The increasing requirements and expectations from digital-native users encourage businesses to continuously improve their software with new, better features and defect fixes. The requirement for more rapid, responsive development cycles has driven many companies to embrace agile development, build a DevOps culture, and follow continuous integration/continuous development. CI/CD allows daily, even hourly, software updates, so it’s become ubiquitous across companies that require a fast turnaround. But organizations practicing CI/CD can’t reduce security for speed. To assure that the speed of testing aligns with the speed of CI/CD, companies require to perform automated continuous testing.
What is continuous testing?
Continuous testing is the method of testing an application continuously during the development cycle. Continuous testing begins early in the pipeline, far before traditional testing. It happens often, at each stage where code is written, built, or run. But you can’t assume your teams to track whether they’ve tested each file in each configuration of every build. They have better things to perform than to snap buttons all day. So continuous testing, like all other elements of CI/CD, requires automation to be useful.
What does the CI/CD pipeline look like?
- Let’s begin with Continuous Integration (CI). Let’s again suppose that we have multiple developers acting on the same application. Everyone has their own feature or defect fix that they’re operating on while adding to the application.
- As they write their code their driving it into the same code repository (typically GitHub), which follows an overview of the various versions. From there, a build system (typically Jenkins), uses it and creates it. Since there are various developers providing code, the complicated part is to ensure that their contributions don’t add any bugs to the application.
- This is where test automation appears. As we’ve learned, test automation is a crucial piece of the CI/CD puzzle as it assures that everyone is immediately informed in case something breaks within the application. Once the tests pass, the complete build cycle is regarded as successful and complete.
- This construct of having various developers working on the same application at once, without encountering any problems with merging code is what we call Continuous Integration.
- Next is CD. Most people speak about Continuous Delivery, though some also talk about Continuous Deployment. So far, we’ve discussed how the application is coded, developed, and tested within an automated pipeline utilizing code repositories and development and testing systems. Once the tests pass, the following step is to release the latest version of the application. This implies making it available to the end-users in any shape or form. If this is done automatically by a pipeline, this is called Continuous Delivery.
- The following step is to get the packaged application and automatically deploy it in a target environment. This is called Continuous Deployment.
Why do I need continuous testing?
If you follow CI/CD, you need to implement continuous testing for two main reasons:
- It enables you to fix problems early in development and integration, which is quicker, easier, and more economical than fixing them after deployment.
- It decreases the chance that quality and security problems will get it into your production apps.
On the enterprise applications aspect, the software development life cycle (SDLC) has evolved more in the last five years below CI/CD than it did through the past 20 years. In the old days, below the waterfall model, a developer would engage with a business line manager or business analyst and listen to their user account about their business requirements. Then the SDLC would start. Through compartmentalized steps, development moved from business requirements to software architecture design, implementation, verification and testing, and eventually production and maintenance.
Do all CI/CD pipelines involve automated continuous testing?
You might assume that development teams would include any testing that happens automatically. That’s fewer activities to track, fewer buttons to snap, higher time to do the fun stuff, like coding. But automated continuous testing is carried out on only 24% of functional performance test cases. And inside software sprints, the proportion is even a tick below still, at 22% of test cases.
Automated continuous testing hasn’t spread as far as the software development community expected. Some developers don’t seem comfortable without at least some manual testing steps. But as automated continuous testing technology advances, it’ll get the trust of more developers and become an integrated component of more CI/CD pipelines.
Why do I require automated continuous testing?
Automated continuous testing fits use cases where manual testing doesn’t allow a benefit above an automated solution, such as everything below the UI: unit tests, component tests, API tests, and so on. As OWASP and Agent Smith state, “You should never give a human to perform a machine’s job.”
The variety of use cases for automated continuous testing is huge:
- Consistency. It enables you to apply quality and security requirements more consistently. If you write a manual security test and then automate it, it becomes a security condition you can execute on every build.
- Speed. With automated continuous testing powered by scalable devices, developers can detect and fix problems in real-time during the SDLC. Doing so promotes application development and decreases mistakes common to manual testing.
- Scale. To scale manual testing, you require more manual testers. To scale automated testing, you only require more apps and models to test.
Adding automated continuous testing to your CI/CD pipeline needs an application testing tool that’s simple to integrate with the build, test automation, and CI/CD devices you already use and that has wide web API support. For organizations that are looking for an optimal tool that benefits from security testing as part of the automated continuous testing effort, an interactive application security testing (IAST) tool is a great way to implement continuous security testing over their entire application
If you’re on the lookout for a test automation team that will help you work seamlessly with your CI/CD pipeline, you’re going to require one that is both simple to use and manage and works with all your current technologies. TestUnity offers a user-friendly method to test automation that will integrate smoothly into your CI/CD pipeline.
Connect with our experts to learn more about no-code test automation and to understand how it adds to continuous testing and CI/CD.
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