Are you missing on these latest eCommerce web trends?

Ecommerce has come a long way from the time when a tiny company called Amazon started selling books online. Today predicted sales in the eCommerce industry are expected to cross $27 trillion by the year 2020. The mobile revolution further fueled the eCommerce revolution and today, you always have your favorite store in the palm of your hand. Almost 11% of online shoppers shop online using their smartphones. 35% believe that the mobile will become their preferred purchasing tool. 39% of the shoppers look towards social networks for purchasing inspiration. Clearly, eCommerce is evolving at a rapid pace. With every product imaginable available online and the increasingly mobile nature of the eCommerce customer, just having a good eCommerce website is not good enough anymore. Consumers today expect that online transactions will mimic the engaging and immersive in-store experience, eCommerce companies must make sure that they follow the latest trends to stay their customer’s preferred online shopping destination. Here’s a look at some of the latest eCommerce web trends you cannot afford to ignore.
latest ecommerce web trends

  1. The ‘motion’ experience:
    Motion is making big noise in eCommerce design this year. Subtle animation, some form of movement on the website, to engage the customer will be a UX imperative this year. The idea of introducing motion is to attract the consumer, keep them engaged, and make the online shopping experience more alive. You could, for example, use animated iconography like Etsy uses to notify people when a product is almost sold out. However, as with everything else, minimalism rules here as well. Don’t overdo the motion experience. This could annoy more than improve.
  2. The Social Connect:
    Today, 9 out of 10 people turn to Social Media before they make a buying decision and almost 75% of people purchase something after seeing it on social media. The Shopper Experience Index reveals that shoppers lean heavily on visual content to absorb the experiences and behaviors of others and to discover the products people are using on social channels.
    Social shopping is expected to be one of the biggest eCommerce trends for 2018. This provides retailers with the opportunity to showcase their products on the social applications their consumers spend the most time with. Levis, for example, added the social connect to their eStore and found that almost 30% of the website traffic started coming from Facebook. Adding the social connect to your eCommerce website will become imperative to give today’s shoppers the opportunity to purchase a product without switching between websites or applications.
  3. Shoppable videos:
    We all know that videos are a mainstay in the eCommerce landscape. They play a big role in drawing the crowds to your website. However, 2018 is all geared to be the year of shoppable videos, where the consumer will be able to shop for a product or service directly from the video itself. Shoppable videos reduce the catalog browsing time for the consumers while providing them with the best visual shopping experience. Global retailers, Marks and Spencer’s have given this trend a try already by selling their new denim collection via such videos wherein the customer could pause and purchase the denim at any point directly from the video itself.
  4. The omnichannel transition:
    The customers of today demand a fully integrated and unified shopping experience. The Shoppers Experience Index 2018, thus unsurprisingly shows an accelerating transition among online retailers towards providing customers with an omnichannel experience. Retailers thus need to focus heavily on delivering a high-quality customer experience that is consistent across online and offline channels irrespective of device. This omnichannel approach allows the customer to view the product on any device, ship purchases to stores, have in-store purchases shipped to them, and process returns and exchanges in any store location. With this approach, Online retailers can truly increase their market reach and develop the capability to sell online as well as offline. They can effectively ‘be everywhere’.
  5. Artificial Intelligence is on the rise:
    AI is going to take eCommerce to the next level. eCommerce companies such as Amazon and eBay are already leveraging AI to improve the online shopping experience. Did you know that Amazon’s recommendation engine drives 35% of the company’s sales? In 2018, Use of AI in eCommerce in the form of chatbots and AI assistants, smart logistics for automated warehouse operations, recommendation engines to analyze customer behavior, and in making hyper-personalized product suggestions will see significant growth.
  6. Voice search to become more commonplace:
    Voice search is geared to take off this year as voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Alexa become more commonplace. Research suggests that more than 40% of millennials use a voice search before making a purchase online. Almost 20% of Google searches on mobile are voice-based. With mobile commerce gaining an even stronger foothold (it is estimated that mobile commerce will cross $600 million in 2018), optimizing the online store for voice search becomes imperative this year.

Finally, eCommerce websites have to become more performance-focused this year (like the years that went by!). Jem Young, of Netflix, said, “Beyond frameworks, beyond libraries, beyond the latest design trends, it’s performance that ultimately matters the most…For eCommerce businesses especially, where the difference of 200 milliseconds can mean the difference between gaining a customer or losing them to a competitor, keeping your site performance is crucial in order to stay competitive in 2018.”
How many of these eCommerce trends is your company following? How have they worked out for you?
Do share your experiences with us.

5 Technologies that are the Building Blocks of Digital Transformation

Organizations are in the quest to accelerate business activities and offer an exceptional product and customer experiences by driving digital transformation. With 57% of organizations believing that digital transformation is a competitive opportunity, it is without the doubt that technology is enabling organizations to become more agile, responsive, innovative, and efficient in addressing their needs.

The Building Blocks of Digital Transformation

In a highly dynamic and competitive world, having an amorphous digital transformation goal is not enough; what is required is an understanding of the tools and technologies that can enable you to get there. Digital transformation spending is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by the end of 2019. Clearly, leveraging modern technology to significantly drive transformation has become a mandate for organizations around the world. However, only 10 percent of companies around the world describe themselves as fully digital – a significant gap. One of the challenges is the vastness of the scope. Where to start? What technologies will play a role? The questions are many.

Since markets, customer demands, and technology is changing rapidly, leading digital change requires you to embrace modern technologies. This will allow you to evolve with the rapid pace of digital change. Here are 5 technologies that are the building blocks of digital transformation:

  1. Cloud:
    For digital transformation to have a profound impact on business activities, the cloud must play an important role. The cloud offers digital organizations the flexibility to do business from anywhere, freeing them from the hassle of investing in and managing physical IT resources. It offers businesses the scale and speed needed to become agile and focus on continuous transformation. The cloud enables organizations to fuel better collaboration and constantly develop, deploy, deliver, innovate, and implement modern solutions. By offering flexible, on-demand access to resources, the cloud enables organizations to execute plans faster and address the changing needs of the market. With the cloud computing market projected to reach $162 billion in 2020, it is past the time for businesses everywhere to embrace cloud solutions to drive digital transformation.
  2. Mobility:
    A key pillar of digital transformation in today’s fast-paced world is mobility. Digital transformation involves radical reconsideration of how organizations use technology to build new revenue streams or business models. Mobility enables them to do that and achieve a host of benefits: anytime anywhere access to information, improved productivity, better process efficiency, lower operational cost, and an enhanced customer experience. Since mobile technology bridges the gap between the physical and digital world, it helps organizations make use of the right data in the right context at the right time and at the right place. It also fuels better communication and collaboration within the organization – helping organizations make more informed decisions, be more proactive, and engage with their customers and employees better. With 82% of organizations believing mobile is the face of digital transformation, the role that it plays is now self-evident.
  3. Big Data and Analytics:
    In today’s digital economy, organizations need to embrace technology not just to support existing business processes, but also to drive new avenues of competitive differentiation. Big data and analytics are driving organizations to analyze humongous amounts of data and unearth critical insights. They are examining business processes, customer behavior, market trends, and competition data and creating value. Since today’s digital customers are a major catalyst for digital transformation, harnessing the right data helps organizations to understand customer needs, make data-driven decisions, build products and processes to meet those needs, and shape the right experiences for them. As big data and analytics enable organizations to get answers to critical questions in near real-time, it allows businesses to react quickly to change, improve performance, and build competitive advantage.
  4. IoT:
    The Internet of Things is driving substantial transformation across industries by linking critical assets in a connected ecosystem. The data generated from these systems can be used to drive sufficient business value, potentially transforming operations and improving business efficiency. Gartner predicts that 1 million new IoT devices will be sold every hour and that IoT spending will reach $2.5 million per minute by 2021. Using IoT, organizations can extend their enterprise and make the most of the exciting business opportunities for transformative business growth. IoT can help drive industrial automation, derive insights into equipment data, enable predictive maintenance, and improve the safety of the workforce. What’s more, IoT data can also be used to boost efficiency, improve customer experiences, and increase overall business agility.
  5. AI:
    In a bid to drive transformation, organizations across the world are looking at ways of applying Artificial Intelligence to boost their business outcomes. AI is already a key driver of digital transformation across a wide range of sectors. Nearly 9 in 10 businesses believe that AI will serve as a key competitive advantage, and help them explore new opportunities and revenue streams. AI can drive significant automation in the enterprise. It enables organizations to apply a more agile framework for digital transformation and create repeatable, reliable functions that can be used widely. By understanding customer journeys and the outcome of future interactions with customers, AI can also be used to drive personalization in customer engagement – a key expectation of the modern digital customer.

