Continuous testing is the process of carrying out automated tests during the development phase to accelerate the delivery of high-quality software and to obtain valuable feedback regarding the risk associated with releasing the updated software.
Continuous testing can be implemented at every stage of development and production which can help save time and other valuable resources. The execution of tests early on in the development stage enables you to ship your codes faster, discover bugs quickly, and thus release your software into the market as promptly as possible.
This form of testing includes unit tests, integration testing, API testing and system testing in addition to testing for non-functional aspects of the software such as security, compliance, and performance of the application as per the requirements. These tests are specifically designed to detect any deficiencies at the very start of the development process to mitigate risks for organizations that are releasing software regularly.
Implementing continuous testing throughout SDLC can provide you with marked benefits as compared to conventional testing methods that are executed after the development phase is over;
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1) Risk coverage
The release of new software or latest upgrades of existing software is often accompanied by tremendous risks regarding software performance and user experience.
The primary aim of continuous testing is to assess and alleviate or, whenever possible, eliminate this risk. It can help determine if the software is too risky to proceed through the delivery pipeline, halting its release into production until all the bugs have been removed.
Moreover, the software development teams are expected to deliver exceedingly innovative software and high-quality updates in shorter periods of time. Continuous testing allows for an accelerated development process without compromising the end user experience and avoiding software failures.
2) Prompt results
Traditional testing methods are too slow as they rely heavily on manual testing and lengthy iterations that take weeks on end to complete. They also require frequent updates, and hence cannot meet the increasing demands of client companies to produce quality software within the short delivery cycle. This led to an innovative testing practice.
The objective of continuous testing is to provide quick and ongoing feedback at every stage of the SDLC. To achieve this goal, continuous testing involves the execution of test suites that are designed explicitly for every phase of the delivery pipeline.
The ongoing testing inhibits bottleneck that is most common during the quality assurance/testing phase and significantly delays software’s release.
A study conducted by Computing Magazine revealed that 63% of DevOps practitioners confirmed that the biggest holdups occurred during the QA/testing stage. The study also cited that quality is also significantly impacted by the isolation of testing and QA from the other parts of the process.
3) Actionable feedback
In the waterfall model, each phase was completed before a new phase was commenced. Once the developers finished the coding, the software was handed over to the testers who ran the software to discover bugs and errors.
During this period, the developers often had to wait for feedback which resulted in idle, non-productive time. Moreover, if the software was returned for amendments, the developers had to divert their attention from their current project and initiate the coding process for the defected software.
Continuous testing allows for a hassle-free experience as it provides actionable feedback at every stage of the delivery lifecycle. This enables the developers to resolve issues instantaneously and reduces the chances of releasing bugged software.
4) Reduced time and effort
As mentioned above, previously the SDLC was a linear model where the conventional testing methods were carried out at the end of the cycle which resulted in non-productive downtime and increased efforts.
With continuous testing, tests are initiated early on in the development stage and are executed continuously. This method detects risks as soon as they are found and results in a timely intervention before errors seep on to the next stage. Consequently, time and efforts are reduced considerably and quality software, with the minimal risk factor, can be released with speed and frequency.
5) Continuous revision
In continuously testing, the test suite can be re-examined and optimized consistently by the testing team to obtain maximum risk coverage and ensure an adequate test suite.
The testers are executing ongoing, extensive tests throughout all the stages of the SDLC, which allows them to accumulate valuable metrics that define the quality of the process and the general state of the software.
These metrics can be utilized to enhance the process and effectiveness of the tests and can also help eliminate redundancies in the software. A feedback loop can be established that consists of frequent assessments, feedback relay and continuous optimization, to improve the overall process.
6) Seamless integration
In continuous testing, test scripts are written before coding begins therefore once the code is integrated, tests run automatically and consecutively. This allows for seamless integration of testing into the software delivery pipeline.
Continuous testing holds leverage over automated testing as once the code is entered into the source code depository; the testing procedure begins with rapid feedback mechanism and without any gaps in the process that may require human intervention.
Continuous testing is an innovative procedure that is embedded in the development process which allows it to generate actionable feedback at every stage of the delivery process. It helps reduce risk, optimizes user experience, and allows for frequent release without downgrading the quality of the software.
ABOUT Alycia Gordan
Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia