Why you cannot have DevOps without Test Automation
Test automation can validate quality in software applications and achieve outcomes like quick identification and fixing of glitches, better customer experience, and improved process efficiency, among others.
The rapid adoption of digital technologies by enterprises to stay nimble, competitive, and quality-driven has given digital transformation wide currency. The process facilitates decision-making and allows organizations to innovate, accelerate the time to market, and be responsive to customer needs. The world of today is for those enterprises that can quickly turn an idea into a consumer product or service, absorb feedback from the market and customers to refine the product/service and relaunch it. This is where DevOps can help such organizations in terms of offering continuous development, innovation, integration, and deployment.
Fixing glitches with DevOps testing strategy
To stay on the right side of customer preference, enterprises must roll out software updates on a trot, which is not easy by any stretch of imagination. This is because every update needs to be tested across devices, operating platforms, frameworks, geographies, and networks. If the DevOps approach is not right in executing the process of development, testing, and deployment, the inherent glitches can prove to be costly. In many cases, in a bid to be ahead of the curve, enterprises do not give testing its due.
In other words, products or their updates are often launched without letting them pass through a stringent QA pipeline. The consequences of such quick deployment without adequate testing may manifest themselves in various ways. These may include the quality of product taking a beating, regulatory bodies subjecting such organizations to censure and penalties, and customers taking a flight to the competitors. So, with business reputation at stake, enterprises are well-advised to follow a strong DevOps approach and identify/fix glitches quickly in the pipeline.
DevOps and Test Automation
When it comes to the DevOps specialists discussing key elements that go into a Continuous Integration (CI) or Continuous Delivery (CD) pipeline, they mostly talk about code repositories or CI servers. Interestingly, DevOps test automation finds less mention in the rarefied circles where strategies are planned. This is despite the DevOps test automation being considered an integral part or medium to achieve outcomes like CI and CD. DevOps specialists majorly focus on aspects like integration and deployment of the software thereby giving test automation a miss. This can be self-defeating and invariably goes against the grain of DevOps philosophy where QA forms an integral part along with Development and Operations. Does this mean these specialists are more tuned into the manual testing aspect while leaving test automation altogether? The probable answer would be the ingrained belief in some DevOps experts about the efficacy of manual testing. This would not have raised any hackles until the advent of continuous delivery chains.
Why test automation for DevOps?
The two outcomes of DevOps - CI and CD means the development pipeline should deliver quality products quickly and consistently. Besides, the products should be upgraded periodically based on market feedback. This means products should be tested for glitches early in the SDLC instead of later to save cost and time. And what better way to achieve the same than by implementing test automation in DevOps QA.
Faster test outcomes: Test automation can be implemented by writing a test script on a tool. The code in development is put through that script and checked for expected outcomes. Any deviation is noted and investigated for possible errors. This is way faster than manual testing where QA specialists find repetitive testing frustrating and have a tendency to miss errors.
Consistent results: Consistency in QA means the software behaves on expected lines throughout the delivery pipeline. Test automation can validate the code for variables at different stages and mitigate the chances of human errors.
Ease with regression testing: When a major update is implemented, certain types of tests like usability testing are performed manually. However, when the variables are more and the software needs to be checked across devices, operating systems, browsers, geographies, and networks, then automatic testing takes the cake. It can work non-stop and check for deviations or non-compliance.
Human resources utilization: During manual testing scarce human testers are deployed in tasks that require constant attention. Further, to avoid boredom arising out of conducting repeated testing, QA testers can give certain tests a miss. Imagine the type or number of glitches escaping the test dragnet and later ruining the user experience. However, with test automation, repetitive testing can go unhindered wherein scarce human resource can be deployed for better activities.
In today’s age of fast software releases, quality can be ensured through a smooth DevOps-led pipeline ensuring CI and CD. However, achieving consistency in testing and pre-empting issues like cybercrime are underpinned on implementing DevSecOps and enabling a culture of quality control at every step of the way.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Saurabh has been associated with Cigniti Technologies Ltd as an Associate Manager - Content Marketing, with over 10 years of industry experience as a Content Writer in Software Testing & Quality Assurance industry. Cigniti is a Global Leader in Independent Quality Engineering & Software Testing Services with CMMI-SVC v1.3, Maturity Level 5.