Technology at the Core

The pace at which the world is moving is compelling organizations to embrace modern and innovative technologies. The aim is to become extremely agile, to quickly respond to market changes, and to address customer needs. Digital transformation requires you to leverage the available technology to enhance your business process efficiency and become more competitive. Modern technology advancements such as cloud, mobility, big data and analytics, IoT, and AI, offer a variety of potential business benefits. Picking an area of impact to your business and applying the right technology mix will help you take the first successful step towards digital transformation.

5 Changes Your Startup Must Make To Succeed With Offshore Product Development

Offshore product development is now quite common in the technology world. Some of the most successful startups such as Basecamp, GitHub, and MySQL are good examples of startups that successfully outsourced their product development and yet were massively successful.

It’s fair to say that outsourcing is only going to increase because of the cost and business benefits it brings to organizations and especially to startups. Highlighting this trend, the IT Outsourcing Report stated that nearly 40% of companies that outsourced application development planned to increase the volume of work they outsourced. The report also stated that 53% of companies with a mobile app outsourced their development initiatives. When it comes to startups, outsourcing had its own set of advantages other than just cost. Since startups are usually resource and time constrained, outsourcing product development makes abundant sense. Outsourcing gives startups the bandwidth to focus on the business aspect without having to worry about the many complexities of product development.

That said, outsourcing product development is anything but a simple process. Both the startup and the offshore product development team need to iron out certain processes to ensure that product development happens effortlessly, and the end result is superlative. Here are some suggestions on how to make this work.

  1. Treat the Offshoring Team As Your Extended Team:
    Your offshore product development team is an extension of your internal team. They thus should be treated with the same amount of trust that you would show your local team. Startups must trust that the outsourcing vendor will work with a commitment to ensure that they develop a product that is successful.
    In our experience when a startup treats their outsourcing vendor and the team as their partner they work harder for you and empathize more. The fact is, you hire an outsourcing team for the experience and expertise they bring to the table. So, treat them as a part of your internal team to get the most out of that portfolio. Trust their insights and get them more involved by embedding them into your development process.
  2. Leverage Them As Your Technology Partners:
    Your offshore team gives you open access to strong technology experts. Sometimes this might lead to a clash of views. Such clashes often happen when the technology expert feels that a particular technology is more suitable for a project and the startup feels otherwise. In such a situation, it is advisable to have an open discussion like you would have with your internal team member.
    Let us speak on behalf of the offshore product development vendor for a minute. Given that these experts have their finger on the pulse of the tech ecosystem beyond just your product, their opinion will usually not be driven by technology bias. It will generally stem more from a desire to leverage the technology that will help in developing a better, feature-rich and more robust product.
  3. Integrate – Make Them a Part of the Big Picture:
    Would your internal team be able to function if you don’t give them an idea of the big picture…of where your startup is heading? It’s no longer the case that offshore product development teams work best only when managing certain non-core activities in isolation. If you want your startup to succeed, you must ensure that all invested stakeholders have a clear idea of your company vision and mission -and this includes the offshore team.
    Help the offshore team understand not only the problems the product is trying to solve but also where the company wants to go in the long run. When you share your vision with the offshore team you give them the context in which they can innovate on your behalf. They can then help you come up with ideas to make the product better, how to extend the product, how to plan for an accelerated product development roadmap and come up with a product evolution plan.
  4. Establish Clear Criteria For Success:
    You can only manage what you can measure. The same is true for startups working with offshore product development teams as well. Adopting an agile approach even in communication is key. Clear expectation setting helps in establishing clear criteria for success.
    To establish measurable and clearly accountable goals, have reasonable delivery timelines, have regular check-ins at a mutually convenient time, have a defined process of engagement that ensures that all deliverables are transferred in the appropriate format. It is most important to agree upfront on the parameters that define success to establish the performance of the offshore team.
  5. Great Communication is Critical For Success:
    Great communication leads to successful partnerships. When it comes to an offshore product development team, communication can sometimes prove to be the Achilles heel. Startups, thus need to ensure that there is an environment that fosters effective communication between the offshore and local teams. This means leveraging all available tools like emails, messenger, and chat for communication and clarifications. This will involve the use of appropriate productivity tools for proper project management.

    This is essential to eliminate misunderstandings based on assumptions. Ensure that your outsourcing partner offers a model for business engagement that helps you get clarifications in case the outsourced team is in a different time zone. Regular check-ins also play an important role in establishing clear communication channels. This approach is more structured and ensures that everyone’s time is used optimally and that no information falls through communication gaps.

A change in mindset is essential to succeed while outsourcing product development to offshore teams for a startup. Once you see this team as an extension of your own company then ironing out issues that emerge during any product development lifecycle become easy. Remember that at the end of the day, “Individually we are a drop but together we are an ocean”. It’s time to dive in!

What the widespread adoption of digital transformation means for us?

Digital Transformation – These two words have changed the enterprise as we know it. Given the intense focus on digital, it has become evidently clear that the world will soon be divided into two parts – that of ‘digital leaders’ and of ‘digital laggards’ as per a Harvard Business Report. Unsurprisingly, HBR believes that it is the digital leaders who will outperform the digital laggards. Digital transformation has impacted business models, customer experiences, and operating models. This trend is all about employing digital technologies to business workflows and operations along with customer interactions. The aim is to enhance existing processes and improve the existing modes of interactions and consequently enable new, better, and more relevant products and processes. So pervasive has been the impact of Digital Transformation that it has topped the CIO agenda in 2017 as per a Wall Street Journal report. Having said that, here’s a look at what this widespread adoption of Digital Transformation means for companies like ours who support the organizations that have embarked on this journey.

  1. Web App Development:

    The enterprise today has to keep up with an insatiable demand for apps. It is because of the demand for enterprise-grade, secure, robust, and intuitive applications that organizations developing these apps have had to rethink how applications are created. Development methodologies such as Agile, DevOps, Behaviour Driven Development, and Test Driven Development thus have emerged as key enablers of digital transformation. They give organizations the capability to deliver reliable applications faster. Low-code, rapid application development platforms, also, have been thrust into the spotlight to fuel this digital economy that depends on applications. Given that organizations have to be more consumer-focused in this digital age also means an increased focus on UX. Organizations also have to realize that apps now have to be tightly integrated with existing systems and deliver value to the business. The need for IT agility also means that apps become more customized, simple and modular, and highly secure. App development needs to accommodate these needs. As digital transformation becomes stronger, app development also has to factor in the interfaces with and the working of all networking elements, servers, and databases. Insights into how they are likely to perform under application conditions will become key inputs to delivering service assurance. That is our challenge now.

