10 Best Practices to Achieve Quality@Speed with Continuous Integration

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On 27th September 2016, Salesforce.com Inc. introduced a new e-commerce service, further to its $2.8 billion acquisition of Demandware Inc. The Salesforce Commerce Cloud is here to enable customers to set-up online storefronts, in-store tablets/kiosks, and further add commerce functions with software support delivered over the internet. According to research by Gartner, Salesforce faces stiff competition from Oracle Corp., SAP SE, and International Business Machines Corp., who are the biggies in this category.

Whether B2B or B2C, every business/enterprise needs pace for faster turnaround time and gain speed to market. Consequently, innovations and testing the effectiveness of these innovative features has to be done in real time. It doesn’t end there! Every consumer/enterprise application launched has to be tested for its performance and functional efficiency across diverse technology platforms, devices, and Operating Systems (OS).

Can Continuous Integration help?

So, how do you test the inevitable and test the most unforeseen BUG? Continuous Testing is a development practice, where developers need to relentlessly integrate the code into a shared repository during a day’s test plan. In order to allow development teams to detect problems way ahead, an automated build is created to verify each test incorporated.

Continuous Integration can help detect errors faster and resolve way ahead in the development process. If the continuous approach is not followed, it will take stretched periods between integrations, which makes fixing up these gaps a longer and an exceedingly stressful task. It will further reduce constant back-pedalling to identify issues and focus more on building various features.

Some obvious benefits that Continuous Integration brings to the table are:

  • A big ‘No’ to longer and stressful integrations
  • Enhanced visibility of the development process for better interaction and resolution
  • Identification of issues faster and resolution in real time
  • Low on Debugging, High on building
  • No wait and watch strategy to evaluate your code’s proper functioning
  • Deliver software on time with market-readiness

Continuous Integration comes with various key principles and best practices. The most important practice is, establishing the ritual of Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment. This eliminates the need to authorize and delegate from the top. It is automated and self-triggered.

So, while we gauge the benefits, let’s consider the best practices that Continuous Integration brings for enterprises that don’t just look at speed, but rather quality@speed.

  1. Continuous Integration enables Continuous Deployment

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment are connected concepts and fundamentally refer to the software/application’s release in the Live environment with automated tests. With Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment you are not just reducing risks, but catching bugs in time and getting your software/application ready for the market.

Ultimately, when the risks get lowered, it helps prompt adaption to business requirements and the consumer demands. It further enables greater collaboration between Operations and delivery, maturing the release process for competitive advantage.

  1. Continuous Integration with the right approach

Continuous Integration is generally implemented with Agile, Test-Driven-Development (TDD) and Test Automation. If implement in this flow, Continuous Integration can prove to be an obvious fit for your development process and can help reduce the challenges for better results.

The idea is to adopt select an appropriate tool that fits the existing technology ecosystem that fits in effectively within your existing development environment. Continuous Integration helps build and integrate the software frequently. Moreover, it is recommended to execute unit tests as part of the overall integration process.

  1. Detect early, Resolve faster

Faster detection of issues/defects helps resolve the problems faster. If the integration and software development process does not incorporate testing, the overall cycle can go reverse that will further incur risks. When the development team strives to add new features to the code and detect bugs, the code’s health can go for a toss. At the same time if you have Continuous Integration server in the process, it helps you keep your software in a better shape.

  1. Segregate software builds from deployment

Continuous Integration helps you to completely separate the build and deployment process, where both are treated as independent activities with no specific dependencies. While the developer may focus on the build process, integration could be taken up a sole activity by the testing team. The Continuous Integration server can trigger a developer’s check in for integration and a tester’s check-in for deployment.

This helps kill the dependencies and enables dedicated attention. It helps to identify problems with the build at an early stage and move progressively towards getting the software in the production environment.

  1. Continuous Integration with Test Automation

Whether your enterprise has adopted Test Automation or is considering it for faster test cycles, Continuous Integration is here to enable you. When the recurring and repeatable tests are automated, it helps teams to deliver better and faster. Continuous Integration powered with Test Automation helps cut manual efforts and helps testing and development teams to look at the SDLC process more creatively.

When it comes to testing, identifying the failed codes is more important than bragging about the successful ones. It is bound to make your software/application stronger.

