Testing is vital to the software development lifecycle, and the failure to carry out testing thoroughly and efficiently can make or break the product and its delivery. Fortunately, such shortcomings can be alleviated through DevOps test automation. Adopting automated testing has become imperative to ensure that the process of the SDLC runs smoothly and the product meets the customer’s expectations without any glitches. But, before adopting automation, there are a few things you need to know. We will discuss the salient aspects of test automation to avoid missteps in adopting the right tools or the correct practices.
What is test automation in DevOps?
Test automation is only a part of the DevOps lifecycle. But, it is a critical part of high-quality delivery. Using automated testing helps achieve continuous testing, which is essential to delivering software that meets the highest standards and at high speed. It is also a critical driver to increase productivity and reduce costs and risk.
Test automation uses automation frameworks and tools to write scripts to verify the functionalities of an application. Through DevOps test automation, one can:
- Detect bugs and save time using test cases. Unlike manual testing, automation testing makes testing faster, enabling quicker product deployment.
- Test applications and reduce human error with designated software programs.
- Simplify the testing process where you need to run the test cases several times.
- Increase reliability by automating the process.
DevOps software testing supports continuous development even as the product is built, tested, deployed, and released to the end-user. Unlike the traditional QA that began the functional and regression testing process after the product was deployed, a DevOps-based QA testing approach integrates operations and the development in the same cycle. It relies on the coordination between all the stakeholders in the SDLC. The DevOps testing approach includes automation of processes to achieve agility and speed. Towards this end, the DevOps tester must build a mature automation testing framework to help script the test cases. There are several automation tools in the market to aid this process. Choosing the right tool is imperative.
Choosing the right tool
Now that we understand the importance of automation testing, it is clear that only the right tools can enhance the process. No one tool can fit all your testing needs. But, some factors to consider when evaluating the tools in the market include:
Type of testing tool: You could go for the open-source or a commercial tool, based on the intended platform, the language of development, such as C# or Java, and whether the tools are suitable for testing or developing.
License and support costs: When choosing the automation tool, your budget will play a part. Open-source tools such as Selenium require specialized technical skills. You would need to add that to the cost. However, comparing the tools in the market and finding one that suits your budget can help.
Supporting CI and DevOps integration: This is a crucial factor to consider as a tool that does not support DevOps, or continuous integration would not be effective.
Available knowledge base: Knowing how to use the tool or having a team experienced in using the tool is essential. So, choose a tool that comes with training tutorials and documentation that can show the users how to use the automation tool.
Test reports: You need a tool that offers insightful reports to analyze the bugs and their root causes and the effectiveness of the analyses.
Needless to say, choosing a tool relies heavily on the team’s thorough understanding of the project requirements, including project scope, type, and the existing skill levels of the team. Moreover, purely depending on the automation tool to do all the work will not suffice. The DevOps testing services engineer must be knowledgeable of application functionality and script creation. Additionally, the test automation team must collaborate with the operations and development teams.
Automation and not over-automation is key
DevOps test automation pays off when the benefits far outweigh the cost and effort. However, linking too many tools or over-automation could deliver unwanted and unexpected outcomes. Finding a balance by understanding the requirements for development, testing, and deployment can help define the automation testing processes. Also, test automation cannot be replicated from other businesses. They must remain unique to your business needs.
Over-automation also includes automating processes that are best left alone. Automation cannot eliminate manual testing. The modern manual testing process involves using exploratory testing with scenarios that examine the system’s behavior. Not all scenarios lend themselves to automation. User acceptance and usability tests can benefit from manual testing as they can point out issues that automated testing may be unable to identify. Simply put, you would need to choose the test cases and build the automation flows.
Test cases and automation flows
To implement automated testing in DevOps, you start with a mapping of the release pipeline:
- Identify stages of the release.
- Identify the requirements of each stage of the build’s journey to production.
- Mark the feedback mechanism useful for detecting eros and solving issues quickly.
- List the operational procedures and actions involved in the release cycle.
Then, you start with building the automation flows. It depends on the tool, the test strategy you have in place, and best practices.
- Build the automation flows gradually and increase coverage over time by automating easier flows that are repetitive and predictable.
- Testing one thing at a time makes it easier to detect errors when a test case fails. Instead of grouping multiple tests in a test case, build reusable components with the automation tool. It is easier to reuse the logic from other test cases.
- Building automated test cases that are self-contained and independent can help with parallel testing execution across different environments.
- The success of automation testing depends on the team’s collaboration and collective knowledge. It is best to adopt a test automation platform that works for everyone in the team.
Therefore, the no-code test automation may be ideal for DevOps testing services as it enables the different teams to move seamlessly through the release pipeline.
While the core of a successful DevOps testing cycle is automation and a continuous improvement cycle, QA teams must draw the line between automation and over-automation. And the most effective strategy would include choosing tools that support automation testing in DevOps with continuous integration and add value by being agile and adaptive to changes.
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