Katalon Studio is a powerful automation solution to help address the challenge of lacking the integration among open-source test automation frameworks amid unaffordable commercial solutions. Katalon Studio revolutionizes the use of open-source test automation frameworks such as Selenium and Appium. It also offers a viable alternative to commercial test automation solutions that are..
In today’s rapidly changing world, software products need to be upgraded frequently and quickly to bring value to customers and users. Software features are continuously developed, tested, deployed, and operated in the production environment. New features are not only developed and tested successfully, but they also deployed and operated without much chaos and disruption. Software cross-functional teams which include product owners, software development, quality assurance (QA), operations need to work together to ensure the fast flow of work from development to operation. This requires development teams to be more productive in delivering quality work while QA, operations, and other teams need to use automated tools and follow well-formed practices to minimize their dependence on other teams. DevOps has been a process that organizations seek to achieve this goal.
In this blog, we will discuss the essential strategies for organizations to implement a successful DevOps transformation effort.
A transformation in DevOps must begin within. It involves organizing, empowering, and enabling teams to maximize their capabilities and their chances of success. In other words, it is more about people than tools and technology.
Organizations need to establish and nourish a DevOps culture that encourages continuous learning, cross-team collaboration, empowered teams, and sharing metrics as a way for continuous improvement. Such a DevOps culture can span multiple teams across departments.
A dedicated team should be created to be responsible for the DevOps transformation efforts for the whole organization. This team is separated from the rest of the company and only focuses on the daily operation, allowing the organization to be more innovative and disruptive than the rest. Objectives and goals for the team have to be clear, specific, achievable, and measurable. They should also be agreed upon by executives and shared with everyone. The members of this team should dedicate to these efforts full-time. They should possess skills in different domains such as information security (InfoSec), development, operations, sales, and marketing.
Start with the right team
To start a DevOps effort, it is important to begin with selecting the right project or initiative. Applying DevOps to a new project tends to be easier than existing ones as you do not have to deal with existing codebases, processes, and teams. Making changes to the existing projects is riskier when they have existing products or services in operation. However, many DevOps transformation efforts are started with existing projects as a solution to address on-going problems in the development and operations of the products or services. In fact, high performance in IT organizations deploying DevOps is achievable in both new (brownfield) and existing (greenfield) applications, according to the 2015 State of DevOps report.
You should consider choosing the most innovative, energetic, and sympathetic teams to start with as their members tend to welcome and adopt new ideas than those of other teams. A team that has influence and respect from the organization is also a good candidate. This team’s success in DevOps transformation offers a testament and makes the process of expanding the effort to other teams easier.
Of course, you can find a relevant team, but its members may lack DevOps necessary skills. Thus, hiring the right people and providing staff sufficient training on DevOps processes, practices, and tools are also important for having the right team for your DevOps initiative.
Establish a continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipeline
Organizations must establish and implement the practices necessary for the continuous flow of work from development to operations. A set of such practices forms CI/CD pipeline whose goal is to ensure the fast and reliable delivery of work from development to operations without causing problems in the production.
At every stage of the CI/CD pipeline, production-line environments should be used. That is, development, test, and staging environments must be similar to that in the production. By doing this, developers and testers always run and test the system on the production-line environment, which eliminates the mismatch between development and operations. When a problem occurs in operations, developers can quickly detect and fix it without interfering with the normal operation of the system.
Environments should be created automatically using scripts and predefined configurations. The process to create an environment that is already embedded in the script and configurations. This practice allows on-demand creation of development, test, and production environments the repository easily and quickly when needed.
To enable on-demand creation of production-line environments, it is necessary to place every artifact, e.g., source code, test scripts, configuration files, and environments, of the system in version control. Everyone must use version control to manage their work. Furthermore, a single repository for the entire system should be used. Mismatches will eventually occur if multiple repositories are used.
Include test automation into your strategy
It is safe to say that without test automation, you cannot implement DevOps practices successfully. Testing would become a crucial bottleneck in the CI/CD pipeline if your project lacks test automation. Manual testing requires more time to perform, delaying the process of delivering work downstream of the CI/CD pipeline and the feedback that developers need to validate or fix their work.
A process for automated building and testing software to run on target environments must be established. This process allows tests to be executed automatically when the code is published to the repository. Through this process, the task of creating automated tests to validate their code is integrated as a part of developers’ daily work. Several best practices can be employed:
Automate tests at different levels: unit, acceptance, and integration tests.
Detect errors as early as possible. Unit tests are faster to run than acceptance and integration tests. Unit tests can also increase test coverage over the other types, according to Martin Fowler’s Test Pyramid.
Run automated tests on production-like environments.
Perform automated tests as much as possible.
Automate both functional and non-functional tests.
Use Telemetry and Metrics
To support problem diagnosis and solving as well as discover opportunities for continuous improvement, organizations need to create and use telemetry and metrics. Telemetry is “automated communications process by which measurements and other data are collected at remote or inaccessible points and transmitted to receiving equipment for monitoring” which involves the use of metrics and data collection approaches to support measurement and monitoring.
Telemetry allows teams to detect a problem, to formulate hypotheses about possible root causes of the problem, and to find solutions to address it. Where the bottleneck of the DevOps pipeline is, what causes the increase in on-call after business hours during the operations, and what causes the delay in fault repair are examples of the questions to be answered using telemetry. Telemetry helps detect contributing factors affecting a problem and its resolution.
Organizations need to create and use telemetry in development, testing, staging, and production environments. It is also created across the DevOps pipeline. The telemetry program should be centralized, meaning that events, logs, and metrics collected from different stages of development and operations are transferred, stored, and aggregated to help analyze the system as a whole.
Events and logs are created and recorded at different layers, operating systems, database, business logic, application/user interface, and environment. Metrics need to be recorded and used at different levels: sales and transactions in the business level, response time, faults, transaction time at the application level, storage and disk usage, CPU load, network traffic at the infrastructure level. Other important metrics in the DevOps pipeline can include build status, change, and deployment and release frequencies, duration, environment status, idle time, build breakage, downtime, impact of defects, percent of automation, change success rate, time/cost per release, cost/frequency of outages in operations, on-call after business outs, mean time to repair (MTTR), and mean time to detect (MTTD).
