Contrary to popular myths, continuous testing is not the same as test automation. In other words, implementing automated testing alone isn’t enough for testing software continuously. Instead, continuous testing starts with test automation. But to establish the CT methodology and really enjoy the benefits of it, you need more than just automated test scripts. To ensure successful continuous testing, you must have proper tools for planning, accelerating collaboration and analysis. So, let’s take a look at different continuous testing tools and find out which of them are necessary for your agile team and help you overcome the potential challenges you may encounter.
Start with a Tool for Planning
The very first tool your agile team needs is the one for planning. Your teammates will use it for issue tracking, task creation, future stories and collaboration in general. The most popular planning tool among software development teams is, of course, JIRA. It allows creating user stories and issues, planning sprints and distributing tasks among team members. The tool’s features for agile teams include:
- agile reporting
- customizable Scrum boards
- flexible Kanban boards
Planning tools like Jira allow continuous testing teams to not only set goals but also communicate instantly. And don’t forget to make sure your planning tool integrates easily with your testing platform. When your QAs don’t have to switch between different systems, reporting bugs becomes much more effective.
Pick a Version Control System
The next step in the continuous testing pipeline is development. Your software developers have probably already settled on the technology stack, and since there’s no need to go through different tools here, let’s jump right to version control systems. A version control system is imperative for continuous testing and integration. It helps several developers to work on different parts of the system without their pieces of code conflicting with each other. Also, such tools allow going back to earlier versions of the code if the new commit failed. Git, Subversion and Mercurial are just some of the version control tools you can use for building your continuous testing stack.
Let’s take a closer look at Git, for instance. The free, open-source version control system is famous for its branching model no traditional VCS has. The system allows your team to build multiple entirely independent local branches that can be easily merged and managed. With branching workflows, your developers will not have to wait for each other to finish their tasks. Instead, they can stay productive all the time, without risking to break the entire system by experimenting with their branch. This means that your development team will be able to work faster and more efficiently once they decide to use Git or another version control system.
Don’t Forget About the Build Tool
Your agile team won’t be able to work properly without a build tool that will help them compile and package source code into a usable form. It’s a vital link in the continuous delivery pipeline since it enables project automation. Bamboo, CruiseControl and Bitbucket are just a few examples of such software. But the most popular build tool for continuous integration and delivery is probably Jenkins.
Jenkins is an automation server that allows building, testing and deploying software. For continuous testing, Jenkins offers task automation, work distribution and testing of isolated changes in code. Every time a developer commits a new piece of code to the version control system, Jenkins will automatically run a test suite against it. This helps to avoid code failures beforehand and makes continuous integration possible.
Find Your Perfect Testing Tool
Finally, you should add a reliable testing tool to your continuous testing stack. Finding a suitable solution, however, seems quite the challenge. With so many tools on the market and new ones sprouting, it becomes almost impossible to pick one. But we know that it’s easier to make up your mind if you know exactly what to look for in a testing tool. So, let’s take a close look at the features a decent automated testing tool should have.
Easy integration with other CI tools. It doesn’t matter how many cool additional features your continuous testing tool has. They are all useless if you can’t integrate the tool into your software delivery pipeline. A critical feature of a continuous testing tool is the ability to adapt seamlessly to the existing CI/CD processes. Easy integration with your CI tools will help you avoid setup and configuration problems.
Instant feedback loop. Another essential feature of a testing tool your team will love using is the ability to provide immediate feedback. Insightful reports and an instant feedback mechanism will let you respond to risks faster and prevent failures before the deployment.
Options for codeless test automation. You should know that not all testers are used to writing scripts. So, it’s better to choose a testing tool that can be used even if your quality assurance engineer can’t write a single line of code. Solutions for codeless test automation such as AI Testbot are what you have to be looking for.
Parallel testing thanks to concurrency. It’s no secret that sequential testing takes a lot of time and slows down the entire deployment process. So, if you want to adopt continuous testing, your agile team has to be able to run different tests simultaneously. For that matter, your testing tool must have the functionality that allows concurrent test runs, because the more you can test at once, the better.
Continuous Testing is not an Event
We are used to thinking that testing is something that happens after development and before production. But testing software continuously means running tests from the very beginning and doing so repeatedly. It’s a complicated process that enables continuous delivery, and to support it, you should have not one but an entire mix of different tools.
So, choose your continuous testing stack wisely, because the success of a project depends on your team as well as the tools they use. And most importantly, pick a testing tool with caution: find a flexible and reliable solution that won’t mess up your current CI/CD processes.
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