Although continuous testing was considered an afterthought earlier, with advanced development methods, it has become imperative for enterprises to deliver applications quickly and reduce business impacts. As per the report published by Statista, almost 31.3% of global enterprises had deployed continuous integration and deployment to their DevOps to accelerate the release cycle. This proves that enterprises are looking at continuous testing as the way forward to accelerate software delivery cycles, deliver high-quality digital experiences across all platforms, and fulfill all customer requirements. With the introduction of continuous integration and deployment, organizations will get the flexibility to integrate automated testing into the development stages, identify errors earlier in the process, and enhance the quality of each software release candidate.
This blog highlights the basics of continuous testing, its importance, best practices, and why HeadSpin is crucial for implementing continuous testing.
Please check: How Does Continuous Testing Accelerate DevOps?
What is Continuous Testing?
In traditional testing methods, projects are handed off between various teams to complete their tasks. However, in this process, a lot of time is wasted in the form of feedback and handing over. The main principle in developing an effective DevOps approach is to bridge the gap between quick software delivery and trustworthy user experiences. Here comes the role of continuous testing in the software development cycles. Continuous testing plays a crucial role in the software delivery pipeline by providing instant feedback on business risks and software malfunctions. Nowadays, as businesses require quick development and delivery of software to customers, continuous testing tools are used for improving code quality, avoiding costly bottlenecks, and expediting software development processes. So, enterprises consider continuous testing as a more automated and secure way to ensure that their applications remain secure and effective in a complex, fast-paced development environment.
Also check: What is Continuous Monitoring in DevOps?
Major Three Components of Continuous Testing
1. Continuous Integration (CI)
Continuous integration is the process used in continuous testing to gather codes from the development team and place them into a code repository. Combining various developers’ codes into one project may create a lot of bugs. However, in continuous testing, test executions are automated whenever the code is integrated, allowing testers to identify errors and fix them quickly. Detecting errors before the product is released can save time, money, and effort for companies.
2. Continuous Delivery (CD)
Continuous delivery is an important stage in continuous testing. This process helps enterprises work on small, frequent changes or updates to their products. In the continuous delivery model, development teams will be ready with code versions during every stage of development to deploy to production.
3. Test Automation
Test automation is a major component of continuous testing. The main benefit of test automation in continuous testing is the quick feedback all the teams receive. Moreover, continuous testing tools enable development teams to receive early and constant feedback so that updates can be made far before releasing the products or features to the market.
Importance of Continuous Testing in DevOps
In the continuous testing model, QA teams use automated end-to-end testing methods that incorporate existing development processes while fixing errors and enabling continuity throughout the software development process. Let’s check the main advantages of incorporating continuous testing in DevOps.
- Reducing and amplifying the feedback cycle: With automated test cases integrated into the build pipeline, teams can gather feedback instantly for each step.
- Quality first: With continuous testing, applications are tested continuously from the start until the end. This helps development and testing teams prioritize quality in all stages.
- Maximum test coverage: Continuous testing can help QA teams to improve and increase the test coverage, as CI/CD pipeline automation testing is incorporated right from the initial stages of development.
Continuous testing also gives confidence to enterprises that code updates will have maximum impact with minimal risk to their business even before the release of their product or feature in the market.
Continuous Testing Tools
Continuous testing is a part of the DevOps software development process, which involves testing software at every stage of its development lifecycle. This practice allows for the early detection of bugs, performance issues, and other problems, which can be more costly and time-consuming to fix if discovered later.
There are many tools available that support continuous testing; some focus on specific testing types like unit tests, integration tests, and performance tests, while others are more comprehensive. Here is a list of commonly used continuous testing tools, along with a brief description of each:
It's an open-source tool that is primarily used for automating web browsers. It supports multiple languages and has a vast community.
An open-source automation server that automates parts of software development related to testing, deploying, building, and facilitating continuous integration and delivery.
A software designed to load test functional behavior and measure performance. It's mostly used for performance testing but also supports other test functions.
These are frameworks designed for writing and running tests in programming languages like Java (JUnit and TestNG) and .NET (NUnit).
It's a tool that supports Behavior Driven Development (BDD), which allows the execution of feature documentation written in business language.
When choosing a continuous testing tool, consider factors like the programming languages and frameworks your project uses, the complexity of your test scenarios, the platforms you need to support (web, mobile, desktop), the level of community and commercial support you require, and how well the tool integrates with your existing CI/CD pipeline.
Most modern development teams use a combination of these tools to cover the different aspects of testing required to maintain a high-quality codebase in a continuous delivery environment. It is also essential to keep in mind that the landscape of these tools can change rapidly, and it is beneficial to stay updated with the latest developments in the field.
What are the Benefits of Continuous Testing?
Continuous testing provides several benefits to growing enterprises, including the following:
1. Get Risk-based Feedback
With the support of continuous testing, QA teams can identify bugs in the code and resolve them before the release. Test automation tools help in this process with actionable insights. Automation testing is more effective than manual testing, which consumes a lot of time and misses some important defects. In the continuous testing model, test automation tools generate risk-based insights, which will help testers strengthen the coverage of business risk factors by finding as many issues as possible before the release.
2. Test with More Efficiency
Continuous testing will help development teams to decide whether shift left testing or shift right testing is necessary for the software development cycle. Another factor that improves the efficiency of software development with continuous testing is end-to-end testing. Automated end-to-end testing helps QA teams to eliminate false positives and timeouts. With the continuous testing model, enterprises can ensure that they have a robust architecture with them for the future expansion of their products or features, especially when users demand new features.
