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Continuous Testing, its scope and Importance

November 17, 2017 ,

Testing is considered a very important phase of the Software Development Life Cycle.But according to few, software testing is a very small thing and the main task is to find and report bugs and can be grabbed very easily. But in reality, the testing domain is not at all small as it seems and has a bright and vast prospectus. Testing does not only mean finding and reporting bugs but also have some other aspects like requirement analyzing, creating the test plan, test case creation, reporting, creating metrics and so on. 

The testing domain is generally categorized into 2 segments- Manual testing and Automation testing. Both this testing have further categorized into a Black box and White box testing. Based on this categorization, there are many types of testing which are generally followed by software testers like- sanity testing, smoke testing, gorilla testing, Adhoc testing, regression testing, unit testing, integration testing, functional testing, system testing, stress testing, performance testing, usability testing, acceptance testing, Continuous testing and many more. All these different forms of testing have some specific objective for which it is performed.

Today Agile methodology is considered as King, and the companies which are not following and not releasing frequently in sprints are left far behind. So How to maintain the product quality and the pace when software is changing always? Moreover, there is a growing awareness in the market that existing testing tools and techniques are too slow to cope with the pace.So, Here comes the Continuous testing which aims to speed the testing process with development by conducting different types of tests- both manual and automated testing, continually throughout the software which is in delivery pipeline.

But many of us are not well acquainted about Continuous testing. So, in this document, we are doing to discuss Continuous testing and its scopes, tools to be used for Continuous testing and much more.

What is Continuous Testing

In simple words, we can say that Continuous testing is a process of executing automated tests of the software or product which is in the delivery pipeline with the intent to get immediate feedback on the business or project risk associated with the software to be delivered. Continuous Testing is all about a test suite that emphasis on the full functionality of the software to be delivered from the user’s perspective and gives the developers, business analyst and project managers full visibility into what is really working or Is everything working, What is not working, and What items are currently not tested or left out to be tested. And based on this visibility it helps the team to make a proper decision based on the business risk in the specific release and, whether the release is ready to go to the production or not.

Goals and Benefit of Continuous Testing

The foremost goal of using continuous testing is that it provides fast and continuous feedback about the business risk in the product in the release candidate or in the latest build. Based on the feedback, it is decided by a management team, whether the developed features can be delivered and deployed in the production environment.

Continuous testing includes many beneficial factors which make it popular in the current modern era. Some of the benefits of using continuous testing are listed below:

  • Firstly, based on the continuous testing done many undiscovered or critical defects can be identified within just a couple of minutes.
  • Continuous testing in the early stages of the development process can expose the application risk. The development team can then prevent those risks or defects in the next stage of the development cycle.
  • Reduce much of the time and effort of the development team required for the fixing the defects or bugs.
  • As it is carried out continuously and metrics are generated for verifying the product quality. This metrics can later be re-examined and optimize the process itself, including the effectiveness of those tests.
  • Continuous testing also increases the pace at which the software is delivered and maintain the quality.
  • As Continuous testing is done to identify the business risk, so it thoroughly follows the business and project required along with the acceptance criteria. As a result of which the chance of missing any functionality or critical criteria is reduced.
  • Less human or manual integration is done as the whole suit is automated.
  • Continuous testing created transparency across the team as the test result is displayed in the build pipeline. If the test passes, then it increases the confidence level of the team and if it fails, then team members work together to find what was wrong.
  • Continuous Deployment is being followed. A CI system automatically deploys the code to the production environment if the status of the test is displayed as Green.
  • The chance of broken build and broken code get reduced as continuous integration is being followed where the codes are properly tested and only merged when all the tests get passed.
  • In continuous testing, the used CI and Version Control System communicate with each other and tells when the merge request is good to merge. It also tells us when all test is run and it meets the project requirement.
  • Continuous testing also helps the QA to run the tests in parallel with development and helps in keeping the process moving.
  • As Continuous testing is fully automated, so it keeps on monitoring the live services and also helps to spot whether conditions have arisen that have not anticipated.
  • By taking a test-first approach there is greater test coverage to check that product features work as expected.
  • Continuous testing expects testing to be embedded in the development process, not tacked at the end.

Scope of Continuous Testing

When coming to the scope, Continuous testing supports the validation of both the functional requirement and the non-functional requirements.

For validating functional requirements, it involves practices such as system testing, integration testing, API testing, and unit tested.

For testing non-functional requirement, continuous testing involves static code, analysis, security testing, performance testing and so on.

Generally, Continuous testing is being performed in a non-production environment, but to maintain accuracy and consistency, the testing should always be performed to the environment which is almost similar to the production.

How is Continuous testing different from Automation testing?

As mentioned above Continuous testing is also an automated testing done on the product in the delivery pipeline but still there exist some points which differentiate it from regular Automation testing. Few of the differences are highlighted below:

 

Continuous Testing Automation testing
In Continuous testing is a continuous process and the delivery built is continuously tested using automated code. For maintaining the quality of the deliverable, the test is run frequently and the output of the test run is important for the next run. There can be consecutive builds every hour to run. Automation testing focuses on the internal system and gets updated based on the development. Here everything is in the control of organization and testing starts everything is completed.        

 

Continuous testing gave an instant sight of the release candidate whether it is ready to deploy in the production or it is too risky to proceed through the delivery pipeline Automation testing cannot provide the instant insight of the release build to check whether it is ready for production.
Continuous testing is a process of the continuous testing of the release candidate which is in the delivery pipeline. It is beyond automation and uses different tools and cultural changes for the test to run. Automation testing process of executing the tests using special software and then comparing the actual results with the expected ones.
Continuous testing comprises of execution of the right set of tests and the right stage for the release candidate in the delivery pipeline. In Automation testing, all the test cases are executed together without considering the priority and severity of the build to be tested.
Continuous testing deals with the business risk related to the project.

 

Automation testing is done based on the project requirement and the test run output is compared with the expected one as mentioned in the project requirement.
Continuous testing is integrated within the development process that is it runs in parallel with the development process. Automation testing is performed once the developed build is stable and no more changes are done.
The main motive behind Continuous testing is the quality. The continuous test execution of the release candidate helps in identifying the negative aspects of the product and increase the product quality. Automation testing is generally executed to perform the regression testing of the release build.

 

It focuses more on end-user experience and the test run are broad enough to detect when application changes inadvertently impacting functionality. Automation is totally an internal process which is performed by the testing team to pace up the regression testing speed. There is no impact on the end users.

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