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Learn Why Test Automation Leads to an Effective CI/CD Pipeline

Summary

Imagine if you had to do all the testing manually, how much time and effort would it take to run all tests every single day? This article will help you understand why automation testing is crucial in the successful deployment of software projects while maintaining standard quality.

 

The digital transformation has engulfed us all! Most businesses are shifting to a cloud-centric environment and adopting ‘Shift-left’ DevOps practices. This ​rapid transformation in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is creating a need to integrating automated testing to build out resilient CI/CD pipelines. Businesses are now looking for better ways to perform CI/CD Pipeline Automation Testing to ace the competition.

Through this article, we’ll explore how integrating automating testing is a crucial part of the pipeline workflow and what are the best practices you should follow in order to extract as much value out of your CI/CD pipeline as possible.

What is a CI/CD Pipeline?

It is a framework in which continuous integration (CI), continuous testing, continuous delivery (CD) and continuous deployment methods are organized into a pipeline to produce high-quality software and application development. Typical pipeline workflows involve the following stages:

Source – A user-initiated workflow or code or changed triggers the CI/CD pipeline to run.

Build – New code is merged with the source code.

Test – Automated tests are run to reveal bugs and validate the code.

Deploy – Tested code is deployed to staging or a production environment.

What does a CI/CD Pipeline do?

Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline enable teams to release a constant flow of software updates into production to fasten release cycles, lower costs, and reduce the risks associated with development. CI/CD goes hand in hand with agile methodology and DevOps, as these all work towards a common goal of delivering quality at speed through flexible approaches. Automated pipelines help prevent manual errors, standardize development feedback loops, detect the bugs quicker, and enable speedy product iterations.

Rise in Need for Automation

The very purpose of CI/CD is defeated by slow feedback, slower changes, and painfully slow releases due to manual testing. There is a need to run multiple tests depending on the objective of test suites. In order to conduct these tests, first the test cases need to be identified and then run them one at a time. This clearly indicates how manual testing makes the process sluggish by many folds. Finally, The QA team will have to manually build, identify, upgrade and tear down the test cycles with multiple permutations and combinations to imitate the end-user environment as testing cycles call for managing different environments to test the functionality.

Role of Test Automation in a CI/CD Pipeline

  • Early & Efficient Detection of Bugs

Using the right tools makes it easier to identify and fix the issues in real-time. This not only speeds up the app development & deployment but also minimizes the errors that can occur due to manual testing.

  • Agility & Consistency

Test automation makes it possible to adjust tools and frameworks quickly when needs change or better technology appears. However, with manual testing agility becomes difficult as test suites have to be rewritten or reconfigured whenever the CI/CD tool chain is updated.  The consistent test planning and execution approach enables eradicating the quality and security anomalies

  • Faster & Smoother Test Execution

Automated testing increases the speed of development because of fast test execution and the repeatable nature of tests.  Automation also makes it possible to test in parallel, which speeds the testing process even more leading to shorter software development cycle, frequent releases, quicker changes and updates to the app and faster time-to-market delivery

  • Creation of QAOps

QAOps framework integrates, defines, and streamlines QA processes into DevOps. It increases collaboration between developers and QA engineers. Automation testing is essential for a robust QAOps environment as it helps in automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks of testing, and enables test engineers to measure test results at a faster pace.  This ensures that software moves into the production phase within the CI/CD pipeline without any delays or quality issues.

  • Easy Handling of Minor Changes

Most of the updates and code integrations in a CI/CD pipeline are small. Test automation reduces much of the manual testing tedium for such minor tweaks or upgrades and enables the team to continually deliver updates with thorough yet easy testing.

Ways to Harness Test Automation in a CI/CD Pipeline

  • Run Multiple Tests in Parallel

Running multiple tests in parallel helps in testing different modules or apps on numerous platforms and browsers simultaneously which makes testing efficient and timely. However, many companies lack the infrastructure to support parallel testing. In such cases, consider a cloud-based testing infrastructure since it allows you to run unlimited number of tests in parallel.

  • Start With Smaller Tests Cases

Prioritizing simpler tests and executing them earlier can help save time and address issues quickly. If a feature is really big, it is wiser to split it down into smaller, faster-to-test components.

  • Identify Tests that Call for Automation

Some test cases work well with the manual process and cannot be automated so it is important to identify and classify the test cases that can be automated, by frequency and skillset. Automating test case that demand high skillset and have high frequency eliminates the challenge of dependency and improves efficiency

  • Single-click Code Migration

Moving code changes from one environment to the other consumes a good amount of effort and time. Using automated procedures like single-click code migration can not only reduce the effort required to make changes but also reduce conflicts between various operations.

  • Use Right CI/CD Tools

It is crucial for teams to use tools that are reliable and able to perform all the testing functions. The best approach for deciding which is the best suitable tool is to look at a its capabilities, strong points, and limitations. This avoids situations where teams have to deviate to other alternatives in the mid of product development.

  • Establish a Continuous Feedback System

Continuous Feedbacks help understanding the bugs and rectify test scripts to ensure the perfect code enters the production phase. Developers can review test scripts on regular basis, improve them, or add further functionalities to make them more effective for present and future projects.

  • Documentation of every aspect

Keeping a record of requirements, code changes, tools, successes, failures, risks, and any other critical information, helps teams improve and streamline their processes.

  • Version Control

Issues missed out in previous releases often come up while executing tests on apps demand root cause analysis which can often consume more time and result in missing features in the production environment. It is recommended to roll back the changes that developers implemented to fix issues in the previous releases.

Final Thoughts

Automation testing improves the ability of the CI/CD pipeline to deliver error-free codes efficiently without compromising on the quality. They improve existing manual testing processes by reducing the amount of work and time required. Detecting issues early and ensuring you have a bug fix in place will only streamline the process further.

We at Golpik, leverage the latest automation & DevOps tools to help deliver top-notch user experiences while improving process efficiency and resource utilization. Contact Us for FREE Consultation in case you’re not sure whether CI/CD pipeline is the right choice for you.  

Golpik Admin
October 20, 2021

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