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Perks of Continuous Testing

October 10, 2016
continuous integration, continuous test,Continuous Testing

We as IT professionals are well aware of the advantages of testing. It not only makes the product reliable but also enhances the overall quality of the existing product by helping developers and client identify the loopholes for any feature. But providing such quality testing for a long time can be a tough task and solution is continuous testing. Especially when the release cycles are short and the changes frequent. In such cases, testers need to adopt a testing practice that is fast, precise yet reliable.

And that is why Continuous Testing was introduced in different companies. Once set up, continuous testing doesn’t require much upkeep and can provide valuable feedback on its own. In this post, we would talk about why continuous testing has become so popular among most companies, and the distinctive advantage provided by it.

The Need of Continuous Testing

  • The introduction of various software technologies and significant advancement in programming languages has changed the shape of the software industry. Now, every firm wants their software applications to be upgraded with new features within a short span of time. To meet this demand, development teams need to provide releases within a short duration. To meet such ardent need, developers had to adopt lean software development approach. 
  • Once lean development approaches like Agile, Continuous Delivery, and DevOps were incorporated in the Software Development Life Cycle, the testing team had to speed up their process to ensure a stable and shippable build.
  • Even after proper planning and systematic testing approach, testing teams can’t ensure the quality of the product within such short span. With such short delivery cycles, manual testing and traditional GUI testing can never be the logical choice.
  • Under such situations, automation can prove to the right option. But it’s usefulness fades away within a short time. As the features present in the application evolves or changes with every release, it changes the underlying structure of the application.
  • For this reason, some or all of the automation scripts that were working perfectly in the earlier build will stop working, and require maintenance. Such maintenance can take up a lot of time and due to the short releases, automation fixes done in the previous release might not work in current or subsequent releases. To top it off, such maintenance fixes can keep many testing resources occupied for the same task.
  • In order to test the release candidate properly, the testing team must design tests that focus on the business expectation of the application and take into consideration reliability, performance and security of the application.

For this very reason, most companies are opting for continuous testing. Such testing helps the testing team to deliver a quality product within the limited time span without compromising the integrity of the application.

Benefits of Continuous Testing

Now that we have mentioned the reason why Continuous Testing was adopted by the software industry, let’s talk about its perks and benefits.

  • When dealing with short release cycles, developers don’t get much time to develop the features. If testing results and reported bugs come to light right before the release, it can jeopardize the product release as a whole. For this reason, the best bet is to have a fast and continuous feedback of the release items. This is achieved by continuous testing. 
  • Due to continuous testing, the impacted areas of the application are recognized quickly. This reduces defect fixing time and effort.
  • As continuous testing doesn’t require much upkeep, the QA team can focus on other important testing processes which can help improve the product quality.
  • As the tests are run continuously, the data about the status of these tests can be extracted out. Such analytic information about the status of each test can provide valuable information about the vulnerabilities of the application. Such reports can also be useful for the product owner to showcase the strengths and reliability of the product.

Scope of Continuous Testing

  • Under functional testing, API testing, unit testing, integration testing and system testing can be achieved.
  • While under non-functional testing, security, compliance, and performance of the application can be put to test.
  • As continuous testing involves executing test cases continuously, it is necessary to test the application at the business layer, which is considered to be the most stable interface. For this reason, continuous testing is achieved through API testing.
  • In order to completely adopt Continuous testing, the QA team need to steer away from GUI testing. As continuous testing deals with testing the deliverables of different releases, the GUI might change from one release to another. Also, a considerable amount of effort would be required to fix the test cases. For this reason, API testing is considered to be the right option.
  • To get the most out of continuous testing, all tests must be executed at least daily.
  • For projects that support continuous delivery, a continuous test suite can be configured which would trigger the test suite every time a new change is committed in the project repository. In this way every time a new change is merged into the project branch, the test suit would automatically get fired. Thus the application would be continuously tested many times each day.
  • All continuous tests should be executed in a non-production environment. But the test environment should be such that it mimics the production test environment. In order to replicate the product test environment for continuous testing, testing team can also take the help of virtualization software and use specific test data.

Continuous Testing Tools

There a number of different continuous testing tools available in the market. Some of the notable ones being:

  • Jenkins
  • Buildbot
  • Strider
  • Go
  • Integrity

Challenges of Continuous Testing

Given the advantages of continuous testing, there are still some challenges that prevent many QA teams from incorporating it into their respective projects.

  • Some test suits utilized by the application require different dependencies. These dependencies can be in the form of third-party services, which can’t be made available for testing.
  • For teams that follow Agile, some modules of the application might be planned for future sprints. Thus, an end to end testing of the application can’t be achieved unless all the required modules are completely developed.
  • For a test suite to be executed continuously, the test system needs to be scalable.

Conclusion

  • Continuous testing is used to test an application rigorously multiple times until it is released.
  • Once configured, it doesn’t require much upkeep and can work on its own. The execution report of the tests can be used to find any existing issues in the system, and also pinpoint the most vulnerable areas in the system.
  • As GUI is not considered in the test suites, maintaining it for many releases is not difficult.
  • To add value, tests should be created in such a way that tests the core business logics of the application and also test the performance and security aspects of it.
  • Continuous testing can be triggered multiple times a day whenever new changes are pushed to the codebase. All these tests are run in a non-production environment that closely resembles the configurations of a production environment.

Vaibhav is in software testing since a decade. Worked with different testing techniques along with exploratory testing. Performed different regression, performance, api etc testing with tools and libraries like selenium, jmeter, loadrunner, protractor, rest assured, Katalon Appium and others.

About the author

Vaibhav Singhal author

Vaibhav is in software testing since a decade. Worked with different testing techniques along with exploratory testing. Performed different regression, performance, api etc testing with tools and libraries like selenium, jmeter, loadrunner, protractor, rest assured, Katalon Appium and others.

1 Comment

Cheyanne

May 23, 2017 at 6:12 am

Free knowledge like this doesn’t just help, it promote deycmraoc. Thank you.

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