3. Improve Collaboration Between Teams
Continuous testing helps organizations to create a more efficient development pipeline by ensuring that every team works together effectively. Collaboration among various teams is very important for increasing the productivity and efficiency of the software development process. With the integration of quality assurance into all stages of the development cycle, all teams involved in the development of software products are aware of every step in the pipeline and are better able to deliver high-quality code from the early stages. Also, in the continuous testing model, development teams can ensure that high-quality code is being developed from the moment development teams start to code.
4. Make Smarter Release Decisions
The use of continuous testing in agile environments and DevOps has reduced the time required for the design, development, and delivery of software product updates. With the reduction in the time required for software releases, business risk is also increasing. A comprehensive analysis of business risks is necessary before release candidates are deployed. Again, continuous testing can be the savior for software developers by helping them to decide when and how to release changes that need to be done.
5. Deliver Better User Experiences
The main focus of using continuous testing is to make sure that errors caused due to faulty codes do not reach users and disrupt their experience. It is crucial for enterprises to ensure that there is a balance between providing new features users need and not disrupting the experience they already love. Poor user experiences can lead to a reduction in sales, poor CSAT, and a negative brand reputation. So, it is essential for companies to execute testing that ensures that every element of the user experience is accounted for and preserved.
Best Practices for Successful Continuous Testing
1. Commit to Deliver Best Quality
A continuous testing framework can become a huge success when everyone across all teams commits to delivering the best quality. All teams, including development and testing, must work in collaboration to ensure that the code is optimized for test automation. Even non-technical teams, such as stakeholders, product owners, and users, must adjust their work habits and mindsets to promote continuous testing.
2. Test at Every Stage of the Development Cycle
Testing at the early stages of the software development cycle enables companies to identify bugs earlier in the development cycle, and it is less expensive compared to fixing that same bug in production. Always try to use testing as the primary step of every process so that the code continues to operate as designed even when new updates are made.
3. Monitor the Entire Development Cycle with Analytics
Data analytics are important for understanding how tests perform and quickly identifying bottlenecks and quality issues. It also offers real-time visibility into coverage, test run times, errors, and efficiency, so development teams can detect trends and make updates to codes to enhance quality and accelerate releases.
4. Use a Testing Platform that Provides a Comprehensive Coverage
Leverage the capabilities of a testing platform to deliver better customer experiences. Leverage the capabilities of a testing platform to deliver better customer experiences. To perfect digital experiences for all customers, use a testing platform that helps development and QA teams gain the coverage and flexibility they need for perfecting digital experiences.
How Can HeadSpin as a Testing Platform Complement Continuous Testing?
The important components for executing continuous testing for enterprises are continuous automation, continuous integration, and continuous delivery. The HeadSpin Platform's capabilities align with the key components of continuous testing. HeadSpin focuses on the following testing processes to provide a smooth continuous testing environment. Moreover, the HeadSpin Platform, the best tool for continuous testing, offers comprehensive testing capabilities across applications, devices, and networks for mobile, web, IoT, and 5G technologies for the development and testing teams of enterprises. HeadSpin's capabilities include continuous performance testing, functional testing, and load testing.
How HeadSpin’s Continuous Testing Helped Global Companies?
Case Study 1
A popular unified communication and collaboration platform was planning to transition from a traditional engineering model to a continuous release model. The slow feature release schedules of the global enterprise were putting it behind the competition in the market. HeadSpin stepped in and supported the company by integrating its CI/CD pipeline with our Platform and delivered actionable insights into their new features on a weekly basis. With the intelligence generated from HeadSpin, the company was able to execute 24-hour testing cycles every single week, with a 75% reduction in time-to-market for new feature releases.
Case Study 2
A Japanese gaming company based out of Tokyo was looking for a solution to deliver flawless gaming experiences for its customers and to evaluate its mobile application at multiple locations around the world. HeadSpin helped the company to increase its engineering velocity with 2-3 releases per week with a continuous delivery model. HeadSpin’s continuous testing model supported the company in reducing the time-to-market and overall UX degradation issues.
Case Study 3
A digital distribution service company was in search of a testing solution to reduce rework and post-release investigations in its software development cycle. HeadSpin and the company jointly set up a team for the integration of the company’s CI/CD workflow with the HeadSpin Platform. The CI/CD integration with our Platform supported the company in monitoring each build automatically and executing end-to-end QA automation for critical user journeys. This helped the company to deliver a flawless user experience through its application.
Check out our case studies here.
Continuous testing has become imperative for enterprises to gain a competitive edge over their competitors. Also, continuous testing is the need of the hour, and adopting the right test automation tools and integration will help enterprises create an effective and efficient delivery pipeline.
HeadSpin’s core product helps companies in various industries to implement continuous testing. With the HeadSpin Platform, organizations can meet a multitude of testing needs, ranging from functional testing to performance and regression testing. HeadSpin’s continuous testing model will help companies to reduce costs and time-to-market and focus on delivering better customer value.
Q1. What is the process for release planning in continuous testing?
Ans: Release planning is done once every quarter. However, the first week or two of the quarter is for planning the quarter, and then developers have about 8 to 9 weeks to work on the features. After that, for the initial backlog, rough estimations are created and then calculated in points.
Q2. What is static testing?
Ans: Static Testing is a type of software testing in which an app is evaluated without a code execution process. The main focus of static testing is to enhance the quality of applications by identifying errors during the initial stages of the software development process.
Q3. What are test artifacts?
Ans: Test artifacts are an integral part of software testing that refers to a set of documents that the software project tester maintains during the software testing life cycle. Test artifacts are by-products that are generated while performing software testing.
Q4. What is Agile testing?
Ans: Agile testing is a testing method that is executed parallel to software development from the initial stage of development through each iteration until other testing processes. This testing covers test documentation, test data preparation, testing, retesting, and defect tracking.