Developers are persistently expected to deliver high-quality apps as companies adopt a DevOps approach to software development. Unfortunately, this places them in the precarious position of balancing speed and quality. Continuous testing can help developers achieve this balance by providing a downstream way to test developed software as they endeavor to shift left in the DevOps value chain.
However, owing to the intricate nature of DevOps practice, there are inherent technical and phenomenological challenges to scaling the efforts on the whole.
For instance, Capgemini’s recent study outlined that more than 63% of the interviewed organizations didn’t find integrating non-functional testing feasible. In addition, almost 62% of the organizations couldn’t identify skilled professionals in the first place.
This makes it essential to comprehend the essence of continuous testing in helping DevOps practices reach desired fruition. And along those lines, this post discusses how DevOps is best enabled using continuous testing by describing:
What is Continuous Testing?
Continuous testing is a test strategy that applies to functional as well as non-functional testing. In this method, a resilient, automated build mechanism is deployed to build and test the software on a schedule. There is an equal emphasis on shift left and shift right approaches using a cyclical build-test-release process. Technically, this translates to managing the components and assessing risk at the source alongside testing the production and acknowledging customer experience.
Benefits of Continuous Testing
Standardized testing is a crucial part of DevOps philosophy, but it is equally essential for testing practices to evolve along with DevOps initiatives. Continuous testing offers developers and QA’s new ways to optimize their pipeline, reduce costs, and make better software faster.
For example, organizations can leverage the continuous testing to:
- Accelerate the release cycles by employing automated tests that run perpetuity to assess the software components for defects.
- Facilitate immediate feedback on quality (during development) and minimize the time gap between releases. Usually, as testing compounds while shifting right, the underlying procedural problems are also complicated — not the case with continuous testing, though, thanks to risk-based feedback being consolidated at every stage.
- Reduce operational intricacy by integrating non-functional testing into the build and test cycle.
- Reduce departmental fragmentation by incorporating the testing culture throughout the development pipeline. This is remarkably different and more efficient than traditional methods, where testing is handed over to the QAs right at the end.
Challenges in Continuous Testing
Again, the success of the overall DevOps initiative and the associated continuous testing practice is directly proportional to how well you manage the related technical and phenomenological challenges. Here’s what they look like:
- Resource Constraints: Resource-related limitations could range from the lack of appropriate in-house tools to the absence of a concrete testing environment. Of course, both are directly related to budgetary restraints and, in some cases, misplaced priorities.
- Inability to Shift Left: With the growing intricacy of testing problems, it’s increasingly harder to shift left in the DevOps value stream. That apart, non-functional testing has inherent difficulties that can make this even more taxing.
- Application Dependencies: The greater the number of applications in the DevOps pipeline, the harder it becomes to manage and maintain testing environments. This is proportional to the escalating sophistication as the product grows and the scope of testing expands.
How Automated Platforms Can Help in Continuous Testing
Automation is the driver of the shift left in DevOps, but its value can be fully realized only when testing is automated using an on-demand, reproducible process. This is when automated testing platforms, such as ACCELQ, help use best practices in creating a continuous testing model that generates real-time data on the current build status and provides testers with the ability to make better-informed decisions on where, when, and how to test.
On a granular level, automated platforms can:
- Align with CI/CD: CI/CD are the central tenets of the DevOps value stream. Therefore, it’s vital to establish a continuous testing setup that generates reports, monitors defects, and analyzes test coverage. This essentially means that developers can go about their work knowing that a recent application build failed through notifications describing automated test fail, issues with a new code release, or a last-minute code change.
- Lower the Maintenance: Automated platforms enable testers to integrate with CI/CD and work in the background to ensure that each new commit or code release is tested. They give early warning of any issues or defects. As such, DevOps practitioners can reduce the maintenance costs by rectifying the abnormalities at the source and redirecting the resources dedicated to testing and associated outlays to the following code release or project.
- Facilitate Faster Release of High-Quality Applications – Eventually, it all comes down to speeding up the processes and delivering better applications faster. The continuous testing model can dramatically improve the release-testing loop by minimizing the chances of any last-minute errors to enable a faster, more flexible release process.
- Write faster automation – Rather than writing complete test scripts from scratch each time, low-code testing platforms allow quick reuse of code and test scripts and further ease the test automation process. From rapid onboarding of the developers and testers to faster test execution and streamlined reporting, the low-code approach can significantly improve overall efficiency and sustain the effectiveness of the automation suite.
Enable DevOps with Continuous Automation Setup
Often, the best logical solution to a complex problem emerges due to discerning the best interaction between building blocks. These blocks correspond to:
- No code test automation makes it possible to automate the business logic in natural language and facilitates modularity, reusability, and maintainability for your tests.
- Full-stack automation testing reduces the effort required to write automated tests and helps capture more of the app’s behavior.
- Business process reusability optimizes pre-built workflows, facilitates the creation of reusable test components, and extends test coverage.
- AI-based self-healing accommodates configuration changes, detects failures, and helps understand and fix the underlying cause.
- Analytics and heuristics for governance expedite automated testing planning, test management, traceability, and impact analysis.
In a Nutshell
Continuous testing presents an effective way to accelerate building and deploying applications. Besides, this approach is fundamental for implementing a structured test automation framework and leveraging test automation improvements.
But, to achieve its full potential, it needs to be an essential part of the DevOps pipeline rather than an afterthought. As a Market Leader in Test Automation Suites, ACCELQ empowers the DevOps initiatives with codeless automation, ensures coverage, and reduces maintenance costs.