Application libraries are necessary for teams to create, collect, and store events, logs, and metrics. Tools are also important for visualizing, alerting, detecting trends, and other analytics capabilities.
Continuous Learning and Improvement
To succeed in implementing DevOps, teams need to establish a culture that enables members to continuously learn and improve their skills at detecting and addressing problems. Mistakes and problems are always happening in any complex system. It is important for teams to learn from mistakes and prevent them from happening again.
Solutions for common problems and lessons learned are stored and shared throughout the organization, which helps multiply the knowledge and saves a lot of time for other teams facing similar problems. The knowledge on problems, know-how, solutions to address problems, etc. must be shared widely to medium as chatrooms and forums to multiply the effects of learning and improvement.
Instead of naming and blaming people when a problem occurs, teams should focus on using the opportunity as a means for improving the quality of the system and learning the ways to fix the problem. The working environment without naming and blaming encourages risk-taking and innovation while helps to preserve good relationships and foster mutual cooperation between people in the project.
Telemetry and metrics collected are also used for discovering opportunities for improvement. Consulting and teaching from experts are also as important as self-learning and self-improvement.
DevOps is a well-accepted approach to addressing the challenges in developing and delivering quality software fast to the market. It is reported to helping organizations shorten the time from development to operations, improving the products and services quality, and increasing the cooperation of teams from different departments such as development, QA, InfoSec, and operations.
Hope this article can provide you the most important strategies for implementing a successful DevOps transformation effort in organizations. These strategies involve people (choosing the right team, changing organizational structures and culture, continuous learning and improvement), technology (test automation, tools, and infrastructure), and practices (establishing a CI/CD pipeline and using telemetry/metrics).
Check out Katalon Studio for better test automation and DevOps implementation.
Continuous Integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) is a complex part of any development cycle. It involves continuously integrating code into a shared repository to keep code progression amongst a team of developers running smooth and steady. This helps prevent merging errors, duplicated efforts and promoting collaboration to create a better product. That code is then thoroughly and continuously tested to keep problems from arising. From there, the code is then deployed to production to be continuously delivered to the live environment.
As the CI/CD pipeline has many steps and continuously runs throughout the development cycle, that complexity can cause many headaches. After a thorough investigation, we’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions about CI/CD. And we didn’t stop there! We also answered those questions so you can get a better idea of how to solve CI/CD problems.
What is the difference between Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery?
Continuous integration helps ensure that software components work together. Integration should be completed frequently; if possible, on an hourly or daily basis. This increases the frequency of code commits and reduces the difficulty of connecting code from multiple developers (reducing the chances for non-compatible code and redundant efforts).
Continuous delivery is the next step in the CI/CD pipeline. As the code is integrated into the shared repository continuously, continuously testing that code is made possible. There are no gaps while waiting for code to be completed before testing can occur. This ensures as many bugs are found as possible to then continuously deliver code to production.
It really depends on your organization’s goals and priorities. Continuous deployment takes a lot of effort to keep the flow going. Once it’s set in place, end users and stakeholders will come to expect that level of deployment. Failing at maintaining continuous deployment after attempting it will not work well for your product’s reputation. Therefore, have a strong strategy in place before implementing this procedure.
Successful implementation and changing the way the development team runs to continuously deploy at a steady pace has many benefits, such as:
Frequent feedback from customers
Increase the speed at which your product matures
Shorter release cycles
Improve team productivity
What is a dark launch in terms of Continuous Delivery of software?
Dark launches are a process in which software is gradually released to the market to get user feedback and test the performance and quality. In order to limit the number of users, the code is placed behind feature flags to control who sees what new feature and when.
Similar to beta testing, dark launches are done on an even smaller scale of users to determine usability and assess how accessing the feature affects the system’s performance as a whole. Facebook, for instance, uses dark launches and calls its tool “Gatekeeper.”
This process ensures there is no hold up to release completed features if incomplete features are still in process. Dark launch the incomplete features and keep it disabled until it is ready for all users to access. While incomplete features are on hold, complete features can then be launched and users can quickly begin using the feature (which in turn allows faster feedback for the development team to use when assessing the incomplete features).
What is the difference between Continuous Delivery and DevOps?
DevOps is a process that eliminates silos between the Development and Operations teams. To have a fully running DevOps procedure in place, agile and cross-functional teams make it possible for developers to complete operations tasks, setting up the infrastructure as code benefits. Operations can then focus on writing code to automate deployment pipelines.
The different with continuous delivery is DevOps procedures are not dependent on continuous delivery to process. DevOps can function using biweekly sprints to complete their tasks. On the other hand, continuous delivery works best when there is already a DevOps process in place at the organization. If the Development and Operations teams are separate teams that don’t cooperate, continuous delivery cannot happen (or at least not easily).
How can I successfully implement Continuous Integration into your product’s development cycle?
Continuous integration is really essential to quickly integrate new code into the main code base. Thus, tests are able to be written and automated much faster than integrating code intermittently (such as every two weeks rather than daily). CI/CD then continues the pipeline with continuous delivery, which continuously deploys thoroughly tested code to production. Those code changes are then committed to the live environment and will reach the end users faster.
Using tools such as Jenkins, Travis, TeamCity, and Katalon Studio can help with continuous integration implementation while ensuring that quality is met at every step. Automation allows quick access to new products and features which in turn provides a continuous feedback loop from stakeholders and end users, allowing features to be iteratively improved and updated.
What are some common mistakes made in Continuous Integration?
Continuous integration is a complex process and mistakes can happen where you least expect them. Below are a few to watch out for while implementing this practice:
Not fixing broken builds before adding more code
Complex branching structures that can be difficult to sort through to find the link needed
Using “hotfixes” to release branches
Shutting off failing tests without first determining the failure cause and location
Not continuously testing code as soon as it is entered into the shared repository
Manual testing and manual builds can be used but it will seriously limit the number of bugs caught
Not writing meaningful tests that can be run against every build to know if anything from the new code affected previous builds
What are the best tools used for Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery?