  1. Continuous Testing with Agile

Continuous Integration with an Agile methodology helps gain speedy delivery by ensuring quality. Project Managers and development teams are advised to implement continuous integration in the overall release management strategy. The overall SDLC process – write, build, integrate, test, debug and deploy can be complex.

The Agile process enables flexibility and helps teams go back and review the build for accuracy. This further helps improve delivery time and releases testers to look beyond the obvious in the process.

  1. Continuous Integration for transparency

At a broader level, Continuous Integration helps provide transparency to the overall Development and Quality Assurance (QA) process. It helps indicate failed tests and the reasons for that failure, which further helps in leading to some logical reasoning and required action for improvements.

  1. Continuous Testing for reduced bugs

Bugs and defects are an inevitable component of the SDLC process. With Continuous Integration the instances of bug accumulation gets reduced substantially. Thanks to the overall automation it provides, bugs are identified early and risks are reduced.

  1. Continuous Integration for Automated Regression Tests

Continuous Testing facilitates automated regression tests, where Test packages hosted in the QA repository can be maintained and implemented by multiple QA team members and executed whenever a new code is deployed to the environment.

When every new defect gets added to the automated test case, it becomes easy to effectively build a substantial regression testing suite. This enables automation of the regression tests and reduces the efforts of the testing teams.

  1. Smoke Tests with Continuous Integration

As mentioned earlier, Test packages written by QA and maintained with the Continuous Integration systems can help automate the build and test process. Further Smoke Tests can be written to monitor the production system and deliverables can be made available for a wider group by testing the software at various stages.

Continuous Integration comprises automated deployment, deployment scripts for testing every build to ensure that no code related issues arise in the production.

Gallop’s Test Automation Accelerator Kit (GTAAK) has been enabling end-to-end automation of applications across the SDLC to bring speed to market and enhance the quality of testing. Connect with our Test Automation leads to build QA best practices and gain quality with speed.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Effectively Combining Shift-left & Shift-right Testing Approaches to Enable Continuous Testing

Effectively Combining Shift-Left & Shift-Right Testing Approaches to Enable Continuous Testing

 

Faster, better, and steadier IT performance is essential for present day business. DevOps way of working helps transform the way we develop, test, and operate. And so it’s required to build quality from the very beginning, that is, starting with requirement gathering stage till deployment and operation.

Following are a few key success factors required to deliver quality software based on these DevOps processes:

  • Make testing a part of the Continuous Integration process (Shift-Left)
  • Getting feedback from the actual users (Shift-Right)
  • Adoption and acceptance of Testing Driven Development principles (TDD)
  • Continuous refactoring of tests
  • A seamless, Continuous Integration process

Why Shift-Left?

Speed and the ability to deliver software faster is key to survive the present day competition. And the most challenging transformation issue in organizations is constantly deploying a new patch or application in production, which propels the need for revolutionizing testing.

To overcome this challenge, it’s essential to adapt “shift-left” approach, where testing starts earlier in the process, that is, teams keep their focus on quality, work towards problem prevention instead of detection, and prepones the testing schedule. All the project stakeholders share an understanding of what a successful implementation means, where acceptance tests define the completion of the project and effectively drive the development.

What is Shift-Right?

Building quality from the very beginning is not enough. Getting continuous feedback from users is equally significant in the testing process. This is the shift-right process. The tester is a pioneer to help in requirements elicitation phase and also should learn and find the way users use the product.

Benefits of adopting shift-left and shift-right processes

A few benefits of adopting the shift-left and shift-right processes are:

  • Bugs are found and fixed early
  • Helps save effort and time
  • High test coverage
  • Fosters team work with developers and testers
  • Hastens delivery of software
  • Being Cost effectiveness

Shifting-right helps address Mean-Time-Between-Failure, Uptime and Response time. A test strategy can be created by incorporating techniques of Shifting Left and Right, thus making the process faster, better, steadier and cost effective for Continuous Delivery.

TDD & BDD

Adoption of Acceptance Testing Driven Development (TDD) principles implies refactoring tests continuously, just like code, and testing the code as a part of the Continuous Integration process. Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) is an opportunity for the Product Owner to align with the business value of the capability. The user story explains the desired outcome, but the BDD scenario describes the acceptance test. TDD & BDD enable teams to build CD – Continuous Delivery pipeline first, so every test written can be run automatically.

