When companies create and execute a successful automated testing strategy, they often mistakenly assume they are doing continuous testing, but they are wrong. One of the most vital aspects of continuous testing is test automation. The process of continuous testing initiates with a multi-layered test strategy that encompasses all kinds and degrees of testing necessary, such as unit, integration, functional, exploratory, and automated testing. A method for embedding testing across the continuous integration process is also required for continuous testing.
DevOps is used by businesses to generate value and improve the customer experience by increasing delivery speed without compromising on the quality. It makes things happen by putting in place a continuous delivery pipeline, which requires continuous testing.
Throughout the entire continuous integration process, continuous testing necessitates constant business and technical risk assessments. Furthermore, it is also a process of automation and improvement.
This blog post will give detailed insight into the key enablers for making continuous testing more efficient. But first, let’s have an overview of Continuous Testing.
What is Continuous Testing?
Continuous testing is described as undisrupted testing that is carried out on a regular, repetitive basis with little to no human interaction. Continuous testing entails testing throughout the release pipeline as soon as a developer delivers a piece of code, rather than testing at the conclusion of a development cycle, as is done in a more conventional waterfall method.
Continuous testing’s goal is to fail quickly. Because problems are intrinsically simpler and less expensive to resolve the sooner they are discovered, testers aim to uncover issues as fast as possible and report them to developers before building on top of a broken piece of code. Teams that employ continuous testing are able to offer high-quality results quickly because they:
- Conduct tests at earlier stages of the release pipeline
- Before releasing, test more often.
- Test in a variety of scenarios and on a variety of devices.
Continuous testing is only feasible with test automation. In fact, because of its capacity to assure rapid and correct job execution, automation, in general, is a necessity for constructing a CI/CD pipeline. Some people confuse the phrases – test automation and continuous testing. Although the two concepts are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not synonymous; test automation is a method for achieving continuous testing, whereas continuous testing is the aim. This indicates that although test automation may be used without attaining continuous testing, continuous testing cannot be achieved without test automation.
How Is Continuous Testing Beneficial?
The development life cycle benefits significantly from the process of continuous testing. Basically, it eliminates the stumbling barriers that come with doing testing in a single phase. In the process of continuous testing, code is automatically tested as soon as it is integrated with continuous testing. This immediately helps DevOps and the objective of producing high-quality software or application in a shorter amount of time.
Continuous testing also saves time and effort for developers since they no longer have to wait for QA teams to complete testing before they can fix their code. As an alternative, testing is done on a continuous basis, allowing for proactive changes to code quality and security concerns in real-time. Multiple activities might take place at the same time.
Continuous testing has a broader advantage in that it minimizes risk. Instead of being reviewed or checked once at a certain phase of the SDLC, the software is checked or reviewed many more times and in many more ways using continuous testing. This gives you greater insight into your weaknesses and more chances to find them.
Also Read: 5 Options To Develop A Software Product
Eight Key Enablers For Continuous Testing
Following are the eight key enablers that one must look out for during continuous testing:
1. Create a system for orchestration and continuous integration: To be effective in your continuous testing endeavor, you’ll need to automate your build and set up a continuous integration (CI) pipeline. While it may be difficult to insist on testing before developing, it is relatively straightforward to guarantee that testing starts after developers have committed code to a source control repository. This includes making that your application runs, that your unit tests pass, and that your code coverage is appropriate, among other things.
Developer-level testing is critical because it gives immediate feedback and guarantees that your code performs as intended at the lowest level. Consider adding extra features to your CI, such as static or dynamic analysis, security checks, and API validation. The more information, the better, as long as the team receives it quickly and easily.
2. Establish a high-quality atmosphere: The QA team does not “own” quality; it does not originate quality-related concerns, and it does not resolve such issues. It merely looks for them.
While discovering bugs is a crucial part of the software development process, many of these problems might have been detected sooner. You will save time and money if you shift the emphasis of testing to begin earlier in the development process. You won’t be able to test continuously if you don’t start testing early in the development process.
The creation of high-quality code begins with the software’s design. Educate developers on the importance of test-driven development (TDD). Better better, get the company to embrace BDD practices: Before any code is produced, have the developers, testers, and product owners all agree on the functionality and tests.
3. Use emulation, virtualization, and simulation to your advantage: Continuous testing relies on quick feedback cycles. Testing just what needs to be tested on the bare-minimum application is the easiest method to receive speedy feedback inside your DevOps process.
This usually means that instead of spending 20 minutes setting up your whole application, you start only the API and do some API testing. When possible, utilize the cloud to swiftly deploy your app and then destroy it after it’s finished to save money.
