Software Testing Trends to Watch for in 2019
Here's more of what you can expect to see from the world of DevOps in the new year.
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Software testing and quality assurance have come a long way. From a gate-keeping quality approach to a more evolved, active, "fit-for-purpose" strategic role, quality assurance is now quality engineering in a true sense.
Each year the dominant technology and digital transformation trends shape and influence the role of software testing. Or what QA and testing mean in the current context. Let’s take a look at some of the broader software testing trends and themes that will dominate the scene in 2019.
1. DevOps-Led Transformation
The DevOps movement celebrated 10 years in 2018. This methodology has not only matured in a decade, but also been adopted widely as businesses realize the value of speed and collaboration in the age of digital transformation. Since Continuous Integration(CI) and Continuous Delivery(CD) are the cornerstones of DevOps success, both software development and testing have evolved to enable the continuous deployment pipeline. This is what a typical DevOps lifecycle looks like:
Development teams write code. The entire development process is split into small dev cycles that help the teams to speed up delivery.
Building and deploying the binaries in a QA environment
QA teams using tools to identify and fix the bugs in each sprint
Integration of new functionality with existing code and testing again
Deployment to production with an integrated, seamless flow
Clearly, automation of build, deployment, and testing play a vital role here. And so does the use of CI/CD tools and test automation tools. With a renewed emphasis on customer experience and a fast-moving product lifecycle, DevOps provides the right culture and processes to succeed in the ever-transforming landscape.
2. Continuous Testing
The shorter release cadence enabled by DevOps and CD practices means that development is a continuous process. To ensure quality control, the code has to be thoroughly tested each time it gets to the CI pipeline.
A 2018 study by Forrester on definite software quality metrics for Agile and DevOps teams found that successful teams do various things differently from their competitors. One key differentiator is the adoption of Continuous Testing by using some key practices like automating end-to-end functional testing and integrating testers into cross-functional teams among others.
So while agility, shift-left, test automation and collaboration are vital approaches, you also need the right tools and processes to enable continuous testing. This means choosing tools that integrate well with your existing toolchain of project management and CI/CD software.
It also requires a re-evaluation of existing test automation processes and comprehensive test optimization for better results.
3. AI and ML-Backed Intelligent Test Automation
As organizations scale up, the challenges for quality teams have only grown more complex. The competitive digital landscape demands high-quality customer experiences and faster, high-quality, cost-optimal releases.
The need is for test automation to cover more ground now and faster. To gain this crucial quality and speed balance, you need to look at the new wave in test automation enabled by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Intelligent Test Automation uses data and analytics to provide:
Predictive and Prescriptive QA
Reusable framework that aids prioritization of test cases
Maximum test coverage and test depth
Intelligent Result Analyzer for automated error bucketing
Removal of duplicates and dead test cases
4. Shift-Left and Shift-Right
Neither shift-left nor shift-right are new terminologies or trends in the software testing parlance. But a combination of both approaches is what seems to work for many organizations looking at CD and performance testing benefits.
Shift-left testing shifts the focus on quality much earlier in the development cycle to enable prevention rather than detection. Designed to build a better model for faster development, as traditional testing that occurs at the end of the development cycle causes bottlenecks and often more harm than good.
By involving the QA team sooner, you can catch defects and identify problems earlier in the cycle, leaving enough time for fixing issues and preventing them from becoming too complex or costly.
Shift-right is when you test in production for functionality, performance, fault tolerance and customer experience by using controlled experiments.
The benefit of testing in production as opposed to testing environments is that you can test for unexpected events like crashes, failures, performance problems and flawed user experiences.
The emphasis now is both on shift-left testing (to enable early and continuous testing) and shift-right (to address performance and user experience issues).
5. Test Automation
Test automation is a vital factor for the success of many methodologies and practices that enable digital transformation. Whether it is Agile testing, putting DevOps into practice, or implementing continuous testing, test automation has been the holy grail.
In reality, test automation faces many challenges especially when it comes the kind of speed that is necessary for CD and improving bottom-line results. The use of Selenium/Appium and tools based on them is one key factor to achieve the promise of test automation.
6. Performance Engineering
Move aside performance testing, 2019 is all about performance engineering. The focus will shift from executing performance test scripts to identifying potential performance issues much earlier and creating a strategy to deal with them beforehand. Performance engineering requires all the elements of the system to work together in sync. This comprises performance, security, usability, software hardware, configuration, customer experience and business outcomes. Performance engineering means aligning and integrating all components to make sure they achieve their intended aim.
The rise in complexity of applications and a growing number of DevOps/Agile teams continuously deploying apps, performance engineering is a necessity. You need to monitor and manage the performance of the app throughout the lifecycle to ensure stability and integrity of every additional component.
7. IoT Testing
Internet of Things is all-pervading now with wearable tech, infrastructure and development, healthcare, smart homes and industrial internet among various other uses. Hyper-connectivity is taking over the world and the number of connected devices by 2025 is predicted to be 1 trillion.
It is not just the astounding number of devices that use IoT but new tech like RFID, NFC, Z-wave and more advanced technologies evolving each year. IoT test approaches have also evolved and require a different set of tools and techniques altogether. The focus is on security, usability, connectivity, compatibility and performance testing.
Testing is uniquely challenging because of the device interaction module, the hardware-software mesh, real-time data testing and atypical nature of the software. IoT testing will dominate the scene as 2019 gets underway.
Organizations face many challenges and choices today as technology evolves and the digital economy grows. Adopting the right trends, tools and processes will help them to stay on top of their game and stay competitive.
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