Agile? DevOps? What’s The Difference And Do You Have To Choose Between Them?

Any roles involved in a project that do not directly contribute toward the goal of putting valuable software in the hands of users as quickly as possible should be carefully considered.” – Stein Inge Morisbak

Does anyone remember the days when the Waterfall model was still around and widely adopted by the enterprises? Over the years most developers have stories of how they realized that it wasn’t giving the best results, that it was slow and inflexible as it followed a sequential process. Fast forward a few years and the principles of Kanban and scrum methodology organically evolved and gave rise to the Agile approach to software development –and we were all on board in a flash. Suddenly, software development teams were able to shift from longer development cycles to shorter sprints, fast releases, and multiple iterations.

How to use between agile and Devops?

But the evolution was not over, as we now know. As Agile shone a spotlight on releasing fast and often, enterprises started loving the opportunity to be more flexible and to speedily incorporate the feedback of their customers. However, this also revealed some drawbacks with the Agile approach. Though the development cycle was faster, there was a lack of collaboration between the developers and the operations team and this was adversely impacting the release and the customer experience.

This gave rise to the new methodology of DevOps which focused on better communication among development, testing, business, and the operations team to provide faster and more efficient development.

So now software development organizations face a choice –should they be Agile? Or do DevOps? Or perhaps somehow both? Let’s look at both approaches more closely, starting with filling in the essential backstory.

The Agile Approach Explained

Software Development approaches like the Waterfall model took several months for completion, where the customers would not be able to see the product until the end of the development cycle. On the other hand, the Agile approach is broken down into sprints or iterations which are shorter in duration during which certain predetermined features can be developed and delivered. There are multiple iterations and after every iteration, the software team can deliver a working product. The features and enhancements are planned and delivered for every succeeding iteration after discussions (negotiations?) between the business and the development teams.
In other words, Agile is focused on iterative development, where the requirements and solutions are developed because of collaboration between cross-functional and self-organizing software teams.

What is DevOps?

This is the age of Cloud and SaaS products. That being the case, DevOps can be defined as a set of practices enabling automation of processes between the software development and the IT teams for building, testing, and deploying the software in a faster and more efficient manner. DevOps is based on cross-functional collaboration and involves automation and monitoring right from the integration, testing, releasing, and deployment along with the management of infrastructure.

In short, DevOps helps in improving collaboration and productivity by integrating the developers and the operations team. Typically, DevOps calls for an integrated team comprising developers, system administrators, and testers. Often, Testers turned into DevOps engineers are assigned the end-to-end responsibility of managing the application software. This may involve everything from gathering requirements to development, deployment, and gathering user feedback to implementing the final changes.

How do they compare (or contrast)?

  • Creating and deployment of software:
    Agile is purely a software development process. That means, the development of software is an inherent part of the agile methodology. Whereas Devops can deploy software which may have being developed using other methodologies, based on either Agile or non-agile approaches.
  • Planning and documentation:
    The Agile method is based on developing new versions and updates during regular sprints (a time frame decided by the team members). Besides, daily informal meetings are key to the Agile approach, where team members are encouraged to share progress, set goals, and ask for assistance if required. To that extent, the emphasis on documentation is less.

On the other hand, DevOps teams may not have daily or regular meetings but plenty of documentation is required for proper communication across the teams for effective deployment of the software.

  • Scheduling activities and team size:
    Agile is based on working in short and pre-agreed sprints. Traditionally sprints can last for a week to 1 month or so at the extreme. The team sizes are also relatively smaller as they can work faster with fewer individuals working on the effort.
    DevOps can comprise of several teams using different models such as Kanban, Waterfall model, or scrum where all of them are required to come together for discussing regarding software deployment. These teams could be larger and are by design much more cross-functional.
  • Speed and risk:
    Agile releases, while frequent, are significantly less than what DevOps teams aim for. There are DevOps products out there that release versions with new features multiple times in an HOUR! The application framework and structure in Agile approach needs to be solid to incorporate the rapid changes. As the iterative process involves regular changes to the architecture, it’s necessary to be aware of every change related to the risks to ensure quick and speedy delivery. This is true of DevOps also, but the risk of breaking previous iterations is far greater in DevOps as the releases are much more frequent and follow much faster on the heels of one another than in the Agile approach.

Conclusion

DevOps is a reimagining of the way in which the software needs to be configured and deployed. It adds a new dimension to the sharp end of the value chain of software development i.e the delivery to the customers. There is some talk about that that DevOps will replace Agile, but our view is that DevOps complements Agile by streamlining deployment to enable faster, more effective, and super-efficient delivery to the end users. That’s a worthy goal –so why choose between the two!

Are Mobile Apps Going To Die?

In a cut-throat economy, organizations realize that the key to success is to embrace change fast and not take a reactive approach to innovation. The mobile app market is no different. Yes, there are over a billion smartphones in use across the globe. There also are a dizzying number of mobile applications downloaded each year. In 2017 the Apple App Store had 2.2 million apps available for download while the Google Play Store had 2.8 million apps. Today, clearly we have become quite dependent on these little icons on our smartphones screens – from booking a cab, making a hotel reservation, ordering for food, making online purchases, calorie counting, banking, staying connected with friends and work…the list goes on. Mobile applications have established themselves as an essential part of our lives. But it is also true that the apps that we use now are light years ahead of their earlier iterations. Apps of today do not just disseminate content for the user but enable the user to determine what kind of content they want to consume. App functionality has improved by leaps and bounds owing to the use of geo location and the capabilities of the phone. Apps are more engaging and intuitive now.

Are Mobile Apps Going To Die?

The death of the mobile app as we know it

Today there is an increasing integration of technology with mobile apps to push the boundaries as we know it. Remember the classic Snake game on the Nokia 3310? Well, that was technically a mobile app back in the 90’s. Now compare that to the 2011 Temple run experience. The evolution of the mobile app is pretty evident, isn’t it? Technology is improving. The needs and demands of the app consumer are changing. Consumers are now looking at more seamless and connected experiences. They want their apps to behave in a certain manner. They want more features. They demand greater speed. They want more personalization. And they want access…all the time, anywhere.

Can the present day mobile apps deliver on all these demand parameters? Not quite. With technology giving us opportunities to get the best of everything, mobile apps, too, are not to be left behind. With the growing comfort with smartphones, consumers now want an amalgamation of web and mobile apps and want intelligent interactions with their mobile apps as they traverse their digital experience journey.

The rise of intelligent apps

As mentioned earlier, apps today are no longer being used to disseminate content to the user. The mobile apps are becoming increasingly intelligent. As an example, think Amazon. Using technologies such as machine learning and AI, Intelligent Apps are getting more contextual. These apps have the capability to learn the behavioral, emotional, and contextual patterns of the user in real-time and capably deliver hyper-personalized experiences in each successive session. With each input, the mobile app creates a personalized response. These apps make the use of cognitive API’s, ensure that personalization of the UX is a continuous activity. They eliminate the use of keyboard inputs and use speech, gestures, and bio-metrics to operate the apps without the keyboard. They leverage frameworks to take the app to the next level of user satisfaction with faster releases. Service providers like Netflix, e-Commerce providers such as Amazon, and browsers such as Chrome are already making use of intelligent apps. Gartner expects that this year some of the world’s largest organizations will begin to leverage intelligent apps to fine-tune their mobile app experiences.

