We all understand the importance of software testing and how it transforms the goodwill of the business by enabling delivery of quality product to its clients in shorter delivery cycles. It becomes challenging to run the test cases manually by evaluating the quality of each line of code at every step of the continuous Delivery process. This is where Continuous testing in DevOps comes into picture.
Continuous testing in DevOps Pipeline
In traditional ways of testing the software used to pass through different development and QA phases which took more time until the final delivery of the product. According to a research by Gartner, Continuous testing in DevOps is aimed at providing early and quick detection of signs of risks related to the product release. DevOps Continuous Testing is an inevitable activity of the delivery process rather than just a mere stage in the delivery process. The main purpose is to inculcate quality into the CI/CD pipeline by utilizing the key benefits of continuous testing in DevOps.
DevOps Continuous testing is a critical aspect responsible for seamless Continuous Delivery. It involves the usage of agile development methods and processes into the QA process further providing a productive testing process.
Here are a few points to understand the benefits of Continuous testing in DevOps at the deeper levels:
a. Provides Sustained Risk Analysis:
There has never been any code build that is error free and in a ready-to-release form. Even if the final release candidate has come without any glitches, passes all the tests, it has to be ‘prepared well’ for the final release and approved by the business leaders. Continuous Testing evaluates the code at a deeper level to estimate all the possible risks connected to it so that a corrective action could be taken at the right time without breaking the ‘continuous delivery’ chain.
b. Cuts down the feedback cycle:
The key benefit of continuous testing is that it evaluates the code layer by layer at each stage of delivery pipeline, allowing testers to understand the source of the problem. The actionable insights helps the QA team to act on time and avoid longer queues
c. Broader Test Coverage:
A broad range of tests can be applied throughout the testing process with the help of continuous testing tools for DevOps such as Selenium, etc. It covers both functional and non-functional testing types to increase test coverage by emulating testing like cross-browser testing, API testing, regression testing, integrated testing, unit testing and non-functional testing like security, reliability, scalability, usability and many more.
d. Delivering High Quality Product:
‘Test-early-test-often’ is the key mantra of continuous testing which is self explicable. In order to ensure delivery of high-quality product to the end user, there needs to be a process to continuously monitor the progress along the entire delivery pipeline. Achieving high product quality is the result of continuous testing that strives to finding and addressing risks effectively and by gaining feedback at the early phases of software development lifecycle.
e. Faster Software Delivery:
The whole point of introducing Continuous Testing in DevOps is to speed up the product delivery cycle. Following a multi-point testing at different stages allows the QA team to detect the glitches early and take quick corrective actions so that the final delivery is not impacted.
f. Easy Integration with the DevOps Process:
Continuous testing seamlessly integrated with the DevOps process right from the early stages of the development process rather than functioning just before the release. Continuous integration into the software pipeline enables quick fixes so that the development process can be aligned with the business requirements on time.
Tools for continuous testing in DevOps
For a seamless experience in the entire CI CD process, Continuous testing has to be supported by the best tools for continuous testing in DevOps. For performing smooth Continuous Testing, the Automation Framework has to be integrated with the CI tool, version control and various automated continuous testing DevOps tools to execute different types of testing at various stages of the process. For example, :
- Using Selenium for performing functional testing
- Load runner for performing load testing at its best,
- Secure code analysis using Fortify and static code analysis using Sonar, etc.
Apart from these there are many other trusted DevOps Continuous testing tools available in the market for an efficient continuous testing, like JIRA, Jenkins, Bamboo, Docker, Appium, SoapUI, PagerDuty, CodeCluster etc. The concern is that not all the tools support comprehensive automation solution. Some organizations prefer to create self-made automation frameworks depending upon the version control used to enable complete automation of the CD pipeline.
Since Continuous testing is the most critical aspect to be covered by the business in order to achieve quality product release, it has to be backed by the choice of right, suitable tools and frameworks to achieve speedy and quality delivery.
Challenges in DevOps Continuous Testing and how to overcome them
Even after understanding the advantages of adopting continuous testing in the DevOps process, many organizations face the challenges of successful implementation of it. Establishment of an efficient automation framework is a daunting deal as it involves a huge investment, expertise and effort. Moreover, the organizations are not equipped with the scalable infrastructure to run tests continuously. Also, without a strong coordination among the product, development and testing team, this seems even tougher. Although there are challenges in successful adoption of Continuous testing, with a little sensibility one can overcome it. Here are a few of the key points to comply in order to overcome the challenges :
- By proper team engagement, the cultural and communication barriers can be dealt with enabling the SDLC team to have better coordination, collaboration and understanding of the scenarios.
- Reducing unnecessary and extensive testing plans, the focus should be on keeping it simple and logical. Instead, the energy could be diverted to more important test objects in order to create much better measurable results.
- Automation would ease the successful implementation of continuous testing in DevOps. Well, complete automation isn’t achievable but more the process automation, easier it becomes to carry on the continuous testing.
- Carry out testing at all stages of production and QA environment would continuously providing feedback to developers to improvise on the product quality.
- Last but not the least, implementing artificial intelligence and other intelligence programs for problem solving and to think beyond automation at every stage of delivery would boost up the SDLC.
By now we all know how significant continuous testing in DevOps for any business. It essentially brings together all the stages of designing, developing and deploying the software. Merely providing a software product does not help but providing best products faster than the competitors would be the key differentiator of your business. If practiced earnestly, it provides consistent insights about the software development to ensure speedy delivery.
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