Continuous Testing

It is a process where automated tests are executed as part of the software delivery pipeline to gain immediate feedback on the business risks concerning a software release candidate. Continuous Testing in DevOps encourages a systematic approach toward process improvement. Continuous Testing takes a leap beyond mere automation and includes all practices comprising factors like tooling and cultural change to mitigate risks before proceeding towards subsequent Software Development Lifecycle stages.

Conclusion

DevOps practices help organizations save time and money, while increasing quality and time to market. Though it does involve spending time and resources to setup automation initially, but done with the right partner and weighing the cost and benefits, this will be an investment which you won’t regret. Learn more about Gallop’s DevOps expertise.

Additionally, if you want to know more about how to effectively combine shift-left & shift-right testing approaches to enable continuous testing, attend a Webinar on ‘Accelerating Digital Transformation Journey with Digital Assurance QA’ on 20th July 2016, 11AM EST by Sai Chintala, Senior Vice President, Global Pre-Sales. Reserve your slot here.

Ramakrishna AnnavazalaAbout the Author: Ramakrishna Annavazala, Lead Consultant – ATS, Gallop Solutions, is a result-driven professional with over 15+ years of rich experience in Project Management for Information Technology Management, Project Management activities and Technical Support. He has in-depth understanding of software Quality Standards/Models/Methodologies (CMMI, ISO, ITIL, SoX and Agile), Development and Support of Projects and Statistical Process Control (SPC), is involved in Business Process Management (BPM) activities of strategizing functions and processes, defining baseline for the process or the process improvement, analyzing to help improvement and finally controlling to deploy implementation and create dashboards to monitor the improvement.

 

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Putting Quality First Through Continuous Testing

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The one thing that can make or break an organization in today’s competitive age is the Quality of the products it creates. To meet, and then beat the severe competition, every organization must be able to showcase excellence in their offerings and deliver quality, robust applications.

Delivering a Quality product implies delivering a product that provides the best performance according to users’ requirements, and is bug-free.

To meet this requirement, every organization is scouting for newer, yet proven ways of working that can help their teams work in a seamless manner to produce the most reliable product. In their search for well-established processes, a lot of companies are making an effort to adopt DevOps as part of their culture.

DevOps creates a culture that helps in achieving the goals of quality and time to market by employing the following means:

  • Collaborative Development: Or shift-left to increase the understanding and collaboration between cross-functional teams
  • Continuous Integration (CI) & Continuous Testing (CT): While Agile suggests continuous integration and testing, it does not call it a mandatory function. In a DevOps environment, however, both Continuous Integration & Continuous Testing are mandatory to be performed. This has a huge impact on the quality of a product.
  • Continuous Release and Deployment: With a shippable product ready after every integration, there is a marked increase in the frequency of product release and deployment
  • Continuous Monitoring: Continuously monitoring the performance of a product helps improve the quality multifold.

So once you begin your shift-left journey, and things become more streamlined across functions, CT of your product is what needs to be planned for, and implemented.

CT, per Wiki, is “the process of executing automated tests as part of the software delivery pipeline to obtain immediate feedback on the business risks associated with a software release candidate.”

There should be a mechanism to check for feedback at the end of each phase to check whether the product is all ready for the next phase – or it requires some corrective actions before moving ahead.

CT aims at delivering go-to-market ready, high-quality, robust working code at a frequency and ensures quality at every phase of the app’s development. It comprises Unit tests, API testing, Integration testing, and System testing at each phase of SDLC, thus incorporating consistent quality checks at every step of the SDLC process starting with design, building the app and through all phases of production. An effective testing and quality process enables faster time to market, constant releases and minimizes risks in the post production phase. For instance, in the Automobile segment, Continuous Testing at every phase of the production process is inevitable.

Following is a list of the fundamental objectives of Continuous testing:

  1. Get a holistic view of the application / product
  2. Ensure efficacy, quality, and robustness
  3. Flawless delivery
  4. Faster time to market

So how exactly does Continuous Testing help promote Quality?

Continuous Testing facilitates and empowers you with an automated, seamless way to obtain prompt feedback on the business risks associated with the application / product. This helps maintain quality, but ensures effective entry in the market place.

Following are a few activities performed as part of the CT process that help create – and promote – Quality of a product:

  • Use a Version control system for the automation test scripts: Proper, centralized management of test scripts makes it easier for everyone involved to use the critical asset. This helps provide anytime access to all the latest test scripts that need to be executed. Removal of ambiguity with regards to the latest code builds and accessibility has a direct impact on the speed of test execution and the generation of the quality results as expected.
  • Integrate the build deployment tool with an automation suite: Integrating the build deployment tool and the automation suite helps centralize the execution of tests and the reporting of the results. This helps increase the speed of test executions, thus reducing the go-to-market time. Again, centralization of the activities will help testing everything – thus creating a more robust and reliable product.
  • A few typical tests run at each checkpoint are the health checks (- if the services are up as required), smoke tests (- if the key features are operating as planned and there are no critical defects), and regression tests (- controls the feedback time by executing automated tests in parallel via multiple threads or machines).

In case of any failure, all deployment must be stopped and the entire DevOps team – developers, testers and operations staff – starts taking the required corrective action. These continuous, frequent feedback loops help create a stable, quality product.

For example, with the consistent innovation and demands in the segment of Mobility services, continuous Quality checks related to performance, usability and security are a must to create high quality mobile apps across various development platforms.

While testing is often ignored when it comes to DevOps – it may actually prove to be a major blow to your dream of achieving true success. Gallop Solutions helps you realize the gains that DevOps can bring with a proper automated testing framework in place. Integrating automated testing with your DevOps is the best thing to do if you want to save on time and money, while increasing quality and time to market. To take your testing & QA needs to the next level and know more about performing Continuous testing, contact us at info@gallop.net.

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The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Accelerating Time to Market through Next-Gen Test Automation

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Accelerating time to market has become the standard requirement for the organizations across all verticals and domains. With Agile and DevOps taking the center stage for the software development process, it is becoming very important to assure higher quality to the applications. Next-gen test automation can provide the necessary catalyst for the organizations looking to achieve their goals in the era of CI, CD and CT.

Quality is the most important factor when it comes to gauging the success of the software application as it is directly related to the customer experience. Continuous delivery and agile execution strategy for your software application need to have software testing as the central element to ensure that your goal is met.

So how do you achieve this?

Agile and DevOps has made it easy to a certain extent by bringing developers, testers, operations team, product owners and the business on the same discussion table. As the features get decided by the product managers, the quality and risk of those features are also being discussed and developers and testers can decide on the right unit testing and test automation framework needed to have that perfect deliverable. You surely do not want to Ship the broken code quicker to market right. That’s when the Next-gen automation framework helps you achieve your goal.

It becomes really difficult for the organizations to go the manual testing way if they want to adhere to their goal of Quick time to market. Creating, executing and maintaining manual tests can be a real pain especially at scale. Also with consistent pressure for the business to deliver the features quick, it can be a really stressful situation for the manual testers and the end result cannot guarantee the result which is expected. This puts test automation as the central element of your Continuous delivery approach towards quicker time to market.

With plethora of testing tools available in the market, it is important that your test automation framework adapts to the needs of the software application requirement. It needs to be dynamic and flexible at the same time to deliver the ultimate goal. The right test automation framework binds all the elements together and makes sure that the various CI, CD and testing tools are integrated to handle the large volume of data, test results as the application grows. It should also give quick insights into what is going wrong, why it went wrong and how to fix it without spending significant amount of time.

The right test automation framework encompasses various factors like scope of test automation, scalability of the approach, extent of reusability, and more importantly the metrics to measure the success of your test automation. At the same time, it needs to be comprehensive enough to encompass the code analysis, unit, functional, performance, regression and stability tests, usability analyses for the all the features of the software application or app.

At Gallop, we strive hard to achieve this by having a 35000 feet view for the CIOs of the company as well as various other stakeholders. Below is the typical screenshot of the typical metrics we measure for Test Automation with our In-house CIO Dashboard tool.