Amid the variety (and possibly overwhelming) software offerings for continuous integration and continuous delivery, the answer lies in which CI/CD purpose and stage you are in at a particular moment. Here are some of our recommendations:
Source code repository: GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab
Continuous integration server: Jenkins CI, TeamCity, Travis CI
Build tool: Gradle
Automated testing tool: Katalon Studio (download now), SauceLabs, SoapUI
Code infrastructure management: Terraform
Configuration management: Ansible
Deployment tool: Jenkins, Docker
What are the best examples of companies using Continuous Delivery?
That’s a tricky question to answer. The obvious answer is the big name companies like Microsoft and Facebook, but most companies are not to that scale. For this question to make sense for your organization, it would be best to do some research into companies that are of similar size to you (or look at your competitors) to see how they successfully implemented Continuous Delivery. Here is a list of companies who have been successful if you would like examples regardless of size:
IMVU, since 2009 (50 deployments/day)
Etsy, since 2010
Wealthfront, since 2010
DISQUS, since 2011
Hubspot, since 2013 (300 deployments/day)
Box, since 2013
Does automation play a role in Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery?
The short answer is: Yes, indeed. Continuous integration and continuous delivery will not be… actually ‘continuous’ without one essential ingredient: continuous testing. Without continuous testing, CI/CD is considered fragmented. Therefore, test automation plays a notable role in the entire pipeline. Implementing automated testing will reduce the time and effort invested in manual testing, as well as the possibility of defects. Shifting from manual to automated testing also means better test coverage, fast product releases, more room for other important tasks – thus, achieve quality at speed.
Katalon Studio is one of the most widely adopted tools for API, web, and mobile test automation. The software is robust, yet easy to use, even for users with limited programming skills. It also offers a variety of platforms, operating systems, and integrations with other common CI/CD tools in the industry.
Katalon has recently rolled out a new integration with LambdaTest. LambdaTest is a cross-browser testing cloud services company that offers a wide range of real browsers and operating systems to perform live interactive testing, online automation with Selenium, as well as seamless testing collaboration.
The integration between Katalon and LambdaTest centers on maximizing the capabilities of cross-browser testing using Selenium. Katalon Studio users are now able to:
extend their testing environments in the cloud,
ensure full test coverage,
analyze and extract Selenium test reports,
detect and annotate errors,
integrate with continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) tools,
Integrating LambdaTest with Katalon Studio enables you to run Selenium automation testing directly from their own Katalon Studio instance. You will receive detailed test logs of your automation script execution representing time stamp, metadata, network logs, Selenium logs, command logs, video log of the entire test execution, and so forth.
Selenium is the most versatile and powerful framework when it comes to testing web applications. However, the complexity of the tool’s structure comes with limitations for a lot of users.
How does this integration benefit my testing need?
This integration targets to eliminate two predominant concerns in cross-browser testing: lack of testing platforms or devices, and expensive local infrastructure maintenance. These issues can be easily disentangled with LambdaTest Selenium Grid.
Lack of testing platforms and devices
LambdaTest Selenium Grid is a cloud-based solution that consists of more than 2000 real browsers, operating systems, and resolution combinations online.
Users of Katalon Studio can generate tests and run automation scripts on a variety of platforms and devices. This will help reduce the time spent on test builds, as well as make sure that the software release properly functions on every operating systems and devices, including the most recent versions.
Expensive local infrastructure maintenance
In addition, migrating to cloud testing environments means that teams no longer have to invest in physical devices, as well as reduce the cost, time, and effort spent on updating new versions. This also means they will not have to face the operational and financial risk of overspending on testing devices, let alone the chances of missing an update.
How LambdaTest works with Katalon Studio
First, this is an in-app integration; so no further installation is needed. Learn how to integrate LambdaTest and Katalon Studio within 5 steps here.
Desired Capabilities Generator
LambdaTest offers Desired Capabilities Generator, which provides the syntax for your DesiredCapabilities class in various programming languages including Java for fetching values of Groovy – which are the languages that Katalon Studio supports.
LambdaTest and Katalon Studio both offer integration to a diverse selection of CI/CD tools. Both solutions also offer Jenkins plugins to help accelerate your release activities.
Quick error detection
Moreover, Katalon Studio users can easily notice and highlight a defect when found while running automation testing on LambdaTest Selenium Grid. LambdaTest offers an in-built image editor, so that you can annotate and edit the UI anomalies before showcasing them to your team.
Integration with other software
Leveraging LambdaTest integrations system, you can also connect Katalon Studio with tools offered by LambdaTest, including multiple bug tracking platforms (Jira, asana, Paymo, Hive, etc.) or instant messaging tools (Slack, Microsoft teams, etc.) for easy and efficient team collaboration.
About LambdaTest: LambdaTest technology offers cross-browser testing on more than 2000 browsers, OS and resolution combinations. It enables users to run a number of parallel tests at once to speed up your testing time on Selenium Grid. Users can easily debug each test in detail, conduct test on latest & legacy browsers, perform continuous testing, test locally hosted web pages, and even integrate with various project management tools for logging bug.
We are excited to announce a partnership establishment with Sauce Labs – a cloud-hosted, web, and mobile application automated testing platform company. This collaboration aims at delivering better automated cloud execution, allowing software development businesses to release high-quality products faster.
“One of the challenges that software development teams often face is not having a user-friendly test automation tool, or insufficiency in testing environments. Katalon’s collaboration with Sauce Labs directly addresses both of these problems,” Vu Lam, CEO of Katalon, said.
This partnership introduces Sauce Labs Integration with Katalon Studio, a product of Katalon platform. This is an add-on product – also known as plugin – that offers a convenient solution for web and mobile testing across multiple platforms and browsers. The seamless integration between Katalon Studio and Sauce Labs Continuous Testing Cloud gives software developers and quality assurance testers:
The ability to remove the cumbersome step of manually configuring test environments
The versatility to run remote tests under a vast number of execution environments
Full coverage of test results on both Katalon and Sauce Labs analytic dashboards
More time and effort to focus on higher-scale tasks such as planning and innovating
Sauce Labs provides cloud environments to enable users to ensure mobile applications and websites function flawlessly on every browser, operating system, and device. Katalon Studio is a comprehensive and cross-platform automation for application programming interface (API), web, and mobile testing for small-to-large software teams. Learn more
“We believe this partnership is another step closer to simplifying journeys to the cloud between automation and continuous testing,” Lam continued.