  2. Mobile App Development:

    The mobile has a decisive role in digital transformation. The growing mobile obsession irrespective of geographical, cultural, and social diversity means that enterprises have to calibrate their digital transformation initiatives around mobile consumerism. For software partners like is, this means mobile app development has to look at emerging technologies such as bot frameworks, machine learning, AI etc. to elevate mobile apps to match consumer expectations and have a transformational business impact. Having a mobile plan for all the disparate systems, and ensuring all legacy applications have a mobile front-end will be imperative. Mobile app developers also have to take into consideration business intelligence and analytics as more enterprises move towards SaaS applications and the cloud. At the same time, traditional mobile apps will make way for intelligent mobile apps that employ cognitive API’s and focus on delivering hyper-personalized UX’s to finely-tuned mobile app experiences. With greater digital proliferation, mobile app development will also move towards amalgamating experiences of the web with the mobile to develop apps that are extendable, performance oriented, highly secure, discoverable, and shareable.

  3. Software Testing:

    The shift towards methodologies such as Agile and DevOps is changing the way software is tested. The need for fool-proof, secure, available, comprehensive, and robust applications has never been greater than today. Owing to this, shift left testing is becoming popular. Here testing is integrated into the development process itself and starts early in the development cycle. Testing in the digital world is not only about finding faults but also about assisting in creating an application that focuses on customer experience. Testing teams have to now not only look at the business aspect but also focus on providing intelligence for business creation. The speed of testing has to increase and thus, we have to implement higher levels of test automation and leverage technologies such as AI and Machine Learning to make testing smarter. Software testing teams also have to focus on ensuring consistent application performance across different platforms, mobile devices, and operating systems, even with an increased focus on UX. Most importantly, test automation initiatives have to be open to evolution in keeping with constantly evolving application demands.

  4. Cloud

    The cloud is a key enabler of digital transformation efforts as it offers enterprises the ease, speed, and scale that businesses need. The digital economy demands application availability. There is no place for latency in this business environment. The cloud emerges as the enabler of efficiencies here to ensure the anytime, anywhere availability of applications and information access. The need for greater computing power, storage, and a robust IT infrastructure can be addressed with the cloud. We have to consider that the cloud will become even more pervasive in enterprises looking at the digital transformation. This is inevitable as it provides enterprises with the capability to continuously innovate, build, test, implement, and experiment with different applications on multiple platforms. Additionally, since digital transformation demands the adoption of a culture of collaboration, it enables people to work more efficiently, to find ways to service customers better, generate revenue, and to find solutions to unsolvable problems. The cloud emerges as its critical enabler of innovation, creativity, and productivity and it has to form a key part of our arsenal.

The true value of digital transformation lies in complete transformation- not just tweaks. This transformation implies disruption and halting a previous trajectory to allow a fundamental change of path. It is only then that you can achieve the goal of digital transformation – to raise the bar and change the ground rules so that you can win in this competitive global economy. And yes, it will be software service partners that will help power that transformation.

The Top 5 Programming Languages of 2018 for Software Excellence

Spring 2018 is already here, and with the year flying by (like it always does), it’s time for a bit of a pause and a status check. At the heart of our world of technology is the underlying programming language. It follows, that if you want to stand out from the crowd and develop cutting-edge software, you must keep pace with new and upcoming languages. Although mainstream languages like Java, C, C++, and Python continue to be among the most popular in the software industry, emerging languages are just as (or sometimes more) capable of delivering great outcomes.

Emerging Languages of 2018:

Software development is one of the most dynamic industries out there. Languages, frameworks, and technologies arise, become popular, and then die an inglorious death. Developers have to constantly learn new skills (and languages) to outperform the competition. That’s why this collation of the top 5 emerging and influential languages for 2018!

If you’re an aspiring product developer, this is a good insight into what’s trending; if you’re an experienced hand, here is your chance to unlearn/re-learn.

  1. Elixir: First appeared 7 years ago in 2011, Elixir is a dynamic, functional programming language designed to build distributed, scalable, fault-tolerant applications. Used by companies like Pinterest, Elixir helps in creating high-availability, low-latency systems. It boosts performance by running on the Erlang VM.
    Since the Elixir code runs inside lightweight processes, thousands of processes can run concurrently in the same machine. This offers substantial horizontal and vertical scaling. What works for Elixir is its high-scalability, high-extensibility, fault-tolerant nature, its functional programming capability, the fact that it is Erlang compatible, and part of a growing ecosystem.
  2. Swift: Debuted first in 2014, Swift is a powerful, intuitive, general-purpose programming language developed by Apple Inc. for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Being a multi-paradigm, compiled programming language, Swift serves as a good replacement for the Objective-C language for OSX and iOS development. Used by companies like Uber and Airbnb, Swift is new-programmer friendly and ideal for developing robust and lightning-fast applications – a must in today’s fast-paced world. What works for Swift is its modern, forward-thinking nature, its easy and fun-to-use Playgrounds, its security features, Objective-C interoperability, its fast and powerful performance, and the fact that it is open-source.
  3. Haskell: First released in 1990, Haskell is a standardized, general-purpose functional programming language that ensures excellent software performance. Haskell uses two popular systems:
    1. the built-in type system determines the type of every expression at compile time – reducing the possibility of bugs and ensuring code optimization, and
    2. the lazy evaluation system which delays the evaluation of expressions until its value is needed – avoiding repeated evaluations and reducing run time.

    Being used by companies like Facebook, Haskell is ideal for applications that need to be highly modifiable and maintainable. What works for Haskell is its expressive syntax, its clean code, shorter lead-times, higher reliability, code re-use features, powerful abstractions, and built-in memory management.

  4. Scala: Scala, which first appeared in 2004, is the perfect combination of an object-oriented and functional language, offering you the best of both worlds. Since Scala runs on the Java Virtual Machine, it provides language interoperability with Java; it allows you to use Interact seamlessly with Java libraries and also overcomes many of the challenges associated with Java. Just like Haskell, Scala also uses the same type interface, and hence reduces the possibility of logic errors. The simple and straightforward syntax and highly functional code make development entertaining and fun. What works for Scala is its code reuse feature, high flexibility and extensibility, and built-in class hierarchies.
  5. Go: Google Go, appeared first in 2009, is a compiled, open-source programming language ideal for building simple, reliable, and efficient software. Used by companies like BBC, Go offers immense speed, and is easy to deploy – you can cross-compile your applications, and easily run your original code on multiple machines. Since there are no complex abstractions or clever metaprogramming in Go, it makes it easier for new programmers to learn and excel at development. What works for Go is its simplicity, scalability, its straightforward syntax, its code optimization and error-checking feature.

Surge Ahead

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. The world of software development is blessed with an undying energy and new technologies and languages, all with their own virtues appear each day. Languages like Elm, Rust, and Kotlin could easily find mention in a list like this put up by someone else. Working in software development requires you to always keep pace with technological innovations and to hone your skills with the ever-changing technology landscape. As demands grow, and projects get bigger and more complex, innovation in programming languages becomes key. Staying abreast of new and upcoming languages is crucial to developing bug-free software faster and smarter. Leveraging these (re)emerging programming languages will help you surge ahead in our competitive industry! You can thank us later.

Mutation Testing – Learn This Interesting Testing Technique Quickly with a Simple Example

Mutation testing is one of the newly developed approaches to test a software application by deriving and using the better quality of test cases. The purpose of mutation testing is to evaluate the effectiveness of the test cases to detect errors in the event of modification or changes in the program code. However, these changes are very small so that it does not affect the overall quality of the application program.

The changes introduced or injected in the program code are generally referred as ‘mutants’. These mutants are injected in the lines of code to replace some variables or operands or syntax or conditions or expressions or statements in order to introduce faults in the code.

Let see a simple example to understand the concept of mutant injection in the program code:

Original Program:

1-Read annual salary.

2-If annual salary > Rs.2.50 Lacs.

3-Income Tax = 10% of 2.50 lacs.

4- Endif.

Above given are the lines of code which is very easy to understand, thus not explaining them. Now, in the above-given program, we try to inject mutant. Let’s see some of them

Mutant Program-1:

1-Read annual salary.

2-If annual salary< Rs.2.50 Lacs.

3-Income Tax = 10% of Rs.2.50 Lacs.

4-Endif.

The original program has been changed to the mutant program by replacing the operator > with the mutant ‘<’. Further, more unique mutants can be injected to create more mutant programs. Let’s see how

Mutant Program-2:

1-Read annual salary.

2-If annual salary && Rs.2.50 Lacs.

3-Income Tax = 10% of Rs.2.50 Lacs.

4-Endif.

Note:- Invalid operator(&&) injected.

 

Mutant Program-3:

1-Read annual salary.

2-If annual salary > Rs.2.50 Lacs.

3-

4-End If.

Note:- Deleting the line of code/statement.

 

Mutant Program-4:

1-Read annual salary.

2-If annual salary > 2.75 lacs.

3-Income Tax = 10% of Rs. 2.50 lacs.

4-Endif.

 

Note:- Changing the value in the statement/line of code.

Now, How to do mutation testing?

We have one original program and its four mutant programs. Test cases with relevant sets of test data are executed over the original and mutant program.

If the results of these test cases are same, then it may be inferred that the test cases are well enough to detect the difference between original and mutant program, and thereby killing the mutant.

And if the results are not same, then it may be concluded that test cases lack to distinguish between original and mutant program, and mutant is still alive. Thus, test cases need to be improved to kill mutants.

Consider following test data for executing test cases over the original program and mutant program-4:

  • 2.80.
  • 2.60.

On feeding 2.80, both original and mutant program generate similar results, thus mutant is killed by the test case. However, with the test data value of 2.60, results will be same, thus mutant is alive and is not detected by the test case, thereby needs improvement in the test cases.

Similarly, executing the above-given test data over the original program and mutant program-2, which generates similar results under both test data values i.e. failure. This means that the test cases are quite effective to detect changes and kill mutants.

The above-stated process needs to be repeated for each different mutant program and for each different set of test data to evaluate and improve the effectiveness and quality of the test cases.

Conclusion:

Although mutation testing is a time-consuming process but is effective to detect loopholes and flaws in the programming code. However, instead of seeing it as a testing technique, mutation testing may be more seen as a test improvement methodology, which improves the effectiveness and quality of the test cases, which ensures good test coverage and subsequently the better test results.

Beyond Code – 5 Benefits Your Software Development Partner Brings To Your Startup

In a world where technology rules and market velocity is king, even startups have to hit the ground running for success. However, you know that developing a great technology product is almost like climbing a mountain. Just like you need an expert guide when you scale a mountain, an expert guide can support you on the arduous uphill climb to product success too. Today startups have the option to work with an offshore development partner for their software development.

So, why should you outsource to an offshore development partner? The traditional argument has been that such outsourcing gives a fledgling startup the bandwidth to focus on activities such as getting their sales cycles moving and identifying new business opportunities while the outsourcing company does the software heavy lifting. However, to put your startup on a winning growth trajectory, instead of looking at a vendor, you should ideally look for an outsourcing partner…one who has the capability to help you beyond coding.

So what are the things that a development partner can help you with? For sure, coding is one of them. Let’s take a look at a few others.

  1. Assist in Making Correct Technology Choices:

    To succeed in the market today, you need specialized technical expertise. You might have the right idea but without the right technology in place, you may struggle to translate your vision into action.
    A development partner can actually be your technology visionary. They can help you not only make the right technology choices that fit best with your product but will assist you in identifying ways to make the product under development more robust and feature rich. A tech outsourcing partner will have a pool of technology experts and access to this valuable resource pool can prove to be of great value to your startup. With access to tech experts, startups can be sure that they make the best technology choice and not just go by the latest trend.

  2. Innovate on Your Behalf:

    Yes, a startup almost always has a clear picture of what their end product should look like. But what if it could be better? A technology partner can give you an early proof of concept to help you assess if your final product is market ready or not. They can help you understand if the product fulfills the needs it was designed for and if not, help in identifying the gaps. Given their experience in software product development, your partner can innovate on your behalf and also identify ways in which your product can be better and even future ready.

  3. Assist in Developing New Opportunities:

    Outsourcing has a definite cost advantage associated with it, but it also gives startups an opportunity to develop new markets.  Having been a part of the technology circuit, a technology outsourcing partner can help a startup identify new need gaps and new market opportunities. They can help the startup identify new ways of making the product viable for a new market. For example, the startup might be interested in developing a mobile app for a specific demographic, but perhaps they could increase their market acceptance by deploying a progressive web app.

  4. Mitigate Risks and Navigate the Regulatory Landscape:

    Startups also need to ensure that they mitigate risks of various kinds. Security, regulatory, and compliance regulations are now a top concern for startups in the face of data breaches and the associated consumer anxiety regarding these breaches. Startups need to be more well-versed in areas such as data protection laws and applications security. They also have to be nimble to adjust fast to ensure compliance with changing regulatory and operational requirements. An outsourced development partner gives you the experience advantage and helps you navigate these challenges with ease and assurance.  

  5. Assist in Team Scaling:

    Working with a partner gives your startup the capability to scale your team up, or down, faster. Finding great programmers with the right skills, in the right quantity, at just the right time, in today’s competitive market can be hard and expensive. At the same time, a start-up might need to scale down as well at times. With a strong outsourcing company, you do not need to worry about the emotional and logistical problems associated with scaling down. You can gain access to rock star developers on demand, and you can focus on developing a product that you want.

According to IT Outsourcing Statistics, application development is the most frequently outsourced function with 37% of organizations outsourcing this function already. By working with a software development partner, startups, like yours, not only gain the coding advantage from programming experts but can also gain other advantages that will help them go-to-market faster with a product that will win the market.

Are great products due to great developers or great testers?

As the world becomes increasingly software-defined and all products become software products, the focus shifts to not only developing newer, better products but to develop them faster. Along with faster development, there has been a shift in the way quality is perceived today. Can we even imagine using a product that is slow or prone to bugs today? In a software-defined world, quality includes reliability and an assurance of uncompromising security. Software development too has undergone a quantum leap over the last few years. Developers are now the superheroes of this software dominated world developing products using new technologies to make our lives simpler and agiler. Developers don’t just create code but are deeply invested in creating products that generate value in our lives. Given this tectonic shift in the manner in which products are developed one big question that may crop up is, “Are great software products created due to great developers or great testers?”

are great products due to great developers or great testers

First, a caveat. Clearly, product development calls for a bunch of collaborative efforts. Just as vital as development and testing are defining the user’s needs and adoption behavior, designing a great user experience, and obviously impactful marketing and sales. For the purposes of this blog though we will focus on the nuts and bolts of building the product.

To begin that conversation, we have to take a look at the change that has come about in the software development landscape. The need for great software products to be delivered in the shortest timeframe possible has led to the adoption of development methodologies such as Agile and DevOps. These methodologies are all about faster processes, the use of the latest and the most relevant technology options, and a clear alignment with business demands. As software eats the world, businesses have to release software products faster to meet the ever-changing and increasing consumer demands. The success of an organization has become directly proportional to its capability to release, update, and improve its software. Development teams have thus had to become focused on perfecting releases. Key is making incremental changes to the software as the need arises.

The connection of the end-user with the quality of code is also becoming ever-tighter as the consumer base becomes more used to great digital experiences. Developers are now expected to create intelligent apps that include the latest technologies such as virtual personal assistants (VPAs) etc. New technologies have the potential to transform workplaces and make everyday tasks simpler. Clearly, the developers of today have to know exactly what their audience needs from them and how the application is expected to fulfill a business demand. At the same time, they have to create code that rocks the user’s world. Software products are becoming easier to use but harder to build! Developers now have to focus on creating code that has interconnected parts which render themselves to iterations with ease. Without a doubt, developers have to constantly keep an eye out for the latest technological and business trends and remain updated to create stellar products that can survive in today’s intensely competitive marketplace.

While the role of the developer has risen to one of paramount importance and software delivery reaches Formula 1 speed, the role of the tester has evolved as well. In order to finish first in the race for quality software delivery, the focus on software testing has moved from a good-to-have to a must-have. Software testing can no longer remain an end-of-development exercise. As DevOps and Continuous Delivery move from being a competitive advantage to just par for the course, testing becomes more integrated into the development process itself. Can we imagine fast deployment without adequate testing? Can we release quality software products, releases, or updates fast if the speed of testing does not meet the speed of development? Can we, any longer, afford to leave software testing to the end of the development lifecycle?

While developers have been the key people to recast our society with software, it is the testers who decide the strength of the software in production. It is the testing teams that will identify numerous and creative ways to dispassionately break down a software product so that the product, in the hands of the end-user, behaves as it should. Testing teams are utilizing test automation and technologies such as AI to make the testing process smoother, more expansive, and yet faster, to make sure that broken code does not impede product performance or render the product to vulnerabilities. Testers are the superstars who will dare to raise the uncomfortable questions that ultimately elevate the barometer of quality.

If we look at these two roles closely, we can identify that both developers and testers are working with the same intent – that of creating quality products. However, with new development methodologies such as DevOps coming into play, these two roles are becoming inextricably entwined. Development and testing can no longer function in isolation. If you need a great development team, you need an equally strong testing and test automation team to make sure that the final product is accepted in the market.

The way the world is heading, it is clear that great products can only be created when you not only have great developers but great testers as well. Developers and testers thus both become superheroes fighting the quality war in the software universe…one the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the other the Avengers. Despite their differences, they remain superheroes in their own right, and the biggest battles are won only when they fight on the same side!

What is a Multi-Cloud Strategy and When is it right for you?

The developments around cloud computing just seem to keep coming. With the cloud computing market expected to reach $411 billion by 2020 according to Gartner, the sheer degree of adoption is massive. For organizations, the world over experiencing challenges of market dynamism, competition, and customer demands, cloud computing is helping them to be responsive and relevant.  With cloud computing spending expected to grow at 6 times the rate of IT spending from now through 2020 according to Gartner (again!), there is a high likelihood that you will, sooner or later, consider moving to the cloud (i.e. if you haven’t already!) When you decide to migrate to the cloud to streamline your processes, boost collaboration, and increase accessibility, you will come across a variety of cloud models such as private, public, community or hybrid, and cloud offerings such as IaaS, PaaS or SaaS, as well as cloud architectures such as the multi-cloud. So what is the multi-cloud?

what is multi cloud strategy and when is it right for you

The Growth of Multi-cloud

As cloud computing becomes more and more mainstream, the introduction of new and innovative cloud technologies is inevitable. Although cloud computing started with the placing of workloads on a single cloud – whether private or public – the hybrid cloud quickly became a more attractive option because it gave enterprises more choice over storing their critical and not-so-critical data.

Soon enough, more and more vendors got into the public cloud business – starting with Amazon, and then Google and Microsoft, and now several others as well. Each has their own set of features and capabilities. Organizations were soon spoilt for choice. With such a variety of viable public cloud options, enterprises began to mix them together, both through formal architectural processes and through shadow IT. This signaled the emergence of Multi-cloud strategies.

A lot of times, the terms multi-cloud and hybrid cloud are used interchangeably. But the fact is, they are quite unlike each other.

  • While the hybrid cloud usually consists of a combination of a private and public cloud, the multi-cloud uses more than a single public cloud
  • A hybrid cloud environment refers to different deployment modes (public or private), while a multi-cloud environment refers to services from multiple cloud providers.
  • The multi-cloud enables organizations to avoid dependence on a single public cloud provider – so they can choose to opt for specific services from different public cloud providers and get the best of all their features and benefits.

When is multi-cloud strategy Right for You?

A typical multi-cloud infrastructure allows for the distribution of cloud assets, software, applications, and resources across several cloud-hosting environments. With a typical multi-cloud architecture utilizing two or more public clouds (and in many cases multiple private clouds as well), the reliance on any single cloud provider is eliminated. The benefits of a multi-cloud architecture include choosing price-competitive and feature-rich cloud services from different providers, avoiding vendor lock-in, improved mitigation against disasters, and increasing performance and redundancy.

Many organizations think they can multiply benefits from multi-cloud environments (with the assumption that if they can benefit from one cloud, benefits will multiply if they use multiple clouds!).  But that’s not always the case. It’s not all straight-forward though -there are some specific factors to consider too. Although many businesses can benefit from it, especially those looking to improve reliability, protect privacy, remain flexible, and optimize the cloud experience, a multi-cloud environment is not for all organizations. A multi-cloud strategy makes sense only if:

  • You operate in countries where laws, regulations and corporate policies require enterprise data to physically reside in certain locations. For example, a healthcare organization can choose from multiple providers’ data center regions or availability zones to improve performance and reduce latency.
  • Your business and technical goals require you to leverage price-competitive cloud services. For instance, an automobile manufacturer can take advantage of the speed, capacity, and cost benefits of the storage and workload requirements offered by a particular cloud provider in a particular geography.
  • Your business relies on critical data where data loss or downtime due to a localized component failure in the cloud can have severe consequences. For example, a stock exchange can leverage a multi-cloud environment to ensure round-the-clock availability of data, reduce the likelihood of data loss, or shutdown, and eliminate business interruptions.  
  • You operate in a business environment where responding quickly to changing business requirements is critical for business survival. For instance, retailers who experience sudden spikes in demand during the holiday season can accommodate unexpected surges and meet demands in a more flexible and reliable manner.

Make the Most of Multi-cloud

In a world of constantly changing business requirements and customer preferences, organizations have to embrace the cloud in order to thrive and grow. Deciding to move to the cloud can be critical in improving business flexibility and agility. In that situation, choosing a multi-cloud environment can allow you to get the best features of multiple cloud service providers -a win-win all around.

Hybrid Cloud is Taking Over the Cloud – Why?

The Rise of the Hybrid Cloud – What’s Driving Global Adoption

Cloud computing is no longer just a buzzword. According to reports, the total global public cloud market will be $178B in 2018. The explosion in data sources in recent years and the pressure to use that data meaningfully has driven a further rise in cloud computing. Although the public cloud is comparatively cheaper, there are concerns about security; and while the private cloud offers high levels of security, the cost is substantially more. Therefore, a majority of organizations are looking to opt for hybrid clouds, so as to leverage capabilities of both the private and public cloud. In a highly competitive business environment, hybrid clouds are extremely sought after; this strategy allows organizations to deploy workloads through a mix of cloud variations, with various degrees of integration between them.  

hybrid cloud is taking over the cloud

The Rise of Hybrid Cloud

Enterprises are moving away from on-premises data center systems and are reallocating budgets on IT infrastructure for deployment in cloud environments. Spending on cloud services demonstrates just how rapidly usage has grown; according to IDC, cloud services spending will reach a whopping $266 billion by 2021. Although a shared public cloud offers the convenience of easily scaling infrastructure up and down on-demand, concerns about privacy and security within a shared tenancy arrangement are widespread. That’s where a hybrid cloud comes into the picture; it offers the right mix of IT infrastructure services to meet specific scalability, control, performance, and cost requirements.

A hybrid cloud architecture offers the best of everything: top-notch security for critical workloads (such as financial data and intellectual property), and high performance to run common business processes (such as marketing, and human resources). These cloud services operate independently of one another, although they integrate with each other at various levels. By enabling workloads to interoperate across heterogeneous cloud environments, hybrid cloud bridges data silos, allowing organizations to seamlessly conduct business.

Business Drivers

Hybrid cloud is a coming together of multiple individual cloud infrastructures that remain distinct but are tied by technology that allows data and application portability. The Hybrid cloud takes advantage of the quick provisioning capabilities of the public cloud while also keeping the security and control of private cloud solutions. With Markets and Markets expecting the hybrid cloud market to be $91.74 billion by 2021, the model is being adopted by numerous organizations looking to leverage the direct benefits of both a private and public cloud environment.

  • A major reason why enterprises opt for a hybrid cloud is security. Using both private and public clouds in tandem allows them to pick and choose which data and services they want to keep in the private cloud for added security, and which in the public cloud.
  • The hybrid cloud offers the much-needed on-demand scalability that helps organizations manage any unexpected surges in workload. By enabling workflow automation, organizations can ensure resources can be made available when needed, giving them much-needed agility to efficiently run their business.
  • Hybrid cloud offers the ability to host environments in the public cloud and link them on demand to mission-critical data stored in private clouds, allowing businesses to ensure high performance of applications while simultaneously safeguarding sensitive data from prying eyes.
  • In a highly competitive environment, improving time to market is every organization’s goal. The hybrid cloud environment improves the speed of deployment of applications and services, enabling organizations to offer products and services quickly.
  • Hybrid cloud offers significant advantages in terms of disaster recovery. Although a private cloud would offer total control over data and recovery timelines, it also presents the problem of a single failure point. By migrating at least some of the recovery workload to public servers, companies can get the benefit of speedy restoration while decreasing the chances of complete system breakdown.

The Future of Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud migration is rapidly becoming commonplace across industries due to the benefits of improved security, better cost control, and enhanced disaster recovery. Hybrid cloud will see an upward trend in a variety of industries: in the financial industry, it will help organizations ensure minimum downtime, in the healthcare industry, it will help organizations in limiting information and in the retail sector, it will help in substantial cost savings by scaling resources based on surges in demand. If you’re looking to migrate to the cloud, take a step by step approach in order to realize the benefits of the hybrid cloud in your ever-evolving IT landscape.  

Understanding The Terminology – CI and CD in DevOps

The path to building cutting-edge software solutions is often paved with several obstacles. Disjointed functioning of various development teams often results in long release cycles. This not only results in a poor quality product but also adds to the overall cost of development. For organizations looking to set themselves apart from the competition, it has become essential to embrace the world of DevOps and enable frequent delivery of good-quality software.

CI and CD in Devops

The Growth of DevOps

 

Conventional software development and delivery methods are rapidly becoming obsolete. Since the software development process is a long and complex one, the process requires teams to collaborate and innovate with each passing day. Models evolved -first it was Waterfall, then Agile, and now it’s DevOps – in order to meet the dynamic demands of the industry, and growing expectations of the tech-savvy user, the software development landscape is undergoing constant change. Today, DevOps is being seen as the most efficient method for software development. According to the recently released 2017 State of DevOps Report, high performing organizations that effectively utilize DevOps principles achieve 46x more frequent software deployments than their competitors, 96x faster recovery from failures, and 440x faster lead time for changes. There seems little room for doubt any longer about the impact of DevOps.

DevOps aims at integrating the development and operations teams to enable rapid software delivery. By fuelling better communications and collaboration, it helps to shorten development cycles, increase deployment frequency, and meet business needs in the best possible manner. Using DevOps, software organizations can reduce development complexity, detect and resolve issues faster, and continuously deliver high-quality, innovative software. The two pillars of successful DevOps practice are continuous integration and continuous delivery. So, what are these terms? What do they mean? And how do they help in meeting the growing demands of the software product industry? Let’s find out!

Continuous Integration

Definition: Continuous Integration (CI) aims at integrating the work products of individual developers into a central repository early and frequently. When done several times a day, CI ensures early detection of integration bugs. This, in turn, results in better collaboration between teams, and eventually a better-quality product.

Goal: The goal of CI is to make the process of integration a simple, easily-repeatable, and everyday development task to reduce overall build costs and reveal defects early in the cycle. It gets developers to carry out integration sooner and more frequently, rather than at one shot in the end. Since in practice, a developer will often discover integration challenges between new and existing code only at the time of integration, if done early and often, conflicts will be easier to identify and less costly to solve.

Process: With CI, developers frequently integrate their code into a common repository. Rather than building features in isolation and submitting each of them at the end of the cycle, they continuously build software work products several times on any given day. Every time the code is inputted, the system starts the compilation process, runs unit tests and other quality-related checks as needed.

Dependencies: CI relies heavily on test suites and an automated test execution. When done correctly, it enables developers to perform frequent and iterative builds, and deal with bugs early in the lifecycle.

Continuous Delivery

Definition: Continuous Delivery (CD) aims to automate the software delivery process to enable easy and assured deployments into production —at any time. By using an automatic or manual trigger, CD ensures the frequent release of bug-free software into the production environment and hence into the hands of the customers.

Goal: The main goal of CD is to produce software in short cycles so that new features and changes can be quickly, safely, and reliably released at any time. Since CD involves automating each of the steps for build delivery, it minimizes the friction points that are inherent in the deployment or release processes and ensures safe code release can be done at any moment.

Process: CD executes a progressive set of test suites against every build and alerts the development team in case of a failure, which then rectifies it. In situations where there are no issues, CD conducts tests in a sequential manner. The end result is a build that is deployable and verifiable in an actual production environment.

Dependencies: Since CD aims at building, testing, and releasing software quickly and frequently, it depends on an automated system that helps the development team to automate the testing and deployment processes. This is to ensure the code is always in a deployable state.

CI/CD for Continued Success

Software development involves a high degree of complexity that requires teams to embrace new and modern development methodologies in order to meet the needs of business and end-users alike. DevOps focuses on the continuous delivery of software through the adoption of agile, lean practices. The pillars of DevOps, CI, and CD, improve collaboration between operations and development teams and enable the delivery of high-quality software for continued success. RightScale estimates that over 84% of organizations have adopted some aspect of DevOps principles -it’s time you do too. As DevOps pundit Jez Humble rightly says, DevOps is not a goal, but a never-ending process of continual improvement”.

Be fussy about fuzz testing to avoid software fails

While the cost and effort that goes into software testing are high, what is enormously higher is the cost of a software failure. Did you know? Tricentis’ 2018 Software Fail Watch projected that a whopping 3.6 billion people were affected by software failures last year, resulting in economic losses of over $1.7 trillion and a downtime of 268 years! There is no way you can take software testing lightly – for the end result is not just a financial loss but more significantly, a loss of name and customer trust.

The Buzz around Fuzz Testing

Among the myriad types of software testing being undertaken by developers throughout the software development life cycle, fuzzing or fuzz testing has picked up steam of late. An automated software testing technique, fuzz testing involves inputting invalid, unexpected, or random data to a software and monitoring it for crashes, memory leaks, or failing assertions. By demonstrating the presence of bugs rather than their absence, fuzz testing exposes hidden vulnerabilities in a software.

