The ideology of DevOps is directed towards promoting teamwork and driving focus on communication & collaboration between the different members who are part of the overall software development. This approach in the software development lifecycle will ensure that there’s complete transparency implemented across all stages of software development.
Keeping that ideology in mind, continuous testing is one of the most integral aspects of overall software development and DevOps practices. It is designed with the intention of providing the experts with a detailed understanding of the diverse components used in app development practices.
The concept of continuous testing in DevOps promotes the adoption of automate software testing services possible throughout the software development lifecycle. With this, the team can possibly ensure that the code is being evaluated for validity and the overall software quality is being assessed as well.
Automated DevOps testing or continuous testing can help organizations determine when their software is ready to enter the production phase. To learn more about the concept of continuous testing in DevOps practices, read this article till the end!
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What is Continuous Testing?
Continuous testing in DevOps refers to the implementation of automated tests, which get executed at periodic intervals every time there are some changes within the code. Such tests are considered very crucial as part of the overall software delivery pipeline, as they promote faster feedback across recent changes that are pushed into a code repository.
This approach was initially introduced with the intention to reduce the overall time that’s consumed for providing feedback to the software developers. Earlier, it used to take a lot of time for the testers to identify a problem within the software and send information to the development team. Following this, the experts take their time to fix the issue and get it ready for a re-test.
The primary goal of introducing continuous testing in DevOps is to test the software more often, especially at the individual level or initial development stages. In this way, the potential errors in the code will be detected at the early stages and can be fixed before it can move on to the next phase of development. This way, the overall testing and development process will speed up.
You must know that every software app is developed differently, and there is a need to update it to meet the end-user requirements. In early processes, the deployment and development approaches were kind of complicated, due to which changing the codes or testing the software took ample time.
But with the DevOps and Agile approach, it is now easier for the developers to make changes in real-time, enabling faster rectification of the errors. With continuous testing, the entire team, being part of the development lifecycle of an app, can be assured that critical bugs have been attended to at the earliest stages. Thus, it saves a lot of bug fixing or testing costs for the organization in the later stages.
The Benefits of Continuous Testing in DevOps
To help you better understand the efficacies of continuous testing in the DevOps environment, here are some of the benefits associated with this implementation:
Accelerated Feedback Loop
With continuous testing, the codes will be validated at all stages, and feedback will also be received for every test session implemented. When you tend to get the feedback earlier in the development lifecycle and across all stages, you will save a lot of time throughout the process.
The earlier you identify the problems, the easier it will be for the team to fix them. The automation factor of continuous testing intends to help you with the needful. With this accelerated feedback loop of continuous testing, every time there’s an update within the code of the app, the test will be initiated automatically, and the reports will be updated in real time.
Early Bug Detection
With consistent testing of the app code at all stages of the development lifecycle, it is possible for you to detect potential bugs at the earliest times possible. It would help the testers collaborate with the developers quite earlier within the development process. This will help derive test results upon the design or development of the application.
By implementing continuous testing in the DevOps environment, the testers will be working closely with the developers to build the testing tools and their associated procedures. With such an inclusion, it is also possible for even the developers to run certain unit tests. The mission is to detect and clear the worrisome bugs in the early phases of development to ensure they don’t hamper the performance of the app in the long run.
Reduced Time to Market
When the tests are conducted at all stages of the overall development lifecycle, you can ensure that the overall process is being sped up. The entire team will experience an improvement in their abilities to develop and deliver quality software within the shortest possible time.
Moreover, the devops test automation strategy helps firms quickly respond to market changes. The updates get developed immensely faster and are released on demand. Error resolutions are quite rapid, which supports the accelerated launch and integration of the application on a consistent basis and at a high pace.
Improved Collaboration and Communication
With continuous testing integration into your software development lifecycle, you can ensure that your teams will be able to build a superior communication level alongside strong collaboration.
When your entire team comes together to achieve continuous testing, it won’t just improve bug identification but will also ensure that the teams will be more aligned to collaborate and meet the commercial goals.
Enhanced Test Coverage
Continuous testing in the DevOps lifecycle begins at the initial stage of implementing a fresh code. Upon that, a test will be executed to assess all the errors and features. With the right set of implementations for continuous testing alongside the help of developers to fix the problems, you can be sure that critical errors within the application are identified and fixed at the earliest.
This indicates a widened coverage of tests, which looks after the detailed coding attributes on a regular basis, which helps ensure the high performance of the app by the time it reaches the end phase of the development lifecycle.