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Going forward, Agile & DevOps are going to be de facto standard for the software development process. With this, the next-gen test automation framework and IP led accelerators will drive the testing transformations across industries. At Gallop, we have a continuous test delivery platform and right test accelerators to ensure you meet your goal. Contact us if you are looking to Accelerate Time to Market for your next-gen application or mobile app.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

How can I Reduce Feedback Latency using Continuous Integration Testing?

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Before we get into the main topic, let us first understand the basics.

What is Latency?

Latency, in common terms, is the delay/time lapse between input and output (stimulation and response), or, cause and effect. Considering the fact that any delays in the area of communication adds on to the cost of developing a product – both in terms of time and efforts, it is very important to keep it under control.

What is Continuous Integration?

Continuous Integration (CI) is a paradigm shift in the world of software development that lays huge emphasis on communicating the changes that have been made by the developers. CI requires developers to integrate code into a shared repository several times a day while an automated build verifies each check-in for any problem.

Benefits of CI

Agile teams deliver quality software fast, without death marches or heroics. CI makes this possible.

A properly implemented CI environment usually provides the following benefits to an organization:

  • Helps in the rapid integration of complex systems that helps improve the process efficiency across the board, accelerates growth, promotes user-driven innovation, and saves significant IT efforts.
  • Helps reduce instances of ‘Big Bang Integration’ wherein all units are linked at once, resulting in a complete system. Testing an instance of Big Bang Integration is very complicated because the errors found cannot be isolated as the interfaces across individual units are not verified properly. As the defects are identified at very late stage, the probability of missing out on some critical defects is very high.
  • Helps maintain a state of Constant Readiness that leads to a better CM Control.
  • Helps promote and manage early automation, and makes it more efficient and repeatable.
  • Helps provide a robust, stable environment that supports continuous execution of tests.
  • Helps reduce the number of Deadlocked Test queues, reduces the amount of work categorized as ‘work-in-progress’, and also reduces wastage of resources.

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How Does CI Help Reduce Feedback Latency?

In most organizations, multiple developers use a Version Control System to “commit” or “promote” their changes frequently.

If you are a developer, you must have at least once faced the situation wherein you downloaded the latest source code only to realize that cannot compile or had a major issue. Frustrating, is it not?

In a CI environment, a Build Integration Server watches the Version Control Server, and using build scripts, continuously ‘runs’ these committed files. Once these committed files are executed, the Build Integration Server provides a quick feedback in the form of a Build Status report. This report explains whether or not the new lines of code written work properly. In short, a project is built as soon as a change is committed. This not only takes care of the irritating scenario discussed above, but also reduces the latency that will otherwise creep up.

This dynamic environment thus not only saves efforts worth hours of work, but also lets the entire development team quickly get an overall view of the final code. Developers, apart from keeping track of the impact of their code change, can also have a clear view of the changes being incorporated by their peers.

CI, apart from making sure that the code compilation is successful, also checks whether or not the code is performing the tasks as required. Add the functionality of Test Automation. CI, when used with a properly implemented test automation environment ensures and validates the quality of the build generated.

CI servers help reduce any delays by building the code frequently and providing prompt feedback to the developers about the code changes submitted. These continuous integration servers help populate the changes to the build server, initiate the build process, and generate a report explaining the outcome of the tests performed.

CI servers, with all their benefits, are rapidly making waves and are being adopted as a key technology process as part of the Shift Left movement. Organizations can use CI to reduce rework, improve quality, and thereby improve their ROI.

Organizations today, more than ever before, realize the criticality of communicating the results of the builds to the entire development team. CI systems can use flexible means as e-mails or intranet to display build results. A display of the build report helps developers promptly respond to the build results and reduce the latency issues that are usually faced with nightly or weekly integration builds.

 

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The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Challenges of Implementing Continuous Integration (CI) at Scale

Challenges of Implementing Continuous Integration (CI) at Scale

Precise adoption of automation techniques helps reduce manual processes, enforce consistency, pave way for early identification of issues within the SDLC and further helps to achieve continuous application delivery. In order to establish a Continuous Delivery environment, the most important requirement is the implementation of an automated Continuous Integration (CI) System. The CI process involves all stages – right from code commits to a version control system (done on the CI server) that serves as a kick off for a build to compile, run tests, and finally package the code.

