Thanks to Armando Wirshing, Director of Product Marketing at Katalon, for providing us with this blog post:
A common dilemma in software development is how the work of quality engineers, or testers, is often considered as simple as authoring automation and running it repeatedly. This notion is outdated and harmful to implementing a sustainable, end-to-end software quality process.
Establishing a cross-functional approach for QA requires capabilities that mirror and complement DevOps methodologies. Perhaps this is why over the past few years, some have coined the term DevTestOps. In reality, it’s more akin to how security takes part within the DevOps or software development pipeline and stands apart to provide another layer of independent validation to the process. Similarly, testing teams must cohesively support software development pipelines and provide independent validation and oversight.
Development teams use tools such as GitLab, Jira, etc., to plan, organize, and enable their processes. Operations teams leverage Splunk, ELK, AppDynamics, Datadog, etc., to monitor, analyze, and report on operations. Quality teams, unfortunately, have historically not had the benefits of a quality-focused platform to perform both core tasks and automate reporting and analysis. They often have to employ DIY tactics to their end-to-end quality platform, thereby reducing the overall value of their tool due to the amount of technical debt created by the DIY approach.
Experts know that CI/CD or DevOps is unattainable without test automation. Yet many teams struggle to implement true automated testing beyond unit testing within limited frameworks, leaving the vast majority of testing to continue manually.
Test automation, in general, is challenging, and test planning, authoring, maintenance, management, execution, and reporting/analysis all present individual challenges as quality teams level up in their maturity models. Fortunately, recent advances in testing technology are addressing many of those factors. However, teams must find the most practical tool or platform that fits the budget constraints and integrates seamlessly into the existing tools and services in the CI/CD or DevOps pipeline.
Quality organizations can learn from the DevOps industry usage of platforms that have key functional and reporting capabilities while enabling collaboration and integration into the software development pipeline. The following presents the key features and value of a modern test automation platform that delivers speed, scale, and value to QA teams and the business.ng
Essential features of a test automation platform
1. Automation and authoring
Ease of use and adoption
Creating a solid foundation of automated tests will ensure scalability and quality as the product expands. Two critical criteria to achieve this are effortless operation and flexibility in test scripting Amode. As teams typically consist o testers with varied experience in coding, test automation platforms should include advanced script creation functions for testers with strong coding skills and easy-to-learn low-code scripting modes. With every team member involved, the team’s overall capabilities and collaboration will significantly improve.
Low Maintenance and robust automation
The additional rework of some automated testing tools adds to the overall cost of automation maintenance. The platform should include “smart healing” capabilities that increase text execution quality and overall testing efficacy. These capabilities help eliminate false positives and reduce overall testing flakiness.
2. Orchestration and optimization
Centralized planning and self-service scheduling
A centralized testing calendar is necessary to smoothly organize and plan testing activities across all platforms and projects within an organization. For this reason, the tool should come with a built-in UI that gives all quality stakeholders, whether quality teams, software, or product teams, ownership of scheduling, scaling, and planning.
Options to reduce testing time by running tests in parallel or adjusting test scheduling to allow emergency release is possible with effective reporting and visibility. A centralized command and control view of the process should enable such flexibility.
Visibility and understanding across testing and DevOps
Effective quality processes start with collaboration across stakeholder teams. By incorporating intelligent and relevant insights into standard reports, a shared understanding of quality status is set from the organizational level to the individual project or build
The quality platform should integrate automated real-time reporting that generates insights on data from both quality activities and CI/CD pipelines. Data from Git repositories, test results, and project management tools can be centralized and analyzed for flakiness, requirements coverage, and release readiness across all projects and releases.
Actionable insights from AI
The industry is rapidly adopting AI reporting to gain more advanced insights into code coverage, test prioritization, release readiness, etc. Actionable insights generated by a proficient AI-infused reporting tool reduce analysis across data points and enable rapid decision-making. With AI-based analytics and insights, every decision that impacts the quality of your software will be more informed and decisive.
Multiple options for test execution
Having both on-premises and cloud environments is a must-have for organizations to be agile and address the changing demands of software delivery. Having multiple options for execution, whether on-prem or in the cloud with on-demand SaaS solutions, means your critical software deliveries will never be constrained by test execution capacity. Contrarily, using a tester’s environment to create and execute tests limits your ability to scale.
User platform coverage
An equally important capability alongside multiple environments is the ability to support the plethora of browsers, OSs, and available devices that end users leverage. This is further complicated by the variety of versions of each browser or platform. Not only do your IT or DevOps engineers need to keep up with new releases, but also some number of “N – x” versions that continue to be used.
Ability to support huge upsurge of workload
Large enterprises benefit from having a platform that allows instant scalability and parallel testing to maintain matching capacity without disrupting the release timelines of the business. In the case of a sudden upsurge in test capacity demand, a cloud-based QA platform comes in handy as it can satisfy rapid increases in demand for test execution
Unified world-class support
Even a minor issue can slow down your entire workflow and negatively impact the business. Having a single platform with a global community and 24/7 professional support from skilled staff can make a world of difference and yield long-term business success.
Armando Wirshing, Director of Product Marketing at Katalon, Inc
Armando has extensive experience in the technology field, ranging from software supply chain, CI/CD, ITSM, Cloud Hybrid, to DevOps, Agile, Automation. His career has spanned from Mainframes to Cloud, Development to Operations, Delivery to Sales. He is dedicated to empowering teams and businesses to overcome challenges and in turn celebrate success