Consistent and Reliable Testing Processes
Continuous testing helps you run automated tests every time a new or fresh code is written. It accelerates the software delivery process and supports frequent testing in the overall lifecycle. Moreover, with the approach of continuous testing, you can run validation checks for the test processes that are present within the pipeline.
Continuous testing provides feedback to all the involved teams and the associated stakeholders. You will be able to ensure that quality code is being used for your application development, which would ensure a profound user experience. In the DevOps environment, the continuous testing approach will break down the teams to introduce more collaborative work within the development, operations, and testing phases.
Key Practices for Continuous Testing in DevOps
To help you get a clearer insight into how continuous testing can be implemented in the best ways possible, here are some of the best practices for you to count on:
It is an integral part of continuous testing, which employs a similar validation process at all stages and whenever possible. The concept of it indicates the intention of letting the developers know about the bugs at the earliest and more often. Using the shift-left approach, you will be able to identify bugs in the code right while it is being written or when the developers are reviewing it. At these stages, fixing the bugs is quite easy because the code units are quite smaller and manageable.
You must adopt an automated testing prioritization mindset, but remember not to eliminate all of the manual testing approaches. You must drive your focus toward automating the test areas that need repeated validation. You might have to take the help of the experts and map out the software development life cycle to determine the areas that need automated continuous testing.
Test Environment Management
You must make use of the containerization technology, possibly Docker, which will help you create a reliable or consistent test environment. With this, continuous testing can take place without breakdowns or complexities. In this way, you will be able to encompass strategies and practices being employed for creating, configuring, and maintaining the test environments that closely resemble the production setups.
Test Data Management
When executing continuous testing, you must ensure that you are paying emphasis to test data management. It is the process that gets integrated along with the DevOps pipeline, which automates the collection, management, and delivery of the test data as a crucial part of the overall CI/CD process.
Implement performance testing, as it is the practice that enables you to keep a tab on how the application performs under an added load on a consistent basis. Moreover, with the shift-left concept, it is indicated that the test activities must be invoked as early as possible within the development process. Therefore, by conducting the performance tests during the development, the teams will be able to detect & resolve all performance issues before the users can be adversely impacted by them.
Security testing is one of the undeniable practices in the continuous testing process under the DevOps environment. It is because this would ensure that the system or application is free from all kinds of threats, risks, and vulnerabilities. This is all about finding various weaknesses in the system, which might lead to data or information loss in the organization.
Top Continuous Testing Tools and Technologies
So, if you are convinced to implement continuous testing for your software development practices, then here are some of the most popular tools for you to count on:
Selenium is undoubtedly one of the most popular names in the arena of automated testing. If you want to adopt continuous testing, Selenium is considered the best open-source framework and an ideal candidate for you to integrate. It is a go-to choice for all the QA engineers who hold proficient coding skills.
Selenium tends to provide you immense support on popular OSs and browsers to help the testers with cross-environment testing. The professionals who are setting up continuous testing with Selenium should have proper technical skills and knowledge.
- Support for language & framework
- Availability of open-source
- Enables you with multi-browser support
- Supports various operations
- Easy implementation
- Supports integrations and reusability
- Local test infrastructure is difficult to manage
- It might require third-party tool integrations
- Comes with some hidden costs
- Microsoft Edge
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft Edge WebDriver
There is no fee that you have to pay to buy its license or subscription!
The Katalon Studio is yet another popular name that’s proudly built over the Appium or Selenium platform. It is a comprehensive continuous testing tool that meets the utmost demand of test automation within the DevOps environment. This tool supports continuous testing with the use of Jira Agile integration and the native CI/CD integration by using common CI tools such as Azure, CircleCI, or others.
Katalon Platform is considered an easy-to-use platform, which enables you to create tests without the need for any codes, especially for beginners. Moreover, it also has advanced extensions, especially for expert testers. There are special plugins within the tool’s interface for extending the continuous test automation features and seamlessly integrating with your CI/CD software.
- Requires smaller code changes
- Easy to isolate the faults
- Test reliability is higher
- Simple learning curve
- Record & playback feature
- Lacks certain scripting languages
- Smaller community
- Universal Windows Platform
- Windows Forms
- Windows Presentation Foundation
There are both free and paid plans available at Katalan Studio. Designing and running API, desktop, and mobile automated tests are free, but available test or release management features come with the paid plans.
LoadRunner, a proficient testing tool, works by simulating real-time user activities in the form of coding scripts. Following that, these scripts are executed by the virtual users to create traffic over the server and implement the load-testing aspects. This shall test the load-bearing capacity of the app and give out the results.
- Supports accurate detection of coding bottlenecks.
- Helps you find the root cause of all performance issues.
