What is Future Proof Testing? Why is it Important?
By Sakshi Pandey, Community Contributor - November 18, 2022
How well prepared is your business for change in the industry? The world of technology is rapidly evolving and while software applications need to be developed efficiently it’s also important to be tactical in order to ensure their prevalence. Future-proofing software entails anticipating the changes that may occur and coming up with plans to counteract or prevent the effects that these changes may have on your software.
Software applications are highly complex pieces of technology, often consisting of millions of lines of code. Several teams of developers must work together with limited time and resources to write this code and to bring these pieces of technology to life. Creating a piece of software is daunting and factoring in the time and funding limitations, as well as the sheer number of people involved, it’s easy to see why so many teams take shortcuts that neglect important facets of software development. These shortcuts can lead to one of two outcomes.
- The architecture of the application erodes over time due to defects in the application and leads to the software becoming defunct in the future.
- The application is defective from the get go and causes major problems for the clients.
Cutting corners during software development can create obstacles to creating long-lived pieces of software. In both the outcomes mentioned above the software in question will either have to be abandoned or require extensive rework. Therefore a strategy must be created from the beginning stages of development to keep the application functional, or rather, viable for the future.
This guide discusses what a “Future-proof” software is, and how it can be created.
The Traits of Future Proof Software Systems
Business value is one of the central characteristics a system must possess to be future proof. A simplified definition of business value would be that it is a measurable quantity which indicates the capability of the business unit to generate income(Furrer 2019). Essentially an IT company creating software products would see business value in a software with traits such as customer loyalty or profitability.
A system being modified or extended for some new functionality that would allow the organization to provide new traits that may cater to a wider consumer demographic is an example of generating business value. This would help secure the software for further future use and save it from becoming redundant.
Another characteristic a future proof system should have is changeability. As technology evolves it’s important for the software application to be changeable enough to evolve with it. The resistance a software has to change is central in determining its future.
Systems which have a low resistance are more adaptable, and do not have a high cost for change. On the other hand, systems with high resistance are costly, they require a long time and extensive work to modify. It’s important that early in the software development life cycle measures are taken to make a software with low resistance to change.
Lastly, dependability is a very important trait in future proof systems. Dependability in a software implies that the system can be relied upon, has resilience to any disruptions or defects, and in the event of an issue it handles the errors gracefully by minimizing damage. The definition of dependability can vary depending on the function of the software system. Where certain systems may prioritize security, for other availability would be the most important feature.
Why are Future Proof Systems Needed?
Legacy software is a piece of software that the business is highly dependent on. However, due to it being antiquated, the software has several flaws and issues that the business must work around.
These flaws are usually due to the software being dependent on a certain OS and version, certain hardware that is no longer produced/supported, or the software could be dependent on certain other software which are outdated or no longer supported. These are all still relatively simple scenarios, more complex scenarios arise with issues such as the software being created with a programming language that is rarely used anymore. In such cases any changes to the software will require the business to expend a lot of effort to track down a highly specialized developer.
Essentially, Legacy software is difficult and costly to maintain and to operate. Additionally it is also difficult to extend and add functions to the software; and it is highly taxing in terms of money, effort, and the time required if it is changeable. The cost and difficulty of maintenance only grows over time, snowballing, until finally there’s no choice but to scrap the software and find a new solution.
Lastly the most serious problem with Legacy software is security. This dilapidated software is normally not upto code; It usually has several safety flaws and doesn’t comply with new regulations.
Future proof systems are required to manage the complexity and uncertainties that may arise in the future, and to prevent Legacy software from being created.
Methods to future proof software
In order to future proof software it is imperative to generate more business value, ensure that the system has low resistance to change, and that the system has the properties required to increase its dependability. Some ways to measure these attributes are:
- Number of Source Lines of Code (SLOC).(Furrer 2019)
- Function Points (FP).(Furrer 2019)
- Use Case Points (UCP).(Furrer 2019)
The ISO is a well-known, commonly used standard that outlines the criteria for evaluating and defining the quality requirements for systems and software (SQuaRE). The following attributes are defined by ISO 25010 as indicators of software quality. By simply following these guidelines the software developed will exhibit the qualities needed.