Consider what kind of feedback you are searching for while you’re testing your whole program. Do you really need an entire Chrome browser to perform the tests for your web project, or would a HtmlUnit driver be enough for early testing? Is there enough information in the simulation to make a go/no-go decision? Can you use an emulator instead of an actual device if you have a mobile app? What will be missed, and what will be lost? Is it necessary to execute all of the microservices in an application with many of them, or can you get away with mimicking some of them to speed things up?
Seconds saved by adopting faster devices and tools add up to minutes and hours saved over the course of a build, resulting in shorter development cycles and lower costs.
4. Shift-Left: To create a successful continuous testing method, the team must follow the shift-left concept of quality engineering, which encourages testing as early in the development process as possible. Quality engineering is the practice of assuring product quality throughout the production process; it begins with design and focuses on preventing rather than identifying flaws. Shifting testing to the left allows for quality engineering and continuous testing.
To “shift left,” methodologies such as test-driven development (TDD), behavior-driven development (BDD), and acceptance test-driven development (ATDD) are utilized.
TDD is known as BDD when the design emphasis is on customer behavior. ATDD promotes customer-centric design, in which the “three amigos”—developers, testers, and product owners—share design responsibilities and collaborate.
It is also crucial to use a shift-left method when performing nonfunctional testing. Because many performance and security vulnerabilities may be linked back to design defects, identifying flaws before the design is completed is critical. When defects are detected late in the process, they become far more difficult and expensive to fix.
5. Make use of surroundings that are similar to those used in production: One of the most significant advantages of establishing a deployment pipeline is the ability to distribute your product in a timely, repeatable manner. In an ideal world, you’d deploy to one system, run your tests, get feedback, and then repeat.
Your tests will most likely take longer in each cycle, which is acceptable. You want quick feedback right away, and sending specific tests off later may help you achieve that.
However, you should make sure that all of your settings are as production-like as possible. If you know, the setup won’t match your final state. There’s no use in testing. While this is costly, you don’t necessarily require a full-scale deployment for each environment; you may and should scale as you move closer to your production deployment.
This also implies that while designing and developing tests, bear in mind the level of access you’ll have in each environment, as well as the data you’ll be evaluating. How can/should you seed this information? Do you need access to a certain level? Are these tests harmful to data or the program itself? With these considerations in mind, your tests will be able to run in any environment, allowing for additional quality checks throughout the development process.
6. Automate testing behind the user interface: Your program is more than a user interface for testing. You most likely have APIs, a back end, and a database that all need to be tested. Not only is testing at these lower levels simpler, but you can frequently test these regions earlier in the development process.
The UI, like the database or back end, does not need to be wholly constructed before an API can be set up and tested. As a result, you’ll be able to start testing sooner, which is the aim. Furthermore, API testing are generally tens to hundreds of times quicker than UI tests. This aligns neatly with the concept of quick feedback and continues to drive testing to the left.
7. Keep track of your test results: One of the most difficult challenges that businesses face is dealing with test results. People often fail to consider what data is required for testing. As a consequence, businesses wind up testing with incomplete, uncertain, or excessive data.
Some companies struggle to get the right data to run a test, and some of them spend more time looking for and loading the correct data than they do actually testing with it.
Pay attention to the data required to exercise the feature while building a test, whether automated or manual. Please pay attention to the data that is required for each test and make sure that it is linked to the test.
Don’t waste time loading a million people into the system if you’re just running one test and it only requires one person. When testing farther to the right when performance is critical, make sure you’re using a dataset that puts the system through its paces. In such a case, a few users will most likely be insufficient.
8. Containers: While containerization is beneficial in and of itself, the ability to download a program and execute it in the same manner elsewhere makes testing a breeze. It aids in the abolition of the dreaded statement, “Works on my computer.” Putting your application inside a container, whether it’s Docker, Mesos, or LXC, enables you to test it anywhere.
It is preferred to take it a step further and containerize all of my testing. Not only does this make it simpler for tests to execute inside a pipeline, but it also eliminates the requirement for machine setup. That implies that without any complicated system setup, any team member may download and execute your application and test containers, as well as get quality metrics.
Continuous testing is no longer a choice for enterprises; it is now a must for software development and deployment. Continuous testing is vital for modern-day firms, and having the correct tools to do so is critical. Continuous quality testing cloud like LambdaTest help users execute manual and automated tests of online and mobile applications across 3000+ different browsers, browser versions, and operating systems.
You can test your websites and web applications by using various frameworks like Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, Puppeteer, which have been proven to deliver test results faster and with a higher coverage rate. Also, you can run a single test across different browser/OS configurations simultaneously.
Also Read: What Is Continuous Integration?