The rise of progressive web apps

As you may have read earlier here, Progressive Web Apps are actually web applications that deliver a native app-like experience to their consumers. They come with progressive enhancements to implement features such as push notifications, caching, and background sync to deliver better experiences. Research suggests that an average user spends 80% of his total time on only three apps. The rest of the apps just sit on the mobile phone screen eating up precious mobile memory. PWA’s do not need any installing, deliver a great user experience, have browser compatibility, are responsive to fit any form factor, work offline, and function even in low network quality. Further, they provide app-like navigation and interactions and have a robust update process that makes sure that the app performance is at its peak always. Given that PWA’s are actually websites these are easily extendable. They make it easier to add functionalities. Along with this, these apps are also highly secure, easily discoverable and easily shareable. Quite simply put, Progressive Web Apps amalgamate the best qualities of web apps with that of native mobile apps – what’s there not to love then? But the question for us is –are these Mobile Apps? We would have to say Not really –and that’s a threat to the world of mobile apps as we know it.

Conclusion:

There seem to be clear signs that the age of mobile apps as we know it is fast coming to an end. Well not in the Tyrannosaurus Rex kind of way, but, it is becoming quite evident that the next evolution of these mobile apps is now upon us. Would it then be wrong to say, “The Mobile App is dead. Long live the Mobile App”?

How Analytics Will Make Test Automation Even More Intelligent?

Testing is a ripe field for applying AI because testing is fundamentally about inputs and expected outputs…… Testing combines lots of human and machine-generated data. Folks in testing often don’t have much exposure to AI, but that will change quickly, just like everyone else in the world is waking up to the power of AI.” – Jason Arbon, Author, and CEO of test.ai

We could say that automated software testing is essentially a quality control system that vets the operational aspects of a software product. The aim is to create a testing process that is rigorous and that operates through one or multiple test automation frameworks. Typically, upon completion, the tools report the results and compare outcomes with previous testing cycles. This is the age of Big Data and Analytics – it stands to reason that innovators have developed intelligent analytics solutions that offer insights designed to translate these test results into actionable information for future improvement. These solutions proactively identify problem areas in the testing process and indicate the way forward to achieve a high-quality software product. Let’s take a closer look at how analytics can help test automation.

How Analytics Will Make Test Automation Even More Intelligent?

Use of Analytics

In this context, analytics enables software developers to critically evaluate the performance of their test automation. They can track the various metrics and parameters involved in the creation of the test automation and the performance of the automated software testing exercise. Error logs embedded in the dashboard can spotlight the areas of improvement. Similarly, data about the number and the kind of functions that pass muster indicate the health of the software product that is being tested. The final status of the test results presents a perfect picture of the state of functionalities of the tested software. The graphical representations in the analytics dashboard portray a clear picture of testing outcomes that is easy to read and understand for everyone.

Predictive Analytics:

This aspect of analytics uses mathematical algorithms and machine learning technologies to forecast outcomes of software testing procedures. This technique uses current and past data to generate insights and locate potential points of failure in software testing outcomes. This enables the development and testing leaders to proactively address issues early in the lifecycle, and hence faster and easier. The use of predictive analytics also helps to detect delays and issues in software testing cycles. It also helps to monitor team productivity in testing cycles that involve human beings. Software developers can also run risk mitigation efforts when they use predictive analytics in testing procedures.

Benefits of Analytics in Testing:

Analytical reports draw on data that resides in multiple sources. This helps to present a more complete picture in real-time. The insights are clear and present, the actions to be taken are apparent, and the results can be tracked. The granular nature of the feedback generated by analytics should help software designers and testers to correct specific errors and the speed up slow processes.

The application of analytics should help software testing systems to overcome traditional or legacy limitations. The visual depiction of data in test performance and test history charts creates significant grounds to improve the testing procedures of the future. It is true that even today, automated software testing may fail for a variety of reasons, but the judicious application of analytics can increase the utility and the chances of success. In addition, interactive analytics-driven dashboards can offer enhanced monitoring and reporting capabilities for software testers and software developers. Further, analytics helps to expand the productivity of complex software testing tools while boosting the productivity of the testing team. This can help to release higher-quality products faster and more often.

The combination of test automation and advanced analytics will enable software development and testing managers to spend more time on strategic activities that drive greater business value over a longer term.

The Future of Automation in Testing:

Enterprises today are driving a relentless focus on quality. Current and future products are undergoing design changes that will make them even more intuitive and easy to use. The user interfaces will be the most critical aspect and they must be tested for reliable operation at all times. The deployment of analytics should help software developers and designers to better test software and create perfect products for clients. Intelligent observations and business insights derived from analytics will drive better, more targeted actions. Therefore, testing strategies and test plans will be refined and re-engineered to create greater scope for analytics in automation. It’s all set to be the and analytics-driven automated age in software testing – are your plans ready?

The “Build Fast, Fail Often” Mantra Of Product Startups

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”-Henry Ford

Today if you have a strong and viable idea then converting that idea into a product that addresses a viable business opportunity is relatively easy. With crowdfunding and angel investment booming, securing the finances to get rolling has also become easier than it used to be. But this is just the first step in the startup journey. Entrepreneurs realize that business is risky in general. However, they are fueled by the innate belief that their skills will win out in the end. This somewhat unreasonable level of optimism and confidence is essential for an entrepreneur. But are these ingredients enough to ensure the long-term success of a startup? The truth is that it is equally important to build a product that is ready for success. And it is also true that sometimes getting the product right may take a few extra tries than you may have thought necessary when you started.

The “Build Fast, Fail Often” Mantra Of Product Startups

The Lean Start-Up methodology, as outlined by Eric Ries is a great way for product startups to ensure that their product is ready for the market -eventually. Ries propounds that today, the possibility is very slim that a company can’t build what it initially thought it would because of technology constraints. It is the market risk that will be the main concern. Product startups often conceptualize, design, and build a product before assessing its impact and reaction from the market. This ends up taking time, effort, scarce engineering resources, and yes, money. And if the product fails to make an impact in the market then it’s back to the drawing board carrying all that baggage. But what if you could assess the reaction to your product in advance? What if you knew how the market would respond to it? Reis states that it is better to build a product like a series of experiments and deconstruct the high-risk bets into several low stake gambles. Enter the “Build fast, fail often” mantra.

The “Build fast, fail often” mantra works for software product startups in today’s hyper-competitive market because it helps in making software product development more malleable. Instead of focusing on building a final product, the startup then focuses on building a Minimum Viable Product that demonstrates the promise of the capabilities of the product being built. This malleability lends itself to developing faster prototypes more often to keep testing if the big idea is big enough.

The fact is that almost nine out of ten startups fail. Among the top reasons for this is misunderstanding the market need for the product. Clearly, if you’re going to be making a product, it makes sense to understand if the market needs it. Steve Jobs famously said, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” The mobile phone was dismissed as a novelty at one time. Today it has become an extension of our lives. But at the same time, for every $19 billion company like Uber, there are countless products being built that just don’t seem to catch on. It’s a fact that developing a physical, nuts and bolts product can prove harder to rush into the market with a limited feature MVP – you can’t market test just the engine of that new driverless car, now can you? Software product startups have a bit of an advantage that they must cash in on. It’s relatively much easier for a software product startup to create a workable prototype–a basic product that lends itself to continuous improvement based on market feedback.

This has become easier to execute owing to a transformation in development methodologies. The old and monolithic waterfall software development method has been replaced by agile development. Now DevOps is also fast gaining ground. Software product development is becoming iterative almost by default. With rapid prototyping, startups can follow the ideate, prototype, test, analyze, refine, and release format in the development cycle quite organically. The software product development automatically becomes an iterative process built on the philosophy that failure must be expected and then embraced.

With the “Build fast, fail often” mantra comes a greater pressure to do it right. This may call for a change of working style for the startup –the creation of an agile startup. Startups need to be clear how they are going to analyze and process feedback, gain a deep understanding of technical requirements and specifications, understand design and system limitations, and then test the product viability again. The basic idea is to convert an idea into a product and get it out into the market fast. See what works and what doesn’t and then come back with version 2.0 with a bang and then rinse and repeat till it’s just right.

Are you ready for Robotic Process Automation?

I’d say that the biggest misconception about RPA is that it’s easy—It’s not easy. That’s why barely 10% of the buyer population in Global 2000 companies have embraced it.” – Frank Casale, founder, and CEO of the Institute for Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence (IRPA AI)

Given that warning, it would make sense to assess the internal readiness and capacity of your company before adopting or even considering RPA technology. RPA, or robotic process automation, sometimes conjures up images of a solution that helps with cognitive computing. While that may represent the ultimate level of artificial intelligence that exists, solutions that are being developed in the present focus more on automating repeatable, predictable, and fixed business processes. When we speak about enterprises, this technology is still perhaps hard to implement, but experts say that those that do adopt RPA will rapidly see the immense benefits. For companies, it could mean a winning strategy for all the stakeholders – employees included. Let us look in-depth into the possible benefits of embracing RPA.

Are you ready for Robotic Process Automation?

Firstly – what is Robotic Process Automation?

With the surge in digitization and the increasing demand on the already limited resources, the push towards adopting automation technology has now become a necessity. Technology adoption would help to empower organizations and accelerate their efforts towards gaining more business and staying ahead of their competition. Robotic Process Automation is specifically made software that is capable of simulating human conducted activities that would be routine and repetitive in nature. The software “robots” follow designated workflows, seeking information from clearly identified sources and then performing routine yet critical operations. The functions impacted could include back-office processing, support, and front office management. Today, several companies have begun using these solutions with resounding success.

Benefits of Robotic Process Automation to Organizations:

  1. RPA is best for transactional or rule-bound processes and for organizing data. Using robotic technology companies have a reduced effort and even lowered full-time equivalent employee (FTE) requirement.
  2. By incorporating RPA into the rules of business, companies would be able to simplify processes, conduct speedier transactions, maintain uniformity in their documentation, and afford complete transparency of their processes. These factors incidentally are among the top priorities for customers today, which therefore would lead to enhanced business and success.
  3. Using RPA reduces the opportunities for human error in rote tasks, and limits the exposure of sensitive and confidential information to humans – critical for the proper functioning of any company.
  4. Several companies require huge amounts of data to be added to various systems and myriad applications. Manual data entry is prone to errors especially given the mundane nature of the task. By using RPA in this process, companies can be sure of increased output of work with no errors, thereby removing the requirement of extra headcount to check and correct the errors. Re-work is eliminated as well.
  5. Since several tasks can be completed in less time and at a lowered cost, the ROI of the initiative can be achieved relatively quickly.
  6. Since RPA is a software, it has endless possibilities and capacity to work – meaning around the clock availability and work churned out. This means a lot more work with no interruptions or breaks.

Where Robotic Process Automation Stops

These RPA-driven software robots are capable of making only limited decisions and the cognitive ability is extremely constrained. In some ways, the primary objective is significantly improving the efficiency, not really the effectiveness. That’s to say, RPA allows organizations to perform these functions faster, with less effort, utilizing fewer human resources, and with greater accuracy. That said, if there is ambiguity about the inputs or if there is volatility in the functions to be addressed or the business processes are extremely fluid and dynamic, RPA is less likely to be successful.

A Bright Future for RPA

It has been said often that the downside of cognitive artificial intelligence is that it would reduce the number of jobs and dislodge employees from their roles. RPA on the other hand empowers employees by allowing them to engage in more creative and value-added tasks and removing the dull, rote ones.

Well-designed RPA solutions have this distinct advantage – companies can embrace them without the need to dismiss employees or spend too many resources in training them on the solutions. The great part of RPA is that it requires human supervision, placing control in the hands of the employees, thereby raising their morale, enhancing their development, and making them more productive on the job. Different types of organizations are already tasting success in areas like:

  • Government: Verifying existing processes; populating forms and assigning subcontractors to jobs, and integrating legacy systems with newer systems.
  • HR: Providing employee on-boarding; better managing leave of absence requests; more efficiently populating employee data into multiple systems, and offering performance appraisal management.
  • IT: Creating new accounts; installing software and updates more seamlessly, and setting up printers and workstations.

Conclusion:

It is probably time to integrate RPA solutions into your company, and the good news is technologies, including strategies borrowed from test-automation, are already at hand to seamlessly draw RPA into your business processes. Are you ready, is the question?

Why you Should Start Caring About Progressive Web Apps (If you Don’t Already)?

Have you heard of the term “the best of both worlds”? As utopian as it might sound, there is one place where this may apply -in the application world. Progressive Web Apps or PWA’s are being touted as the next big thing for the mobile web. These apps take the advantages of the latest technology and combine the best experiences of mobile and the web apps to deliver better functionality and smoother and more engaging application experiences. As web interactions move increasingly towards the mobile, application developers are faced with the challenge of creating applications that can be easily accessed over the smartphone without compromising on quality, aesthetics, and functionality. One solution is to create web applications that look and feel like iOS or Android apps that are native to the device. Welcome Progressive Web Apps!

What are Progressive Web Apps?

Progressive Web Apps, PWA’s, deliver a mobile like experience to the users without having them download or install the app from the play (or App) store. With these apps, developers can create a simple web application using JavaScript, HTML, CSS etc. and add mobile capabilities such as camera access, push notifications, offline support etc. PWA’s are deployed to servers, are indexed by search engines and can be accessed through url’s. Mobile web apps that are accessed on a mobile browser usually are not capable of sending out push notifications, do not deliver the look and feel of a native app downloaded from an app store, cannot load on the home screen etc. With PWA’s developers can fix this problem leveraging new design concepts, using new web API’s and standards-based technologies in tandem to deliver a native app like experience.

Why you Should Start Caring About Progressive Web Apps?