CI is an integral part of an agile software development setup. For every sprint, the developer needs to deliver incremental features while focusing on the addition of new features and handling code errors that creep in and render the software unusable. To stop such errors from being integrated into the software configuration management (SCM), a CI server acts as a gatekeeper that helps keep a tab on code quality. A CI server performs an automated build that includes testing, reporting, and other actions each time the code base changes. The above activities are performed using different CI servers like Jenkins, Mojo, Hudson, QuickBuild, CruiseControl, Buildbot, etc. Some tools like Puppet and Chef can also help with scripting the provisioning of new environments and in creating additional CI server instances.

Some significant challenges while implementing an effective CI:

Absence of a Central Build Server: There is a necessity for some kind of source code management and some of the commonly used open source tools are Subversion, Git, etc. If you are not currently using version control in your development environment, then you should pay particular attention to repository layout and the subversion workflow along with proper tagging and branching.

Lack of Maintenance of Proper Version Control: At many times lack of maintenance of Version Control leads to variations and issues with software development. Primarily, a CI server checks for code changes in version control, and then downloads that code to the CI server to start off a build. The most common model of the CI server setup is the version control system that notes code changes on a
pre-configured interval. It is very important to maintain version in the development environment.

Lack of Proper Maintenance of Test Servers: If you are performing integration tests, you may also have a set of test servers in which you deploy built artifacts like WARs, JARs, and SARs, and execute your integration tests. Thus test servers play an important role in implementing CI.

Broken Builds: The goal is that the application must be ready to be built, packaged, and deployed on every committed change. It means that broken or untested code should never be committed. Moreover, a code that is production ready, should be managed by strict version control policies and the development team must practice agile development and unit testing, further leading to a better and CI environment.

Strict Organizational Policies: Certain organizations still follow rigid rules with certain internal policies wherein manual approvals and documentation is required before software is deployed into production. This might act in the way of successful CI implementation.

Other factors like the type of CI server plugins installed, the storage of credentials such that CI server can access the source version control can also impact the CI integrations. In order to attain CI, a perfect version control methodology needs to be followed along with taking up a build automation and dependency management strategy. Last but not the least in order to achieve the goal of continuous delivery, it is very important to draw a continuous integration methodology.

Top Continuous Integration Tools to Build Scalable CI

Jenkins: It is developed in Java and can be installed using the simple java command:
–jar Jenkins.war. It is mainly used for building and testing software projects continuously and monitoring externally run jobs. Jenkins supports a set of SCM tools like Git, Mercurial, Subversion, etc. You can also build through Apache Ant and Apache Maven based projects.

Buildbot: It is built based on twisted framework and a Python configuration script that needs to be provided to the master for Buildbot configuration. It is highly useful for mixed language applications or complex release tasks and allows installation to grow with your requirements.

Travis CI: This is one of the simplest CI server to get started, and is available as open source and free to host on your server. It is easy to link your Github account after providing relevant permissions.

Go: It helps distribute builds across different systems and monitor them all at one place. It is easy to perform regular tasks as they are added as pipelines.

Strider: It is written in Java and JavaScript and uses MongoDB as backing store. Strider is extremely customizable through plugins.

In conclusion, a CI approach is designed to effectively create an automation environment, ensuring that every change to the application results in a reliable version, and that any version can be built automatically with proper version control.

Get in touch with Gallop’s Agile Test Specialists today.

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The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

The Role of Testing in Continuous Delivery

The Role of Testing in Continuous Delivery

Today’s business landscape can be summarized in two words: rapid change. Sales teams need deployment of product on the same day. You don’t deploy – you lose market share. Slow development processes become outdated quickly as the market becomes more and more Agile-centric, more demanding. The need (and the solution for the problem) is to have automated solutions rather than the slow, unreliable manual processes. Continuous deployment that leads to continuous delivery requires automation of testing processes. There in lies the crucial need for continuous testing.

The age of Agile

Today’s continuous delivery requirements make functioning in an Agile development a necessity. In a continuous delivery mode, test and development teams collaborate efficiently and cut down manual methods while streamlining the process with automation, thereby ensuring frequent, timely releases. But to gain the most from your continuous delivery mode, you need to make a serious investment in continuous testing.

Why should we invest in Continuous Testing?

