How Does Continuous Testing Improve DevOps?
The most efficient is to implement continuous testing into your software development lifecycle. Read to find out why.
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Today with new technologies emerging to serve customers, efficient delivery of the software and the ability to quickly resolve the issues that may occur are among the keys to a successful product launch. The users demand quality and seamlessly working products, and businesses want to deliver the software faster.
Testing is one of the necessary procedures to ensure that the software is performing as entitled and, thus, doesn’t contain bugs. There are various approaches to executing the testing, which may depend on many factors. But as practice shows, the more often you test your product, the less time it takes to release and less budget to fix the mistakes.
The most efficient is to implement continuous testing into your software development lifecycle. It means executing automated tests whenever changes are made to the code. Continuous testing is performed throughout the product’s lifecycle and is part of the CI/CD pipeline.
It makes the SDLC timeline faster and accelerates the DevOps processes.
In my previous article, I explained one of the most booming SDLC types — The v model.
The cycle moves from Development to Testing to Deployment. It differs from traditional testing, in which development and quality assurance stages while the software is handed from one team to another.
Continuous testing and the DevOps process shorten the time of receiving developers’ feedback on the problems and their further fixing. Automated testing is more effective than manual when it comes to repetitive tasks.
Continuous Testing in DevOps
DevOps combines software development and IT operations to make the development lifecycle faster and enable continuous delivery, ensuring the high quality of the software. Developers and IT operators work together in cooperation, not separated from one another. They perform as one team, and engineers are engaged in every stage of the product lifecycle and possess multidisciplinary skill sets.
Collecting feedback at each stage, such as project design, coding, testing, deployment, and maintenance, can lead to ineffective use of resources, long integration cycles, and delays in product updates.
Continuous testing ensures receiving feedback early by automatizing manual testing and reducing the possibility of human mistakes. It works in coordination with continuous integration, validating new code integrations.
Pre-defined QA scripts are automatically utilized at every stage when the new code is integrated into the product. It doesn’t involve any specific person to make tests manually. It allows immediate source code validation, providing feedback to the teams.
The test usually starts with integration testing and continues with system testing, regression testing, and user acceptance testing.
If the test fails, the development team can fix the bug before it influences the work of other teams in the different stages of the development lifecycle after the revised code goes to the testing cycle again. If the test runs successfully, the software automatically goes to the next cycle stage, usually continuous delivery, thus ensuring a sustainable delivery model.
Types of Continuous Testing
There are several types of continuous testing to ensure the flawless performance of your product on different levels. They are:
- Unit tests test the individual methods, functions, components, and modules. These low-level tests are easy to automate and quickly executed through a continuous integration server.
- Integration tests test your software’s units, modules, or components for compatibility. Typically there are several developers that code different software modules. This test helps to find defects in those modules while they are integrated.
- API tests validate Application Programming Interfaces to ensure API reliability, functionality, performance, and security. APIs communicate between two different software systems, and the API test ensures that the interaction is performed as expected. It is the middle layer between the database and the UI. This test doesn’t focus on the interface of the product or how it feels but on the software architecture organization logic.
- System tests are the process of testing the whole integrated software to verify that it meets the requirements. It is a composition of different tests to ensure that the computer-based system works appropriately, consisting of pieces of software. End-to-end system specifications are being examined through system testing.
Tools to Automate Continuous Tests
Automation is an essential part of the continuous testing process. Different tools allow quality assurance and developers to reach perfect quality and shorten the testing time, but not all of them may correspond to the requirements of your project.
The right automation tool should perform all the assigned tests for your product, and in case even one fails, the tool must never be used. The automating tool should enable continuous release and deployment and cut cost and time of maintenance, making the code reusable and providing significant investment returns.
There are several types of automation testing tools. They are open-source, commercial, and custom frameworks.
Open source is a free platform that enables users to modify the source code to suit their testing needs. Commercial automation tools are available by subscription and provide more features and customer service throughout the testing process. The custom framework is usually developed by a team, as existing solutions do not meet the project’s requirements. The reasons for this may be the difference in testing environments or processes.
To choose the right tool for your project, you should understand the requirements of your project, whether your team possesses the necessary skills, your budget, script maintenance difficulty and reusability, and integration capabilities.
Benefits of Continuous Testing in DevOps
Whenever changes to the code are made or new pieces are added, there is always a place for mistakes. While the software is being tested from the early stages of development, Continuous Testing ensures that error-free code is integrated into the software. It reduces the costs and time of the developments, as fixing bugs in the late stages is always more complex and pricey.
Continuous testing with the help of test automation ensures that systems and subsystems work consistently. It creates a seamless flow of integrations with the use of Continuous Integration. It makes the environment robust and supports the configurations for comparative tests.
Automation ensures comprehensive Test Coverage, covers all potential mistakes, and maintains every feature. It helps to ensure testing quality and create tests covering missing or not validated areas.
Continuous testing also ensures more connection between the team of developers and testers. The rapid feedback on the mistakes evolves the work of the development teams, as finding a bug at the right time can help them avoid bottlenecks in future work. Test automation tools ensure reporting and make the development process more straightforward. The team remains on the same page regarding errors, failed tests, and those which succeeded.
Continuous Integration and Version Control System create the merge request when the test passes successfully. It drastically decreases the time for Code Review.
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