What is Continuous Testing in DevOps
By Jash Unadkat, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - June 24, 2020
This article attempts to explain the fundamentals of Continuous Testing and its benefits in DevOps. It will also explain key points to consider while incorporating Continuous Testing in a software testing life cycle.
Let’s begin with the most fundamental question.
What is Continuous Testing in DevOps?
As the term suggests, Continuous Testing refers to the execution of automated tests that are carried out at regular intervals every time code changes are made. These tests are conducted as a part of the software delivery pipeline to drive faster feedback on recent changes pushed to the code repository.
Continuous Testing was introduced initially with the intention of reducing the time taken to provide feedback to developers. It attempts to address the following question –
How fast can we identify that there’s a problem, inform the development team, and get it fixed?
The primary goal here is to test more often, particularly at an individual level in the early stages of development, and then testing the unified codebase as a whole.
How does Continuous Testing play a vital role in DevOps?
It’s evident that every software application is built uniquely, and it needs to be updated regularly to meet end-user requirements. Earlier, as the development and deployment process was rigid, changing and deploying features required a considerable amount of time. This is because projects earlier had definite timelines for development and QA phases, and the codebase was transferred between teams.
However, with the Agile approach becoming mainstream, making changes even in real-time has become more convenient, primarily due to Continuous Testing and the CI/CD pipeline. This is because the code is continually moving from Development -> Testing -> Deployment Stages.
Read More: Stages of Development Sprint Cycle
For example, a QA engineer verifies the status of the automated unit tests running on the Jenkins server. If the tests run successfully, the build is further passed on to QA servers for exhaustive load and functional testing. In the case of test failure, the build is rejected, and the developer is notified.
With an Agile mindset being at the core, Continuous Testing in DevOps helps teams to explore critical bugs in the initial stages itself. This ensures that the risk of critical bugs is mitigated beforehand, saving the cost of bug fixing in later stages.
Continuous Testing encourages automating tests wherever possible throughout the development cycle. Doing so ensures that teams evaluate the code validity and overall quality of the software at each stage. These insights can help organizations identify whether the software is ready to go through the delivery pipeline.
What are the benefits of Continuous Testing in DevOps?
Listed below are some key benefits of incorporating Continuous Testing:
- Early discovery of critical bugs
- Seamless collaboration among developers, QA and Operations team
- Helps to assess the quality of software developed at each stage
- Can be seamlessly incorporated into DevOps
- Helps drive faster test results which leads to improved code quality
- Repeated testing ensures minimal failure rate for new releases
- Faster time to market with a viable product and continuous feedback mechanism
What to Consider Before Adopting Continuous Testing?
There are a few points which developers and QAs need to be mindful of when initiating Continuous Testing into the development process.
- Embracing Continuous Testing involves starting testing efforts from the initial stages of development and at every single branch in the pipeline.
- Teams need to ensure that they are testing on high performing staging environments that are exact replicas of the production server. Configuring such staging environments will require considerable resources, bandwidth, and infrastructural investments. Doing this ensures that teams are going the extra mile to replicate the performance of the application in a production environment.
- Developers and QAs must choose the right set of tools and automation frameworks for each layer of the test automation pyramid – Unit testing, API testing, and UI testing.
There are multiple test automation frameworks available that allow concurrent test execution. Selenium and Cypress are two such frameworks that are widely used for automating web-app testing. On the other side, Jenkins and Travis are among the most popularly used CI/CD tools
- QAs must also evaluate the test results carefully and look out for false negatives or false positives. This is because either of them can lead to disruptions in the production stage.
- No matter what, there’s always a probability that the recently released build will misbehave or crash. In such cases, teams must have a proper roll-back plan. Developers must ensure that before pushing any code in the production stage, all critical data is backed up.
Continuous Testing is an unavoidable part of DevOps. Every organization operates differently and have their own ways of executing Agile practices. An efficient way to integrate Continuous Testing is to have an all in one environment that provides teams with the flexibility to choose the desired programming languages, frameworks, and tools for testing.
BrowserStack allows developers and QAs to choose from a range of programming languages, platforms, devices, tools, and automation frameworks required for comprehensive manual and automated testing. Check out the complete list of Integrations that will benefit developers and QAs with their activities.
To deliver a reliable software application, having an efficient test strategy is absolutely imperative. Continuous Testing plays a vital role in the CI/CD pipeline as it helps to accelerate test results and facilitate faster delivery of robust, user-friendly software.