Using fuzz testing to discover coding errors and security gaps in software involves feeding enormous amounts of random data to software in an attempt to make it crash. However, running a fuzzer – which can either be a file or a protocol – even for several weeks, and not finding a bug does not certify the software bug-free; after all, the software may still fail for an input that has not been executed, yet.

Here’s how you fussy you should be with fuzz testing:

  • Automate values: Since fuzz testing relies on the assumption that there are bugs in every software waiting to be discovered, using an automated program that feeds random inputs into the software is the most appropriate way to spot them. Rather than attempting to list down values that are likely to provoke a crash – which might take you ages – an automated fuzz test inputs a large number of illogical values that a normal programmer would never think of.
  • Feed a large number of inputs: In order to spot vulnerabilities, use a fuzzer that produces a large number of inputs in a relatively short time. By using a toolchain that automates otherwise manual and tedious tasks, you can enable automated generation of failure-inducing inputs. For eg., google’s OSS-fuzz project produced around 4 trillion test cases a week.
  • Conduct dynamic program analysis: Using a static program analysis for fuzz testing might just analyze a software without executing it and report problems that actually don’t exist. Hence it is advisable to carry out fuzz testing in combination with dynamic program analysis so as to generate an input that truly witnesses the stated issue.
  • Automate bug triage: To effectively expose bugs and fix or patch the security critical ones with higher priority, you can group a large number of failure-inducing inputs based on their root cause and then prioritize each individual bug based on severity.
  • Use sanitizers: To make a fuzzer more sensitive to failures, inject assertions that crash the program when a failure is detected. You can choose from different types such sanitizers to spot different kinds of bugs: deadlocks, undefined behavior, memory leaks, control-flow, etc.
  • Employ test case reduction: In order to isolate that part of the input that is inducing the failure, a test case reduction (or automated input minimization) tool would eliminate as many input values as possible while still reproducing the original bug. This is especially helpful in cases where the failure-inducing input is large and hence proving difficult for testers to understand the root cause of the bug.
  • Avoid random plugging: If your fuzz testing program reveals several bugs in your software, plugging them as they appear may not be the right way as random plugging might reduce the robustness of the software. Consider fundamentally hardening the file format through the use of checksums, XML, and grammar-based file formats.
  • Verify everything: The most common mistake many testers make is to assume that because an instance of the software outputted the correct value once, it will output the same correct value every time. But that can be risky: the instance could have been overwritten, it could have been corrupted, it could have been modified by another program that had a bug or it could even have been intentionally altered in an effort to enhance the software’s security. Hence, assume nothing. Verify everything.

Avoid Failures:

In a world where organizations are losing millions due to software fails (UK-based Provident Financial lost $2.4 billion worth of market value), fuzz testing greatly improves the confidence that an application is robust and secure against unexpected input. Although fuzz testing is simple, it often reveals serious bugs, defects, and potential avenues of attack that must be fixed before the software is shipped. By automatically injecting random permutations of data into a target software until one of those permutations exposes a weakness, Fuzz Testing is helping testers discover software faults and rectify them early in the cycle. Just a few bytes out of place can bring the entire software product down. In such a scenario, fuzz testing helps to prevent such disastrous outcomes. And that’s not fuzzy logic.

What is Guided Unit Test Creation and How Can It Help Your Testing?

The role of testing has never been greater than today. As we move towards the age of software-defined-everything, there is no longer any room for error-prone software. Testing teams are becoming more embedded in the development process. Test automation has been embraced with open arms and has emerged as the critical driver of superior testing and increased testing proficiency. Could we even imagine increasing test coverage to the last possible component had it been done only manually? Could the speed of testing ever match the speed of development had test automation not been there? Clearly, the need for automation stems from the need to test more, test often, test fast and to ensure maximum code coverage.

What is Guided Unit Test Creation and How Can It Help Your Testing

The Unit Testing Conundrum:

Unit tests may be considered the little brats of the testing world… many in number and often difficult to manage. However, ignore these and you know that your world will soon come crashing down. Unit testing involves the testing of the smallest testable parts of an application. These components or units have to be tested independently and individually to ensure that they are operating as planned. While unit testing can be done manually, it becomes time and resource intensive and because of their exhaustive nature, can be prone to errors when not automated. These tests flow as a part of the Test Driven Development methodology which needs the developers to write failing unit tests to take into account all possible errors, inputs, and outputs. The developers then write code to test the application till the tests pass.

The problem with Unit Testing

As we lean towards methodologies such as Agile, DevOps, and TDD it becomes abundantly clear that unit testing has the power to improve project outcomes. Bugs found early in the unit testing phase are much cheaper to fix than those found later. Making testing a part of the development process ensures the success of agile and DevOps and consequently ensure high-quality and bug-free software development. However, despite these obvious benefits, the struggle with unit testing continues. Some of the reasons for this are:

  • Time-consuming and tedious test creation process – Creating a comprehensive test suite for unit tests is seen as the least attractive part of the testing process owing to the sheer number of tests that need to be written.
  • Expensive test maintenance – Any changes to the code mean changes in the associated tests. This adds to the maintenance burden of the unit tests and leads to the idea of ‘double work’ .
  • Difficulty in isolating tests – Isolating tests also means mocking all those independent dependencies. You get the drift of where we are heading here.

While test automation helps considerably in managing these issues associated with unit tests, it clearly has some issues that still need resolution. The solution to these issues may be found in Guided Test Creation, a unit testing approach that gives testers and developers the assistance they need for test creation and maintenance. All this while working within the developer’s IDE and while leveraging existing tests and mocking frameworks.

Guided Unit Test Creation – the finer details

Most of the developer IDEs do not provide the ‘content’ the developers need to complete the test creation process. The assertions needed to define a test have to be done manually. Mocking frameworks also requires manual coding and this becomes very resource intensive and time-consuming. Guided test creation simplifies this entire process and provides the real-time, context-aware assistance in the developer’s IDE. With the help of these guided unit tests, it becomes far simpler to add the missing content from the unit test skeleton. This helps in writing, conducting, and completing comprehensive unit tests faster.

The aim of the guided unit test can be summed up as follows:

  • Create test frameworks, configure mock objects, and methods as well as instantiate objects.
  • Highlight object values that changed during the testing process by performing runtime analysis of test automation execution.
  • Identify method calls that need to be mocked to better isolate test code.
  • Identify system resources that are created but not released after test completion that could create an unstable test environment.
  • Detect dependencies and automatically fill the details needed to create a mock framework thereby reducing time and resources needed to create the same.
  • Provide recommendations that detect the change in code and update the assertions to reflect the new business logic which makes test suite maintenance easier.

Conclusion:

It’s apparent that with the help of Guided Unit Test Creation, developers can resolve many of the problems associated with those pesky unit tests. Several mundane aspects of unit tests are suitably resolved with guided unit test creation. They eliminate the roadblocks that stem from the effort needed to create and maintain these unit tests too. A word of caution, however, while using a guided unit test creation tool, close attention must be paid to ensure that these tools integrate seamlessly with the existing unit testing tools and frameworks. Not doing so would eliminate the time and cost benefit. That addressed, Guided Unit Test creation could be what unit testing has been missing all along.

6 Tips for Ensuring Great Performance with Frontend Development

Did you know? In 2017 alone, there were 197 billion apps downloaded across the world! With people around the world spending 900 billion hours a year using mobile applications, it goes without saying that slow loading times, poor mobile optimization or browser incompatibility are just unacceptable. Great performance is one of the most critical aspects of any software project: whether it is a simple mobile app or a full-scale e-commerce website. Websites or apps that are clumsy and bothersome to use can never provide the convenience that today’s digitally savvy user expects.

