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Testing software applications are technically challenging, and a rushed activity scheduled just before applications release. The software development stretches till the last day, leaving little or no time for the testers to do their job. The result?  Defect detection at the last moment, loss of productivity, Poor quality with inadequate testing and delayed time-to-market products or services. Implementation of agile and devops methodologies across organizations has led to finding effective ways to plan their testing and development activities. Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) is one of the best practices for teams to implement code level changes frequently and reliably.

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What is CI/CD?

Continuous Integration (CI) is a coding process that constitutes a set of practices driving the development teams to check in the code changes to version control repositories. The consistent check-in activity to version control repositories results in an automated way to build the release. This leads to improvised collaboration and software quality.

Continuous Delivery (CD) begins where continuous integration ends. CD ensures an automated way to deliver applications to required infrastructure environments.

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What is shift-left testing?

Traditionally, the software testing process was the last phase in the software life cycle or shift-right testing. By shift-left testing, the testing activity begins from the first phase of the SDLC cycle. This shift-left testing has proven to be effective as it drives efficiency and improves quality. The testing process mantra is to test everything, every time. Testers are involved in the early stages of planning and aim to prevent defects before they reach the production environment.
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CI/CD leads way to continuous testing

CI/CD tools take care of the technical parameters for environments and packages for every delivery. The automation schedules, the necessary call to action to web servers and databases. The script lists other related services that need to restart on deploying the applications to the environment. The testing process includes automated test scripts for regression, performance, and use case scenarios. CI/CD needs to be followed by continuous testing. Every integration and delivery lead testing of the feature for its functionality, integration with other features, and the use cases.

The CI/CD along with shift-left testing is speeding up the frequent release deliveries with improved testing quality standards. That’s why continuous quality engineering embraces the fundamentals of Shift-left mindset with profound continuous testing to accelerate CI/CD.

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Prerequisites for CI/CD shift-left testing

The shift-left testing DevOps practice is gaining a firm foothold in the software testing industry due to numerous benefits. The establishment of CI/CD shift-left testing needs time, effort, and investment. The prerequisites are:

  • Several testing environments to support multiple builds and simultaneous test runs.
  • Agile teams need a toolkit of testing objects to combine CI/CD programs and schedule jobs to validate the functionality, quality of the code, performance, and quality.
  • Defined testing standards and service level agreements of organizations form the acceptance criteria.
  • Ready test data and patterns required to run the use cases and input patterns
  • A defined testing strategy on the features to test, types of testing, automation processes, and personnel involved in the process.
  • The teams measure the time duration of CI/CD runs and flag when the automated test impacts productivity. Plan for additional testing schedules for the execution of longer-running tests.
  • Regular validation of automated scripts by SMEs for gaps. A test plan to test longer running test scripts.
  • The development and testing teams need to be aware of the process and implement it stepwise to identify and rectify defects early.

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Benefits of CI/CD shift-left testing

  • Lower costs and increased efficiency: The early detection of defects in the software life cycle saves time, effort, and money
  • Reduction in time to market: as QA process is faster, efficient, and less time-consuming
  • Enhance productivity: Provides the competitive advantage for development teams to work productively by delivering iterations

QA teams continuously measure the test coverage. The implementation of the CI/CD and shift-left strategy in testing results in the early detection of issues in the SDLC cycle. The process speeds up the release cycles as automated scripts run the tests faster. This testing methodology, coupled with CI/CD, assures defect-free software versions to market on-time while improving the software quality.

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Maveric Systems