Benefits of Progressive Web Apps

Research suggests that “every step you make a user perform before they get value out of your app will cost you 20% of users.” In such an environment PWA’s work well for businesses since these apps do not compromise on user experience as compared to a traditional mobile web browser and neither do they demand a user go through the process of installing a mobile app. Here are a few benefits of PWA’s

  1. Adaptability– Since PWA’s are built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet they have the capability to work for every user irrespective of browser choice.
  2. Responsiveness – PWA’s have the responsiveness to fit any form factor, be it a laptop, tablet or mobile device, thus ensuring a consistent user experience
  3. Workability – These apps have the capability to work offline and in low network quality since these are enhanced with Service Workers. This is a script that runs behind the scenes and runs in response to events such as network requests, push notifications etc. This capability ensures that these apps also run faster than traditional websites and hence improve app speed and performance.
  4. App-like – Provide app-style navigation and interactions using design concepts such as App Shell that provides the web application a shell of an app UI. The content is then loaded later, is kept and cached separately. This helps in fast loading and improving the user experience.
  5. Always Updated – PWA’s are always updated owing to the service worker update process.
  6. Highly Secure – High on security as these are delivered via HTTPS. This also ensures that the content of the application does not get tampered with.
  7. Discoverability – Since PWA’s are actually websites, this makes them easily discoverable by search engines. PWA’s also speed up the process of application indexing and ensures that the app is indexed in Google much faster without worrying about app deep linking.
  8. Frictionless – PWA’s provide a frictionless user experience since unlike mobile apps these are easily installable without using an app or play store. Since these do not have to be downloaded, application updates happen effortlessly from the user’s side and this gives them access to the latest features, security updates, functionalities etc. This feature also helps in avoiding the problem of software fragmentation as faced by native mobile apps.
  9. Expandability – As PWA’s are essentially websites, it is very easy to expand them to add functionalities.
  10. Sharability – These apps are easily shareable via URL as they do not need to be downloaded.

It’s fair to say that we are still in the early days of Progressive Web Apps. Cross-browser support in browsers such as Safari and Edge is limited but the open support that PWA’s have been getting from companies such as Microsoft (they plan to implement more PWA features) and with Twitter, NASA, etc. all using Progressive Web Apps to create new versions of their service, it is quite clear that this craze will catch on quickly. After all, it is becoming evident that the future of mobile apps is the web!

Challenges faced by the Agile testing team

Agile model is one of the trending and widely used software development approach based on the combination of incremental and iterative development, where software product is being continuous delivered in short and multiple cycles.

What is agile testing?

Agile testing is a testing approach based on agile principles of software development. In agile testing, continuous testing is being carried out with less or no documentation and regular feedbacks and reviews from the client/customers to improve software quality.
Further, agile testing methodology has following advantages:

  • Better and effective communication, as agile development involves the participation of developers, testers and client/customers, all at one platform.
  • With the collaboration of development team with the testing, defects are easy to locate and fix.
  • Incorporation of dynamic changing requirements.

Although, agile testing has certain advantages, which may attract a tester to follow and implement agile testing practices, but carrying out agile testing is not simple as it seems to be. Testers who have been the part of the agile testing team are very well aware of the challenges faced during agile testing.

Let’s put some light on the top 7 challenges faced by agile testing team during agile testing:

  1. Insufficient Test Coverage:The continuous incoming and changing requirements increases the chance of missing out the testing of essential or critical functionalities and features. Further, short cycles and continuous delivery mechanism of agile model may force and drive testers to consider and test only critical functionalities and leaving behind all other major/minor functionalities untested.
  2. Lack of documentation:Although, less or no documentation is one of the features of agile testing, still the non-availability of documentation work puts testing team in a difficult situation to verify and validate the software functioning in the absence of documentation work.
  3. Dynamic changing requirements:Frequently incoming and changing requirements after each iteration changes or modifies the software either in large or in small respect and irrespective of the changes brought, the system has to made go through regression testing to verify and validate the originality of the system. Thus, apart from regular testing, creating regression tests and executing them after each iteration increases the burden of the testing team.
  4. Last minute changes:Incorporation of incoming and changing requirements is an inherited feature of the agile methodology. The mechanism of the agile methodology lies itself on the fact that requirements would be evolved gradually with the collaboration of all teams including business team with the client/customers.However, when testing is about to close and product is ready for its market release, at that moment of time introduction of any more changing requirements is intolerable for the testers, especially when the deadlines are approaching.
  5. Performance parameter:As in agile methodology, software application gradually develops, complexity also increases gradually. Thus, performance issues with the software arises as the developers are not able to assess the performance attribute from end-user perspective.
  6. Tools selection:Selecting appropriate and desired automation tools for automating the tests not at early stage of development but in the later half is one of the major challenges faced by the agile testing team, as selecting tools for agile environment is much different to that for traditional approach of development.
  7. Communication:Although, development teams and client/customers collaboratively interacts after each iteration, still agile environment perceives the lack of proper communication due to absence of any effective communication medium or may be the absence of any sort of documentation.

Complete Bug Triage Meeting Process.

Let’s break this term and understand their meanings separately to derive the concept of bug triage. Bug is a common term, which you all must be aware of. In software engineering, the term ’bug’ has been assigned to flaws or errors present in the software application or programming which produces deviation in its intended functioning, resulting into incorrect or inappropriate or unexpected outcomes and results.

Now, what is triage? Wikipedia says “Triage is the process of determining the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition”. Similar concept is applicable to bugs found during software testing also i.e. to conclude the priority of defects based on their severity. In simple words, bug triage may be defined as a process or mechanism to determine the defect priority with respect to their severity to impact the software functionalities and working.

Now, coming to the topic of discussion i.e. bug triage meeting process. As the name specifies, a project meeting held for the purpose of triage process i.e. sorting out the priority of open bugs, when it needs to be fixed, how to fix it, efforts and difficulty in retesting.

Who are the Participants in the Bug Triage Meeting?

Generally, the meeting is held by the Cross functional team consisting of QA group, project manager, QA manager, test manager, product manager and testing leads of all projects along with the participation of experienced and competent team members.

When to go for the meeting for Bug Triage Meeting?

Bug triage meeting should be carried out on a regular basis throughout the testing life cycle. Number of meetings and the gap between each of them is derived by the need and requirement of the project. Adding to this, the quantity of defects reported, time schedule and progress of the project may also paves the path for the meeting.

What are Roles and Responsibilities of each Individuals in the meeting?

  • Project Manager: Project manager is involved in the task of defect prioritization with the additional responsibilities of sending meeting minutes, tracking issues and discussing the next possible date of meeting in consultation with the QA leads.
  • Product Manager: Generally, assists the team in the process of prioritizing the defects.
  • Test Lead: Test lead or QA lead are the ones who call the meeting. They are involved in the task of defect prioritization. Further, they have the responsibilities to submit bug report to cross functional team prior to meeting, managing defects and distribution of updated bug report.
  • Development Lead: Assists in the task of bug prioritization by analysing and assessing the severity of each bug to impact system. Further, involvement of developers in the meeting helps in locating the root cause of the defects, and subsequently bugs are assigned to desired developer for its correction.

What are the activities carried out in the Bug Triage meeting?

Prior to bug triage meeting, previous status report along with the bugs found in the current phase is being sent to all concerned members by the QA Leads. Further, bug triage meeting usually involves execution of following activities:

  • Ensuring that the identified bug has sufficient and useful information to convince developer(s) it as a bug.
  • Correct filing of the bug.
  • Bug is defined on the basis of appropriate severity and priority.
  • Consideration of defects for their fixation which may be derived by following two factors:
  • If project is at its initial stage, then all bugs, even the lowest priority ones may be included for the correction process.
  • If the project is approaching deadlines or is in the final stage, then only high priority bugs, having high risk needs to be considered for the fixation process.
  • Reassigning the bug priority and severity, and accordingly updating bug tracking system.
  • Post meeting, the minutes of the meeting is being distributed to the concerned members.

Bug Triage Report Format:

Below given is a basic template of a bug triage report which may modified with the needs and requirements arises.

  • ID
  • Headline
  • Reported Date
  • Submitted by
  • Severity
  • Priority(fix)
  • Owner
  • Status

When to conclude this meeting?

Prioritizing each opened bug with the task of assigning the defects to the concerned person marks the ending of the meeting.

Conclusion:

Overall, it may be stated bug triage meeting is an effective approach to manage and fix defects throughout the testing life cycle.

Here’s Shift Left Testing – But Should You?

As we dive deeper into the software economy the role of software testing becomes ever-more important. After all, there is hardly any place for buggy or defective products in this software-driven world. Today, concepts like driverless cars, hovering drones, manufacturing automation etc. are all a reality not just because of technological advancements buts also because of the immense emphasis on the quality of testing. Testing, that was once relegated to the end of the development cycle has now changed completely owing to the rise of development methodologies such as DevOps and Agile. Now it is a key enabler of robust and solid product development. As the testing process becomes more integrated with the development process and becomes more continuous throughout the development lifecycle, we meet another testing approach. Welcome ‘Shift-left testing’.

Shift left testing approach

Shift-Left Testing – An introduction

When the software development industry was using the traditional waterfall development approach, testing was kept on the extreme right side of the software development lifecycle. This development approach looked something like this:

Requirement gathering -> Design -> Coding -> Testing

With software testing being on the extreme right, bug detection happened at the very end of the development lifecycle. As a direct consequence, the time, effort and money spent to rectify bugs and errors became enormous. In many cases, it also led to delayed product releases and missed opportunities. As organizations realized that defects and errors were less costly to fix when detected early, the concept of Shift-Left testing was introduced. This concept essentially shifted testing from the far right, i.e. from the end of the development lifecycle and was introduced at every stage of the development lifecycle.

In Shift-Left testing, testing teams collaborate with the stakeholders involved in software product development earlier in the development process. With this approach, the testing teams are able to understand requirements, expected functionalities, software design and architecture, coding etc. to gain complete product knowledge. They can draw up thorough testing plans that consider all the possible scenarios to identify software defects.

Shift-Left testing and its relevance in today’s software development landscape.

Today development cycles are becoming more iterative and involve shorter sprints. Development methodologies today such as Agile and DevOps demand faster feedback and continuous development and deployment to meet the changing needs of a volatile market. With the Shift-left approach, the development and testing teams run in tandem and ensure that all defects are fixed on the go. In fact, unless testing is involved in each step of the development process, these new methodologies will not be able to deliver on their promise – that of releasing great quality software products into the market, faster. Shift-Left testing allows software development companies release new software any time during the development process. In essence, this allows frequent product upgrades to meet the changing needs of the user.

The benefits of Shift-Left testing:

Shift-Left testing promises better software quality.

Let’s see how.

  1. Comprehensive testing from the word ‘go’:

    The Shift-Left testing approach is as rigorous as it is aggressive. Since the testing process is introduced right at the beginning of the testing process, testing teams are better equipped to create more comprehensive tests that cover every aspect of the product in production. A much-quoted study said that “56% of defects originate during the requirement phase of the project as compared to a meager 7% during the coding phase”. With the Shift-Left approach, the attention to quality begins right at the inception. Testers can ensure that the software gets tested for each and every functionality and performance aspect. Enhanced test coverage automatically translates to better quality software that is commercially more viable.

  2. Effective and faster bug resolution:

    With Shift-Left testing, bugs can be identified earlier in the development process as testing becomes a proactive contributor to the development lifecycle. The software thus is open to review and to rectification right from the beginning. When bugs are identified earlier they can be fixed faster. This consequently increases the speed of development.

  3. Better product development:

    Shift-Left testing takes the main stakeholders of product development, the developers, the testers, the business heads etc. and ensures a collaborative approach to product development. With a better understanding of what the product is expected to accomplish and who it is targeted towards, testing teams can create better and more comprehensive test plans. This ensures better quality of the product in production while eliminating the frictional differences between teams.

  4. Faster time-to-market:

    As the key stakeholders of software development work in a collaborative manner in the Shift-Left testing approach, it aids the velocity of development too. The development teams are able to resolve bugs and defects proactively in the development process. This means that the number of bugs and defects to be fixed at the end of the development process and the ensuing regression testing to ensure that all connected parts of the software are operating as designed is reduced considerably. This ensures speed of development -the products can be released in the market faster.

Conclusion:

The idea of Shift-Left testing is not just to introduce testing earlier in the development process. It is also about combining the right set of tools, methodologies, frameworks, and approaches to enable predictability, and the detection and prevention of defects from the beginning to the end of the project. This enables agility and boosts productivity. The result should be a better product, released faster, and eventually greater profitability.

Here’s Some Help In Picking The Right CMS For Your Business!

Choosing the right content management system(CMS) is key for boosting the efficiency and productivity of your web app. A good content management system results in improved site navigation, greater flexibility, increased security, and helps in reducing errors by preventing content duplication. In today’s digital world, a CMS is essential for every web-based business. Consider how your website needs to be regularly updated with content, new products, styles, services, and campaigns which may be added or removed.

Here’s Some Help In Picking The Right CMS For Your Business!

For those who came in late let’s introduce the CMS first. The CMS is mainly used for managing web content and offers tools for website authoring, collaboration, and administration. This helps users with limited knowledge of HTML and other programming languages to create and manage their website content easily. They are easy to use and can be customized easily, they cost less and provide better workflow management. Without the CMS, the website risks becoming unorganized and inaccurate. Navigation may become more difficult for the users, thus compromising the all-important user-experience.

With different CMS options available in the market, it may be challenging at times to pick the right CMS suited to your business needs. So how do you know which is the best CMS for your company? In this post, we have shared information on the different types of CMS along with their key benefits. We hope this will help you in making the best CMS decision.

First, what are the different categories of CMS that are widely used today?

It may be useful to understand the different types of CMS, their features, and their advantages, before choosing the one which fits your business needs. Open source CMS platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento are some of the widely used in the industry.

  1. Proprietary CMS:
    Proprietary CMS or the traditional, commercial software involves initial license fees for using the software and there are also annual charges required for their support or updates. There may be additional costs for making customization and technical support as well and can prove to be more expensive. Hence, it may be important to know the features that may be covered by this type of license. Ex: Microsoft Sharepoint, Sitecore, Shopify.

  2. Open Source CMS:
    This kind of CMS software is largely free and hence there is no initial cost involved in its usage. There are no license fees, upgrade fees as they are mainly created by a team of developers within the community. However, there may be costs involved if customization needs to be made to the software to meet specific business needs. Ex: WordPress, Magento, Drupal. Since feature additions and support is from the community there is some unpredictability in their cadence and availability.

  3. Software As a Service(SaaS):
    SaaS CMS solutions comprise web hosting, web content management software, and technical support through a single supplier. These solutions are hosted in the cloud and typically involves a subscription model offered on a per user or per site basis. One of the main benefits of using SaaS CMS solutions is their easy accessibility across laptop, mobile devices. Costs are also quite low compared to other types of CMS. The updates for the software can be done in real time and packages are usually scalable.

  4. Component Content Management System:

    As a point of interest, Component Content Management Systems help in managing content at the component level rather than the document level. They deal with content which may be repetitive and may be regularly revised and translated into different languages.

Top Factors To Consider While Choosing The Right CMS For Your Business are:

  1. Assess impact on your business:
    In most organizations, the IT, marketing and sales departments are closely involved in the activities related to the website. Hence one key task is prioritizing the requirements of different stakeholders to avoid internal conflicts. Next, the business needs to know their key internal needs, before choosing a specific platform so that they can plan in case they need to deploy additional staff and resources if required.

  2. Must be able to match with the technology and skillsets:
    There are many dependencies that may influence your choice of CMS solution. It may be necessary to integrate with other core functions such as marketing, sales, communication along with other project management initiatives. If there are any technology upgrades which are planned for the future, it may be best to choose a CMS which may be compatible with these projected changes. It may also be necessary to assess the technical skills and capabilities of your in-house team. In addition, it’s necessary to understand if the CMS is easy to use and manageable for your end users as well.

  3. Choosing the right features::
    The kind of features which you would require for your CMS would largely depend on your business goals. The size and scope of your web app, the likely schedules of content updation, the volume of this content, the number and type of users who will be tasked with managing the content, and the nature of the content will all play a role. The CMS software needs to be user-friendly, easy to use, have a scalable architecture to meet your future needs, must provide security features, and needs to have documentation and support for the end users.

  4. Focus on on-going support:
    Support for CMS platforms is of paramount importance as there may be on-going issues over the business operations. Especially, if you are opting for Opensource CMS, then it’s necessary to choose one with a wider and more interactive community for on-going support and seeking solutions. Besides, this also involves a cost, especially for implementing solutions using traditional platforms. Support may also be required even for the hosting infrastructure.

Conclusion:

Choosing the right CMS platform calls for thorough research on the various available options, weighing their pros and cons and finding the best fit that meets your specific business requirements and goals. If the choice seems too complex, then drop us a line and we will be happy to help!

Software Trends You Should Be Excited About In 2018

2017 was an exciting time to be in the software product development and testing space. We witnessed the rise of DevOps as a solid development methodology, saw Agile become more mature, and the establishment of test automation as an essential to the success of any software development methodology. Iterative software development emerged as the enabler of delivering high-quality software and this resulted in generating greater customer satisfaction. 2018 promises to be no less transformational in the world of software development. Here’s a list of things that we are, and you should also be keeping an eye on in 2018.

Software Trends You Should Be Excited About In 2018

  1. Artificial Intelligence:

    While AI has made its presence felt in our lives in the form of Siri and Cortana, 2018 will witness AI influencing development and testing too. Right from conceptualization to software development and testing, and deployment and maintenance the AI impact is expected to be quite pronounced in 2018. Using AI, developers can create better software by creating richer functionalities that are more user responsive. The use of AI in software testing is also going to be quite tangible. With the use of AI, testing teams will be able to better optimize test automation cases, validate hard to process artifacts, simplify complex tasks, and create intelligent test scripts that are adaptive in nature -amongst other things.

  2. Progressive Web Apps:

    2018 is also looking like the year of Progressive Web Apps. Introduced by Google in 2015, PWA’s got a lukewarm reception in 2016. 2017 saw these apps gradually gain momentum as they presented a potential alternative to designing a native mobile app. Presently there are over 6.5 billion apps for download while the corresponding number for regular app use is on the decline according to Statista. As the number of mobile apps increase but lose their appeal, PWA’s present themselves as the next big hope for the mobile web. PWA’s makes use of the latest technologies to combine the best of web and mobile applications. These are more reliable, load quickly, respond faster, and provide an immersive UX all while being more maintainable.

  3. Single Page Application (SPA):
    Single Page Applications or SPAs continue to climb up the popularity charts. Initially used to build the private dashboard portions of SaaS platforms or Internet services, SPAs based on JavaScript will continue to rise in popularity in 2018. This is driven by the sense that they are high performance, reduce development time, and are device agnostic. While it still might be too early to assess the likely success levels, the growing popularity of SPAs in the development circles is already visible.

  4. Automation and Continuous Testing:
    Continuous testing is all set to become an overarching theme in 2018. This is owing to the accelerating shift towards DevOps, continuous delivery, agile etc. With this, we will see an increase in automation in the software testing space. We are sure to witness test automation become a first-class citizen in the age of digital transformation. As continuous delivery pipelines along with running software and services become an omnichannel business, software development and testing companies will want an even greater convergence of testing tools. In 2018, we can expect to see this convergence of functional test automation tools with mobile front-end test automation tools. These companies will no longer want to use one tool for running functional tests for browsers and other environments and another for mobile environments.
  5.  Motion UI:
    Web design trends in 2018 are all about being more cutting edge. As web design becomes more dynamic, smooth animation becomes a design imperative. In 2017, we saw Motion UI gain rapid popularity. This was because it gave developers the capacity to animate content faster and with greater ease without any in-depth knowledge of jQuery or JavaScript. Motion UI helps in capturing the attention of the user by easily adding movement and drama elements to pages.

Conclusion:

Along with all this, we could also expect to see the further evolution of strategies to engage the users more. An example in 2018 could be chatbots based on artificial intelligence to increase the efficacy of online communication.
2018 promises to be an important year in the software development business as software begins to touch our lives and work in every possible way. Clearly, technology is all set to embed itself in everything we do as almost all businesses become software driven. As the way people and companies use software changes – can the way we develop software afford to stand by the wayside and ignore the change?

There’s a Transformation Underway in Test Automation – Here’s What To Look For

The change in software development methodologies has not only impacted the manner in which software products are developed but have also turned software testing and QA on its head. Today, testing is not a solitary function anymore. Organizations now realize the role of great testing in the development of robust, high quality, and error-free software. This has increased the potential impact area of testing. As applications grow in complexity the test automation market experiences change as well. Here’s a look at the transformation that is underway in test automation:

Transformation in Test-Automation

  1. Increased Focus On Mobile Testing:
    With the number of mobile devices increasing consistently and the consequent ‘appification’ of the economy, the focus on mobile testing is only going to increase. Mobile application testing will continue to focus on performance, functionality, usability, compatibility and security testing. As the market for mobile devices continues to expand, mobile test automation will likely out-run cross-browser test automation. The growth of the open-source frameworks, the emergence of Mobile DevOps, and the app economy will contribute to the expansion of mobile test automation.

  2. Shift-Left Testing: 
    Shift-left testing is on its way to becoming a standard in the testing industry. As development mythologies such as Agile and DevOps mature, as does the complexity of software products and applications, the need to test early and test often become critical. We are increasingly witnessing software organizations lean towards Shift-Left testing where the testing process starts early in the development cycle. The objective of Shift-Left testing is to start testing right from the requirement phase itself to reduce the cost of bug identification. The adoption of Shift-Left testing is also dovetailing into Test Driven Development and Behaviour Driven Development. The aim? To develop error-free products without delays.

  3. The rise of Microservices testing:
    Instead of developing monolithic pieces of software, organizations are developing software that comprised smaller pieces. This independent and decoupled architecture a.k.a Microservices reduces inter-modular dependencies and enables faster releases along with ensuring scalability and manageability. Testing these applications can become quite complex. Hence the demand for enhanced levels of test automation and an increased focus on API testing.

  4. Focus on testing of SOA architectures:
    Testing of the web services and SOA architectures in today’s age of complex application integrations has become extremely important. Test automation initiatives have to focus on checking the end-to-end performance of applications. The aim is to ensure that the interconnected systems and parts communicate efficiently with one another and generate the expected response.

  5. End-to-end lifecycle automation:
    Test automation is ready to move out of the confines of functional test automation. There is a rise of web services, API’s and a growing data reliance. This demands end-to-end lifecycle automation. Automation of everything across the entire software lifecycle is becoming a necessity.

