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How Does Continuous Testing Accelerate DevOps?

How Does Continuous Testing Accelerate DevOps?

September 23, 2022
 by 
Brian PereaBrian Perea
Brian Perea

Introduction

In the present world, mobile and web applications require connectivity and dependence between systems, processes, and infrastructure. Testing various applications, products, and services is crucial to ensure this. Enterprises in many industries are adopting digital transformation to improve their operational efficiency. To accelerate software development, enterprises are exploring various testing methodologies. According to Statista, in 2021, around 31.3% of organizations reported that they had added continuous integration & deployment to their DevOps practice to accelerate the release cycle.

Share of respondents graph
Changes introduced in the software development process by organizations globally in 2021

Continuous testing in DevOps can assist businesses in attaining a faster software delivery workflow since a release candidate continually moves from development to testing and deployment in this type of testing. By shifting left, developers can integrate automated testing into the stages of the development cycle, find bugs earlier in the process, and improve the quality of each software release candidate. Continuous testing helps QA and development teams to streamline software development and automated testing practices to deliver software updates faster. Moreover, it empowers enterprises to seamlessly integrate their software with legacy systems and boost business efficiencies.

Continuous Testing and Its Importance in DevOps

Continuous testing is a testing methodology used in the software development cycle. This process allows applications to be tested continuously throughout the entire software development lifecycle. The main focus of continuous testing is to measure software quality across the development cycle, provide critical feedback earlier, and enable high-quality, fast deliveries.

Continuous testing plays a crucial role in the continuous delivery process. It requires automated end-to-end testing methods that integrate existing development processes while excluding errors and enabling continuity throughout the development cycle. Before the release of a software tool in the market, continuous testing helps software companies gain confidence that code updates will have maximum impact with minimal risk to their business's bottom line. Moreover, when implemented diligently, continuous testing enables flawless continuity in the delivery cycle. Integrating a continuous test automation process into software development is the most effective solution for a successful continuous delivery process.

Core Benefits of Continuous Testing in DevOps

In the fast software development environment, release cycles are shortening. Thus, organizations are adjusting their testing methods to keep up in the software space. Continuous testing plays an important role in the acceleration of software development.

Here are some of the major benefits of continuous testing in software development.

  • Detecting problems at a very early stage could make the release of fixes faster in production.
  • Continuous testing automatically runs in the background, executes the test suites, uploads the test result, and sends emails to the respective teams about the validation of the features. 
  • With the help of notification tools such as email and chat, software developers can get the test statistics about recent code changes, and they can fix the failures.
  • Risks involved decrease as the code quality can be tested in every stage.
  • Continuous testing offers consistency by providing the same configurations for all test automation scripts, which helps QA experts run test cases in various environments.
Please Check: What is Continuous Monitoring in DevOps?

Important Practices to Implement a Continuous Testing Strategy for DevOps

Continuous testing fosters testing at all stages of software development, from development to deployment. Organizations can guarantee that software development moves forward unhindered by incorporating continuous monitoring in the DevOps pipeline. The important continuous testing practices that developers should consider to build a continuous testing strategy effectively include:

1. Automate the Testing Process

By automating the testing, companies can increase the speed and error coverage of the QA process. Automating the testing process in the development lifecycle can accelerate release cycles.

2. Use Testing Tools

In continuous testing, development and QA teams use specific tools to make the testing process easier, faster, more comprehensive, and more effective. Organizations can remove manual overhead with these tools and the dev toolchains.

3. Leverage Containerization

Using containers for test environments can keep the difficult-to-maintain environments up-to-date with the latest code changes that would be released to production. 

4. Keep Communication Transparent

Bottlenecks can form when communication between teams or roles within the organization is not transparent, thus resulting in the waste of time. Effective communication is the key to achieving the balance necessary for continuous testing.

5. Save Time with Headless Execution

Headless execution is a mode of testing that allows you to test on a headless browser or application. Headless browsers or apps are software that lacks a GUI, so this testing is done purely on backend data using CLI or network commands. This process lowers the number of unnecessary caches, cookies, or resources that are sifted through to obtain the results that matter. However, please note that the headless mode is different from the end-user environment. Some types of tests are reliable with headless mode, but not all types of tests.

6. Integrate Performance Testing into Delivery Cycle

Performance testing within the delivery cycle is beneficial because it checks applications' speed, responsiveness, and stability. It is an investigative process that observes how the system is running and finds solutions to overcome any discovered obstacles.

How Can HeadSpin Help Enterprises Implement a Continuous Testing Strategy in DevOps?

The key components for implementing continuous testing in the DevOps process are continuous automation, continuous integration, and continuous delivery. The main features of the HeadSpin Platform are in line with the key components of continuous testing. HeadSpin focuses on the following testing processes to provide a smooth continuous testing environment.

