Optimizing the Role of QA in Continuous Delivery
If you plan to conduct frequent releases, automating QA in continuous delivery can help with faster and higher quality releases.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Software development space is quickly evolving, bringing in more agility and accessibility. For a long time, software testing posed a significant challenge for engineers. It used to be a tedious affair and used to begin after the completion of development. The testers had to build test cases manually. As a result, it could delay the launch of the application.
Apart from actual production and post-production issues, the usability and tracking of the application stage became difficult. It led to chaos at all stages.
DevOps came as a breather to the developers who were stuck in age-old practices. DevOps allows for both the development and the operations teams to collaborate and work rather than working in silos.
The CI/CD pipeline has become indispensable to the modern software development process. As continuous delivery requires frequent code changes, the role of QA in continuous delivery becomes indispensable.
Importance of QA in Continuous Delivery
The need for constant feedback from clients has led to the integration of continuous testing in continuous delivery. It helps reduce overall development costs while accelerating the release cycles. With cut-throat competition and evolving software development processes, it has become essential for businesses to reduce the risks and offer salient features to the end-users.
Continuous testing allows developers to focus on the production cycles rather than stay worried about fixing bugs. They can commit the code changes while someone else takes care of the code's testing and actual release.
Need for Automation Testing in Continuous Delivery
Continuous testing culture improves the release quality and gives your business a competitive edge. It is an essential aspect of modern software development.
- Continuous testing makes way for constant feedback. With automation testing, you can commit the changes, test them and share the user's input in real-time. The stakeholders gain insights that allow them to make informed decisions immediately. Eventually, it helps with faster releases and quality output.
- Whether you are conducting a load test or the performance test, the test cases and procedures will differ. Manual actions will take a lot of time. You need to study the test type and then plan the test procedure. When you automate testing, they take care of the testing procedures as well as processes. As a result, with minimal effort, you can test across browsers and platforms.
- Earlier, development and testing teams used to operate in silos. It led to governance and quality issues. Continuous testing helps overcome these barriers that prevent collaboration and help with quicker releases.
- With test automation frameworks, you can test your code on current versions of the operating systems and browsers. As a result, you don't have to own these devices or look for versions. It saves your time and ensures complete testing processes.
- The most significant risk that a business faces is when they release a code without checking it properly. You can avoid this risk with continuous testing. It identifies the bugs early in the development stage. As a result, you save on time and money.
- When you are concerned with security, you should ideally check for the same in your code. Continuous testing has set the security parameters that help you assure consistency and safety within the application. Automated QA services can also help pave the way for scaling your application without hampering your business.
Despite automation, there are several tests that you need to conduct manually. However, implementing QA in continuous delivery can help speed up the release cycles.
5 Tips on How to Optimize QA in Continuous Delivery
1. Implement Selenium Tool
As part of the automation, you need to plan for cross-browser testing too. It is important to note that the different browsers work on other protocols and engines. It is cumbersome to test your code on individual platforms. Selenium allows you to automate the process and provides consistency. So, your first step to implementation should include using the Selenium tool.
2. Selection of Continuous Delivery Tools
There is no shortage of tools available to enhance QA testing. You will find tools that perform different tasks and handle various aspects of the pipeline. It is possible you get confused and make the wrong choices. At the planning stage itself, define your goals, and identify the tools that match your needs. If you have determined the platforms you need to test, you should select the tools accordingly.
3. Team Collaboration
Once you have chosen the tools, defined the goals, and even implemented the Selenium tool, it is time to align the different teams responsible for CI and CD. Once the code is committed, it should be tested to identify bugs. It should be a simultaneous process. As a result, you will identify the issues early on, thus accelerating the speed of release. It will also ensure the flexibility and scalability of the project without compromising on the quality.
4. Monitoring and Reporting
It is imperative to monitor every stage of the continuous delivery to notice the results. The idea is to release a stable and bug-free build for deployment. Consider reading through every test report and identify the issues. Build insights into the causes for the particular test results. For instance, if there was a load clash, identify the reason for the same. Once you have a detailed report, it becomes easy to make the necessary changes.
5. Create a Detailed Documentation
When you automate testing, remember to create a complete documentation of all aspects of the unit testing. It will help enhance the quality of the solutions. It also helps with code enhancement and maintenance. It gives the developer an idea of the codes that are an issue. You can use this document to make sure you are relaying the exact changes and reduces overall development-related risks.
Setting Up Automation Testing in Continuous Delivery: 5 Best Practices
Here are a few things to consider when automating testing through continuous delivery.
1. Incremental Changes
The first option is to implement the feature all at once. However, identifying smaller issues with the feature can become difficult. In case there is an issue with the implementation of the feature, you cannot isolate the exact problem.
The other way to go about setting up automation is by introducing smaller feature changes. Don't implement the feature all at once. Break it down into sub-features and execute them one by one. Once all the committed codes are tested, you can merge them to form a single feature.
As a result, you won't have any testing issues. You won't even face challenges regarding the integration of the feature. It also helps you identify the bugs on time and communicate it to the development teams.
2. Identify Automation Components
There are several tests that you need to process for a particular software application. However, you cannot automate all the tests. At the same time, it is nearly impossible to know which tests run in priority.
As a result, it is essential to identify the processes and tests that you need to automate. Categorize the tests into auto and manual. It will help you realize how many tests call for automation. Once that part is done, you need to segregate these automated tests into priorities. For instance, functional tests hold utmost importance. They are followed by UI testing.
3. Incorporate Parallel Testing
Once you have incorporated automated testing into your pipeline and the prioritization of these tests, it is time to introduce parallel testing. It will help save time and lead to quicker releases.
With parallel tests, you can ensure that two automated tests are conducted simultaneously. If they are independent of each other don't require similar tools, this can speed up the entire process.
You cannot think of setting up parallel testing on a single machine. You must set up the infrastructure that enables you to implement parallel testing without eating into your resources. Different tools are available in the market to help with the infrastructure.
4. Check for Critical Functionality
You must conduct all the automated tests as required by your code. However, it is necessary to check the critical functionality and how they are performing. For that, you need to enable smoke tests.
It is a preliminary check into the software solution that checks all the critical aspects. Once you have completed the primary checks, you can proceed to the other tests. It will make sure that the code contains the original functionality despite the multiple changes.
5. Incorporate Feedback
We are automating the testing environment to improve feedback, incorporate newer versions faster and ensure a stable environment. It is vital to enable input in a way that offers sound fixes and quicker releases.
Plan the feedback before implementing the same. You will get more insights into the user and obtain details into their interactions, enabling better spaces. These observations can help you build codes that match the requirements.
Advantages of Test Automation for Continuous Delivery
- Test automation helps detect failures faster, thus ensuring faster release rates. With automation, you will ensure that the process of merging, testing, and deploying the codes is continuous. The code is always in a release-ready state, which makes it easier for the developer.
- If you have employed feedback best practices, you will gain insights into your customer's requirements. It will eventually help you release the code as per the criteria stated in the user.
- Agility and scalability are two factors that you would have achieved with test automation. You can adapt to the changes, readjust your tools, and redefine your testing environment to suit the code's needs.
- You can induce parallel testing using the tools available online. It helps ensure stable and quicker releases. You spend little time on testing and release your codes faster.
If you plan to conduct frequent releases, automating QA in continuous delivery can help with faster and quality releases. Continuous testing is the way to smoother releases and increased business agility. Continuous delivery is a close-knit affair, where every component is essential and has a separate role. If you implement robust feedback, you can guarantee releases that are aligned to the requirements.
Published at DZone with permission of Mitul Makadia. See the original article here.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.