Starting from version 6.2, Katalon Studio supports the latest versions of iOS and Android (iOS 13 and Android 9), as well as Appium versions 1.12.1 and Xcode 10.2. This allows greater flexibility to test web and applications under many more environments.
As part of the Katalon roadmap, our team is planning to roll out Katalon Studio version 6.3 in the future, which enables the recording and spying features in cloud-based services.
“Today’s software experience is becoming more customer-centric than ever before,” Lam believed. “The low tolerance of defects along with high demands for customer satisfaction have driven software-as-a-service (SaaS) enterprises to provide better technology solutions. Partnering with Sauce Labs is one of our initiatives to elevate the customer experience for not only Katalon but also Sauce Labs users.”
This event marks another partnership between Katalon and a software provider company in the test automation industry. Katalon’s past and current service partners include Applitools, Kobiton, KMS Technology, Tricentis qTest, to name a few.
Continuous Integration (CI) allows you to continuously integrate code into a single shared and easy to access repository. Continuous Delivery (CD) allows you to take the code stored in the repository and continuously deliver it to production. CI/CD creates a fast and effective process of getting your product to market before your competition as well as releasing new features and bug fixes to keep your current customers happy.
In this blog, we’re going to delve into the top 10 benefits of continuous integration and continuous delivery to help you decide if this is the right step for your organization to take.
Top 10 Benefits of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery
1. Smaller Code Changes
One technical advantage of continuous integration and continuous delivery is that it allows you to integrate small pieces of code at one time. These code changes are simpler and easier to handle than huge chunks of code and as such, have fewer issues that may need to be repaired at a later date.
Using continuous testing, these small pieces can be tested as soon as they are integrated into the code repository, allowing developers to recognize a problem before too much work is completed afterward. This works really well for large development teams who work remotely as well as those in-house as communication between team members can be challenging.
2. Fault Isolations
Fault isolation refers to the practice of designing systems such that when an error occurs, the negative outcomes are limited in scope. Limiting the scope of problems reduces the potential for damage and makes systems easier to maintain.
Designing your system with CI/CD ensures that fault isolations are faster to detect and easier to implement. Fault isolations combine monitoring the system, identifying when the fault occurred, and triggering its location. Thus, the consequences of bugs appearing in the application are limited in scope. Sudden breakdowns and other critical issues can be prevented from occurring with the ability to isolate the problem before it can cause damage to the entire system.
3. Faster Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR)
MTTR measures the maintainability of repairable features and sets the average time to repair a broken feature. Basically, it helps you track the amount of time spent to recover from a failure.
CI/CD reduces the MTTR because the code changes are smaller and fault isolations are easier to detect. One of the most important business risk assurances is to keep failures to a minimum and quickly recover from any failures that do happen. Application monitoring tools are a great way to find and fix failures while also logging the problems to notice trends faster.
4. More Test Reliability
Using CI/CD, test reliability improves due to the bite-size and specific changes introduced to the system, allowing for more accurate positive and negative tests to be conducted. Test reliability within CI/CD can also be considered Continuous Reliability. With the continuous merging and releasing of new products and features, knowing that quality was top of mind throughout the entire process assures stakeholders their investment is worthwhile.
5. Faster Release Rate
Failures are detected faster and as such, can be repaired faster, leading to increasing release rates. However, frequent releases are possible only if the code is developed in a continuously moving system.
CI/CD continuously merges codes and continuously deploys them to production after thorough testing, keeping the code in a release-ready state. It’s important to have as part of deployment a production environment set up that closely mimics that which end-users will ultimately be using. Containerization is a great method to test the code in a production environment to test only the area that will be affected by the release.
6. Smaller Backlog
Incorporating CI/CD into your organization’s development process reduces the number of non-critical defects in your backlog. These small defects are detected prior to production and fixed before being released to end-users.
The benefits of solving non-critical issues ahead-of-time are many. For example, your developers have more time to focus on larger problems or improving the system and your testers can focus less on small problems so they can find larger problems before being released. Another benefit (and perhaps the best one) is keeping your customers happy by preventing them from finding many errors in your product.
7. Customer Satisfaction
The advantages of CI/CD do not only fall into the technical aspect but also in an organization scope. The first few moments of a new customer trying out your product is a make-or-break-it moment.
Don’t waste first impressions as they are key to turning new customers into satisfied customers. Keep your customers happy with fast turnaround of new features and bug fixes. Utilizing a CI/CD approach also keeps your product up-to-date with the latest technology and allows you to gain new customers who will select you over the competition through word-of-mouth and positive reviews.
Your customers are the main users of your product. As such, what they have to say should be taken into high consideration. Whether the comments are positive or negative, customer feedback and involvement leads to usability improvements and overall customer satisfaction.
Your customers want to know they are being heard. Adding new features and changes into your CI/CD pipeline based on the way your customers use the product will help you retain current users and gain new ones.
8. Increase Team Transparency and Accountability
CI/CD is a great way to get continuous feedback not only from your customers but also from your own team. This increases the transparency of any problems in the team and encourages responsible accountability.
CI is mostly focused on the development team, so the feedback from this part of the pipeline affects build failures, merging problems, architectural setbacks, etc. CD focuses more on getting the product quickly to the end-users to get the much-needed customer feedback. Both CI and CD provide rapid feedback, allowing you to steadily and continuously make your product even better.
9. Reduce Costs
Automation in the CI/CD pipeline reduces the number of errors that can take place in the many repetitive steps of CI and CD. Doing so also frees up developer time that could be spent on product development as there aren’t as many code changes to fix down the road if the error is caught quickly. Another thing to keep in mind: increasing code quality with automation also increases your ROI.
10. Easy Maintenance and Updates
Maintenance and updates are a crucial part of making a great product. However, it’s important to note within a CI/CD process to perform maintenance during downtime periods, also known as the non-critical hour. Don’t take the system down during peak traffic times to update code changes.
Upsetting customers is one part of the problem, but trying to update changes during this time could also increase deployment issues. Make sure the pipeline runs smoothly by incorporating when to make changes and releases. A great way to ensure maintenance doesn’t affect the entire system is to create microservices in your code architecture so that only one area of the system is taken down at one time.
