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By: Sofía Palamarchuk for Abstracta

If you work in the software industry, you’ve most likely heard about the popular term, “shift-left testing.” With Agile practices like TDD, BDD, CI and DevOps becoming mainstream, “shift-left” is the answer to how testing fits in, and must be done in order for them to become a reality. Instead of taking a backseat during the development process, testing is planned in advance and begins earlier in the SDLC (therefore “shifts left”). It could even start before a single line of code is written! Making this shift changes the view of testing instead of traditional QA, it transforms into QE: Quality Engineering.

What Does Shift-Left Testing Look Like?

Thanks to the rise of automation, and the aid of tools that use AI and machine learning, testers have more time to dedicate to being more strategic about their work, instead of having their hands tied, running tests manually every day.

For testers to be successful today, they have to not only be great at testing, but also be engineers of the Agile testing process by collaborating with development and operations while analyzing quality during every stage of development:

Shift Left Testing

Shift-left testing activities include:

  • Testers helping developers implement unit testing
  • Planning, creating, and automating integration test cases
  • Planning, creating, and employing virtualized services at every stage and component level
  • Gathering, prioritizing, and processing feedback

Several process changes occur when teams shift left. Instead of a developer waiting weeks to add his or her code to the rest of the team’s code, it can be done every day, or even several times a day. Instead of manually performing all the tests, most are automated and run every day, or even several times a day. And, instead of detecting problems at the end, the team as a whole analyzes quality as the development progresses.

Not sure if it’s the right move for your organization? Here are some of the pros and cons of shift left testing.

PROS

LOWER THE COST OF TESTING & DEVELOPMENT

It’s well known that the sooner a bug is found, the cheaper it is to fix. One of the aims of Agile testing is detecting errors as soon as possible. With shift-left testing it’s possible to detect in real time, the exact moment in which an error was inserted into the system in order to resolve it in a timely manner. When testing is done with each build (especially during unit testing), the errors that are found are smaller, easier to detect and locate, and subsequently, less costly to fix.

INCREASE EFFICIENCY & QUALITY

With the increased levels of automation when shifting left, teams can benefit from:

  • Increased test coverage since more tests can be run in the same amount of time
  • More time for testers to focus on more challenging and rewarding tasks
  • Reduced human error rate
  • Monitoring performance over time
  • Code quality checks
  • Built-in security checks
  • Reducing issues in production that users may encounter

Beyond these benefits, being able to start testing sooner invariably results in a higher quality product, as testers are less rushed to find all the errors at the end, when there’s little time left to fix them.

COMPETE MORE FIERCELY

In today’s competitive technological landscape, the barriers to compete are minimal, so the best way to survive is to be able to move fast and defend one’s stature by innovating in iterations, which is possible thanks to Agile. As everyone can agree that it’s important to deliver software more quickly, it also mustn’t be rushed out the door (causing a possible backfire). Shift-left testing answers the problem of accelerating development without sacrificing quality.

Anotheryet less obviousbenefit of shifting left is that it can help businesses position themselves as an attractive employer to top talent. Because it is becoming more mainstream, with about two thirds of IT workers reportedly using Agile or leaning towards agile (according to a recent study by HP), it’s what the most forward thinking software professionals expect from their teams. Therefore, if you want to be an attractive employer or at least on-par with the rest, it is important to adopt the modern practices that both testers and developers want to master in order to stay relevant in today’s labor market.

Cons

EASIER SAID THAN DONE

For shift-left testing to be a success, an often drastic change in culture must occur first, which requires a team effort. Teams are usually set in their traditional ways of working, and when they consider shifting, they must consider how the methods, processes, skills, tooling, etc. will need to change. Even more important, what will need to happen to get all the roles within the organization to align properly?

RISK OF BOTTLENECKS

Yes, agile and shift-left aim to eliminate testing as a bottleneck, but it is true that agile teams can find themselves stuck waiting in a queue once all of the pieces come together in the performance and user acceptance testing phases, due to the complexity of environments and composite applications. One way to overcome this is to to utilize service virtualization. Service virtualization emulates the behavior of essential components that will be present in production, enabling integration tests to take place much earlier in development. This is how you can eliminate that key bottleneck, while also benefiting from eliminating errors earlier on. Along with service virtualization, there are several tools to setup automated systems and CI such as Jenkins.

