As Covid-19 sweeps around the globe and brings a lot of unexpected change and complexity in people's lives, whether through their becoming ill or because of the social and economic consequences of this crisis, I've been asking myself: what can Appium do to help? Automating mobile apps pales in comparison to the work that healthcare professionals are doing right now, and certainly doesn't feel sufficient to address the severeness of the concrete need currently being felt in so many communities all around the world.
I tried to think of a clever way to use mobile automation to trigger donations to appropriate services, like we did once before. When it really comes down to it, though, that's a gimmicky sort of response to a crisis like the one we're in. What people need most right now may not be mobile app automation. It's pretty cool that Jason Huggins can repurpose his robot automation business to make face shields for healthcare personnel, but that level of physical aid is probably beyond us on the software automation side.
But you know what? That's OK. It turns out (at least I hope it does) that we are human beings first, and Appium users second (or twentieth, or what have you). The real question is, what can we, as human beings, do for our fellow human beings in this crisis? And not just for our "fellow human beings" considered abstractly, but our actual physical neighbor humans that live next door and downstairs and across the street? Obviously the mandate to stay home and prevent the spread of disease through physical contact limits our options. It doesn't eliminate them, though.
This is a hugely unpredictable time in the world, and the economic fallout looks like it may be as severe as the health risks have already proven to be. Some of you reading this may have lost your jobs. For you, I hope that the work I've started to bring high-quality test automation instruction online will be of some use in helping to find good employment in an uncertain time.
For others, the sentiment may be one of more or less relief. Compared to many other industries, tech hasn't seemed poised to be altered so dramatically. Because of the Internet, we can all work from home. Because of the Internet, people can continue to consume the value that is generated through mobile app development. For those of us in this situation, we are in a uniquely fortunate position to help others. It might not be wise for us to go babysit our neighbor's kids, but we could send our neighbor money for groceries this week. It might not be wise for us to eat out at our local restaurant or coffee shop, but we could order food for the whole block and help keep them in business. It might not be wise to get a haircut or take a yoga class, but we could pay for those services anyway, sending a message that we value the service providers enough to help keep them afloat during a season that is uniquely difficult for their businesses.
I sure hope that governments around the world are prioritizing taking care of their citizens in these times, including taking care of their physical and financial needs. But for those of us who might be quite fortunate relative to others right now, it's worth asking the question of how we can care for our communities in those ways too, especially when it's so easy, safe, and quick to send some cash online. I know that this is supposed to be a newsletter full of technical tips. Don't worry: we've got over 100 of those for you to browse! And there will be many more to come. But today, I wanted to encourage each of us to take a step back from our computer screens, look around for some specific need in our community, and meet it. I just did this a little bit ago myself, and without going into detail, I'll just say that it was an immensely good thing.
Oh, and if you do think of a way to use Appium to help people in this crisis, or to fight the Coronavirus, let me know! I'll help you get the word out.
Alright Appium humans, let's do this! Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay generous. Hopefully we'll all get back to our regularly scheduled app automation very soon, and maybe even with a little more empathy for everyone else we're "sheltering in place" with on this big chunk of rock floating in the starry void.