  • Integrated Testing: We offer seamless integration with load-testing platforms like LoadRunner and Jmeter.
  • Automated Testing: We support all major testing automation frameworks, such as Appium, Selenium, XCTest, Espresso, and more.
  • Continuous Monitoring: We provide 24/7 access to any device, running any application on any network anywhere in the world for continuous quality assurance.

HeadSpin enables development and QA teams to run continuous testing, thus providing comprehensive testing capabilities across applications, devices, and networks for mobile, web, IoT, and 5G technologies. This includes functional, load, and performance testing. Our Platform is created to support the entire software development lifecycle, including features that incorporate continuous testing for your convenience. Some of the main features of the Platform that help enterprises implement continuous testing and monitoring include:

  • CI/CD integration to automate the testing of new builds: Automatically sniff new builds, run tests, and provide insights on performance regression.
  • Automate critical user journeys: Integrate test automation platforms, such as Appium or Selenium, and automate different customer user journeys.
  • Performance regression: Compare build over build, location over location, network over network, and device over device performance.
  • API usage monitoring: Track how APIs are being used by applications or track the impact of third-party APIs on application performance.

Examples of How HeadSpin’s Continuous Testing Helped Enterprises Worldwide

Example 1

A leading unified communication and collaboration platform was transitioning from a traditional engineering model with less-frequent feature releases to a continuous release model. The company’s slow feature release schedule was putting it behind the competition in the market. HeadSpin helped the company by integrating its CI/CD pipeline with our Platform and delivering insights into their new features on a weekly basis. The intelligence generated from HeadSpin enabled the company to achieve the ability to execute 24-hour testing cycles every single week and a 75% reduction in time-to-market for new feature releases. 

Example 2

An American insurer group for automobiles, homes, and small businesses was facing problems like long claim times and low development efficiency in deployment stages. With custom KPIs like time to claim, upload documents, and search time continuously monitored and visualized using a Grafana dashboard, HeadSpin empowered the American insurance company with proactive issue identification, triage, and fixes. With HeadSpin’s continuous testing, the company was able to achieve a 75% reduction in loss/claim reporting time and a 60% improvement in developer productivity.

Example 3

A Japanese gaming company headquartered in Tokyo was in search of a solution to ensure seamless gaming experiences for its customers and to validate its mobile application at multiple locations worldwide. With HeadSpin’s support, the company increased its engineering velocity with 2-3 releases per week in a continuous delivery model. By enabling continuous testing, HeadSpin helped the company reduce the time-to-market and UX degradation issues.

Example 4

A digital distribution service company approached HeadSpin to reduce rework and post-release investigations in its app development cycle. HeadSpin and the company formed a joint team to integrate the CI/CD workflow with the HeadSpin Platform. With CI/CD integration, the company is able to analyze each build automatically and perform end-to-end QA automation for critical user journeys.

Example 5

A consumer digital health platform providing personalized, data-driven health care information and recommendations was facing a lot of app freeze and bug-related reviews on the App Store and Play Store. The company hired the HeadSpin team to increase the app speed of its iOS and Android apps. With HeadSpin’s continuous testing techniques, the company enhanced its user engagement by 65%, achieved faster cycles by 30%, and performed more than 1000 automated tests daily.

Conclusion

Cutting-edge organizations are continuously working to reduce the release time of products and deliver them with optimum quality. With the help of continuous testing, companies can offer better transparency and efficiency in the software development lifecycle. It benefits not only the development team but also all departments of an organization. Continuous testing can assist development and testing teams in achieving high-quality software in less time. 

HeadSpin’s solutions are used in various industries, mainly in BFSI, telecom, and media. HeadSpin’s automated software testing platform enables companies to meet a multitude of testing requirements spanning functional, performance, and regression testing. With HeadSpin’s continuous testing, developers can reduce costs and time-to-market and focus on delivering customer value. 

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FAQs

Q1. What are the five levels in the continuous testing maturity model?

Ans: Chaos, continuous integration, continuous flow, continuous feedback, and continuous improvement.

Q2. What is containerization?

Ans: Containerization is the combination of software codes with all its components, such as libraries, frameworks, and other dependencies. The operating system is shared by various containers rather than used for each virtual machine in containerization.

Q3. What are the functions of a continuous integration server?

Ans: The continuous integration server is used for combining all changes being made and committed to the repository by different developers and checking for compile errors.

Q4. What do you mean by Docker?

Ans: Docker is a containerization platform that combines applications and all their dependencies together in the form of containers to ensure that applications work seamlessly in any environment.

How Does Continuous Testing Accelerate DevOps?

4 Parts