  6. Unification of collaboration tools:
    With collaboration becoming an imperative in the software development lifecycle, the growing need is for speed as well as agility. Developers, QA, operations engineers, and testers are looking at a unification of collaboration tools. Instead of using a separate set of tools according to the roles, to increase the effectiveness of testing initiatives and improve collaboration between teams, these teams will now be able to use the same set of tools and IDE’s.

  7. The DevOps impact on testing:
    Testing is increasingly feeling the DevOps impact. And this is only going to grow over the next year. We can expect to see a greater merging of roles of testing experts with developers and operational engineers. This is due to the rising need for collaboration in developing superior quality products and to accommodate the continuous agile cycles. This will also demand an increase in test automation as the need for continuous updates for quality and continuous integrations, rises in the development lifecycle.

  8. The move from performance testing to performance engineering:
    In order to drive user experiences, performance testing will make a shift towards performance engineering. The focus will be more on ensuring consistent application performance across different platforms, mobile devices, and operating systems. The demand for better user experiences and an increased focus on UX will further drive this shift from performance testing towards performance engineering. This approach will not only confirm that the software meets the performance requirements but will also ensure that the cost of development goes down.

  9. AI meets test automation:
    The adoption of Artificial Intelligence is gaining momentum. Software testing too is expected to become a playing field for AI. The use of AI in test automation will be to make the testing suites more intelligent, validate hard to process artefacts, automatically create test scenarios, and help test automation tools develop a learning approach. AI can do the heavy lifting in test automation and help testing teams generate possibly 100 times more test coverage and improve app performance by increasing testing performance.

Conclusion:

2016 and 2017 witnessed some major defining moments in the software testing landscape. We saw the role of testing become dominant in the development lifecycle. It has now been widely accepted that software testing and development cannot function in isolation if the end objective is to create a reliable and robust software product. In 2018 we can expect testing and test automation to continue with this evolution as new technologies and development methodologies emerge. The question for those of us in the software development game is – will we be ready?

5 Technologies That Technology Driven Startups Must Adopt Today.

As the dominance of technology increases, almost every day we are bombarded with the next ‘it’ technology that is designed to be the cure of all ills. In such an environment, technology-driven startups can find themselves lost in a maze of options. After all, making the right technology decision and leveraging the right technology can play a huge role in their success. As startups come under pressure to deliver faster and deliver better and create applications in extremely stringent timelines, here’s a look at five impactful technologies that tech-driven startups can adopt to be successful.

Cloud:

The cloud has evolved to be one of the most disruptive technologies of our times. It can be considered a big contributor to the high-speed growth of technology-driven organizations. Large organizations such as Airbnb, Pinterest, Dropbox etc. have been hugely successful owing to cloud technology. With the cloud, startups can store and manage large volumes of data easily and in a cost-effective manner since the cloud does not make any heavy infrastructure demands. It becomes a great option as seasonal spikes, scaling and hosting woes are laid to rest with it. Cloud has almost become the poster child of the ‘lean development’ movement as it has low fixed and variable costs and the capacity to scale as per business demands.

Software development in the cloud is also becoming quite popular in the development circuit. It enables real-time collaboration even in a distributed environment, assists in putting testing at the heart of software development, increases the speed of development, and aids capacity planning, updates, and releases easily.

JavaScript:

As front-end development gains popularity in the world of application development, JavaScript is one technology that technology-driven startups must look at. JavaScript assists front-end developers build fluid interactions using effectively designed code structures even in applications that have complex code structures. It helps developers manage concurrent operations with ease, enables faster programming using a host of frameworks such as jQuery, AngularJS, Backbone.js, ReactJS, or Bootstrap. This helps in streaming complicated commands by making them simpler. It provides cross-browser support – a must for all applications in today’s digital economy. It also provides a wealth of frameworks with predefined functions that makes adding functionalities easier and less time-consuming. JavaScript frameworks such as ReactJS, Angular.js make responsive design a piece of cake as well. Finally, JavaScript allows rendering of pages both on the client and the server side which helps in application maintainability, greater search engine optimization, and better application performance.

Ruby on Rails:

Ruby on Rails is an object-oriented full-stack web application framework. This framework allows organizations to develop easily maintainable, high-quality products. It can work on multiple platforms and allows organizations to come up with prototypes faster and helps in building ‘cool applications’ in a much shorter time frame. It aids the theory of ‘fail fast’ which can be of great help for startups to chart the future course of their product offering. RoR is a powerful language that has great security features and a flexible syntax debugger. RoR is a good choice for websites that need high scalability, enterprise applications and for software projects that demand faster development.

Angular JS:

An open-source framework, Angular JS has emerged as a great choice for developing responsive mobile web applications. It is an open source, JavaScript MVC framework. It helps developers make feature-rich and responsive applications suitable for both mobile and web applications leveraging the same codebase. Applications built using Angular JS are highly scalable and allow for easy implementation of upgrades, patches, and bug-fixes. Its object-oriented design principles make the case for easy maintainability.

Angular JS provides some great mobile components. Developers get the capability to create rich user interfaces on mobile environments to provide a smooth mobile experience. Since Angular JS uses reusable logic, it allows developers reuse web application logic on multiple devices across multiple platforms without compromising on the UI. Its declarative paradigm for creating patterns, the capability to load pages asynchronously, and use of lightweight code, assists in enhancing application performance. It also helps developers optimize application security features and hence becomes a great choice for enterprise applications. The icing on the cake is that Angular JS has an active community support, has a testing focus, and is easy to get started with.

NodeJS:

Over the past few years, NodeJS has firmly established its credibility as a reliable technology choice. The core functionality of Node JS is written in JavaScript which makes it a great choice for developing real-time applications. Since it uses the same language for both the front-end and back-end it increases the efficiency of the development process. Scaling of Node.js applications is also easier as it uses clusters for ensuring scalability, provides an inbuilt support for package management, is publicly available and also provides dependency and version management.

Node.js applications are also stronger and more resilient since they are made of smaller and reusable components. This also makes adding functionalities easier. Further, Node.js applications are designed to handle large traffic volumes and allow for actual data streaming. Node.js provides real-time collaboration tools and gives organizations the option to use it as a proxy server along with being easy to learn and highly secure.

Conclusion:

Choosing the right technologies can help technology-driven startups create high-value and successful software products. Startups can ensure that budgets are checked, timelines are met, and that work flows smoothly. Leveraging technology that is mature and is built to last makes development faster and efficient. Assessing the maintenance needs of the technology, compatibility, and security levels are a few things to consider for while making a technology choice. At the end of the day, technology-driven startups have to ensure that their technology choices pave the way for their growth story. Are you ready?

Does Front-End Web Development Demand A Different Testing Strategy?

It is becoming increasingly clear that the consumers of everything digital are growing visually and technologically more sophisticated each day. Today’s digital landscape demands smooth interactions, clean designs, logical usability, and seamless interactions. Iterative product development has become more mainstream.

This means that taking feedback from customers to build products and services that they would like to use is becoming an accepted way to build better products.

It is because of this growing need to create products that user’s love and will continue to use, that front-end development is rapidly becoming popular in the world of software development.

What is Front-end Development?

