If you think of the CI/CD pipeline, then one place where the plumbing gets stuck often and prevents the continuous flow of activity, it is continuous testing. CT has many obvious advantages from accelerating software delivery, enhancing product health, enabling collaboration, and revealing business risks early so that stakeholders can make more timely and informed decisions.
Yet, many businesses fall behind when it comes to implementing Continuous Testing. This blog post will provide 5 tips that you can use to improve your CT strategy and iron out the kinks in your CI/CD pipeline.
Key challenges in the adoption of an effective CT strategy
Businesses find it difficult to implement CT because of the sheer volume of work required across the pipeline. CT generally involves provisioning of the staging environment, deploying the test automation tool, deploying the application under test, sending the automated test runs to developer machines, uploading test results to a test management tool, etc.
The process is repeated in the Continuous Deployment phase and the same test suites are re-run. Again, you need to implement end to end testing to make sure that the final product meets end-user expectations. Unfortunately, the amount of work and steps involved means that teams start using workarounds to save time and the CT implementation is no longer strategic or continuous.
Factors for CT success
1. Use Test Automation effectively
Test Automation is the cornerstone of any Continuous Testing strategy. Test automation is used throughout SDLC for CT to exist, but it is not simply about implementing automation. Software teams must also embrace tools to accelerate collaboration and get faster feedback for continuous learning and for CT to be successful. Identify the test cases that are ideal candidates for automation, run tests in parallel, begin with the simplest and fastest tests, and rollback with a version control system when required. Additionally, establish a one-click code migration procedure to reduce the effort required to move changes from one environment to the other.
2. Start slow and use a minimal test suite
There is no sense in using lengthy automated test suites if they are unstable. You will end up wasting a lot of time analyzing false positives or false negatives with each code commit. Instead, start with a minimal test suite and add new stable tests as you go, incrementally. In the early stages of your DevOps journey, stability is as important as coverage.
3. Choose your automation tool wisely
Apart from a great test design strategy, finding the right test automation tool is critical to achieving stability. Ensure that it supports maximum testing types and is powerful enough to automate complex requirements. Moreover, the tool should provide an easy interface to author and maintain test scripts. Many tools offer record and playback features with the ability to edit the recorded scripts.
4. Modularize your tests
Modularize and decouple the moving parts of tests like element locator mappings, test flow and test data to reduce the technical debt. The core idea is separating concerns that help you desensitize the test and enable code refactoring.
5. Select API over GUI
Agile teams typically work with shorter release cycles, faster feedback loops, and frequent changes. It is difficult to maintain GUI tests because GUI testing takes a significant time providing feedback and needs much rework.
Instead of this, modern applications with multi-tier architecture need verification of backend services and functional paths. API testing is ideally suited, more stable and recommended for API testing.
Additionally, to ensure that your digital experiences work for all your users, use a test execution platform that can support any combination of OS, browser, and device. This enables QA and development teams with the coverage and flexibility they need to deliver a flawless user experience.
End To End Continuous Testing
Continuous Testing when it is implemented right can enable true continuity in your CI/CD pipeline. Even those tasks that were previously considered ‘management’ tasks can be performed as an automated step in the CD process.
Testing that was considered cumbersome, complex, and time-intensive can be streamlined, enabling a predictable time-to-release and superior software quality.
Above all, a successful continuous testing process needs the right tools and optimum processes to be incorporated across the various teams within the organization. Without the proper tools in place, the process will fail.