- Minimizes the downtime possibility due to performance issues.
- Supports tests for legacy apps as well.
- Highly expensive.
- Makes use of a lot of memory and sometimes crashes.
- Rich Internet Applications
- Web 2.0
- MS SQL Server
- Windows Socket
There are hourly charges for using LoadRunner, based on what plans you choose! It ranges from $0.15 to $1.5 per hour.
Postman is one of the most crucial software testing solutions that is mostly preferred for API testing. By using this tool, the developers will find it easy to build the APIs and test them before they can be shared or documented.
With this tool, you can feasibly be able to test your apps through either manual or automated testing. You can integrate it with the DevOps environment to support the continuous testing lifecycle as well.
- There is no need to use it with any licensing expense.
- Easy to use with an optimized GUI.
- Tests can be executed in iteration with supported integrations.
- Supports both manual as well as automation testing.
- Cannot reuse the pre-written test scripts.
- Advanced features such as detailed reporting or analytics are missing.
There are both free as well as paid plans for using the Postman tool. The pricing for paid plans ranges from $12 to $99 per month per user.
Following that, this tool also has some AI features to support dynamic maintenance and recognition of the test object. It automatically determines the tests and updates them in case there are any changes made to the UI of the app. You have the feasibility to maximize your test coverage by integrating third-party frameworks for unit testing, such as Selenium Webdriver or TestNG.
- Open, flexible architecture
- Automates apps across diverse platforms or browsers
- Comes with built-in test samples
- Simple to use
- Unstable name mapping feature
- Interaction with objects is conditioned or restricted
It is one of the most expensive test automation tools, the license of which costs around $31,000 a year for a team of four people and requires $7000 annual maintenance.
It is the newcomer tool in the market that supports continuous automation testing with a cloud-based approach. It supports API, mobile, and web test automation solutions. In accordance with continuous testing, Testsigma also provides a specific test infrastructure with the OSs, browsers, or devices that are most ideally suitable for teams with complex test requirements.
With the shift-left ideologies, Testsigma is also implementing AI features to detect potential issues or risks, followed by constant modifications or changes supported for immediate actions. There’s a custom function that enables you to add Java or Selenium to extend the Testsigma capabilities.
- Reduces the overall time needed for testing apps
- Quickly creates the tests
- Not much initial setup time is required
- Inability to link the test suites
- Lack of consistency in test cases
The platform is free for you to start with your continuous testing approach.
TestRail comes with powerful management capabilities for test cases and lets you use API for implementing automation. Thus, it makes it possible for you to aggregate results from both manual as well as automation testing over TestRail. This tool is quite easy to use for all beginners and operates with an easy language, enabling all non-technical individuals to find it feasible.
You can integrate TestRail with almost all types of popular test automation tools, such as Cypress, Selenium, Playwright, Sauce Labs, etc., to visualize your tests and track the overall coverage and support linking to the defects.
- Efficiently manages all the test plans and cases
- Boosts the testing productivity
- Gain real-time insights
- Ideal for larger teams
- Not enough support
- Reporting capabilities are restrictive
- Microsoft Edge
The pricing for TestRail starts at $36/month and has four plans. The top tier plan costs $3335 per year.
Apache JMeter is one of the popular open-source tools which supports load testing. It is designed with the ideology of measuring the performance quotient of various sites. This tool is ideal for being used in the DevOps methodology and supports continuous testing. Irrespective of the server types you are operating on, JMeter enables you to perform your load or performance test.
This tool has the capability of storing your test plans in a specific XML format, enabling the users to generate them with the use of a simple text editor. The use of this tool can be ideally used for performing functional and automated testing of the apps.
- Easy to use
- Integrates with third-party reporting tools
- Supports test recording from native apps or browsers
- Supports easy installation on diverse programs
- Output reports are complex to understand
- Native Commands
- Database via JDBC
JMeter is free to use!
Appium is at the same level of proficiency as Selenium when it comes to continuous testing. This tool is specifically built with respect to conducting mobile tests and has been adopted by several teams around the world. The organizations can implement Appium and customize the same to support continuous testing needs.
The software tends to support cross-platform testing for both Android and iOS devices. In addition to that, several cloud devices have supported the users to run the Appium tests over their respective infrastructure. Thus, using the Appium tool will enable the developers to write, import, execute, and check results over the cloud.
- It is open-source and free
- Enables automated testing of web, mobile, or hybrid apps
- Supports multiple coding languages
- Cross-platform testing is supported
- Limits developers to conduct tests on a large count of devices
- Test converges in specific scenarios
Appium is free to use!
