The Future of Continuous Testing in CI/CD: Emerging Technologies and Trends
The Future of Continuous Testing in CI/CD: Emerging Technologies and Trends
In this article, we will explore all about Continuous Testing, from its current state and its future in CI/CD, to the emerging technologies and trends that will shape its development. We will also cover the importance of continuous testing for businesses and some of its challenges.
If you wonder why continuous testing is so important, think about the following: In the past, software testing was typically done after the code was written and sent to the QA department for independent testing. When bugs were discovered, the code was returned to the developers for correction. While this testing method worked, it was time-consuming.
Nowadays, companies want to produce high-quality products quickly, so they need a faster and more efficient testing process. This is when Continuous Testing comes in.
What is Continuous Testing?
Continuous Testing is a software testing approach in which tests are automated and run throughout the software development lifecycle. It is a part of the Continuous Delivery (CD) process, in which software changes are delivered to customers continuously and iteratively.
Continuous testing aims to identify defects and issues as early as possible, reducing the cost and time of fixing them later. Continuous testing provides immediate feedback to the development team, helping them to detect and address potential problems quickly and efficiently.
According to the Reports and Data source survey, 21% of QA professionals have incorporated continuous testing, source code management, and continuous integration into their DevOps process to speed up code release.
Advantages of Continuous Testing
Here are several advantages of implementing Continuous Testing as a part of the software development process:
- Continuous Testing enables teams to identify bugs earlier in the software development process
- Continuous Testing provides immediate feedback to developers on the quality of their code, enabling them to address any issues immediately.
- You can minimize business risks by assessing and identifying potential issues before they become real problems.
- Automating your test cases can reduce the time spent on testing
- Accelerating the process of software delivery to production helps release the product faster
- You can run performance tests in similitude, which can increase the speed of test execution
Disadvantages of Continuous Testing
While continuous testing has become an integral part of the software development process, it's not without its challenges. As software development teams work to incorporate testing into their CI/CD pipelines, they may encounter obstacles that can hinder their progress.
- Continuous Testing requires a different skillset than traditional testing, including expertise in DevOps, automation, and CI/CD pipelines.
- Different tools and technologies are available for Continuous Testing, and choosing the right ones can be tough. Integrating these tools with other parts of the development process can also be challenging.
- To fully realize the benefits of Continuous Testing, you need to update your testing strategy by moving away from relying solely on traditional testing methods and adopting a well-defined approach to test data management.
- Failing to integrate code, as recommended several times a day regularly, can result in issues such as duplicated coding efforts and non-compatible code, leading to defects.
5 Emerging Technologies in Continuous Testing
With the increasing demand for faster and more reliable software releases, emerging technologies such as AI/ML, automation, and DevOps appeared in continuous testing.
These technologies help teams to automate and streamline their testing processes, identify defects more quickly, and improve overall software quality. Let’s examine some of them:
AI/ML stands for Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning. AI and ML refer to the field of computer science that deals with developing intelligent machines that can simulate human intelligence and learn from data.
One of the main benefits of AI and ML in continuous testing is the ability to automate test case generation, which reduces the need for manual testing and frees up time for other tasks.
This enables testers to test applications more comprehensively and frequently, ensuring defects or issues are identified and addressed quickly. AI and ML increase testing accuracy by identifying patterns and anomalies in the testing data.
AI and ML techniques can efficiently and rapidly analyze extensive amounts of data, allowing them to recognize patterns and irregularities in testing data that human testers might overlook;
Automation in continuous testing refers to using automated tools and processes to execute software tests repeatedly and consistently. It involves automating various stages of the software testing lifecycle, such as test planning, test case design, test execution, and test reporting.
Automation can efficiently perform regression testing, ensuring that changes do not introduce new defects or issues in the software. Tests can be executed 24/7 without human intervention, reducing the time and cost required for testing.
DevOps in continuous testing is the application of DevOps principles to continuous testing, focusing on integrating testing into the software development lifecycle and enabling faster and more reliable delivery of software.
In the context of continuous testing, DevOps emphasizes testing integration into the development process, enabling developers to detect and fix defects early in the cycle. DevOps also promotes automation, collaboration, and communication between development and operations teams, allowing faster and more efficient testing and deployment.
Blockchain technology has been gaining increasing attention in the software development and testing industry due to its ability to provide secure and tamper-proof data storage.