There are many tools that can help enable a smoother transition to a CI/CD process. Testing is a large part of that process because even if you are able to make your integrations and delivery faster, it would mean nothing if was done so without quality in mind. Also, the more steps of the CI/CD pipeline that can be automated, the faster quality releases can be accomplished.
Check out Katalon Studio for better test automation and CI/CD implementation.
As the demand to release quality software products in the short amount of time continues to accelerate, Agile and DevOps teams have to adopt new approaches to avoid falling behind. Continuous testing and shift-left testing are two breakthrough solutions in this modern era of software delivery. In this blog, we will walk you through these two notions, their benefits, and how to implement them into your software development life cycle (SDLC).
What is Continuous Testing?
Continuous testing uses a procedure of testing early and often throughout the development lifecycle. Incorporating continuous testing into your organization’s testing strategy accelerates your time-to-market but keeps (or even improves) the quality your customers expect.
Additionally, continuous testing enables constant feedback for developers to fix bugs before being released to production. Imagine being able to increase your level of quality output even faster through automated tests performed at every stage. While automation is not a requirement of continuous testing, it does help the process run much faster and, as such, is highly recommended.
Shift-left testing comes about to test earlier in the development process. Even with Agile teams breaking away from the traditional Waterfall development model, testing always seems to be the last step.
For example, if everything is completed on the developers’ side and they begin new projects, but then tests come up with bugs that have to be fixed before it can be released to production. The developers would then have to shift focus from the new projects to fix bugs in the last project or the last project would have to wait until a new release cycle. Talk about a waste of time!
In an effort to bring testing earlier into the development lifecycle while improving quality measures, tasks are being shifted left rather than the traditional method of keeping delivery and testing requirements to the right side of the development model. If possible, testing should occur from the very beginning of the design phase to build an appropriate testing strategy.
As testing will occur throughout every stage, even at the end, finding problems as soon as possible reduces the amount of time spent resolving them and reduces the change of testing becoming a bottleneck to a fast release.
Key Benefits of Shift-left Testing
Early detection: Find bugs early and fix them before they become a problem in production
Cost savings: Time and resources can be quickly used up. Shift-left testing helps reduce that problem and saves you money.
Reliable testing: Increase your testing reliability by using the shift-left testing procedures
Teamwork makes the dream work: Create a sense of unity amongst your developers and testers by keeping differences between them from creating a bottleneck
Fast delivery: Deliver your product to market faster
Development pipeline: Shift-left testing helps to perform testing as soon in the development pipeline as you can achieve.
Challenges of Shift-left Testing
Planning: Shift-left testing can be difficult to incorporate without an effective plan in place before you begin
Project Management: Properly prepare and train your project managers to incorporate shift-left testing into their processes
Quality control: Maintaining excellent quality levels during the training and transition phase
Developers: Developers can be resistant to testing and should be prepared to add testability to their skillset
Silos: Reduce the silos in your organization to provide swift feedback to fix problems faster and more efficiently
Audits: If your organization does not actively participate in regular code audits, make sure this is set up to ensure the new testing procedure is working as intended
Why Shift-left Testing Matters in Continuous Testing
Shift-left testing should matter to you because it emphasizes the test early principle. More and more, companies are finding out that style is simply not conducive to rapid releases. Time is money, after all. Shifting testing practices left and incorporate testing as early as possible allows software businesses to beat their competition to the market.
While shift-left testing might sound like the perfect approach to help you in the testing process before rolling out new products, the technique alone is not enough.
Your ultimate objective is to automate and test as many aspects of the product as possible while reducing the amount of time invested in the testing phase. This is why shift-left testing should come into the picture.
Shift-left testing should be incorporated into continuous testing so that testers can generate more frequent, holistic and more practical tests with the implementation of real functional data. The combination “shift-left continuous testing” adds to the automation of your application testing, ensures that it is utilized as much, as early, and as continuous as possible throughout the product development pipeline.
In other words, by incorporating shift-left testing and continuous testing, bug detection can be done more efficiently in the early stage, resulting in higher quality feedback and faster issue resolution with lesser effort.
How to Apply Shift-left Testing in Continuous Testing
Now that you have understood the two definitions, let’s unravel these concepts to see how they fit into the big idea.
Shift-left testing is a part of continuous testing, as it employs the same process of testing at every stage and as often as possible. While continuous testing is part of the process of executing tests in the DevOps pipeline to get feedback on bugs as soon as possible, shift-left testing focuses on defined objectives. Therefore, if continuous testing incorporates the entirety of the DevOps pipeline (i.e. from planning, designing, developing to deploying), shift-left takes a part of each cycle and sets testing strategies for each task in the cycle. Shift-left testing enhances continuous testing and makes it a stronger weapon against bugs.
In addition, you can apply shift-left testing through behavior-driven development (BDD). BDD is a versatile Agile software development approach that enhances collaboration between developers and non-technical team members such as managers.
Katalon Studio is a powerful tool for you to implement BDD into shift-left testing through Jira integration.
By integrating with Jira, the non-technical department such as testers and managers can directly pull requirements from Jira to BDD files, which are already integrated in Katalon Studio. QA testers can then write test cases and send back to developers to run.
With this approach, managers will understand what happens throughout the software delivery process thanks to the ubiquitous language of BDD; testers will not have to wait until developers finish coding. If defects or errors occur, either the QA or development team can quickly re-run test cases and make changes accordingly. Discover Jira in Katalon Studio
End-to-end (E2E) testing is a technique that tests the entire software product from beginning to end to ensure the application flow behaves as expected. It defines the product’s system dependencies and ensures all integrated pieces work together as expected.
The main purpose of E2E testing is to test from the end user’s experience by simulating the real user scenario and validating the system under test and its components for integration and data integrity.
Software systems nowadays are complex and interconnected with numerous subsystems. If any of the subsystems fails, the whole software system could crash. This is a major risk and can be avoided by end-to-end testing.
Benefits of End-to-End Testing
End-to-end testing has been more reliable and widely adopted because of these following benefits:
Expand test coverage
Ensure the correctness of the application
Reduce time to market
Modern software systems allow subsystem interactions through advancements in technology. Whether the subsystem is the same or different from the main system, within or outside the organization, subsystem failures can cause adverse effects throughout the entire system.
