Faster Cucumber startup: Keep PhantomJS browser open between tests

At Sharetribe we take integration testing seriously. We’re providing a platform for multiple marketplaces which each have a different set of configurations and customizations. At the same time we are rapidly developing our platform further and deploying new features every week. When we release a new feature, we hardly ever do any manual regression testing. We have implemented a comprehensive test set which we trust to catch regressions. In addition, as a small startup we simply don’t have time to waste for testing manually something that can be automated.

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A startup with a social mission

Atlas, it's time for your bath by woodleywonderworks | CC-BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en) (cropped)As many of you guessed, Sharetribe is not giving up open source or suing anyone over using the word “share”. The previous post of this blog was our 1st of April post of 2013. As the post was pretty much an antithesis of what we believe in and what we want to represent, I thought I’d use this opportunity to talk a bit about what, then, are the real mission, vision and values guiding our actions.

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It’s time to get real

Access Denied 2008 by Mike Licht (Creative Commons-BY license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en)April fools!  As many of you noticed, this was our 1st of April post of 2013. So no need to be worried, we will continue with our open, transparent and collaborative approach. ;)

This whole thing about “openness”, “transparency” and “collaboration” is all warm and fuzzy, but let’s face the facts: it’s not sustainable. After all, we are a company, so our main goal is naturally to make a whole lot of money. And as we all know, the best way to do so is to protect our intellectual property. We must realize that every other company in the world is our competitor. Thus, everything we create must benefit us and us only.

Starting from April 1st 2013, the code that we develop will no longer be open source. The old code is still circulating around the web, but beware of using it: our army of copyright lawyers might come after you.

Furthermore, we have a patent pending for our proprietary AP2PM (Awesome Peer-To-Peer Marketplace) Technology. The patent covers a number of areas, including allowing people tools to lend and rent goods, exchange services and share rides through using an online portal. Once the patent is issued, we are ready to proceed with litigation agains all parties that violate the patent.

Moreover, we have decided to follow in the footsteps of Facebook and disallow other organizations the incorporation of the word “share” into their names, to prevent their brands from being confused with ours. We don’t have the registered trademark yet, but luckily trademarks can also be asserted based on use of a term, so we feel that this is a very natural move from us. We will be contacting all the parties that infringe the trademark, and hope to reach a settlement that involves them removing the word “share” from their name. That’s right Shareable, OuiShare and The People Who Share, we’re looking at you, among many others.

How to Create a Lively Peer-to-Peer Marketplace

market by Roberto Trm | CC-BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en)

The most difficult part of starting a new peer-to-peer marketplace is the very beginning. You need to get the critical mass in both the supply and the demand side for the marketplace to really work.

We have a lot experience on this: more than 650 marketplaces have been started on the Sharetribe platform. I wrote a post on this topic for the Shareable magazine to share what we have learned. Read the story here.

Sharing economy initiatives we like: introducing Knok

Sharing economy is about collaboration, and one important aspect is collaboration between different sharing marketplaces. In that spirit we’re starting a new series in our blog, where we introduce other great sharing initiatives around the world. The first one of them is Knok, a global home swapping community. This post is written by Laura Martinez from Knok.

Knok

Before you try home swapping you are usually full of questions and doubts. After your first exchange you still have 2 questions: “Why I didn’t start earlier? and “Why isn’t everybody doing it?

Knok is a new generation home swap community. Born in mid-2011, Knok has thousands of homes in over 147 countries in the world making it the fastest growing home exchange site on the web. Knok strongly believes in the importance of living new experiences while one travels that is why the home exchange presents itself as the ideal way to travel without worry about accommodation expenses.

Swapping homes simply has so many advantages, to begin with you save up on accommodations costs which are the main expense in a trip. You enjoy all the space and commodities of staying in a home rather than a one bedrrom hotel and feel as if you are home but away from home. With home swap you meet new peple and interact with new cultures as well as discover the city as a local thanks to the recommendation list that your home exchange partner leaves behind. Those that begin swapping homes, realize the amazing potential and benefits it has and simply get hooked on to this way of travel.

Knok takes a great idea, traveling on home exchange and provide the best technological platform that suggests your ideal exchange partners based on your profile. Knok combines a very easy-to-use site with a smart search algorithm; reinforces the trust in the community through friends’ and members’ reviews; offers an insurance that covers members home while swapping; integrates Facebook to discover your social connections; and provides a seamless exchange experience, protecting and verifying the identity of members.

We invite you to join Knok and start travelling in a different way. We promise, when you try it once you will get hooked!

Sharetribe has a new shiny design – it’s mobile-friendly, easily customizable and more

Sharetribe new designWe recently released a new layout for all the Sharetribe communities. See it in action in some of our tribes: University of Helsinki, If insurance company or OuiShare creative community.

As you might have already noticed, many things have changed. And many of the tribes now look a bit different from each other. It’s now really easy to customize the basic look & feel of the tribe right from the admin view. You can change the texts, colors, logo and the cover photo. For our premium customers, it’s even possible to get completely rid of the Sharetribe branding, and get your own domain. Here’s an example: omakotitori.fi for our customer, the Finnish Homeowner Association.

Sharetribe mobile view

Sharetribe mobile view

If you try to resize the browser window, you’ll notice another cool thing: it’s finally responsive! Now Sharetribe works great in all major tablet and mobile browsers. If you’re an iPhone owner, there’s an app for that, but for the rest the HTML5 mobile view is pretty nice too. A big thank you for the responsive layout goes to magnificent Joni Korpi of Kisko Labs, he’s a true guru (or “astronaut”, as he calls himself) in responsive design.

The changes don’t stop here. We want to make Sharetribe feel more like a community, and not just like a random classifieds site. The first step is the “community” tab we have created. Under it, you can see all the members of the current tribe. A screenshot below:

Members view

See all the members of the tribe.

We’re also improving on the admin side. Besides customizing the look & feel, you can do things like sending messages to all the tribe members, or inviting multiple people to the tribe at once. Now is a good time to test those yourself – go create a tribe for your community. Did you know that it’s now completely free?

Next in line are categories: you will be able to select which categories are used in your tribes, and have subcategories (like “tools”, “books”, etc under “items”). We’ll also introduce more ways to filter the listings. There are lots of improvements on the pipeline for this spring, stay tuned!