A Worthwhile Undertaking

In the end, shift left testing is certain to have pros that outweigh its cons. Testers will find themselves delegating some of their work to developers and assigning them more testing activities. In mature teams, the testers become “coaches,” training developers on how to write better code, avoid bugs, and own unit testing. The advantage of this is that the tester who used to be busy, bogged down by writing test cases, now has time to delve deeper into the product, working on business cases, penetration testing, performance testing, implementing smarter testing solutions that use artificial intelligence like Testim.io, and so on. This sharing of the responsibility over testing leads to a higher level of achieved quality, as more of the bases get covered, quicker!

What do you think? Still not on-board to shift left testing? Or have you managed to do so already?

About the Author: Sofía Palamarchuk

Sofia Palamarchuk

Sofía is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Product Officer of software testing services company, Abstracta. With a B.S. in Computer Engineering, Sofía started working in application performance optimization, system monitoring and load testing for the corporate sector for many years. With a solid background in performance tuning and automation, Sofía has become a business development leader and is responsible for managing all aspects of Abstracta’s US operations as well as its mobile testing tool, Monkop.

Introduction

We work hard to improve the functionality and usability of our autonomous testing platform to support your software quality initiatives. This month we’re thrilled to release a few of your most requested features; Updated Exports Parameters, New Groups Tab. Check them out and let us know what you think.

Updated Exports Parameters

What is it?

Flexible Exports Parameters allow to pass variables within a group, test or collection of tests. Learn more

testim exports_parameters

Why should I care?  

When we use different exports parameters across tests for dynamic data validation, it often gets difficult to keep track of which user defined variables can be used in which groups or tests . For better user experience and control of variables, we now have 3 exports parameters-

  • Local export: Allows you to pass variables between steps in the same group.
  • Test export : Allows you to pass variables between steps and groups in the same test.
  • Global export: Allows you to pass variables between tests in the same test plan or test suite.

Each one has a clearly defined scope and it makes it a lot easier for user to understand the scope of different variables used within groups and tests.

Improved Toolbar Navigation Navigation

What is it?

A new Groups Tab has been added to the “+” menu. Learn more

Testim Groups Tab

Why should I care?

You now have  the ability to switch back and forth between test and the test runs via the tabs.

Customers have access to these new features now. Check it out and let us know what you think. If you’re not a customer, sign up for a free trial to experience autonomous testing. We’d love to hear what you think of the new features. Please share your thoughts on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

In today’s political climate, automation is a hot topic that is quickly dividing people across the country. While there’s no denying automation is the way of the future, many people are hesitant that this new technology will mean less jobs for the average workers. That being said, automation isn’t all bad!

There are a lot of big changes coming to the workforce thanks to automation, and many of those changes bring with them a new wave of job opportunities. The demand for technology and coding jobs is on the rise! This is big news for the future of industry, and these changes can be a positive thing with the right mentality. Read on to delve deeper into the rise of automation and the future of coding!

software development

Image via Pexels

The rise of automation as we know it today.

It might be hard to think about how automation has changed drastically in the last few years. Nowadays, more and more “human” jobs are being overcome by advances in automotive technology. These changes first occurred in repetitive, labor-intense positions. Factory workers and farmers quickly became replaced by these automated machines which could do the work in faster time.

Humans have been using tools to produce faster results since the dawn of civilization. Cars replaced horses while robots now replace humans in many labor-intensive positions. People began to push back when factor jobs became harder and harder to find, and now it’s not just these factory positions in jeopardy. Today, automation is taking over jobs in more creative fields and thought related tasks. Sales positions, finance positions, and even healthcare positions are slowly being taken over by skilled automotive machines. In just a few years, who knows what automation will be able to do next!

With the rise of automation comes the rise of coding.

There’s no denying that the workforce is changing as automation because more mainstream. The jobs of the past will become more and more obsolete, and today’s workers will need to develop new ways to be competitive as employees. Coding is rising to meet this challenge. As the demand for automation grows, so does the need for skilled coders.