System risks can be avoided by performing the following:
Verifying the system flow
Increasing test coverage areas
Detecting issues associated with the subsystem
E2E testing broadly appeals to many groups:
Developers benefit from it because most of the testing is offloaded to others.
Testers find it useful because writing tests that verify real-world behavior help them avoid problems and achieve a greater sense of accomplishment.
Managers like it because user simulation tests let them know how a failing test would impact the user.
When to Apply End-to-End Testing
There are many scenarios to apply end-to-end testing. Here’s an example:
Before testing, designers and developers create a list of which UI, functions or features that need to be performed. Data flow should be tracked between systems to find dependencies, flaws, and inaccuracies. Teams also have to prepare the conditions – factors that may change any interface options – before testing.
E2E testing is regularly conducted on finished products and systems, making each review a test of the completed system. A second test will take place if the system does not output what is expected or if a problem is found. In this case, the team will have to record and analyze the data to determine the issue’s origin; then fix and re-test them.
End-to-End Tests vs. Functional Tests
End-to-end tests are not just several unit tests and functional tests strung together – they are more complex and carry more risks. We’ve listed the main differences between functional and E2E tests to illustrate this further.
Testing is limited to one single piece of code or application.
Testing crosses multiple applications and user groups.
Ensures the tested software meets acceptance criteria.
Ensures a process continues to work after changes are made.
Tests the way a single user engages with the application.
Tests the way multiple users work across applications.
Validate the result of each test for inputs and outputs.
Validate that each step in the process is completed.
End-to-End Testing Lifecycle
An end-to-end testing lifecycle consists of four components: test planning, test design, test execution, and results analysis.
Test planning: Specifies key tasks, associated schedule, and resources
Test design: Test specifications, test case generation, risk analysis, usage analysis, and scheduling tests
Test execution: Executes test cases and documents testing results
Results analysis: Analyzes test results, evaluate testing, and perform additional testing if necessary
End-to-end Testing MethodsHorizontal E2E testing
A commonly used method occurring horizontally across the context of multiple applications and easily takes place in a single ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) application. Here’s an example. A Web-based application of an e-commerce system includes accounts, product inventory status, and shipping details.
Vertical E2E testing
This method refers to testing in layers, meaning that tests happen in sequential, hierarchical order. To ensure quality, each component of a system or product is tested from start to finish. Vertical testing is often used to test critical components of a complex computing system which does not typically involve users or interfaces.
Metrics for End-to-end Testing
Some of the many metrics used for E2E testing are:
Test Case Preparation Status: Used to determine the specific position of the test cases that are under preparation, compared to planned test cases.
Test Progress Tracking: Test progress should be tracked on a weekly basis. This step will provide regular details of test completion percentage, such as passed/failed, executed/unexecuted, valid/invalid test cases, and so on.
Defects Status and Details: It gives a weekly percentage of open and closed defects. Also, weekly defect distributions are based on severity and priority.
Environment Availability: The actual number of operational hours and hours scheduled per day for testing.
Automate End-to-End Testing in Katalon Studio
Katalon Studio is an excellent automation tool that can make your end-to-end tests less complicated. There are three core features in Katalon Studio that you can use to apply E2E testing: recorder, built-in keywords, and custom keywords.
Different use cases are often mixed together in different orders and variations. But we can call each grouping of use cases a user journey. Technically, a user journey is a collection of steps in which each step corresponds to a user action. Collectively, they represent a typical user session.
Katalon offers the Recorder feature on Web and mobile to help you accomplish the task of creating user journeys without any hassle. The Recorder essentially watches and records all your movements on the application so that you can focus on creating the journey itself.
A user journey usually consists of hundreds of steps. When a test case – which represents a user journey – fails, it may be easy to pinpoint superficial causes (e.g. a change in a Web element’s property). However, it is harder to diagnose the actual cause solely based on the fact that the test has failed. It could have been due to the current page is not the same page that was recorded because at some points the test case went off the right track.
To ensure that the user journey has to go through certain milestones, test oracles are necessary. Test oracle refers to a mechanism to ensure that the test case is being executed as expected. In Katalon, a set of built-in keywords that implement this concept is provided. You can assert or verify a web element against certain text that you expect it to contain, or its properties against some expected properties and many other types of expectations check.
Depending on the business logic of your application, there may be behaviors that occur across different pages but differ only in some known characteristics. In such cases, it is a best practice to capture these behaviors in a behavior template that can be filled with specific information when necessary.
In Katalon, a custom keyword can be defined to represent such a behavior template. Once defined, it can be reused in different test cases and even in different test projects. You can even share your custom keyword as a plug-in through Katalon Store so that others can benefit from it.
Customers nowadays expect top-notch software for their businesses or personal use. To accommodate that need, software companies are incorporating Continuous Testing practices to ensure the software they release to market can outshine the competition.
What is Continuous Testing?
Simply put, Continuous Testing is a software testing type in which the product is evaluated early, often, and throughout the entire Continuous Delivery (CD) process. Continuous testing uses automated tests to ensure teams receive immediate feedback to quickly mitigate as many risks as possible throughout the software development lifecycle. Moreover, team members are able to continuously learn about their product and what can be done to increase quality and reliability.
Incorporating continuous testing into your organization is not a simple procedure, however, as you need to build out a test strategy to ensure a smooth transition.
You also asked why is it so valuable? Imagine this: Traditionally, testing software is only done after code is written and sent to the Quality Assurance department to be independently tested. After bugs are found, the code is then sent back to developers to be fixed. This testing model is relatively functional. However, it is risky, disrupted, and time-consuming. Instead, businesses nowadays require fast delivery of high-quality products.
But what if there was a different avenue for testing? A faster and more efficient way that eliminated bottlenecking between different departments?
That is where continuous testing becomes valuable. Testing code directly after submitting it to the repository helps detect bugs before any additional code is written. That extra code would then not have to be adjusted to incorporate bug fixes. Talk about saving time!
