Continuous testing is the process of checking if the software meets the business needs and that there is no risk involved in the release of the software. Continuous testing provides a safety net to the entire software development and deployment by ensuring that there are no untoward incidents.
Unlike the old times, today continuous testing is embedded in the development process of the software development lifecycle. It is an integrated software delivery pipeline which more and more enterprises today are implementing in order to get the best out of their software. The only requirement of the continuous testing is that the entire environment has to be stable and there should be valid test data for every test iteration.
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It is about facilitating the pipeline so that the right set of tests is executed at the right time in the delivery pipeline so that there are no roadblocks. The entire framework of CT is based on getting the actionable feedback for the various stages. The entire layer of the modern software architecture is being evaluated with the Continuous Testing at the right stages of the delivery pipeline.
Comparing Continuous Testing with Traditional Testing :
|Criteria||Continuous Testing||Traditional Testing|
|Number of testing done||Multiple times||Only once|
|Test case get changed||Yes||No|
|Test documentation||Comprehensive||Mostly checklists|
|Test Automation||Majority of test automated||Majority of test done manually|
Understanding Continuous Testing
Continuous Testing includes implementing end-to-end tests that can evaluate the end-user experience all throughout the front-end and back-end processes. One of the primary goals of CT is to ensure that the tests are broad enough to spot that whenever there is an application change that it does not adversely impact the functionality of the software. It is about reducing the number of false positives by giving importance to the most flexible and strong test frameworks rather than broken scripts. It is about code review and optimization in the test suite so that there are no redundancies.
The methodology of DevOps and agile ensures that the entire technologies, processes and people will have to undergo transformation while the testing component remains the same. Continuous Testing takes care to change the testing module as well. There are organizations that have adopted the DevOps methodology to a great extent but automated testing is still abysmally low even in today’s world of software is eating the world. Continuous Testing attempts to change all that for good.
Drawbacks of the legacy testing process
- Most of the tests are done at the later stages due to the inability to have the user interface and the other components earlier
- Most of the tests previously were time-consuming and hence regression tests could not be deployed after each build
- There is no feedback regarding the impact of the changes to the existing user experience
- There was considerable rework to be in sync with the accelerated release processes
- Most of the test environment suffered from instability due to issues in test data, lack of dependencies, false positives and more.
How Continuous Testing makes working so easy?
Using the right set of integration between the automation, collaboration and toolset it is possible to have end to end testing that can be performed more in line with the agile and DevOps methodology. The process of continuous testing can be divided into various modules like development, continuous integration, Quality Analysis and performance of the application. These four domains need to be tested in their own unique ways so that the complete end-to-end testing is achieved. The process of testing starts with the development of the code which is done by using the tools like Selenium and such other varieties for testing the functionality of the code.
Assessing the risk is one of the cornerstones of the testing domain. It could be assessing the quality and test coverage. It makes sure the test is ready to move to the next stage of the software development lifecycle. Analyzing the policy also makes sure that the processes are in alignment with the evolving business and compliance needs of the organization. Tracing the requirement is also important since the various requirements can be traced and it can be assessed.
Advanced analysis is about using the automation tools for static code analysis, change impact analysis, prioritization and scope assessment so that the defects can be prevented in the first place. Optimizing
the test includes the process of test data management, test maintenance and test optimization management. Virtualizing the testing process means having access to real world testing process that can be done through early, frequent and ubiquitous testing. The effective continuous testing framework ensures that the elements of the testing strategy comprise the development, operations and quality analysis process for a holistic approach.
What are the advantages of Continuous Testing?
- Aligning testing with business risk to optimize the test execution
- Reducing the amount of manual testing and giving impetus to automated testing
- Automating quality check and providing insight for the software release
- Moving the focus of testing to the API layer if possible
- Deploying service virtualization and test data management
- Integrating functional testing into the CI/CD to make it part of delivery pipeline
Working with Continuous Testing
The test automation levels are still abysmal in a world that is being increasingly driven by software. Due to this there is an urgent need to have automated testing that is confirming with the needs of the industry. But at the same time the test automation cases are becoming increasingly complex thanks to the increasing complexity of the software along with the distributed and open source nature of the software. Today it is all about the cloud, having the Application Program Interface along with the age of microservices.
Due to the agile and DevOps practices it is today possible to have the software that can be released once in two days to up to hundreds of times during the span of a day. All this puts tremendous pressure on the test design and the maintenance as the time for testing also drastically decreases. The importance of software just cannot be underestimated. It runs most of the industry verticals without an iota of doubt. Failure on the part of the software means failure on the part of the business itself. So the burden of application related failures can also bother non-technical business personnel as well.
It is no longer about having the speed or quality when it comes to software but both of these aspects need to be there in equal measure. That is how critical software is in today’s world. Due to the increasing use of continuous integration, continuous delivery and deployment, the testing process also has to be in sync with the changing times.
Since continuous integration is a task that is primarily driven by the tool and the process of continuous delivery is both driven by the tool and the team as well. But the process of continuous testing increasingly involves teams, tools, individuals and services. Getting the various code integrations to be built and automated is important but if there is no way to find out whether code integrations are successful or not, then it is an issue.
Testing is one of the most important pieces of the downstream software delivery process that needs to be given the right importance. It is all about mitigating the business risk involved with the testing process that makes continuous testing that much more prominent. If the software testing is not able to ensure that the business risk cannot be mitigated then it becomes an issue because the entire process of continuous integration and continuous delivery becomes a tough task to take to its logical conclusion.
If the automated delivery process cannot identify how changes impact business risk or disrupt the end-user experience, then the increased frequency and speed of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery could become more of a liability than an asset. The pace of modern application delivery is very fast and the continuous testing has to keep in sync with that and also with heightened complexity and accelerated rates of change that are demanded in the software.
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