Coding positions are becoming the new factor jobs. As more works are gaining higher education, these coding positions will serve as the new baseline in coming years for a new workforce. This might seem hard to come to grips with, but these changes can be positive! A rising technological workforce allows modern workers more freedom as most of these positions can be performed remotely. Employers can advise your remote workers from anywhere in the world, making a more cooperative international economy.

There will be an need for all types of coders from .NET Core vs .NET Framework to new advanced technologies we haven’t developed yet. Not only does this mean there’s a demand for more workers, but the quality standards are also increasing. Employers are beginning to recognize that quantity and quality and not equal! That means the workers who are able to adapt their skills ambitiously will find greater success. The new rising workforce will rise to meet new challenges, and there’s no limits to the new heights of technology!

machine learning

Image via Pexels

Modern workers are programmers.

Many people today fall into the mindset that these changes to the workforce are negative. This isn’t’ the case! It’s just different. Throughout history, technology improvements have altered the workforce and brought change. These modern changes towards automation might seem strange to our modern eyes, but in a few years they’ll be normal practice. Technology is the only way to move forward to a brighter tomorrow, and our workers will be prepared for any new challenges!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Selenium Testing your Kubernetes apps with Machine Learning and Testim webinar hosted by Codefresh. We had a fantastic turnout with lots of solid questions from the audience. If you missed the live event, don’t worry…

You can watch the recorded session anytime and for code examples, please see Codefresh’s recap post here.

Dan Garfield, VP of Marketing at Codefresh and Oren Rubin, CEO of Testim discussed how machine learning, Kubernetes pipelines, and Testim can make test creation painless and easy to accomplish.

They covered how to:

  • add UI testing to your software delivery pipeline
  • stand up an environment
  • create tests that scale
  • Overcome the challenges of UI/E2E testing

Some of the audience questions they answered during the live event:

  • Why I should prefer Codefresh over Spinnaker?
  • Could you please talk a little bit more about snapshotting production data and bring it into test?
  • How did the AI assign relevance to different parameters from a single run?

Introduction

We work hard to improve the functionality and usability of our autonomous testing platform to support your software quality initiatives. This month we’re thrilled to release a few of your most requested features; Loops, Help Tooltip, and several tutorial videos. Check them out and let us know what you think.

Loops

What is it?
Adding conditions to your test lets you control if some steps will run or not. You can add conditions to any type of step, including a group step. Now, with Loops you can execute a group of steps until a condition returns false.

Want to run a set of steps continuously until a certain condition is met? Now you can. Loops give you the ability to run the same set of actions a predetermined number of times or as long as a condition isn’t met.

Why should I care?  
This allows you to reach a specific result directly from the group’s properties, or you can go over the different iterations from inside the group. If one of the iterations failed, when entering the group, you will be taken directly to the failed iteration. Learn more

loops

Help Tooltip

What is it?
Authoring tests is easy (well at least with Testim) but troubleshooting takes time. To help you troubleshoot faster we’ve added tooltips to steps that fail. These tooltips will guide you through what you should look at and how you might troubleshoot a failed step.  

Why should I care?
Now you can troubleshoot failed steps faster and independently.

Tutorial Videos

What is it?
Need help running Testim tests from IDE? Or how to do data driven testing from an Excel file? These 3 minute or less videos will show you how. Check them out.

Filter Suite Runs by Suite

What is it?
A new filter has been added to our Suite runs view. Now you can filter the list of runs according to the name of your suite.

Why should I care?
This will allow you to easily find a particular run you did and compare different runs of the same suite. Learn more

filter by test suite run

Customers have access to these features and videos now. Check it out and let us know what you think. If you’re not a customer, sign up for a free trial to experience autonomous testing. We’d love to hear what you think of the new features. Please share your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook.

Introduction

We work hard to improve the functionality and usability of our autonomous testing platform to support your software quality initiatives. With that said, we’re thrilled to release a few of your most requested features; negative validation, extract value, and integration to test management. Check them out and let us know what you think.

Negative Validation

What is it?

Validations are the most important steps we need in our tests. Validations allow us to see if our app does what we expect it to do. Testim provides a wide range of validation options so you can choose the ones that best suit your needs. Now you can choose a negative validation.