Without investing in continuous testing, a continuous delivery model will just remain an unfulfilled requirement. Continuous testing is basically the practice of test-first – your code snippet, the whole deployment package, a particular scenario – whatever that you need to provide. Continuous testing helps you save in terms of production costs as it’s a known fact that a bug caught during the production phase might prove to be ten times costlier than the one caught during the (continuous) testing phase itself. That sure means a lot of savings!

A deeper look at how Continuous Testing strengthens Continuous Delivery

Let’s go through how the right implementation of continuous testing in continuous delivery can benefit your delivery pipeline.

  1. Developers can perform a live-test of the implementation, functionality, and behavior of their code with tools such as Selenium. Regression testing, along with API, UI, and Performance testing, must be executed to ensure app quality in a number of customized cases.
  2. Using continuous integration, you can test all the changes made automatically on the go. After making the necessary configurations to the CI environment, the DevOps team can implement parallel tests with automatic notifications (SMSs), alerting them whenever there’s a failure in any build component.
  3. The QA team then must give their stamp of validation by running regression, load, and functional tests deployment. If the test module configuration is correct, then the tests can go on continuously without the need for any manual testing, at least until the alert system informs testers of a build failure.

Best Practices

Here’s some insight into the best practices for continuous testing in continuous delivery:

  1. Instead of grand-scale test runs, load tests implemented every day at specific target areas can reveal smaller bugs. Using continuous testing, you can test operating systems and devices before production, thus saving money in the long run.
  2. Conducting tests during development yields more precise results rather than in a controlled lab environment.
  3. An entire test suite can be divided into a number of smaller tasks to be run in parallel, which makes debugging much easier.
  4. The proper use of metrics provides invaluable knowledge on discrepancies in app architecture and issues in test automation. If metrics are ignored, the risk of failures and their impact multiplies multifold, which is never be a good situation.

Conclusion

To sum up in short, for continuous deployments and continuous delivery to be successful, a proper environment for continuous testing must be set up.

Gallop Solutions has been at the forefront in providing Agile Testing Services for continuous delivery. Get in touch with Gallop’s Agile Test Specialists who can guide you well on Agile Test Automation and help you realize the potential of an agile environment. Contact us today to know more about our wide range of testing services.

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The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Implementing Continuous Integration Testing for Software Products

 

Implementing Continuous Integration testing for software products

Continuous Integration guarantees the regular construction and testing of your software products, and can also allow you to fully exhibit the capabilities of your app. Frequent bug fixes can be released more easily, which lets you better optimize your software.

Why should we implement CI testing? What kind of benefits do we get?

Quite a few. A Continuous Integration server works on the latest version of the code, reconstructs the software, and gets the tests up and running. The developers are constantly updated on the success rate of the tests. There’s complete transparency on the online dashboard, which ensures that all concerned parties stay in the loop with the precise causes of test success or failure. Furthermore, CI puts your software into an “always releasable” state; tests are triggered as a direct response to even the smallest changes in the code, and immediate notifications let testers, correct glitches in short time, instead of having to dig them up later down the development pipeline.

The Stages of Implementation

The stages of incorporating CI into your development and testing processes involve little changes to your infrastructure and operational practices. Let’s go through each one briefly.

  1. Central Build Server: At first, teams do not have central build servers, which means that all software is created on a developer’s computer, and changes are not implemented too frequently. As the delivery date approaches, QA teams usually have to suffer through a period of very tedious integration and verification of code changes.
  1. Scheduled Builds: During this stage, the team does work with a central source code repository, but the only thing that happens is code compiled on a regular basis. Automated tests are not included as part of this process, and even though the central build server may send alert messages to the team in case of code conflicts or test failure, the team does not address glitches immediately.
  1. Initial Automated Testing: Here, the central build server is programmed to initiate software builds at the moment the new code is created. QA teams can then see the exact code changes that started off for any such build version. Errors and issues are addressed more rapidly.
  1. Metrics: Now automated code metrics are processed to aid teams in assessing the general strength of their code. Automatically created API documentation for the app also lets teams keep up the quality of the code and maintain standards in the operational practice.
  1. Heavier Testing: This is when Test Driven Development makes an entry, which increases the team confidence with automated software builds. Apart from merely compiling the code and running the tests, the app is then deployed automatically to a server for more rigorous performance testing.
  1. Acceptance and Deployment: Acceptance tests are automated at early development phases, which gives QA teams a birds-eye view of what’s been done and what action items still need to be completed. Automatic deployment of the app to test environments, ensures that the teams can evaluate different versions and quickly replace one with the other, if glaring issues manage to slip through the cracks and make their way into the final release version.

