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An Introduction to Continuous Testing in DevOps

By Felix Zoot Billson, Head of Marketing, Global App Testing 

As the name suggests, Continuous Testing is a method of testing software throughout the development and software operation process.

Contrary to the more traditional method of test automation, Continuous Testing implements testing at every stage, picking out bugs and flaws as they come up.

It plays into the agile vs waterfall debate, with agile practices aligning much more easily with DevOps and Continuous Testing in general.

Like Continuous Testing, agile practices involve constant improvement of the software. And while agile promotes a cross-functional team across the development journey, Continuous Testing holds that assessments should be carried out at every stage.

There are four key tenets of the development side of DevOps: Continuous Integration, Testing, Delivery, and Deployment.

The First Step: Continuous Integration

Rather confusingly, Continuous Integration also involves testing. It's chronologically the first step in the development plan - though, mainly due to the continuous nature of the beast, all four processes should be occurring simultaneously.

In Continuous Integration, developers regularly integrate any new code they have developed with the source code repository. How often they do this depends on the business model and software that they're developing.

Each time a developer integrates their code with the source code, the entire source code is rebuilt; a series of unit tests take place, and finally, the code gets a quality check. This ensures that any bugs are caught pretty much instantaneously - which is always handy.

The earlier an error is caught, the easier it generally is to fix. You can easily identify which lines of code might have caused the problem, and isolate it accordingly.

Of course, if you're storing your source code repository online, you should be aware of the cybersecurity risks and how to tackle them.



What is Continuous Testing?

So if Continuous Integration involves testing, where does Continuous Testing come into play?

Well, it's really just the next stage of development. Once the initial code suggestions have made it past the quality checks, the new code becomes part of the source code, and so the integration process can start again.

Meanwhile, the product moves on. Continuous Testing is more about whether the product fulfills the initial brief - and any further user concerns - than about whether the code physically works or not.

Whether you're opting for retail or retailer wholesale, Continuous Testing can be an incredibly useful step in the development process.

The Continuous Testing process prevents the need for manual testing and is actually fully automated. Test scripts are developed before the coding even begins - in response to what the product should be doing.

This is in contrast to Automated Testing, which integrates automatic test scripts only after the code has been developed.

These test scripts then run continuously - hence the name - as soon as the new code has been integrated.

What Is the Advantage of Continuous Testing?

The big advantage of Continuous Testing is that, as with Continuous Integration, feedback is rapid and specific. Because the test scripts are built before the code, they should already have a particular end result in mind: one that perfectly matches the brief.

A subset of this is localization testing - but what is localization testing? Localization testing aims to create a product that is customized for a particular region or language. It helps to check that the product is fully usable in the region it is designed for.



In Continuous Testing, there is no waiting period in which developers scramble to produce tests that cater to that particular line of code: it either works with the end goal, or it doesn't.

This speed means that any feedback you receive is obtained quickly, and you can tweak any issues that appear. As with Continuous Integration, this leads to problems being identified and fixed more quickly.

This has the distinct advantage of avoiding the traditional bottleneck that arises in the development process, in which developers were often left waiting, twiddling their thumbs, while the testing team rooted out faults.

In terms of cost-efficiency, Continuous Testing is right up there with reducing downtime costs for getting the most bang for your buck.

It has become an especially prevalent method recently, in the age of websites and automated mobile app testing.

The Best Way to Implement Continuous Testing

The initial step of implementing Continuous testing is to identify which software features are most crucial to your audience. This requires research: knowing the complexities and obstacles that face others on the market, and planning to address them outright, is extremely important.

You can then work these features into your initial test scripts, ready to tackle any code that makes it through the Continuous Integration stage.

Then, get ready to implement ‘Shift Left Testing' - essentially, being ready to test, test and test again, but all at an earlier stage than you might have opted for before.

You'll need to run tests on real devices, as in software manual testing, rather than relying solely on virtual emulators. They just don't stack up to how a real human would act, so your test results would be skewed from the start.



Utilizing the technology we have available will also make life easier for you in the DevOps process. Programs like Jira allow you to keep track of issues, bugs, and updates, as well as which team member is dealing with them.

Meanwhile, Continuous Integration tools like Jenkins and Bamboo can help to streamline your project from the get-go, allowing developers to build, test and deploy their codes all on one platform.

Whether you're looking to speed up your development process or just make the most of your talented development team, Continuous Testing could be a key step on your way to a streamlined DevOps project.



Felix Zoot Billson - Head of Marketing, Global App Testing 

Felix Zoot Billson

Felix Zoot Billson is the Head of Marketing for Global App Testing, a best-in-class continuous testing company that is founded on speed, impact and effort. Felix has become adept at growing businesses by focusing on creating optimized customer experiences to maximize business impact and revenue. On the weekends, you'll find him reading his favorite novels and mountain biking. Here is his LinkedIn.

Published Tuesday, June 22, 2021 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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