SoapUI is yet another popular cross-platform open-source tool that supports API testing for apps built over REST and SOAP. It is one of the most common DevOpts testing tools to help execute load and functional tests over API. The GUI of the software is quite easy to use and handle. It comes with a vulnerability testing policy that helps secure the site from viruses and hackers.
There’s a specific reporting feature available within the tool as well for the testers to run detailed analyses. Following that, the SQL injection attributes of the tool will provide you with the standard SQL methods or queries for identifying the weaker parts of the app.
- Generates the test scripts easily
- Support for data-driven testing
- Scripts can be reused
- Supports asynchronous testing
- Complex learning curve
- Performance testing is limited
- Resource intensive
SoapUI is an open-source tool and is free to use.
Bugzilla, originally a tool used for bug tracking, can now also be integrated as a test management software. It is because you have the feasibility to link it with any other proficient test case management solution, such as Testlink or Quality Enter. It is an open-source testing tool, and you don’t have to pay any price for it.
Using it, the developers will be able to keep track of all the outstanding bugs or errors within the app. Furthermore, any enhancement or modification requests can also be attended to within the tool effectively.
- Helps with tracking bug fixes
- Scales the quality of the product
- Enhances communication between the testing and development teams
- Adaptable to diverse situations
- It is difficult to attach the files
- Helps you with customization
- The user interface isn’t up to the mark
Bugzilla is free to use!
Tricentis Tosca is yet another effective automation testing tool that uses modern parameters for conducting continuous automation. It automatically scans and loads the unit tests into the software without the need to execute many manual steps. Tosca has the feasibility to support testing for enterprise applications, mobile, API, web, or BI.
This tool will be able to simplify the technical architecture of your application so that the business stakeholders can get along with the testing process without much hassle. Tosca also enables you to suggest specific test cases for the entire team, identify the errors quickly, and narrow down the list to attend to the most critical ones first.
- High reusability
- Supports scalability of the test assets
- Saves you a lot of time and effort
- Supports integration with other tools
- High initial cost
- Maintenance is quite complex
- Windows 10 and 11
The pricing for Tricentis Tosca is around $10,000 for just one license.
Mantis Bug Tracker
Mantis bug tracker is a simple error-identifying tool that can be ideally used for multiple projects at once. It is free software and comes with a simple workflow for tracking bugs in web or mobile apps. You can integrate this tool with any of the third-party test management tools to use it alongside continuous testing practices.
- Efficient tracking or management of software issues
- Better control over users for task handling
- Supports diverse platforms
- Outdated UI
- Android, etc.
Mantis Bug Tracker is free for you to avail!
Overcoming Common Challenges in Continuous Testing
Now that you have a list of specific tools that you need for implementing continuous testing for your software development lifecycle, it is time you know about some of the specific challenges that you must overcome on priority while executing the process:
Handling Flaky Tests
While running continuous tests, you must set all parameters right in order to avoid flaky tests. A flaky test is the type of validation where other passing, as well as failing results are yielded, even when there are no changes made to the codes. It means that such tests fail to deliver a similar outcome to the individual test product.
You must look out for memory leaks, adjust your waiting times, and configure the retries of automatic tests to be able to prevent flaky tests from being executed.
Managing Test Data and Environments
You must make use of respective tools in order to efficiently create, store, share, or manipulate the test data across diverse environments. For creating the test environment associated with automation or continuous testing, you will have to set up specific hardware, configuration, and network that matches the production environment as closely as possible.
Ensuring Adequate Test Coverage
To ensure you have adequate test coverage, you must consider capturing all the test-related requirements at the early stage. Following that, you must use the right set of tools to help you execute a lot of tests within a short span of time. And then you must also write unit tests, mutation testing, coverage tracking, and others.
Step Up Your DevOps: Integrate Continuous Testing! (Conclusion)
This article gave you a clear insight into what continuous testing is and what its benefits are for your organization to thrive. Following that, if you are convinced enough to execute continuous testing for your development projects, then there are thirteen proficient tools out there for you to pick the ones you think would be best for your purpose.
Continuous testing being introduced to the DevOps pipeline is like a quality gate for the software to undergo validation for quality coding before entering into the next phase of the development lifecycle. In case you need any kind of help, you can always connect with the best software testing company and let experts find the right tools and solutions for executing your continuous tests.
Mit Thakkar is the Marketing Head at KiwiQA, a leading software testing company dedicated to helping the testing industry thrive through his extensive experience and expertise. With a passion for promoting excellence in software testing, Mit leverages his in-depth knowledge to devise innovative marketing strategies that showcase KiwiQA’s capabilities and empower businesses worldwide