In continuous testing, blockchain stores testing results and data decentralized and transparently, making it virtually impossible for anyone to modify or manipulate the data. This enhances the credibility of the testing process and outcomes and provides an added layer of security to ensure the integrity of the data.
Blockchain technology enables efficient and seamless data sharing between stakeholders involved in the testing process, enabling faster and more accurate decision-making.
IoT (Internet of Things)
In continuous testing, IoT simulates many IoT devices and platforms, enabling testers to test their applications across multiple devices and platforms. This ensures that applications are compatible with various IoT devices and platforms and perform reliably and consistently in various environments.
For instance, when creating an application that needs to run on multiple devices, it is possible to use an emulator to test the app on your laptop without setting up a development environment for each type of device.
IoT-enabled continuous testing provides real-time feedback on the performance and functionality of applications, enabling organizations to identify and address issues quickly and effectively.
4 Continuous Testing Trends
Continuous testing is rapidly evolving to meet the needs of modern software development practices, with new trends emerging to address the challenges development teams face. Three key trends currently gaining traction in continuous testing are cloud-based testing, shift-left testing, and security testing.
These trends are driven by the need to increase efficiency and speed in software development while ensuring the highest quality and security levels. Let's take a closer look at these trends.
Continuous testing is deployed through cloud-based computing, which provides multiple benefits like ease of deployment, mobile accessibility, and quick setup time.
Businesses are now adopting cloud-based services due to their availability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. Cloud-based testing doesn't require coding skills or setup time, which makes it a popular choice for businesses.
Testsigma Technologies is an example of a company that offers AI-driven continuous testing for continuous delivery as part of its cloud-based continuous testing platform.
AI-driven continuous testing is integrated into cloud-based testing platforms, providing end-to-end automation for web, mobile, and API testing. Cloud-based testing allows for access to testing environments anywhere, anytime, and provides for regular automated testing using platforms like Selenium.
Shift left testing is software testing that involves testing earlier in the development cycle rather than waiting until later stages, such as system or acceptance testing. The goal of shift left testing is to identify and address defects as early as possible.
Delaying testing until the end of development often results in more complicated bug fixes since the software is already fully built. This can cause an increase in cost and time to market. Identifying and fixing bugs earlier in the software development lifecycle is generally more cost-effective.
As IBM's Systems Sciences Institute claims, repairing a bug discovered during implementation costs roughly six times more than one found during design. If a mistake is detected after product release, the cost of fixing it is four to five times greater than one found during design and up to 100 times greater than one found during the maintenance phase. This suggests that a bug's cost increases exponentially as the software progresses through the SDLC.
Low code & No-code Technology
Low or no code in continuous testing refers to using visual interfaces and pre-built elements or modules to create and execute automated tests instead of writing complex code.
Low code/no code testing tools often provide drag-and-drop interfaces and pre-built components that can be combined to create tests, reducing the time and effort required to develop and maintain test scripts.
This type of testing provides several advantages, such as allowing non-technical business experts to run testing, speeding up test production and execution, and enhancing product quality by enabling more thorough and efficient testing.
According to statistics, by 2025, around 70% of new business applications are predicted to use low-code or no-code technologies.
Due to the rising incidence of cyber threats and data breaches, security testing has become a crucial aspect of software quality assurance.
In the year 2023, the tech world anticipates that there will be a stronger focus on security testing, with the emergence of more advanced tools and methodologies aimed at detecting and resolving security weaknesses in software applications.
Continuous Testing Keeps Teams Alert and Agile
Continuous testing revolutionizes software development, enabling businesses to deliver high-quality products swiftly. Automated tests integrated throughout the development lifecycle detect defects at the early stages, reduce business risks, and expedite software delivery. Emerging technologies like AI/ML, automation, DevOps, blockchain, and IoT enhance continuous testing, making it more powerful and efficient.
Continuous testing is evolving alongside several impactful trends. Cloud-based testing offers easy deployment and accessibility, making it a popular choice. Shift-left testing emphasizes early testing, reducing costs and improving time to market. Low code/no code testing tools enable efficient testing by non-technical users. Security testing is gaining prominence due to increasing cyber threats.
Adopting these trends enhances Continuous testing practices, granting a competitive edge in the fast-paced digital landscape. However, it is important to remember that Continuous testing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each organization must carefully assess its unique requirements and choose the right tools, strategies, and skillsets to successfully implement Continuous testing and drive continuous improvement in software development processes.