Benefits of Continuous Testing
Find errors: Ensure as many errors are found before being released to production
Test early and often: Tested throughout the development, delivery, testing, and deployment cycles
Accelerate testing: Run parallel performance tests to increase testing execution speed
Earn customer loyalty: Accomplish continuous improvement and quality
Automation: Automate your test cases to decrease time spent testing
Increase release rate: Speed up delivery to production and release faster
Reduce business risks: Assess potential problems before they become an actual problem
DevOps: Incorporates into your DevOps processes smoothly
Communication transparency: Eliminate silos between the development, testing, and operations teams
Available testing tools: Available tools that support continuous testing to make the testing process easier, faster, and more reliable
Key Components of Continuous Testing
Let’s break down the key components of continuous testing and determine if it would work for your organization.
Manual testing is laborious and time-intensive. Automation gives time back to your engineers to actually fix the bugs found during testing. Now, not everything should be automated. Exploratory testing does play a crucial role to creatively find ways to test. And those test scenarios found through exploratory testing? Automate them!
Continuous testing cannot be done without test automation. The best part about test automation is the quick feedback the team receives. Continuous testing allows early and often feedback so that changes can be made far before releasing features to the market.
Do you see the connection? The ideal aspect of continuous testing is to have it triggered and executed without human intervention. This is the ultimate goal of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery.
The CI/CD pipeline is an essential part of continuous testing. Let’s talk about continuous integration (CI). This practice gathers code from developers working on one project and placing it into a code repository. Integrating different developer’s code into one project can generate a lot of bugs. This is where continuous testing comes into play. Automating your test executions each time the code is integrated will allow you to find bugs as early as possible and fix them faster. Find bugs before they’re released to production and you can save yourself a lot of time, money, and effort to fix at a later date.
Continuous Delivery (CD) can often be confused with continuous deployment. A great way to think about the difference is continuous delivery is having any code version ready to deploy to production. Both practices require you to work on small, frequent changes. But we believe continuous delivery is an integral part of continuous testing because you should test code before it is deployed. Having code ready to go without thoroughly testing it is a waste of resources and should be acted upon immediately. Continuously test your code!
Now that you know what continuous testing is, let’s talk about how you use it. Continuous testing should be implemented at every stage of your CI/CD pipeline. You can set up test suites at every point code changes, merges, or releases. That way, you can run tests at a specific point rather than every test at once. This will help reduce time and effort on testing but still reap quality rewards.
Continuous testing works best by using the most recent build in an isolated environment. Containerization is a great method to help with replicating code outside of the main code repository.
Tools are very useful to help make continuous testing even faster. The next section discusses the best tools for your specific requirements.
Continuous Testing Tools for Agile Teams
Jenkins is a continuous integration tool using Java language and is configurable via both GUI interface and console commands.
Katalon Studio is built on top of Selenium. This tool offers a comprehensive platform to perform automated testing for Web UI, Web services, API services, and mobile. Free Download
Travis CI is a continuous testing tool hosted on GitHub offering hosted and on-premise variants.
Selenium is an open-source software testing tool. It supports most mainstream browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. Selenium WebDriver is used to automate web application testing.
Continuous testing is beneficial in so many ways, but it can also be very challenging. Make sure you have a solid plan in place before incorporating this testing procedure into your organization. Strategize with each team about how they can build it into their procedures to keep the testing flow seamlessly throughout the development process. This involves eliminating the silos between each team – yes, developers, testers, and operations will now have to work together! It’s all for the greater good.
Does your business plan include a continuous testing strategy? Is continuous testing right for your organization? Every company who has implemented continuous testing had to answer these questions – and not all companies are able to do so. It requires a strategic planning process and many changes would need to be put in place, which can be challenging for small and large organizations alike. After all, continuous testing is all about testing early and often which can be challenging to implement.
If you want to learn about best practices to implement an effective continuous testing strategy, you’ve come to the right place. After thoroughly researching continuous testing and consulting industry experts, we’ve compiled eight best practices that you should consider to help you effectively build a continuous testing strategy. We hope this helps you make the best decision for your software testing needs.
1. Adopt More Test Automation
Continuous testing is still achievable with manual testing each time code is checked in and still experience the same expected quality. However, automation increases the speed and errors coverage at which testing can function. Automating as much as you can in the development lifecycle will help you achieve faster releases. Read more on why you should apply test automation.
Keep this in mind. If you are shifting from a fully manual testing procedure, don’t expect automation to happen overnight. It can take time to set up. But once you do, the time-saving benefits will definitely earn you points with your customers who won’t have to wait as long for new features. Or even getting your product to market before your competition can.
2. Tool Integration
Continuous testing is not just about automation. It involves teams using proper tools to make the testing process easier, faster, comprehensive, and more effective. Such as tools that work with the dev toolchains to remove the manual overhead (where possible). Additionally, tools that remove/reduce mundane operations for testers, enabling them to focus on what is important: testing.
3. Tracking Metrics
Use quantifiable metrics to keep track of your success or failure rate during testing. Continuous testing offers immediate results to see if the software is working as expected. Hard data yield results to measure progress and quality outputs. Tracking how many bugs are found and corrected provides continuous validation for your business value ROI.
Two key metrics that you need to be sure to keep track of are: counts of defects and counts of fail/pass test scripts. Tracking the number of defects discovered in your testing process will help you determine if the number increases or decreases. If it increases, strategize ways to change your development process; if it decreases, keep up the great work! Additionally, keeping track of the number of pass/fail test scripts will help you produce a comprehensive testing strategy to create better functionality for your application.
Katalon Analytics can help you effectively manage test results and insights. Learn more here.
4. Leverage Containerization
Containerization refers to the process of bundling all components of an application together – including configuration files, libraries, and dependencies – within its own operating system.
Containerization makes continuous testing easier to process by keeping each service of the application in its own environment. Imagine being able to test only the specific code that you need at one time, rather than the entire application.
Also, using containers for your test environments keeps the often difficult-to-maintain environments up-to-date with the latest code changes that would be released to production. Furthermore, if the test suite fails or if the data ends up corrupted, the container can be discarded and another one set up with fresh data.
5. Keep Communication Transparent
Keep your communication lines transparent to prevent the testing pipeline from becoming siloed. Bottlenecks can form when communication between other teams or roles within the same team are not transparent, resulting in time wasted that could otherwise be spent more productively. It’s like a well-choreographed dance. The steps have been set in place and you need to learn how to move fluidly with your partner to smoothly fulfill all the steps. Active communication is the key to achieving the balance necessary to effectively carry out continuous testing.
