Test Automation in the DevOps World
It’s reasonable to assume that DevOps has two parallel, and equally important, objectives. One primary aim of DevOps is to reduce the development lifecycle with continuous delivery of software to the clients and end-users and the other crucial objective is to improve the software quality.
It’s never been up for debate that testing is an extremely critical phase in software development. Now, with transformations in the development cycles with fast-paced approaches, such as DevOps and Agile, how we look at testing has evolved. It is now essential to implement smart ways of testing software products and applications. Test automation is one of the approaches to improve testing speed and accuracy.
DevOps Testing Strategy
Before moving to the test automation mechanisms in the world of DevOps, it is necessary to make a pitstop to examine the factors feeding into the DevOps testing strategy. DevOps supports and includes a continuous testing strategy which means testing is conducted at every phase of the process. Testers are involved in the testing of the development plan, design testing, and operations testing with functional and non-functional testing. For example, risk-based or exploratory testing can be executed to test the software designs. When it comes to releasing, the combination of tests can run on the production and test environments.
The primary idea in the DevOps testing strategy is to continuously look for possible gaps and errors. DevOps involves testing right from the initiation till the very end.
Test Automation and DevOps
As stated earlier, DevOps supports and follows a continuous testing strategy. Also, continuous development and delivery are involved in DevOps. At that pace, a high level of collaboration and fast-paced execution is required to meet the expected efficiency and quality levels.
This is where test automation becomes the key to support the DevOps practices and make sure software quality is always maintained and improved. Some of the best practices for beginning test automation include:
- Begin with the test automation flows that are easy and increase the complexity and coverage over time.
- Develop independent and self-contained automation test cases.
- Maintain collective ownership during test automation.
- Collaborate with design, development, and deployment teams.
While following the practices illustrated above, the Test Automation Engineers may still get confused about the mechanisms to integrate these with DevOps. A common workflow is presented below to enable test automation teams to amalgamate automation testing in DevOps practices.
- The test engineers shall meet with the developers to discuss the user story and list down the behaviors from a business standpoint. The behaviors identified shall then be converted to Behavior-driven development (BDD) tests.
- Developers shall work on the user story and create unit and integration tests in collaboration with the testing team under test-driven development (TDD). The shared code repository shall be set-up and the tests and codes must be deployed in the repository.
- DevOps Engineers shall create Continuous Integration (CI) servers to execute the code in the shared repository and execute all the tests in TDD and BDD.
- Automation Engineers shall analyze these workflows and tests to create the automated test scripts. The engineers shall also develop additional tests around performance, security, and non-functional testing.
- DevOps Engineers shall reuse the test scrips loaded in the shared repository for acceptance testing.
DevOps’ continuous testing strategy involves several resources and the Automation Test Engineers must collaborate with these resources to effectively conduct test automation.
DevOps Test Automation Tools
Obviously, there are many test automation tools available in the market, and making the right choice is complex. To conduct test automation in DevOps, the tool selected must have the following features:
- Seamless integration in the CI/CD pipeline.
- Platform-independence to run in any of the infrastructures.
- Multi-user access to be used by testers, developers, and others at the same time.
- The short learning curve for better release management.
- Maintenance of automation tests and scripts.
Each tool will come with a set of features and benefits that will decide its aptness for each specific situation. For instance, TestComplete is a typical automation tool that can meet some test automation requirements in DevOps. This is an automated UI testing tool that can support a variety of test cases with enhanced test coverage. The tool comes with record and replay capabilities and an AI-equipped customizable object repository. Tools like these can allow automation test engineers to develop end-to-end tests quickly and efficiently. Good test automation tools can be easily integrated with the various continuous integration systems. Given the prevailing environment with remote teams, it’s also useful to look if the tool comes with distributed testing capabilities. The right set of features will help enhance the testing abilities of the team and also simplify the maintenance tasks.
The bar for software quality has been raised very high and the consequences for failing this test can be dire for a product or application. In the uber-accelerated world of DevOps, software testing has to take on a completely new dimension. Given the need to test more, test faster, and test better, automation presents itself as the most appropriate strategy to achieve software quality.