Front-end development works by combining design layouts and programming that powers the visuals and user interactions. The objective of front-end development is to create the visual display so that a user can interact with these displays smoothly. Owing to the large number of devices and device formats that are bombarding the market today, front-end development is becoming even more relevant to ensure great user experiences and accessibility. This also helps ensure that the information display is relevant and readable irrespective of the screen size. The objective of front-end development is also to ensure the website is displayed correctly across different browsers, operating systems, and devices and hence demands careful planning by the developer.
As the focus on usability and design increase incrementally, developers and product design teams can no longer work in silos. Collaboration has become a key in the world of software development and front-end development further cements this development aspect.

Testing in the Front-end World:

Front-end development is in itself quite complex and hence demands a comprehensive testing strategy. When doing front-end development, testing strategies have to cover the Presentation Layer (user interface), while the Business Layer (Application User Interface) and the Database layer will be covered by back-end testing.
Front end testing is performed on the GUI and is done to check the overall functionality of the application. Unlike back-end testing that involves databases and business logic testing, front-end testing does not demand any information storage in the database but needs the testers to be knowledgeable about the business demands and have a comprehensive understanding of automation tools and frameworks. Tests that fall under the purview of front-end testing are:

Here’s a look at a few considerations that front-end testing teams need to factor into a comprehensive and fool-proof testing strategy.

  1. What are you Testing?
    Front-end testers need to be clear about their testing objectives. Understanding functionality requirements and detailed specifications of requirements from all invested stakeholders are essential when creating a front-end testing strategy. Here while the focus in on bug detection, a greater focus is on meeting the functionality requirements and ensuring that all functional elements of a web page are displaying and working as intended.
  2. Who are you Testing for?
    Since front-end development focuses on usability and the user interface, front-end testers need to understand who their target audience is in order to understand customer preferences such as which devices do they prefer using, which OS and browser combinations are popular amongst them, what are the bandwidth and connection speeds they are used to, etc. This helps in creating a simpler testing strategy and helps testers prioritize the test methodology with ease.
  3. What are your Limits?
    Understanding the testing project limits is also essential during front-end testing so that testers do not have to depend on the ‘that’s good enough’ statement. Therefore, it is crucial to identify realistic testing budgets, including the project’s timeline. This helps ensure that testing is not rushed and to identify the main use cases to fulfill exactly what your target user base demands.
  4. What are your device and browser support targets?
    Front-end testing has a lot to do with device and browser support. Thus it becomes essential to define these support levels. However, front-end testing teams have to ensure that all content must be readable, all functionalities must work, navigation must work, and there is a minimal deviation from the approved graphic design.
  5. What is your performance target?
    Determining the performance target of the web application being developed is crucial for front-end testing to ensure satisfied clients and users. They have to agree on an acceptable score on say, Google’s PageSpeed Insights, to ensure that the application is performing optimally. Starting with the known pain points, creating good base-line tests to enable high-level testing, increasing accountability, and constantly revisiting the code base to ensure that the current implementation makes sense helps in achieving the set performance targets.
  6. Selecting the Right Testing Tools:
    The right testing tool is a formidable weapon for the front-end testers. While there are a number of testing tools available, choosing one that is not only cost effective but is also easy to use is key. There are quite a few factors to consider during the testing tool selection for front-end testing. The tool must make adding bugs, issues, tasks in an orderly manner easy, and helps in assigning bugs to the right team members with expected dates of completion. It must allow teams to upload screenshots, documents etc. related to the bugs, assist in detailed reporting, and aid testing to match the speed of development.

Front-end testing teams need to ensure that they invest their time and energy in building a comprehensive testing strategy and attempt to limit the time spent on fixing regressions. This ensures that more time can be invested in feature development and in making the existing code stronger and more resilient. Given that the end objective of front-end and back-end development are not the same, it is thus inevitable to have a different testing strategy for front-end development.

Why I Believe Giving Our Services Away To Startups Is A Good Idea?

“Pricing is not a math problem. It’s a judgment problem.” – Michael Dearing
Professor Stanford University Design School

Let me first hastily clarify that this piece is not about some going-out-of-business type of scheme to work for free for startups. This is about what we hope is an innovative way for startups to get a sense of whether their idea is workable or not, without having to cough up scarce big bucks. We have rolled out a free pilot (write back to me if you want more details) option for startups and I wanted to take this opportunity to try to explain just what motivated us to do that.

A few years ago, I had read a fascinating article, “Free! Why $0.00 is the future of business.” The article talked about the genesis of the “free” model with Gillette’s “Cheap razor, expensive refills” and then of how the internet had changed business models dramatically with the so-called “Freemium” approach. Much of what has been said applies more to products than services, but in our day and age when enterprises are being transformed digitally, I believe it’s time for services to catch up here.

Over the years Thinksys has worked with a bunch of startups. I also have the personal pleasure of being a part of the Plug and Play TechCenter in the Silicon Valley, probably the world’s largest startup accelerator. Several interactions have convinced me of some startup truths.

  1. Startups are a great segment to target
    The teams may be small to start with but the work is usually cutting-edge and always exciting. That, and the decisions are made quickly and transparently.
  2. They are looking for long term partners
    Assuming everything else works out, chances are the relationship will be a long one with guaranteed mutual benefit.
  3. They seek value
    It’s a bit of a myth that startups don’t have money. It’s true that resources are scarce but they are willing to spend the right amount of money if they believe they can get value
  4. Their timelines are short
    Lean startup, MVP, Agile approach – startups love all of these for the same reason – the accelerated pace of development. 2 weeks is a lifetime and 2 Quarters almost too long a timeframe to worry about.

Knowing this we set out to try and address a major pain point for startups in a manner that would work for them. Many startups, especially at an early stage, desperately seek validation of their idea. They want the opportunity to convert that product idea into a workable prototype that shows them what works and what doesn’t. In our software world, the challenge for them is that they may not have access to the technology skills needed to make that happen fast enough. They may not know what technology to choose, what architecture to put in place to adequately test their assumptions, and they almost certainly will not have the tech resources to put on the job to translate the idea into a working software product. Some startups, especially on the US West Coast, may have the benefit of tech co-founders but turning to them is also not a scalable solution. Hiring people is not easy, carries a lot of risk, and can take time. Under the circumstances, they could turn to an outsourced partner – indeed we have made the case that they should. This does not address one core issue though – that of cost.

It’s to address that worry that we decided that we would offer startups a free pilot. In our mind, this is a quick and dirty 2-week sprint. The idea is to take a reasonably clearly defined product idea and roll out as much prototype as is practically possible. Based on past experience, we believe that it’s possible to cover a fair amount of ground when working in an Agile fashion even over 2 weeks. Well, definitely enough for the startup to get a reasonable sense of what should come next. As an added benefit the startup can get a sense of our capabilities and how to draw maximum benefit out of a relationship with us. That said, I don’t want to position this as a “try before you buy” kind of deal – the idea is for the startup to come out the Pilot having made some definite progress. Something that helps them take the next steps forward – with us if it works for them.

It’s been said that the key to success of a business model with a “Free” element at its heart is to ensure that the customer really values the service you are offering, even if it is free. The other, equally important, facet is to ensure that at the end of the “free” service the customer is super-satisfied. Only then will he (or indeed she) feel the need to either carry on or to tell others about the value they received. We hope to be able to deliver that experience – now it’s over to the startups.

(If you want more information then ping us at [email protected], or head on over to our Contact Page.