6 Tips for Ensuring Great Performance with Frontend Development

What makes a Website/App Exceptional?

Have you ever looked at an app and wondered what makes it so awesome? Have you given thought to the way it was created? Have you wondered how quickly it offered you the information you were looking for and exclaimed, “I wish my website could do that”! With frontend development, you can. By leveraging various technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, frontend development ensures every aspect of an app or website functions smoothly, on a multitude of devices, form factors, and operating systems, with almost no bugs or errors.

While good content, an attractive layout, high-resolution images, and seamless navigation is essential, each of these elements have an impact on page load time and eventually the end-user experience. Balancing aesthetics and performance is key; at every step, developers need to put in efforts to build a user experience that has minimum impact on performance. Offering core content to users as fast as possible and getting the message across in a quick yet interesting fashion is critical.

So how does one ensure great performance? By focusing on certain guidelines, you can dramatically increase the speed and overall performance of your website. Let’s look at some tips and techniques that can enable a robust frontend development for great performance:

  1. Bundle and minify: A good frontend experience can be achieved by bundling and minification of CSS and JS files. While bundling concatenates multiple files of the same type into a single large file, minification goes a step further and adds model-based compression to the content and removes all unnecessary characters from text including white-space characters and comments. The result? Reduced file size, faster load times, improved responsiveness, and exceptional performance.
  2. Compress files: Speedy performance of a website or app can be achieved by compressing files such as documents, audio clips, JPEG images etc. File compression makes the site’s content light and easy to manage. Choose from an array of tools and techniques like GZIP or CompressNow and make your website or app extremely responsive to user input.
  3. Leverage CDN: If your website or app caters to a global audience, it is imperative you use a content delivery network (CDN). When you use a CDN, your website’s static content gets linked to an extended network of servers across the globe, enabling data to be fetched from the nearest server and delivered to users rapidly.
  4. Reduce external requests: Very often, a large portion of a website’s load time comes from external HTTP requests; each time a request is made, the chances of DNS lookups, redirects and 404 error pages increase – not to mention the increase in load times. Since redirects can cause significant delays, eliminate features that do not augment end-user experience including unnecessary images, pointless JavaScript, excessive CSS and redundant plugins.
  5. Enable caching: You can significantly improve the speed and performance of your website by enabling caching. Since websites and apps are viewed thousands or sometimes even millions of times, servers are often overloaded. By caching your website, you can reduce load on your servers, deliver content to users faster, and improve the performance of your website.
  6. Optimize images: Although high-resolution pictures add to the user experience, they often jam the rendering process often resulting in poor frontend performance. Since devices have limited screen sizes, there is no reason to have images larger than the screen size. Make sure to always compress and optimize your screen size; use tools such as JPEG Optimizer or Tiny PNG and offer a flawless user experience.

Minimalism is Key:

In a bid to offer a lot of information to the user, developers often make the mistake of cramming too many features into the time available. Determining what features your app absolutely requires and choosing the right framework ensures you use the right code, the right-sized images, and the minimum number of external HTTP requests. Although frontend development might seem intimidating, the truth is you can greatly improve the performance of your website by applying certain principles. Always remember, the faster your website loads, the better the user experience it will offer. Since your website is what makes your brand stands out, keep it minimalistic. Use the latest tools, techniques and web technologies to elevate your brand and build pages that are light and quick to load. And watch your users smile as they engage.

Testing for Blockchain – Here’s What You Need To Know

New, cutting-edge technologies are entering the marketplace at an unprecedented speed. The headline-maker on the block happens to be Blockchain, a technology that grabbed eyeballs as one of Bitcoin’s core components. Today, Blockchain is more than just Bitcoin. The blockchain is emerging as the next tech disruptor. According to a survey by the World Economic Forum, 10% of the global GDP will be relying on Blockchain-based technology by 2027.

testing blockchain

So, what is Blockchain Technology?

The brainchild of a person or a group of people using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, Blockchain is, according to Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016), an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value”. The blockchain is essentially a distributed ledger, a continuously growing record list called blocks that are linked and secured using cryptography. This distributed ledger or Blockchain consists of an encrypted digital filing system that creates tamper-proof records in real-time. In other words, Blockchain can be looked upon as an open infrastructure capable of storing several different kinds of assets.

Blockchain and Testing

The blockchain is unique because it removes the need for a middleman to physically oversee transparent actions in real time while at the same time preventing fraud. Supply chain, healthcare, energy, event-ticketing, sales etc. are industries that present themselves to this technology very well. The algorithms used in Blockchain are well-established. Given that it is a distributed system, Blockchain blocks do not have a master copy and are stored in different locations. So, when it comes to testing in Blockchain, given that the algorithms used are sound do we really need to test?
A block, when added to a Blockchain, remains there forever. Any changes to one block will render the following blocks invalid. So, a single change in the Blockchain means that all the subsequent blocks have to be changed simultaneously and right away. Since this cannot be done at a later date, testing of the Blockchain becomes quite complex.

Testing Blockchain-based applications are challenging also because there is a significant change in the technology itself. For sure, Blockchain applications will demand the standard testing and validations such as functional testing, performance testing, integration testing, and security testing. But, that apart, testing teams will also need some specialized testing capabilities.

Standard functional and Non-functional testing

  • Functional Testing: Blockchain technology is finding new applications faster than before. Functional testing of the basic components, the system, and its workings is essential. Testing here is conducted to assess the effectiveness of use-case scenarios and the specific business processes involved.
  • Integration Testing:
    Integration testing is important for Blockchain since deployment could be across several systems and environments. Given this, it becomes essential to ensure that the interfaces between the components, the integrations, and the different parts of the system are functioning cohesively. This is essential to ensure performance consistency.
  • Security Testing:Security testing has to be aggressive for Blockchain applications. The aim is to identify if the application is vulnerable to attacks, assess if the authorization systems are robust, identify if the system protects the data and has the capability to ward off malicious attacks etc. Along with this, it is imperative to test integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non- repudiation during security testing.
  • Performance Testing:Blockchain applications are built for speed. This makes performance testing even more important. The performance of an application and the latency vary with networks as well as transaction size. Performance testing in Blockchain includes identifying performance bottlenecks, defining the metrics for tuning the system, and assessing if the application is ready for production.

Specialized Testing

  • Smart Contract Testing:Smart Contract testing is a specialized testing. Smart contracts lie at the core of the Blockchain validation process. Testing of smart contracts calls for simulating all possible expected and unexpected conditions for all possible contract. Testing looks at business logic combinations and appropriate execution of all the transactions in the context of a dynamically changing and expanding the network.
  • Peer/node Testing:The power of the Blockchain lies in the shared ledger being exactly the same at each and every node with the same set of and sequence of transactions. This makes it essential to achieve a consensus across all nodes on the order in which the transactions are added to the network. Peer/Node testing for the consistency of transactions is needed. This calls for the testing of the consensus protocol to determine that all the transactions get stored in the proper sequence. This would have to be the case under normal conditions and also under conditions when nodes fail simultaneously or when they do not participate in the network for some time. These tests help ensure that the nodes in the network sync with other validating peers and the integrity of the network and shared ledger are maintained throughout.

Along with all this, testing for block size, chain size, transmission of data, and testing of cryptographical data are also essential to Blockchain applications. Given the sheer number of nodes and the various combinations and transactions that need to be validated, test automation may well prove critical to the success of Blockchain applications.

Conclusion:

The blockchain is an emerging technology, but one that has made everyone sit up and take notice. And like any new technology, how well and how comprehensively we can test will play a key role in its success and adoption and in how much we are able to participate in that success. What does your Blockchain testing strategy look like?