Before the DevOps era, most companies deployed/released software monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or even annually. In the DevOps era, weekly and daily deployments are the norm.
In order to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world where user expectations are constantly increasing, digital platforms must be constantly evolving.
However, you can only move as fast as your development and quality assurance process allows.
The ability to quickly make robust changes to your offerings is critical, and continuous integration testing makes this possible while removing the margin for error.
In this article, we will present continuous testing and its interest in accelerating the time to market of new versions.
What is continuous testing?
Continuous testing is a type of software testing in which the product is evaluated early, often and throughout the continuous delivery (CD) process.
Continuous testing uses automated tests to ensure that teams receive immediate feedback to mitigate potential risks as quickly as possible throughout the software development life cycle.
In addition, team members are able to be continuously alerted on the status of the product and what can be done to improve its quality and reliability.
The benefits of continuous testing
Traditionally, software testing is done only after the code is written and sent to the QA department for independent testing. Once bugs are found, the code is then sent back to the developers to be fixed.
This test model is relatively functional. However, it is risky and time consuming.
That's where continuous testing comes in.
With continuous testing, code is automatically tested as soon as it is integrated, resulting in faster delivery of high quality software releases.
In addition, continuous testing saves developers time and effort because they no longer have to wait for QA teams to complete testing before fixing their code.
Instead, testing occurs continuously, allowing for real-time proactive fixes to code quality and security issues. Multiple activities can take place simultaneously.
Continuous testing tracks vulnerability, security, or logical flaw testing of applications, microservices, and APIs by working with existing CI tools to detect issues early, reducing costly time and effort later.
A more important advantage of CT (continuous testing) is that it reduces risk. The software is checked several times and in many other ways throughout its life cycle, instead of just once.
This allows for more visibility and offers more opportunities to discover areas of weakness.
When you adapt a part of the system, you can test it quite easily. But then, how do you make sure you haven't broken something else?
This is where regression testing comes into its own by retesting the unchanged parts of the application.
Besides the fact that it is cheaper to do continuous QA, it is also much faster.
Continuous testing creates a "safety net" that increases developers' confidence to make changes and send out updates. There is much less risk of deploying buggy code to production, because if something breaks, they can rely on QA to identify it.
Key components of continuous testing
Automation gives your engineers more time to fix bugs found during testing.
In fact, continuous testing cannot be done without test automation.
The idea is to require human intervention only when absolutely necessary and when something needs to be fixed.
With this type of testing model, your QA team receives continuous feedback so that necessary changes can be made well before releasing new features to users.
Continuous integration (CI)
Continuous integration is an essential aspect of continuous testing. This practice collects the code of developers working on a project and places it in a code repository.
Of course, integrating the code of different developers in the same project can generate many bugs.
Whenever the code is integrated, you will be able to find bugs as soon as possible and fix them faster, saving time, money and avoiding the nightmare that results from releasing a defective product.
Continuous delivery (CD)
Continuous delivery is actually an extension of CI, in which the software delivery process is further automated to enable easy and safe deployments into production at any time.
Teams are able to continue with day-to-day development tasks with the confidence that they can create a production-quality release ready to deploy at any time without elaborate orchestration or special end-game testing.
Continuous delivery is necessary because it automates all the steps from submitting code to the repository to releasing fully tested and properly functioning versions ready for production.
Continuous deployment ("CD")
Continuous deployment extends continuous delivery so that the software version deploys automatically if it passes all tests. If the change causes a failure, the release is simply rolled back so that the bug can be fixed and released within minutes.
The basic idea behind CD is that releasing small isolated pieces of code is the least risky way to deploy since, simply put, fewer code changes mean less chance of unexpected bugs (and easier debugging if bugs do appear).
How to perform continuous testing
Continuous testing should be implemented at every stage of your CI/CD pipeline.
You can set up test suites for every code change, merge or release. This way, you can run tests at a specific time rather than all at once, saving your team time and effort.
Continuous testing works best using the most recent version in an isolated environment.
Implement continuous testing practices into your workflow
Don't try to cover everything from the start, just make sure the critical paths are covered and focus on a solid foundation of unit tests, functional tests and anything else that is automatable or deterministic to make your tests as fast and efficient as possible.
Build regression tests incrementally
When you fix a bug, add a test for that bug. Adding this to your process is the regression suite over time in the areas you need it most.
Don't rely solely on manual testing for everything you need to do. Use automation to offload the things that don't need to be tested manually and are functionally stable.
True continuous deployment requires a testing strategy that can keep up with rapid development cycles.
Identify gaps in your current testing processes
Audit your existing testing strategy and identify your weak points. Finding the sources of quality breakdowns and release bottlenecks-from QA activities your team spends too much time on to the types of bugs you often see in production-can help you identify where you need to strengthen your QA processes.
Centralization of all reported issues on a single SaaS platform
By centralizing all reported issues in a SaaS issue tracking platform, your team will be able to track and prioritize bugs appropriately.
Using a bug tracking tool also reduces the all-important measure of time to resolution by ensuring that developers have access to the information they need, when they need it.
The key to using bug trackers effectively is context. Make sure your process includes tracking things like screenshots so you can target errors perfectly and fix them as quickly as possible.
Mr Suricate | A SaaS solution for successful continuous testing
Mr Suricate is a SaaS no-code automated testing solution that detects bugs in real time on websites, mobile apps and APIs.
In the context of continuous testing, the solution has several key advantages:
- A system of tags and features to ensure complete test coverage
- An API that will be integrated into your CI/CD
- Continuous/proactive maintenance" service
Our test automation solution has helped many companies innovate and accelerate their digital transformation.