Testing is considered a very important phase of the Software Development Life Cycle. However, according to a few, software testing is very small, and the main task is to find and report bugs that can be easily grabbed. But in reality, the testing domain is not as small as it seems and has a bright and vast prospectus.
Testing not only means finding and reporting bugs but also has other aspects like requirement analyzing, creating the test plan, test case creation, reporting, creating metrics, and so on. Continuous testing is speeding up the testing process so that testing does not remain the set of sequential activities. It encourages multiple tests to be performed in parallel and continuously throughout the process.
The testing domain is generally categorized into 2 segments- Manual testing and Automation testing. These tests have been further categorized into black-box and White box testing. Based on this categorization, many types of testing are generally followed by software testers:
- Sanity Testing
- Smoke Testing
- Gorilla Testing
- Adhoc Testing
- Regression Testing
- Unit Testing
- Integration Testing
- Functional Testing
- System Testing
- Stress Testing
- Performance Testing
- Usability Testing
- Acceptance Testing
- Continuous Testing and many more
All these different forms of testing have some specific objective for which it is performed.
Today, Agile methodology is considered king, and the companies that are not following and not releasing frequently in sprints are left far behind. So, How can we maintain product quality and pace when software changes? Moreover, there is a growing awareness in the market that existing testing tools and techniques are too slow to cope with the pace.
So, Here comes Continuous testing, which aims to speed the testing process with development by conducting different types of tests- both manual and automated- continually throughout the software, which is in the delivery pipeline.
However, many of us are not well acquainted with Continuous testing. So, in this document, we are discussing Continuous testing and its scopes, tools to be used for Continuous testing, and much more.
What is Continuous Testing?
In simple words, we can say that Continuous testing is a process of executing automated tests of the software or product in the delivery pipeline to get immediate feedback on the business or project risk associated with the software to be delivered.
Continuous Testing is all about a test suite that emphasizes the full functionality of the software to be delivered from the user’s perspective and gives the developers, business analyst, and project managers full visibility into what is really working or everything is working, What is not working, and What items are currently not tested or left out to be tested. This visibility helps the team make a proper decision based on the business risk in the specific release and whether the release is ready to go to production.
Goals and Benefits of Continuous Testing
The foremost goal of continuous testing is to provide fast and continuous feedback about the business risk in the product in the release candidate or in the latest build. Based on the feedback, a management team decides whether the developed features can be delivered and deployed in the production environment.
Continuous testing includes many beneficial factors that make it popular in the current modern era. Some of the benefits of using continuous testing are listed below:
- Firstly, based on continuous testing, many undiscovered or critical defects can be identified within just a few minutes.
- Continuous testing in the early stages of the development process can expose the application risk. The development team can then prevent those risks or defects in the next stage of the development cycle.
- Reduce the time and effort required of the development team to fix the defects or bugs.
- It is carried out continuously, and metrics are generated to verify product quality. These metrics can later be re-examined and optimize the process, including the tests’ effectiveness.
- Continuous testing also increases the pace at which the software is delivered and maintains the quality.
- Continuous testing is done to identify the business risk so it thoroughly follows the business and project requirements along with the acceptance criteria. As a result, the chance of missing any functionality or critical criteria is reduced.
- Less human or manual integration is done as the whole suite is automated.
- Continuous testing created transparency across the team as the test result is displayed in the build pipeline. If the test passes, it increases the team’s confidence level; if it fails, team members work together to determine what is wrong.
- Continuous Deployment is being followed. A CI system automatically deploys the code to the production environment if the test status is displayed as Green.
- The chance of a broken build and broken code is reduced as continuous integration is followed, where the codes are properly tested and only merged when all the tests pass.
- In continuous testing, the CI and Version Control System communicate with each other and tell when the merge request is good. It also tells us when all test is run, and it meets the project requirement.
- Continuous testing also helps the QA run the tests in parallel with development and helps keep the process moving.
- Continuous testing is fully automated, so it keeps on monitoring the live services and also helps to spot whether conditions have arisen that have not been anticipated.
- A test-first approach allows greater test coverage to ensure product features work as expected.
- Continuous testing expects testing to be embedded in the development process, not tacked at the end.
Scope of Continuous Testing
When it comes to the scope, Continuous testing supports the validation of both the functional and non-functional requirements. For validating functional requirements it involves systems testing, integration testing, API testing, and unit testing.
Continuous testing involves static code, analysis, security testing, performance testing, and so on for testing non-functional requirements. Generally, Continuous testing is being performed in a non-production environment, but to maintain accuracy and consistency, the testing should always be performed in an environment that is almost similar to the production.
How is Continuous testing different from Automation testing?
As mentioned above, Continuous testing is also automated testing done on the product in the delivery pipeline, but still, some points differentiate it from regular Automation testing. A few of the differences are highlighted below:
|The continuous process of testing release candidates using automated scripts
|Executing tests using software and comparing actual vs expected results
|Test execution for the right test sets at the right pipeline stages
|All test cases executed together without priority
|Integrated within the development process, it runs in parallel
|Performed after development when build is stable
|Identify issues early to improve product quality
|Accelerate regression testing
|Project requirement based
|Instant Release Insights
|Provides instant insights on release quality
|Cannot provide instant insights
|Impacts release decisions
|Internal testing team process
|End User Focus
|Improves product quality for users
|Focuses on end-user experience
|Role of Automation
|Enabler of continuous testing
|Actual automation testing process