We all understand the importance of software testing and how it transforms the goodwill of the business in enabling the delivery of quality products to clients in shorter delivery cycles. In these instances of fast delivery of quality products continuously testing becomes an absolute necessity that you organizations can’t afford to miss. 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 the picture.
Continuous testing in DevOps Pipeline
In traditional ways of testing the software passes through different development and QA phases which take more time until the final delivery of the product. However, with Continuous Testing, there is a continuous feedback loop that is established to test, apply feedback and improve at the same time. The Continuous Testing framework involves executing the right set of tests that need to be executed at different stages to ward off any bottlenecks to the delivery pipeline.
According to 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 integrate quality testing into the CI/CD pipeline by utilizing the key benefits of continuous testing in DevOps.
DevOps Continuous testing is a critical aspect that is responsible for seamless processing of Continuous Delivery. It involves the implementation of Agile and DevOps development methodologies 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 a deeper level:
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 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 the delivery pipeline, allowing testers to understand the source of the problem. The actionable insights help the QA team to act on time and avoid longer backlogs to resolve issues at the initial stage of its development.
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, Appium, 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-explanatory. To ensure the delivery of high-quality products 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 find and address risks effectively by gaining feedback at the early phases of the 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 tools seamlessly integrated with the DevOps process right from the early stages of the development process rather than functioning just before the release. Implementing Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery(CI/CD) Pipeline into the product life-cycle 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 Test Automation
- 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 efficient continuous testing, like JIRA, Jenkins, Bamboo, Docker, Appium, SoapUI, PagerDuty, CodeCluster, etc.
The concern is that not all the tools support comprehensive automation solutions. Some organizations prefer to create in-house automation frameworks depending on the version control used to enable complete automation of the CI/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.
Here is a blank template you can use to analyze the tools that you currently use on your CI/CD pipeline. You can print this out to chart down the tools that you wish to use. We have also attached a sample workflow of how we integrate this at pCloudy. Click on banner below to download the sample workflow and template.
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 implementing it successfully. The establishment of an efficient automation framework is a daunting task 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 strong coordination among the product management, development, and testing team, this seems even tougher. Although there are challenges in the successful adoption of Continuous Testing, with a little sensibility one can overcome it. Here are a few of the key points to comply with to overcome the challenges :
- By proper team engagement, the cultural and communication barriers can be dealt with enabling the Software development 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 to create much better measurable results.
- Automation would ease the successful implementation of continuous testing in DevOps. Well, complete automation isn’t achievable but the more we can automate the process the more it becomes easier to execute the continuous testing strategy.
- Carrying out testing at all stages of production and QA environment would continuously provide feedback to developers to improvise on the product quality and save the time taken to release updates.
- Last but not the least, implementing technologies such as artificial intelligence into testing and low code platforms for rapid automation will help increase the pace of problem-solving and the development life cycle.
By now we all know how significant continuous testing in DevOps is 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 the 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.