Testing, testing, one two… Are there any developers looking for testing tools in the room?
As you well know, testing is a core tenet of successful DevOps for a variety of reasons: Good code makes the rest of the DevOps lifecycle easier, it means fewer bottlenecks down the line, and it enables teams to continue doing what they do best instead of constantly having to fix things.
But most importantly, due to the integrated nature of DevOps, testing happens in parallel with, and not after, development. And this means that there’s a collaborative approach to problem solving within the field that you might just struggle to find in any other discipline.
What is testing in DevOps?
Testing in DevOps looks to balance the overlap of goals, feedback loops, and dev skills across all major aspects of the development process, while promoting collaboration to make life generally easier for everyone involved.
The role of a tester in DevOps is to take part in automated or manual tests to ensure that the software is free of bugs, errors, and issues. In short, they’re there to make sure whatever you’re developing is actually going to do what you want it to when it gets into the hands of the general public.
Why is DevOps testing so important?
Testing in DevOps is so important because there are multiple stakeholders involved in the development process, including developers, business analysts and operations managers.
The role of a tester is to ensure the software works. And the testing process is there to ensure collaboration is happening between teams at the most efficient rate.
What are some of the best DevOps testing tools?
Developers make use of a bunch of helpful tools to make life a little bit easier along the lifecycle — and the testing stage is no different.
Some tools are better for cross-platform testing, while others reign supreme in simplified CI (continuous integration). No doubt the wide range of tools on the market can make choosing the right one even more confusing. As well as this, it’s critical that you choose a tool that will meet the needs of your project now and as it grows, to avoid falling into the murky waters of technical debt.
So we’ve put together a quick rundown of the major players, detailing the main benefits and functionality of each tool. And yes, at least two of them are named after vegetables.
Bamboo is a continuous integration (CI) and deployment platform that connects the dots between automated builds, tests, and releases within a single workflow. It makes testing and workflow configuration a cinch with its drag-and-drop functionality. And, to make life much easier, Bamboo works with most CI and version control tools you’ll already be making use of.
Appium is a tool for automating native, mobile web, and hybrid applications — it’s an increasingly popular testing app optimized for mobile apps and software. The prime benefit of Appium is its cross-platform functionality, which allows developers to build continuous testing against multiple platforms such as iOS, Android, and Windows desktop platforms.
Ideal for teams that follow behavior-driven development (BDD), Cucumber is a tool that’s commonly used to write automated acceptance tests for web applications. BDD features are usually defined in a “given when and then” (GWT) format, which is a semi-structured way of writing test cases.
BDD bridges the communication gap between business and IT by writing test cases in a natural language (like plain English) that non-programmers and business domain experts can read.
Eggplant provides testers and developers with a tool to create automated testing and debugging tasks on a wide range of mobile platforms. The main benefit of Eggplant is that it’s easy to use and works with a wide range of technologies, including point-of-sales tools.
Although its usability and functionality are much simpler than those of some other tools, Eggplant is more suited for manual testing than automated testing because it simulates the user’s point of view.
Watir is a tool that is designed to aid the process of automating web applications, no matter which language the application is written in. It is an excellent choice for cross-browser, data-driven, and headless browser testing on the most popular web browsers available.
The browsers that Watir is compatible with include Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge. Plus, it works well in conjunction with BDD frameworks like Cucumber.
TestSigma is the new kid on the block, offering test infrastructure for mobile and desktop OS, as well as API testing. It’s a tool that packs a punch with open-source test automation — it works straight out of the box and also lets you compose tests in natural language, as opposed to scripts.
Gatling is an open-source testing framework designed for load testing, using a variety of foundations to test and analyze performance at different levels of usage. It can be used for integrated development, version control, and CI systems.
It’s most commonly used to make development and deployment of web applications easier because of its ability to frame tests as performance code, making it easier to transfer over and see impacts in real-life scenarios.
How to optimize your DevOps testing strategy
While the testing tools you choose to deploy are important, they’re not the only thing you’ve got to consider when looking into testing. To run a successful DevOps testing process on any application or project, it’s crucial that you have a solid testing strategy that’s optimized.
In theory, this means having a process that’s indicative of real-life scenarios, with a level of automation so advanced that it mimics true-to-life user behavior, and also continuously measuring results against key metrics.
But how can you optimize your testing strategy in practice?
Optimize your test environment
It’s critical that your tests are as close to the real world as possible. Things that work fine in a vacuum don’t always hold up, and sometimes it’s hard to simulate unexpected errors in a sterile environment.
Automate user behaviors
Make sure your automation isn’t too robotic — after all, it’s going to be the humans who are using your software now, isn’t it? One way to do this is with test-driven development or BDD. These methodologies automate not just the tests, but also user behaviors that are replicable, giving you much more coverage and testability. You can do more without having to manually test each specific scenario.
Continuously measure KPIs
Testing is all about results. Constantly compare your results and make sure your apps are meeting the KPIs. Testing lines of code, meeting certain code coverage, repeatability, and success rate are all great ways to determine whether collaboration is working and whether your code is good.
Best practices with DevOps testing
As well as a solid testing strategy, every developer needs to know the key best practices when it comes to DevOps testing. These are the procedures you must follow alongside your testing strategy to ensure you’re getting the most out of your testing environment.
Don’t automate just to automate. It’s crucial to make sure the processes you build are what you actually need to ensure smooth operations and strong results.
Use your results. Testing is fine, but if you’re not doing something with the results, it’s just wasting time. You need to be able to constantly iterate to build better products.
DevOps metrics and documentation
Keep track of your scores. Keeping track of benchmarks can help ensure that future testing is easier and produces better results.
The bottom line about testing in DevOps
There are a range of tools and platforms currently available on the market. Whether you’re looking specifically for browser-based testing or mobile web application testing, or something entirely different, you’ll likely be able to find what you’re looking for.
A key point to note is that you need both the right tools and an optimized testing strategy in order to get the best results from your testing environment. Following our best practice advice will go a long way too.
And while there are many tools (listed above) that are excellent for CI and safe software delivery, they’re not to be considered the end of the road when it comes to securing your product.
If you haven’t already, you may want to consider security testing as part of your testing strategy to ensure you don’t fall victim to a breach due to an undetected vulnerability.
All in all, the DevOps testing tool market really does have you covered, offering a wide range of capabilities for a bunch of projects. It’s up to you to find the right one. So, choose wisely.
1. What is the best DevOps testing tool to use?
There are a number of factors to consider when shopping around for testing tools, including (but not limited to) the environments you’ll be testing, the language in which you wish to compose tests, and whether the platform will integrate with your existing infrastructure.
2. What is the role of a tester in DevOps?
Software testers are involved in the testing and evaluation stages of software development and deployment. As quality assurance professionals, testers ensure software is free of any bugs and errors, and that it’s fit for purpose. The testing stage of a project gives the developers an opportunity to identify and resolve issues with a product before it hits the market for the general population.
3. How can I make the most of my DevOps testing tool?
For the best answer to this question, you’ll need to look at your testing tool functionality in detail and checklist it against your needs as a developer for a particular project. Following our best practices on DevOps testing as well as tips on how to optimize your strategy is another great place to start.