  • Element Not Visible – Make sure an element is not visible to the user.

Why should I care?  
Use the element not visible validation to check whether your element does not exist/visible in the page.  Use this validation to make sure an element disappeared from the screen or wasn’t shown in the first place. Learn more

negative validation

Extract Value

What is it?

Extract value lets you copy values directly from your application to be used in later steps. For example, if you have text in your application such as username, name or account number use extract value to validate that it appears on another page. You can also use it to extract a value for future calculation at a later step.

Why should I care?
Now, you can use the new parameter in a validation step, set text, custom steps, etc. So if you want to change the element you selected, now you don’t have to re-record this step. Learn more

extract value

Integrate Test Management

What is it?

Testim can now sync your test results with TestRail so you can get a side by side view of your manual and automated tests.

Why should I care?

If your doing exploratory testing, now you can link your manual and automated tests to your requirements and defects for end to end traceability. Learn more

integrate test management

Customers have access to these features now. Check it out and let us know what you think. If you’re not a customer, sign up for a free trial to experience autonomous testing. We’d love to hear what you think of the new features. Please share your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook.

According to the US Software Engineering Institute, 50% of defects are due to bad specifications.

Are you managing a software team or responsible for looking at their end-to-end delivery processes holistically?

Then, join this round-table discussion with Sam Hatoum, CEO of Xolv.io as he shares how he’s implemented proper specifications throughout projects he’s worked on to increase velocity by up to 35% and reduce defect rates down to 2%.

Date: Tuesday, April 24
Time: 12:00pm PT
RESERVE MY SEAT

Why you should attend this session?

  • Get tips for balancing the tradeoff between velocity and quality
  • Learn how to smooth the transition between development phases while ensuring full alignment
  • See how your test automation strategy becomes a result of your upfront specification planning
  • Succeed in reducing defects before a single line of code is written
  • Minimize the handoffs between Engineering, Quality and Product
  • Capture some quick wins to implement quality practices that will
  • Influence cultural change, speed up release cycles and improve your customer’s experience

Engagio is a two year old marketing software startup that helps marketers land and expand their target accounts. The company is rapidly growing with more than 150 customers and 45 employees. Based in San Mateo, Engagio was founded by Jon Miller who was previously the Co-Founder of Marketo.  

Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Helge Scheil, VP of Engineering for Engagio who shared why he selected Testim, his overall development philosophy and the results his team was able to achieve.  Checkout the series of videos or read the Q&A from our conversation below.

Q: Can you tell us a little about what your software does?

A: We help B2B marketers drive new business and expand relationships with high-value accounts. Our marketing orchestration software helps marketers create and measure engagement in one tool, drive ongoing success, and measure impact easily. Engagio orchestrates integrated account-based programs, providing the scale benefits of automation with the personalization benefits of the human touch. Our software complements Salesforce and existing marketing automation solutions.

Q: What does your development process look like?
A: Our developers work in 2-week sprints, developing features rapidly and deploying to production daily without any production downtime. We’re running on AWS and have the entire develop-test-build-deploy process fully automated. Each developer can deploy at any time, assuming all quality criteria have been met.

Q: What tools do you use to support your development efforts?

A: We are using Atlassian JIRA and Confluence for product strategy, roadmaps, requirements management, work breakdown, sprint planning and release management. We’re using a combination of Codeship, Python (buildbot), Docker, Slack, JUnit and Testim for our continuous build/test/deploy. We have integrated Testim into our deployment bot (which is integrated into Slack).

Q: Prior to Testim, how were you testing your software? What were some of the challenges?

A: Our backend had great coverage with unit and integration tests, including the API level. On the front-end we had very little coverage and the small amount we had was written in Selenium, which was very time-consuming with little fault-tolerance and many “flaky” failures.

Q: What were some things you tried to do to solve these challenges?

A: We were trying to simply allocate more time for Selenium tests to engineers. We considered hiring automation engineers but weren’t too fond of the idea because we believe in engineers being responsible for quality out of the gate, including the regression tests creation and maintenance.

Q: Where there other solutions you evaluated? Why did you select Testim?

A: We didn’t really consider any other solutions after we started evaluating Testim, which was our first vendor to evaluate. Despite some skepticism around the “record and play” concept, we found that Testim’s tolerance (meaning “tests don’t fail”) to UI and feature changes is much greater than we had expected. Other solutions that we considered are relying on pixels/images/coordinates which are inherently sensitive and non-tolerant to changes. We also found that non-engineers (i.e. product manager, functional QA engineers) can write tests, which is unlike Selenium.

Q: After selecting Testim, can you walk me through your getting started experience?

A: During the first week of implementation the team got together to learn the tool and started creating guinea pig tests which evolved into much deeper tests with more intricate feature testing. Those test ended up in our regression test suite which are ran nightly. Rather than allocating two days per sprint, we decided to crank up the coverage with a one day blitz.

Q: After using Testim, what were some the benefits you experienced?

A: We were able to increase our coverage by 4-5x within 6 weeks of using Testim. We can write more tests in less time and maintenance is not as time consuming. We integrated Testim via its CLI and made “run test <label>” commands available in our “deployment” Slack channel as well as a newly created “regression_test” channel. Any deployment that involves our web app now automatically runs our smoke tests. In addition to that we run nightly full regression tests. Running four cloud/grid Testim VMs in parallel we’re able to run our full regression test suite in roughly 10 minutes.

Q: How was your experience working with Testim’s support team?

A: Testim’s responsiveness was extraordinary. We found ourselves asking questions late in the evenings and over the weekends and the team was there to help us familiarize ourselves with the product. If it wasn’t immediately in the middle of the night, we would have the answer by the time we got started the next day.

Guide: Evaluating UI and Mobile Automated Testing Solutions

Thank you to everyone who participated in our round table discussion on The Future of Test Automation: How to prepare for it? We had a fantastic turnout with lots of solid questions from the audience. If you missed the live event, don’t worry…

You can watch the recorded session any time:

Alan Page, QA Director at Unity Technologies and Oren Rubin, CEO of Testim shared their thoughts on:
  • The current state of test automation
  • Today’s test automation challenges
  • Trends that are shaping the future
  • The future of test automation
  • How to create your test automation destiny
In this session they also covered:
  • Tips and techniques for balancing end to end vs. unit testing
  • How testing is moving from the back end to the front end
  • How to overcome mobile and cloud testing challenges
  • Insights into how the roles of developers and testers are evolving
  • Skills you should start developing now to be ready for the future of testing

Some of the audience questions they answered:

  • How do we know what is the right amount of test coverage to live with a reasonable amount of risk?
  • What is the best way to get developers to do more of the testing?
  • How do you deal with dynamic data, is the best practice to read a DB and compare the results to the front end?
  • Does test automation mark the end of manual testing as we know it?

There were several questions that we were not able to address during the live event so I followed up with the panelist afterwards to get their answers.

Q: What is Alan’s idea of what an automated UI test should be?

As much as I rant about UI Automation, I wrote some a few weeks ago. The Unity Developer Dashboard provides quick access to a lot of Unity services for game developers. I wrote a few tests that walk through workflows and ensure that the cross-service integration is working correctly.

The important bit is, that I wrote tests to find issues that could only be found with UI automation. If validation of the application can be done at any lower level, that’s where the test should be written.

Q: The team I work on complex machines with Android UI and separate backend. What layer would you suggest to concentrate more testing effort on?

I’d weight my testing heavily on the backend and push as much logic as possible out of the Android UI and into the backend, where I can test more, and test faster.

Q: Some legacy applications are really difficult to unit test.  What are your suggestions in handling these kind of applications?

Read Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers, and you’ll find that adding unit tests to legacy code isn’t as hard as you thought it was.

Q: How do you implement modern testing to compliment automation efforts?

My mantra in Modern Testing is, Accelerate the Achievement of Shippable Quality. As “modern” testers, we sometimes do that by writing automated tests, but more often, we look at the system we use to make software – everything from the developer desktop all the way to deployment and beyond (like getting customer feedback), and look for ways we can optimize the system.

