Testing in DevOps – The Basic and Critical Things You Need to Know
In this post, we'll cover why it's essential to test your code early in the DevOps process. We’ll also focus on specific practices of DevOps testing with examples.
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Testing plays a significant role in analyzing the quality and reliability of developed code. A minor issue with code quality can lead to severe project failure and lead to your project teetering. Because of its importance, many DevOps teams have started testing earlier in the cycle – not just at the end of development or after QA has had their final go-through before deployment.
Statista says that DevOps adoption reached a whopping 62% in CI/CD workflows and 60% under development environments. With more industries upgrading to the latest technologies, we are witnessing a diverse level of adoption among business enterprises.
In this article, we'll cover why it's essential to test your code as early as possible in the DevOps process. We’ll also focus on specific methods and practices of DevOps testing by providing examples of how to incorporate them into your workflow.
Let's get started with the basics!
How Does Traditional Testing Work?
Traditional software testing often includes regression testing, in which each feature gets tested after updates are complete. With continuous delivery, developers deploy updates as soon as they're ready. It often means new features are getting deployed frequently.
Developers ensure these new features don't break anything in existing code by employing a more frequent type of testing called A/B testing. One feature version will be released for a subset of users, then another version for another group of users, then back to an older version.
The process continues until all versions get deployed enough to determine which one works best or until the original version is proven better than any other iteration.
Issues With Traditional Testing Approach
Traditionally developers perform unit tests or functional tests. These tests work with source code, but they don't include anything related to how a system functions when it goes live. Those traditional types of testing didn't give much feedback about how effective each change was when it went into production.
DevOps tries something new: When organizations incorporate testing into their development and operations processes, both groups begin working together more closely.
How Does DevOps Testing Work?
DevOps is a process for getting products from developers into your users' hands as quickly as possible. As part of that process, testing is essential to prevent defects in production.
However, when companies do DevOps well, they don't put testing on a separate track. Instead, test engineers work together with their engineering counterparts from day one. That way, even if something isn't ready for release yet—or doesn't pass QA—it can be fixed before it goes live.
Even better? Test automation tools enable companies to improve their feedback loop, decrease cycle time and quality assurance checks (QA) by half! The basic idea is that organizations can deliver software faster, more reliably, and with fewer resources if they bring together their dev (development) and ops (operations) teams.
But there's one piece of that equation that gets a lot less press—and it might be an even more significant benefit than fast time-to-market or continuous delivery. We're talking about testing, which gives you better outcomes regardless of your speed or deployment method.
The Business Benefits of DevOps Testing
1. Reduce Bug Counts
Bugs always cause problems—they don't just irritate users. They also cost money in lost productivity, customer dissatisfaction, and high employee turnover rates. An automated testing process ensures that your development team has confidence in their releases before going live.
It means you'll find defects early on so that you can fix them before they become a big problem. Finding these problems earlier in the cycle also means fewer headaches when it comes time for updates or upgrades later on down the road.
2. Deliver Software Faster
Whether it's a quick release of bug fixes or a major upgrade, an automated testing process will help you get software out there faster. You won't have to wait for manual QA processes because your team can do them automatically.
With some development frameworks, it takes just one person with moderate knowledge of software development to create fully-functional tests from scratch. The sooner you can deliver features, the sooner you'll start seeing customer satisfaction results that will fuel higher revenues.
3. Faster Time-to-Market
Faster time-to-market isn't just about how quickly you can get features in front of customers. If every new release is bug-ridden, then your entire organization suffers for it. Speed becomes more critical when protecting your brand and reputation and gaining more market share from competitors that are slower than you.
4. More Reliable Releases
Reliability is one of your company's most important assets. Even one buggy release can do irreparable damage to your brand and reputation, not to mention your customer retention rates. In fact, according to Failory, even just a few bugs in an application can negatively impact customers' satisfaction by 50%. DevOps ensures more reliable software releases that are free of bugs and errors.
What Are the Standard DevOps Testing Practices?
DevOps testing is undoubtedly an integral part of modern software development—and it's one of those areas where more advanced tools can make all the difference. If you're looking for ways to improve your DevOps processes and improve quality, consider these three things: automation, test-driven development (TDD), and open-source software.
Test-Driven Development - As with any part of DevOps, testing should be a continuous activity throughout application design. Test-driven development keeps teams moving quickly by building tests in tandem with code rather than after written code.
Automation - Automated testing helps deliver quality products at a lower cost. By leveraging open source tools like Jenkins, you can add more value by integrating automation into your existing DevOps processes rather than creating an entirely new process around it. Most importantly, automating your tests will help keep development moving forward even when your QA staff gets overwhelmed.
Open-Source Software - There's no shortage of automated testing software out there, but many organizations still rely on proprietary solutions—even though free alternatives like Selenium WebDriver exist that offer features with greater flexibility and better value for money.
Top 5 DevOps Testing Tools Used Worldwide
1. Selenium: Selenium is a framework of different software tests written in Java, Python, and other languages. It is applicable for writing test Web-based applications by automating interaction with the user interface (UI). Selenium supports different browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. It is possible to write tests in various programming languages like Java, C# and Python, etc.
2. Appium: It is an advanced-level, open-source test automation framework used to write automated tests, especially for native and hybrid mobile apps. Appium lets you create your tests using client-side languages like Java, Python, etc. The framework supports multiple app platforms, including iOS and Android. The advantage of using Appium is that you don't need a rooted phone to run automated tests on it. However, Appium only works with real mobile devices; it doesn't support emulators.
3. SoapUI: SoapUI is a free and open-source web application testing tool that provides functional, regression, and load/performance testing. You can use it to create automated tests to check RESTful web services. It comes with built-in libraries for creating SOAP and HTTP tests and data-driven testing capabilities. The user interface is easy to access and has a rich feature set. It supports multiple languages like Java, C#, Perl, Python, etc., with custom libraries.
4. Jenkins: Jenkins is among the most popular continuous integration and delivery tools. It also serves as a great tool to start with if you're new to configuration management, as it has a more straightforward user interface than some of its peers. Jenkins was built on Java, which means that it supports all major operating systems—Windows, Linux, and macOS—and runs well on any cloud platform with robust network support.
5. JMeter: JMeter is a high-performance Java desktop application designed to test functional behavior and measure performance. Initially designed to test Web applications, it has expanded to other test functions. The software is freely available under a BSD license and is open-source. JMeter is compatible with all OS that supports Java SE (Operating System Specific Packages). All files that makeup JMeter are portable, and you can run them in any environment without installing a client or server component.
There are two basic approaches to test automation in DevOps. The first is test-driven development (TDD), in which you write your tests first, then write code based on them. The second is behavior-driven development (BDD), where you develop tests that describe how your software should behave instead of just ensuring that it works correctly.
BDD seems most appropriate for DevOps testing because the point of DevOps is to align software developers with operations teams so they can deploy faster together. BDD allows team members from both groups and testers to work on a single set of tests that describe how their changes affect overall system behavior.
As a result, if you are already practicing DevOps, there's no reason not to be practicing BDD too.
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