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Sauce Labs 2019 Predictions: Testing Shifts Left - And Leaps Forward

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Lubos Parobek, VP of Products, Sauce Labs

Testing Shifts Left - And Leaps Forward

By now, it's no bold proclamation to say that digitalization has fundamentally altered the way business gets done, and that companies have had to quickly adapt in order to keep up with changing customer expectations. Just because a trend is no longer "new," however, doesn't mean the impact it projects to have on business and technology in the coming year is any less significant.

In fact, in many ways, we're only starting to see the transformative impact of digitalization take shape, and perhaps no aspect of the modern technology landscape will be more profoundly altered by the demands of the new digital economy in 2019 than software testing and development. For while many organizations have prioritized agile development processes to speed time to market, testing has thus far not kept pace. 2019 is the year that changes.

With business leaders quickly realizing that fast, continuous delivery of a flawless digital experience is now a primary differentiator in just about every competitive marketplace, companies of all sizes across all verticals will modernize their approach to testing, replacing slow and expensive legacy practices with increased automation and an emphasis on continuous testing delivered throughout all phases of the development process. Here are five predictions on how they'll go about it.

Testing Shifts Left

As companies seek to frequently if not continuously update and release their web and mobile applications, and developers evolve to keep pace, the traditional approach, in which testing falls entirely to the QA team and is conducted almost entirely at the end of the development process, is quickly becoming obsolete. We'll thus see testing "shift left" in a major way in 2019, with more and more teams leveraging automated testing significantly earlier in the development pipeline. Even the early adopters who have already gotten the jump on shifting left have done so with functional tests designed to ascertain whether something does what it's supposed to, regardless of the broader non-functional user experience. In 2019, as shifting left becomes increasingly en vogue, we'll also see non-functional tests moving in that direction, with teams eager to validate performance, security and visual experience earlier in the process as well.

Early Pipeline Testing Moves to the Cloud

Cloud and early pipeline testing are the technology equivalent of a match made in heaven. The primary benefits of just about any cloud use case are agility, scalability and cost control. The primary benefits of early pipeline testing? Agility, scalability, and cost control. It's only natural then that as early pipeline testing becomes the norm, rather than the exception, development teams will increasingly look to cloud to control costs and gain the agility to test quickly and at scale.

After all, the primary roadblocks that historically stood in the way of implementing testing earlier in the development pipeline are the time and cost associated with creating the appropriate infrastructure. In the pre-digital era, those roadblocks were usually daunting enough to curtail any efforts to shift testing left. It just wasn't important enough. Now, however, as the pressures of the new digital economy turn early pipeline testing from a nice-to-have to a must-have, organizations have no choice but to seek fast, reliable, and cost-effective solutions. In 2019, they'll turn to the cloud to find them.   

Headless Makes Headway

For developers themselves, the most important technical benefit of all the aforementioned efforts to shift testing left is the ability to receive feedback as soon as they finish coding a module that is ready to be committed. Given that it's considerably easier to address bugs in code that were just written, as opposed to code written hours or days before, instant feedback dramatically improves developer productivity. Unfortunately, traditional cross-browser testing clouds often can't meet the volume, frequency, and speed requirements necessary for these early stage testing use cases.

Enter headless testing. By combining new technologies such as headless browsers and containers, headless testing gives developers instant access to fast and reliable test results at a cost-effective price point. In 2019, we'll see a significant increase in the popularity of this transformative infrastructure approach.

Late Adopters Look to Automated Testing

Organizations yet to implement the kinds of testing best practices necessary in the digital era will look for a fast track to modernization in 2019, and they'll find it in the form of automated testing. The practice of writing a test script, most commonly in Selenium or Appium, that interacts with the browser and functional elements on a web page with no human intervention (other than generating the test script in the first place), automated testing will become a must have in 2019, especially for late adopters eager to replace legacy manual testing and the costs and bottlenecks associated with it.

Developers Will Experiment With - But Not Fully Commit to - New Testing Frameworks

In 2019, and most likely beyond, Selenium will continue to evolve, and it will remain, with good reason, rightfully entrenched as the de facto standard web testing framework. That doesn't mean developers aren't eager to test the waters, however, and in 2019, we'll see continued experimentation with a variety of new frameworks as well, including Cyress, Detox, Puppeteer and Earl Grey. We'll also see an increase in interest around new mobile/native frameworks, as developers continue to write more mobile tests. The experimentation will be just that, however, and more time will be needed to determine which, if any, of the newer frameworks gain meaningful traction.

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About the Author

 

Lubos Parobek leads product management and user interaction at Sauce Labs, provider of the world's largest continuous testing cloud for web and mobile applications. His previous experience includes product leadership positions at organizations including KACE, Sybase iAnywhere, AvantGo and 3Com. Parobek holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.

Published Friday, January 11, 2019 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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