For example, as a modern tester, I make sure that we are running the right tools (e.g. static analysis) as part of the build process, that we are taking unit testing seriously and finding all the bugs that can be found by unit tests during unit testing. I try to find things to make it easier for the developers I work with to create high quality and high value tests (e.g. wrappers for templates, or tools to help automate their workflow). I make sure we have reliable and efficient methods for getting feedback from our customers, and that we have a tight loop of build-measure-learn based on that feedback.

Q: Alan Page could you give an example of a test that would be better tested (validated) at a lower level (unit) as opposed to UI level?

It would be easier to think of a test that would not be better validated at that level. Let’s say your application has a sign-in page. One could write UI automation to try different combinations of user names, email addresses, and passwords, but you could write tests faster (and run them massively faster) if you just wrote API tests to sign up users.

Of course, you’d still want to test the UI in this case, but I’d prefer to write a bunch of API tests to verify the system, and then exploratory test the UI to make sure it’s working well with the back end, has a proper look and feel, etc.

Q: How critical is today for a QA person to be able to code? In other words, if you are a QA analyst with strong testing/automation skills, but really have not had much coding experience, what would be the best way to incorporate some coding into his or her profile? Where would you start?

Technology is evolving in a rapid pace and the same applies to tools and programming languages as well. This being said, it would be good for testers to know the basics of some programming language in order to keep up with this pace. I would not say this is critical but it will definitely be good to have and with so many online resources available, it is even easier for testers to gain technical knowledge.

Some of the best ways I have known to incorporate coding into his/her profile would be via:

  • Online Tutorials and courses (Udemy, Coursera, Youtube videos)
  • Pairing with developers when they are programming. You can ask them basic questions of how things work, as and when they are coding. This is a nice way to learn
  • Attending code reviews helps to gain some insight into how the programming language works
  • Reading solutions to different problems on Stack Overflow and other forums
  • Volunteering to implement a simple feature in your system/tool/project by pairing with another developer
  • Organizing/Attending meetups and lunch ‘n’ learns focused on a particular programming language and topic
  • Choose a mentor who could guide you and give you weekly assignments to complete. Set clear goals and deadlines for deliverables

Q: My developers really like reusing cucumber steps, but I couldn’t make them write these steps. The adoption problem is getting the budget reallocated. Any advice for what I should do?

Reusing cucumber steps may not be necessarily a bad thing. It could also mean that the steps you may have written are really good and people can use them for other scenarios. In fact, this is a good thing in BDD (Behavior Driven Development) and helps in easier automation of these steps.

But if the developers are lazy and then reusing steps which do not make sense in a scenario, then we have a problem. In this case, what I would do is try to make developers understand why a particular step may not make sense for a scenario and discuss how you would re-write them. This continuous practice of spot feedback would help to instill the habit of writing good cucumber steps. Also, I would raise this point in retrospective and team meetings, and discuss it with the entire team. This will help to come to a common understanding of the expectations.

In terms of budget reallocation, I would talk to your business folks and project manager on the value of writing cucumber steps and how it helps to bring clarity in requirements, helps to catch defects early and saves a lot of time and effort which would otherwise be spent on re-work of stories due to unclear requirements and expectations for a feature.

Q: Can we quickly Capture Baseline Images using AI?

What exactly do you want the AI part to do? Currently, it’s not there are tools (e.g. Applitools and Percy.io) which can create a baseline very fast. I would expect AI to help in the future with setting the regions that must be ignored (e.g. field showing today’s date), and the closest thing I know is Applitools’ layout comparison (looking and comparing the layout of a page rather than the exact pixels, so the text can differ and the number of lines change, but still have a match).

Q: What are your thoughts on Automatic/live static code analysis?

Code analysis is great! It can help prevent bugs and add to code consistency inside the organization. The important thing to remember is that it never replaces functional testing and it’s merely another (orthogonal) layer which also helps.

Q: When we say ‘Automated Acceptance tests’, do they mean REST API automated tests which automation tool is good to learn?

No. They usually mean E2E (functional) tests, though acceptance tests should include anything related to approving a new release, and in some cases, this includes load/stress testing and even security testing.

