The rigors of the market and changing user preferences have focused on the need for developing quality applications. Since quality can be a relative term changing across processes and based on numerous in-situ parameters, methodologies like Continuous Improvement or Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) become important. In other words, any software needs to be upgraded continually based on user feedback and market trends. Enterprises are increasingly embracing Agile and DevOps to build new products and services within short turnarounds. However, such speedy development cycles can lead to the release of bug-infested software. This is due to the fact that both developers and testers get less time to validate all the quality parameters. Moreover, it is often observed that developers and testers focus on activities/elements like code repository management, integration, and CI servers. Surprisingly, automated testing services are often not on the list of developers notwithstanding the demand for quick release cycles and increasing complexity of software.
It involves the testing of software codes using scripts, frameworks, and tools. Here, preconfigured tests are executed to validate the features and functionalities of software against a given set of parameters. At the end of testing, the automated testing framework prepares a detailed report of the test including the glitches found.
Let us understand what benefits does automated application testing bring to the table vis-a-vis the CI/CD pipeline.
A software needs periodic upgrades to remain aligned with the market needs and technology changes. A robust continuous integration and testing mechanism can ensure quick feedback on the changes. It helps to identify glitches quickly before the product hits the market. To enable the same, automated testing solutions should be harnessed. These can provide stakeholders with accurate information on the inherent risks thereby helping them to take informed decisions. By implementing a robust test automation strategy wherein various tests are run continually, the resultant product turns out to be glitch-free and delivering superior user experience.
With the complexity of software applications increasing and delivery schedules reducing, it has become imperative to validate their functionalities across devices, operating platforms, browsers, and networks. This is where an automated testing strategy can help in the following ways -
Quicker tests: Since CI/CD pipeline requires speed and a minimum turnaround time, automation testing can validate various aspects of the software quickly than say, manual testing. Also, automated tests can be run for any number of times and not let glitches go undetected.
Faster regression tests: The CI/CD process involves receiving speedy feedback from the users. The impact of changes made in the software can be validated better by using automated testing. Also, such testing can run in parallel, thereby shortening the execution time.
Consistency: No software should have anomalies, especially during the execution of continuous integration. Automated testing can identify the glitches or anomalies present in the software and ensure a consistent performance. Also, it ensures expectations are met until the product is finally released.
Efficient release of software updates: Frequent software updates can face challenges in removing bugs in a continuous delivery pipeline. Thus, the risk of bug infested build can increase thereby impacting the end-user experience. Automated testing can take care of such occurrences and streamline the delivery process.
Agility: In a continuous integration and delivery pipeline, the technology, frameworks, and configurations should be amenable to changes based on the business requirements. In the absence of an automated testing framework, it would be virtually impossible to implement and validate such builds in the expected time frame. Also, it would amount to being inefficient if the QA team has to wait to rewrite or reconfigure the test suites. Since test automation can reconfigure the test suites automatically, crucial build time can be saved.
Better product visibility: Tests such as interface or unit testing can deliver greater visibility about the product at any given point in time. Test automation can provide instant feedback for developers in the CI/CD pipeline so that the latter can administer a quick-fix to the build later.
Software developers and testers can start small when it comes to implementing the CI/CD pipeline. As you gain experience in writing test suites and automation, the challenges that come with the job can be used as a learning phase. The benefits will soon become apparent as they go about following the best technical approach and using the right framework. In a fast-growing digital landscape, automated testing services shall be your best bet in ensuring faster release of glitch-free products.