developer at heart.

When I’m not developing software or writing tests I train in karate, spend time with my 5 and 7-year old boys, and DJ two shows on CodeBass Radio. My shows air every Friday at 10am Eastern time and alternate weekly between Bob’s Basement (a variety show featuring personal picks from the 70’s through to 2012) and Vitamin Sweet (hand-picked new releases – mostly indie stuff), the latter of which I co-host with my friend Brian Rinaldi.

I can be found on Twitter at and My blog is at You can find out more about CodeBass Radio (including how to listen to my awesome shows) at

I would like to mention again just how helpful and friendly everyone in WebQA has been. It is a real pleasure to work with the team and that is one of the main reasons I continue to actively contribute. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to help me! “

Thank YOU Bob! And because this is a special shout-out for the hard work you’ve been putting in, here are a couple of particular thanks from our team:

” Bob is always able to come up with a solution working autonomously which is a great asset when working remotely. He also has a broad range of technical skills beyond automated testing. ” ~ Zac Campbell

” Bob has been an incredibly valuable member of the Web QA team. I am particularly impressed by how he takes the more challenging tasks to work on, and constantly delivers quality contributions, demonstrating his impressive skills in both testing and development. Whenever there’s been a lack of tasks to pick up, Bob has seeked out a way to improve our existing solutions, and quickly throws together proof-of-concepts to demonstrate to the team. Bob doesn’t stop with contributing to Web QA, he also has contributed to the automation tools team, and for the Selenium project. ” ~ Dave Hunt

We truly do value our contributors in Web QA. Mozilla, and our team in particular, thrive on the contributions of our volunteer community. Feeling inspired? Please check us out!