The A-Z of Continuous Testing: A DevOps What, Why, and How

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Click to learn more about author Hemanth Kumar Yamjala.

DevOps has emerged as an effective methodology to ensure the development, testing, and deployment of top-quality software applications quickly. Continuous testing is an important cog in the wheel of DevOps, involving the execution of a number of tests.

Businesses globally are facing the twin challenges of changes in technology and changes in customer preferences. In fact, both these challenges are feeding on each other and driving the competition crazy. Businesses are under pressure to keep up with the market dynamics and come up with innovative software products in double-quick time. As release cycles become shorter, and the demand for quality products increases, businesses need to incorporate agility to sustain and succeed. Among the few methodologies to drive agility in a business enterprise, DevOps is the most efficient and effective. It covers the entire range — from ideation, development, testing, and product delivery to customer feedback and product enhancement.

What is DevOps?

With quality emerging as the centerpiece of customer focus, businesses need to develop a production pipeline where quality lies at the core of everything. As an extension of agile development methodology, DevOps is all about collaboration, communication, and integration of multiple processes, practices, tools, and stakeholders in the SDLC. Continuous testing in DevOpshelps to boost the CI/CD value chain and includes activities like testing early, testing everywhere, and testing often. In the DevOps testing strategy, testing does not remain a part of delivery but an integral part of every process. It lets stakeholders know about the risks associated with software delivery.

DevOps, apart from baking quality into the whole pipeline, deals with bringing about a cultural change in the organization as well. The motivated workforce would work towards testing regularly and releasing bug fixes quickly. The key components of DevOps are continuous integration (CI) or continuous delivery (CD). Continuous integration entails the integration of the work of various stakeholders into the pipeline frequently. Thereupon, every integration is verified through DevOps test automation and results in the early detection of glitches.

Similarly, continuous delivery extends agile practices beyond development. It enables enterprises to adapt to customer feedback and changing market dynamics and business strategies. Here, every stakeholder in the pipeline collaborates to break silos, streamline processes, and automate testing to achieve a series of deliverables. These include reduced costs, minimized risks, shortened iterations, accelerated time to market, and frequent releases.

Why Continuous Testing in DevOps?

With user experience lying at the core of achieving market dominance of any product or service, it needs to be ensured at all times. In fact, the user experience not only depends on the quality of a product but on other various aspects, including connectivity and integration between the touchpoints of processes, infrastructure, and systems. Ensuring such seamless interaction at all times can be a challenge, especially when releases need to be fast-tracked. Continuous testing in DevOps involves end-to-end testing of the product code and, in the process, helps to identify and fix errors in the SDLC. Unlike in the waterfall method, where test results are delivered at the end of the development cycle, the continuous testing solutions are delivered at various stages — development, integration, DevOps QA, delivery, and product enhancement.

What are the Types of Tests Executed in Continuous Testing?

Backed by DevOps automated testing, continuous testing includes various types of testing:

  • Unit Testing: Ensures the code is structured and delineated for every function. The isolated components of each function allow themselves to be debugged later.
  • Integration Testing: Verifies if the software components are integrated for stability and ensures they perform to their expectations.
  • Regression Testing: Is performed when the software is deployed across servers and environments. It verifies whether the software can work in such environments that mirror production.
  • Production Testing: Deals with shift-right testing that monitors the production environment after the product is deployed. It also involves analyzing the user experience.
  • Exploratory Testing: Involves manual testing where test cases are checked randomly. It complements other types of testing and helps to increase confidence in the product before its final release.

How to Perform Continuous Testing

To be implemented at every stage of the CI/CD value chain, continuous testing involves the setting up of test suites. These should be set up at the interface or touchpoint of every code change, integration, or release. To begin, set up a unit test, acceptance test, and an exploratory test environment, which can be joined together. Thereafter, expand the test coverage area deployment pipeline based on the development of the product or service.

Conclusion                                                

In an era of strict competition where there is an increased demand for the development and deployment of software products, continuous testing in DevOps can help to ensure the top-notch quality of applications at all times.

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