As seen in the figure above it’s necessary to ensure that the software is extendable and receptive to future changes. It should also have a high testability, integrity, fault tolerance, and be compatible. All of these traits are endemic in a future proof system and required if a software is to evolve as its requirements and environment change.
Hence, it is recommended that Future Proof Testing should be done under real user conditions to ensure better accuracy that helps deliver a seamless experience.
The fundamental advantages of implementing continuous delivery are:
- Break up the requirements into smaller modules for more rapid development and faster deployment.
- This procedure makes sure that every release is tested and benchmarked to maintain the software’s quality while also keeping it up to date and current.
- It accelerates modifications to the software and via automated delivery methods, which include thorough testing, can be optimized and executed frequently to improve the operational software’s quality.
The premise behind continuous delivery is very cohesive with creating future proof systems. Continuous Delivery is best defined as a collection of smooth, streamlined, dependable, repeatable, and automated procedures that regularly release new or modified software into production (Wolff 2017).
Future proof testing
Testing is synonymous with creating future proof systems. In order to make sure that the rules defining a good future proof system are enforced it is necessary to carry out continuous rigorous testing.
Consultative Testing is an efficient starting point when attempting to future proof software. This type of testing consists of testers developing relevant tests based on potential users’ behavior. This makes the tests more insightful since the functionality and useability of the software can be measured via metrics relevant to the potential future use cases it may have. From a future proofing perspective these tests help the developers gain insight regarding the end user and anticipate and address future issues that a user may face by developing a resilient and robust software architecture.
Maintainability Testing is another key factor when attempting to develop future proof software. Once a software is deployed there will inevitably be new bugs which need to be fixed, and new requirements which need to be met. Additionally there will be time constraints to quickly address these needs. In order to keep up, automation testing is required with an automated test-suite which executes reliable component testing.
Use of external tools and services can be highly effective when attempting to develop automated testing pipelines. These external tools should only be considered if there is a strong likelihood that they will be regularly updated and maintained; If they aren’t then there’s a high probability that the software will end up becoming a legacy software, or the team will have to redesign several portions of their software and testing procedures.
Using automation frameworks like Selenium, Appium, and Cypress makes writing automated test scripts simple. These scripts can be executed as necessary on a wide range of hardware, software, and browsers.
Users who want to automate and test their apps will gain a lot from tools like BrowserStack Automate. This test automation tool offers integration with numerous automation frameworks, such as Selenium, an established open-source automation framework, to enable testing on more than 3000 desktops, browsers, and actual mobile devices.
With the new browsers, OS versions, and devices, launched in the market, it is essential that the software should be tested on it for compatibility to ensure it functional seamlessly. Which is why testing on BrowserStack Real Device Cloud helps, since the latest versions of browsers and newly launched devices such as iPhone 14 and Google Pixel 7 are made available on Day 0 itself. BrowserStack also provides access to the beta version of a browser whenever possible. This makes BrowserStack highly reliable to use, making it ideal for Future Proof Testing of mobile and web applications.
To sum it up
To manage the complexity and uncertainty that may come in the future and to avoid the development of legacy software, future-proof solutions are necessary.
It is crucial to boost business value, make sure the system has a low resistance to change, and make sure the system has the attributes necessary to increase its dependability in order to future-proof software. Additionally, implementing continuous delivery and following the ISO guidelines is great for developing robust software architecture that is easily future-proofed.
When trying to future-proof software, testing is a crucial component. Consultative testing, maintainability testing, automation testing are all crucial. Automation testing technologies, like those provided by Browserstack, make it simpler to continuously test systems to ensure they are up to par.