What is Continuous Testing?
Continuous Testing is a software testing type in which the product is evaluated early, often, and throughout the entire Continuous Delivery (CD) process. Continuous testing uses automated tests to ensure teams receive immediate feedback to quickly mitigate as many risks as possible throughout the software development lifecycle. Moreover, team members are able to continuously learn about their product and what can be done to increase quality and reliability.
The goal of Continuous Testing is to test early and test often. The process involves stakeholders like Developer, DevOps, QA and Operational system.
Benefits of Continuous Testing
Let's break down a few benefits of continuous testing!
- Increase release rate: Speed up delivery to production and release faster
- Communication transparency: Eliminate silos between the development, testing, and operation teams
- Accelerate testing: Run parallel performance tests to increase testing execution speed
- Find errors: Ensure as many errors are found before being released to production
- Reduce business risks: Assess potential problems before they become an actual problem
- Test early and often: Tested throughout the development, delivery, testing, and deployment cycles
The Key Elements of a Successful Continuous Testing Process
To put into place a continuous testing process within your company, you’ll need at the very least the following four elements.
1. A Continuous Integration Tool
A basic continuous integration tool allows the team to integrate new code that has been deposited into a central repository to produce a new build of a software solution. Before depositing new code into the central repository, team members can work independently to develop a new feature or new functionalities without affecting the version used by other team members.
2. Environment Provisioning
Having to create a test environment every time a team member wants to test a feature adds unnecessary steps (update the application, update the database if necessary, restart the services, etc) that slow the development team down and end up wasting a ton of time over the course of an entire project.
A platform like Docker can make this process much smoother and much simpler. Creating images requires an initial investment, but in the long run, you’ll likely save time. The container-based provisioning step can also be managed through a continuous integration tool as well.
3. End-To-End Testing
Environment provisioning and a continuous integration tool allow team members to verify new changes faster and more efficiently. After that, end-to-end testing, which integrates test scenarios, test scripts and test automation tools into a single platform, ensures software quality by testing the application from beginning to end and generating detailed test results. Using these results, it’s very easy for developers to identify the source of an error or what caused software quality to regress, allowing developers to fix these issues quickly.
Moreover, test automation doesn’t leave room for human errors, which means test results are always reliable. Thanks to the power of end-to-end testing, teams can control the quality of the software solutions they produce much more easily.
The last key ingredient of a successful continuous testing process is very simple: teamwork! A continuous testing process seeks to integrate testers and quality assurance specialists directly into the development team, allowing them to work side-by-side with developers to elaborate test strategies together. In the end, the code that the team develops is much more solid, as the entire team is involved in the quality assurance process.
How to Perform Continuous Testing?
Continuous testing should be implemented at every stage of your CI/CD pipeline. It works best by using the most recent build in an isolated environment. You can also set up test suites at every point code changes, merge or releases. This will help reduce time and effort on testing but still reap quality rewards.
Below are some of the best practices to help you implement continuous testing to best serve your organization’s needs.
- Adopt more test automation: automation increases the speed and errors coverage at which testing can function. Automating as much as you can in the development lifecycle will help you achieve faster releases.
- Tracking metrics: Use quantifiable metrics to keep track of your success or failure rate during testing
- Keep communication transparent: Keep your communication lines transparent to prevent the testing pipeline from becoming siloed. Active communication is the key to achieving the balance necessary to effectively carry out continuous testing.
- Integrate performance testing into delivery cycle: Performance testing is an integral part of continuous testing as it helps check the speed, responsiveness, and stability of your application
Challenges of Continuous Testing
- The traditional process is limiting cultural shift among Development & QA professionals.
- Lack of DevOps skills and the right tools for testing in Agile & DevOps environments.
- Heterogenous test environments which will never reflect the production environment.
- Conventional testing process and loosely defined test data management.
- Longer code integration cycles create integration issues and late defect fixes
- Insufficient and ineffective resources and test environments
- Complex application architecture and business logic that restricts DevOps adoption.
Continuous Testing Tools
Tools are very useful to help make continuous testing even faster. Below are some of the best tools for your specific requirements.
1. Travis CI
Travis CI is a continuous testing tool hosted on GitHub offering hosted and on-premise variants.
Jenkins is a continuous integration tool using Java language and is configurable via both GUI interface and console commands.
3. Katalon Studio
Developed by Katalon LLC, Katalon Studio offers a comprehensive platform to perform automated testing for Web UI, Web services, API services, and mobile.
Selenium is an open-source software testing tool. It supports most mainstream browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. Selenium WebDriver is used to automate web application testing.
QuerySurge is the smart data testing solution that is the first-of-its-kind full DevOps solution for continuous data testing. Key features include Robust API with 60+ calls, detailed data intelligence & data analytics, seamless integration into the DevOps pipeline for continuous testing, and verifies large amounts of data quickly.
Successful continuous testing is a competitive advantage, enabling businesses to deliver value to their customers with higher quality faster. However, it is not an easy task to make the jump to continuous testing, and if you’re not aware of the basic tenets of it, you may find yourself headed for disaster. So make sure you have a strategic planning process in place before incorporating continuous testing into your organization.