Regarding good tools, For functional testing, I’m very biased toward Testim.io, but many prefer to code and choose Selenium or its mobile version Appium (though Espresso and Earl grey are catching on in popularity).

For API testing, there are too many, from the giant HP (Stormrunner) to medium sized Blazemeter, to small and cool solutions like APIfortress, Postman, Loadmill, and of course Testim.io.

Why not to call it full stack tests instead of e2e?

Mostly because e2e is used more often in the industry – but I actually prefer to use the google naming conventions, and just call tests small, medium, or large. Full stack / end-to-end tests fall in the large category.

“If it’s worth building, it’s worth testing” — Kent Beck, pioneer of Test Driven Development

Imagine this situation. It is 4:45 pm on a Friday afternoon, and a new feature on the company’s web application for generating sales reports is pushed to production. At 11:30 pm that night, the lead developer gets a frantic call from a customer — the new feature broke an existing business-critical feature. What if the team could have prevented the break in the first place? By including test automation from the beginning of the development process, this is possible.

What Is Testing?

Testing is crucial to many agile software development processes. Testing enables developers to know ahead of time if everything will work as expected. With a well-written set of tests, developers can know whether or not new additions to a codebase will break existing features and behavior. Testing processes become the crystal ball of the software development process.

crystal ball testing

Testing can be automated or performed manually, but automated testing allows software development teams to test code more quickly, frequently, and accurately. Software testers and developers can then free up their time and focus on the more difficult tasks at hand.

How To Develop For Testing

The key to being successful with test automation in the software development life cycle is to introduce it as early on as possible. While many developers recognize the importance of testing their software, the testing process is often times delayed until the end of the development cycle. Testing may even be dropped completely in order to make a deadline or meet budgetary restrictions.  

Those not using test automation may view testing as a burden or roadblock to developing and delivering an application. A well-written set of tests, however, can end up saving time during the development process. The key to this is to write them as soon as new features are developed. This practice is commonly known as Test Driven Development. Writing tests as one develops features also encourages better documentation and leads to smaller changes in the codebase at a given time. Taking smaller steps in creating and changing a codebase enables the developer to make sure that what he/she adds maintains the health of the codebase.

TDD

Just as one can adapt his/her development workflow to Test Driven Development, it is important to also adapt the way tests are written when leveraging automated tests. Automated tests typically contain three parts: the setup, the action to be tested, and the validation. The best tests are those that test just one item, so developers know exactly what breaks and how to fix it. Tests that combine multiple actions are more difficult to create and maintain as well as slower to run. Most importantly, complicated tests do not tell the developers exactly what is broken and still require additional debugging/exploration to get to the root of the problem.

Automated testing can be broken down into different types of tests, such as web testing, unit testing, and usability testing. While it may not be possible to have complete automated test coverage for every application, a combination of different types of testing can provide a comprehensive test suite that can be augmented by hands-on testing as well.

Platforms like Testim enable developers to automate web testing across multiple browsers, as if a user was testing the application hands-on. This enables both developers and testers to uncover issues that cannot be discovered using hands-on testing methods.

What causes a test to fail?

The purpose of testing software is to identify bad code. Bad code either does not function as expected or breaks other features in the software. Testing is important to developers as it allows them to quickly correct the bugs and maintain a healthy codebase that enables a team of developers to develop and ship new features

However, tests can fail for reasons that are not bad code. When doing hands-on testing, a failed test can even be the result of human error. With some automated testing suites, if a test is written for a button on a webpage with a certain identifier, and the identifier changes, that test will then fail the next time it is run.

failed tests

The failure of the button test may cause the developer to think something is wrong with thier code, and as a result, they may spend hours digging through endless lines of code to suss out the issue, only to find that it was the result of a bad test and not bad code.

How Does Testim Help With Testing?

Testim gives developers and testers a way to quickly create, execute, and maintain tests. It does this by adapting to the changes that are made during the software development cycle. Through machine learning algorithms, Testim enables developers to create tests that can learn over time. This could lead to things like automated testing that adapts to small changes like the ID of a button, which would create more reliable tests that developers and testers can trust to identify bad code.

Tests that are quick to create and run will transform the software development process into one that ships code quicker, so developers can spend their time developing.

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