“Continuous testing” in DevOps or agile is an approach to software testing in which applications are tested at every stage of the software development life cycle (SDLC). Its goal is to enhance software quality and development efficiency in the continuous delivery process.
Why does the “continuous testing” idea exist?
“Continuous testing” takes its place among other software best practice ideas associated with DevOps or agile methodology.
The big picture is that smaller and more regular SDLCs enhance every stage of software delivery because they infuse the SDLC with feedback. Continuous testing is the quality component of this. Because bugs in production are so expensive to fix, surging tests early will save on both engineering and paradoxically, testing itself.
Continuous test delivery is difficult. It implies rapid feedback loops on software which can be difficult to achieve with a fixed supply of in-house testers; and a high degree of test automation. We’ll get into that below.
This article will cover:
Tools and services
What are continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) in relation to continuous testing?
Continuous integration (CI) is a software development process where coders move projects into a shared repository—up to several times a day—in order to build software automatically and give fast feedback about it’s quality. Automation and testable code are the cornerstones of CI.
Continuous integration is different from continuous testing. It entails bringing a configuration together in a consistent and repeatable way. This enables developers to automatically build on code commits, execute test suites per build, and apply consistent testing environment handling. CI brings immediate results in terms of feedback and accountability.
If a build fails, the CI system prevents it from progressing to later stages. Teams receive a report and repair the build quickly—often in just minutes. In this way, the software development process becomes more predictable and reliable, and developers can build new features faster as well as fix bugs quickly before they reach users.
Continuous delivery (CD) is a practice whereby code changes are automatically prepared for a release to production. CD is an integral aspect of modern-day app development. It builds upon continuous integration (CI), in deploying code changes to test environments after the build stage.
When implemented correctly, developers will always have a deployment-ready artifact that’s passed through a continuous testing process.
Continuous delivery allows developers to automate their testing beyond unit tests, in a test driven development environment. This will enable them to verify app updates across multiple dimensions before apps are advanced to customers. Tests may include:
API reliability testing
Benefits of continuous testing
The benefits of continuous testing include:
The pace of continuous testing is generally required for DevOps and Agile methodologies, which is generally what software businesses are attempting to achieve with the shift.
An acceleration in speed of software delivery, which can lead to faster business processes, such as GTM speed
Improved code quality: mitigating the potential of defects by catching bugs earlier in the software cycle
Lower costs: with a higher threshold of code quality and fewer bugs in production, continuous testing aims to ultimately pay for itself.
Improved security: continuous testing establishes a support system that keeps applications safe from unexpected changes and attacks—as well as for those encountered after deployment.
Superior communication between teams: the level of communication necessary to achieve continuous testing not only improves bug identification but also ensures that teams are more aligned in broader (e.g. UX, commercial) goals.
Continuous testing holds the QA team to a standard and ensures that the up-front investment needed (in e.g. automating tests) necessary for continuous testing is being delivered upon.
Building a continuous testing framework
In order to identify that you have achieved “continuous testing”, from a management perspective, you need to incorporate testing at the design, development, release, and live stages of the product SDLC.
Tests should be implemented alongside continuous integration and undertaken at least daily. But getting faster still will require a continuous optimization by your team and managers. You can use DORA metrics for your engineering team to encourage them to continue to release faster, for example.
Exactly what tests you conduct depend on your business incentives but we’d identify a blend of functional testing and non-functional testing as part of your continuous testing process.
How to speed up your continuous testing
The implementation of testing at every stage is likely to make your QA team a bottleneck. It is hard to keep up with the volume of work.
1. Automate more tests and address flaky tests
Automated tests are faster than manual tests once set up, so it makes sense to automate.
But there’s challenges around automated testing. Businesses generally overestimate the percentage of their testing suite they will successfully automate; and the top reason that test automation fails is flaky tests, according to research by global app testing and TestRail. And not by some trivial amount – the TestRail annual survey suggested that businesses underestimate by 21% of total tests; or 100% less than the test amount they expect to automate!
2. Select a crowdtesting partner like global app testing
Engaging a crowdtesting partner like Global App Testing enhances release speed and drives continuous testing adoption. Leveraging our community of real-world testers enables rapid feedback cycles, comprehensive test coverage, and accelerated bug detection.
In part, that’s because you can scale the supply of testing to your demand in a given moment; and execute as many tests as you would like simultaneously using our crowd of 90K testers compared to a test execution capability which scales per employee that you hire.
3. Get an owner of the speed problem
Creating an empowered owner of test speed within a business can significantly boost the journey towards continuous testing. This individual would champion agile testing methodologies, streamline test processes, and prioritize automation. By eliminating bottlenecks and accelerating test cycles, the business can deliver faster, more reliable software iterations, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
Continuous testing in production
Continuous Testing in Production (CTIP) is an advanced testing practice that incorporates continuous testing directly into the production environment. This approach enables real-time monitoring and validation of software applications in a real setting with real users.
(It is not a replacement to continuous testing at the previous stages). We’ve seen some neat approaches which enable businesses to use software testing on their live product to identify the best commercial opportunities, particularly from a globalization perspective.
Continuous testing tools and services
Automated test tools
An automated test tool, also known as an automated testing tool, is software designed to automate the execution of test cases and verify the functionality of an application or system. These tools interact with the application under test, simulate user actions, and compare the actual outcomes with expected results. Automated test tools help streamline the testing process, increase test efficiency, and enable quicker feedback, reducing the time and effort required for repetitive and labor-intensive manual testing tasks. They are commonly used in software development and quality assurance to ensure the reliability and stability of software products.
Global App Testing
Global App Testing is a business which uses crowdsourced testing or “crowdtesting” in order to leverage a diverse range of professional software testers to evaluate an application.
There are several advantages of crowdtesting:
Device management is much easier through a distributed pool of testers
Local testing is much easier through real testers around the world
We’re in all time zones, so you can launch a test 24/7
Given that there’s 90K testers you can target demographics for things like usability testers
You can launch as many tests as you like; our supply can fit your demand
If you’re crowd-curious, you can get started talking to a QA expert about your requirements using the form below.