6. Save Time with Headless Execution
No, it’s not Halloween and we’re not talking about headless horsemen. Headless execution is the part of automating user interface tests that don’t incorporate the head (i.e. no browser UI or GUI). Resulting in faster execution, this process reduces the number of unnecessary caches, cookies, or resources that are sifted through to obtain the results that matter: does the application run as expected.
Be sure to run a subset of your tests on a real browser before releasing to your customers. After all, users don’t operate on headless browsers! Always check your user interface through explorations to ensure all necessary areas are covered. The beauty of headless execution, though? Saving time to run the longer and more in-depth automated tests.
7. Multi-layer Tests
Using a multi-layered approach to run tests ensures all areas within the development lifecycle are covered. From unit, integration (API), system (GUI), and database testing, complete automation must take multiple testing processes into consideration for thorough testing to be carried out. As software techniques become more complex (especially taking into consideration the next steps of microservices), having a multi-layer approach in place will help you keep the complexity from overwhelming proper test execution.
8. Integrate Performance Testing into Delivery Cycle
How do you know if your application is working to the best of its ability? Is it running optimally or is it crashing during heavy use? Performance testing within the delivery cycle is beneficial because it checks the speed, responsiveness, and stability of your application. It’s an investigative process that observes how the system is running and find solutions to overcome those observations. As such, it should be an integral part of continuous testing. After all, if the application is not reliable or the data is not accurate, would you continue to have a great ROI?
If you want to keep up the speed, maintain low effort to script, and create parallel executions with minimal interdependence, you should use tools to help you with these efforts! One of the best tools that can help with your performance testing is Neoload which works well with a continuous testing strategy.
Continuous testing is a great way to ensure your product is released to the market at quality customers expect. If you incorporate these best practices before implementing continuous testing within your organization, you’ll be off to a great start.
In today’s culture of wanting more and more, one of the top challenges for software companies is quickly responding to market and customer demands. To address this concern, a solution was implemented: Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD). CI/CD practices are currently the most widely accepted choice to shorten software development and delivery cycle time. Read on to find out more about CI/CD and how these practices are performed.
What is Continuous Integration?
Pioneered by Gary Booch, software integration was first integrated as one of the key practices of Extreme Programming. Software integration may not be necessary for stable projects, but it is essential for projects with frequent changes. After all, waiting to integrate often results in integration conflicts and can take too much time to resolve, leading to project delays.
Continuous integration (CI) helps ensure that software components work together. Integration should be completed frequently; if possible, on an hourly or daily basis.
In a CI practice, developers build, run, and test code on their own workstations before committing code to the version control repository. After changes are made to the repository, a chain of events is put into motion. A typical first step in this chain is to build the latest version of source code. If the build is successful, unit tests are executed. If unit testing succeeds, the build is deployed to test environments where system tests are performed (usually using automated tests). The team is notified about the status of this process, and a report is delivered to provide details, such as build number, defects, and the number of tests.
A CI pipeline typically involves the following tasks:
Detect changes in the source code repository (new commits appear)
Source code quality analysis
Execute all unit tests
Execute all integration tests
Generate deployable artifacts
If one of the steps above fails:
Integration may stop or continue depending on defect severity and configuration
Results are notified to the team via email or chat system
Team fixes defects and commits again
Tasks are performed again
What is Continuous Delivery?
Continuous delivery (CD) picks up where continuous integration ends. While CI is the process to build and test automatically, CD deploys all code changes in a build to the testing or staging environment. CD makes it possible to release builds to the production environment when needed. Allowing the team to deploy at will, CD effectively reduces time to market.
Before deploying software to production, the CD process includes performing automated system testing, unit testing (including API testing and load testing), and integration testing. The steps from CI to CD are usually completed automatically, including automated testing at the unit, integration, and system levels. As tests can fail at any level and environment, CI/CD must include a feedback channel to quickly report failures to developers.
Dependent on policies and processes defined by teams, developers may do the following with CI/CD:
Step 1: Before committing changes, developers check to see if the current build succeeded. If not, fix errors before committing new changes.
Step 2: If the current build succeeded, reset the workstation with the build’s configuration.
Step 3: Build and test locally to ensure the update does not break any functionality. If successful, commit new changes.
Step 4: Allow CI to complete with new changes.
Step 5: If the build fails, stop and fix errors on local workstations. Go back to Step 3.
Step 6: If the build passes, continue working on other items.
CI/CD Workflow Pipeline
A CI/CI pipeline is a path for delivering a unit of change that starts from development to delivery, usually consists of the following main phases:
Phase 1: Commit
When developers complete a change, they commit the change to the repository.
Phase 2: Build
Source code from the repository is integrated into a build.
Phase 3: Automate tests
Automated tests are run against the build. Test automation is an essential element of any CI/CD pipeline.
Note: Automate the entire pipeline to allow a single commit from a developer to automatically be converted into an update in production.
Phase 4: Deploy
The built version is delivered to production.
Importance of test automation for CI/CD
Test automation is a crucial component of any CI/CD pipeline. The benefits of applying CI/CD cannot be realized if there is a lack of automated testing and a low level of test coverage. Teams need to perform automated testing at all levels including unit, integration, and system testing.
Covers units of code such as methods, classes, and API services. Effective unit testing significantly increases test coverage for the whole system.
Ensure modules and parts of the system work together smoothly.
Runs on the entire system to simulate active users. The test environment should be as close to the production environment as possible.
Teams also need to apply automation testing for multiple testing types such as functionality, usability, performance, load, stress, and security.
Crucial software for the CI/CD pipeline
Many software tools are available to support implementing CI/CD practices. These tools range from repository management such as Github and Bitbucket, Jenkins for build automation, and Selenium and Katalon Studio for test automation.
Katalon Studio provides a comprehensive set of features for API, Web, and mobile testing. It can be easily integrated into a CI/CD pipeline to handle unit (API services), integration, and system testing.
CI and CD are two DevOps best practices as they tackle the misalignment between developers and operational team. With the presence of automation, developers can release changes and new features more frequently, while operation teams have better overall stability.
Check out Katalon Studio for better test automation and CI/CD implementation.