Implementing Continuous Integration Testing for Software Products

Thus, when implementing Continuous Integration testing for your apps, you will  normally go through the steps described above, which would require some investment on your part in the beginning, but would be completely worthwhile to your organization in the long run in terms of productivity. Take care of risks, improve your quality, cut down overall costs, and let automation free up bandwidth for both QA teams and your corporate infrastructure. Your development and testing projects will ultimately become a matter of routine, and your business can redirect resources to product innovation and customer service.

Gallop has a decade of expertise in enabling independent testing services, and is far ahead of the curve in following the process of Continuous Integration. It has developed new frameworks to deliver comprehensive and the best fit testing approach for many clients. Our large pool of test professionals, have profound expertise in handling various commercial testing tools as well as tools which are open-source. At Gallop, we work to accelerate your entire software test life cycle with end-to-end testing ownership. Continuous integration testing is the core to the success of Web application testing. Contact us today to discuss about your web application testing needs.

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The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Integrating Security into Continuous Testing

Integrating Security into Continuous Testing

All of us understand and accept the necessity to have adequate security testing for our applications. The question we will delve into here is “is it possible to automate security testing as part of an application’s continuous integration cycle? If so, what are the benefits of doing so?”

In an agile environment, it is common to have a continuous integration (CI) process in place to merge developer code into a common repository. Each code merge is then verified by an automated build process to detect code integration issues. CI makes the development process faster and drastically cuts down the time to market. But this rush does not bode well for security testing. It can leave vulnerabilities in the code undetected.

CI is a good point in the development cycle to detect security vulnerabilities in the new code as it gives the team the advantage of early detection and fixing of issues. Static code analysis tools and code evaluation tools like StyleCop can point out coding issues that can result in poor code security.

Three things to keep in mind while planning security testing

1. Decide what to look for

Security testing may cover a broad spectrum of vulnerabilities, all of which cannot be included in the continuous integration cycle. It is better to focus more on coding best practices from a security perspective and on detecting issues like authentication and authorization, data leaking, security mis-configurations, unvalidated redirects and forwards, invoking components with known vulnerabilities etc.

2. Give separate attention to security tests

Do not combine security test cases with unit or functional tests. The objective of these tests is to discover functional issues, which does not do justice to the scope and intent of security testing. Instead combining security with the continuous integration process ensures the testing is more holistic and aimed at detecting security issues alone.

3. Automate tests

Automate security tests, wherever possible, and then integrate them into the CI pipeline to ensure they are done for each and every code merge without fail. There are many tools and scanners available that will look for commonly known vulnerabilities. Most of these tools allow integration to a CI tool like Jenkins. But be sure to choose the right tool for your application.

Security testing in the cloud:

While the cloud brings in scalability and low operating costs, it also brings in concerns on security. One reason is you don’t own the infrastructure. Another is a general lack of standards and defined processes for testing in cloud, specifically in the public cloud.

With continuous security testing in the cloud, the focus could be more on threats related to authentication & authorization, fuzzing and social engineering. Your cloud based application may communicate to your data center using API calls. Security testing should focus on restricting unauthorized access to this data.

Advantages of security testing as part of the continuous integration cycle

Below are the advantages of including security testing in the continuous integration process:

  • You get immediate feedback on any security issues in your code. Fixing these issues after more functionality has piled on is complex and costly
  • Security testing is automated, hence it is faster and more accurate. And since it is performed on every new piece of code, it ensures overall security of your system
  • Security testing does not get pushed to the end where it may get compromised due to lack of time. Instead, focus is on ensuring security right from the beginning
  • Security testing is repeatable, reliable and efficient.

Secure your applications with security testing from Gallop Solutions

Gallop’s security testing adheres to international standards like OWASP and the latest testing methodologies to guarantee the security of your applications. Contact us to know more on how we can help you with your security testing.

Security Testing, Rich Internet Application, Quality Assurance

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.