CI/CD Pipeline: 15 Best Practices for Successful Test Automation
Changing consumer preferences and growing market demands have impacted the software development life cycle on a larger scale.
This translated into the rise in demand for faster innovation, followed by early product development, release and time to market. To meet the speeds, different phases of SDLC had to accelerate their respective delivery mechanisms.
And, here is where automation arrived as an advantage in accelerating and streamlining the internal processes.
The role of automation is much spoken about in software testing, referred to as ‘Test Automation’ and ‘Automation Testing’.
While ‘Automation Testing’ is a software technique that tests and compares the actual outcome with the expected outcome, ‘Test Automation’ is the process of automating repetitive and other testing tasks that are tough to perform manually.
Test Automation has a crucial role in detecting bugs, automating repetitive tasks and improving execution speeds, etc. with the sole intention of reducing the time to test a software.
But to the fact, a successful testing process is the combination of automation and an effective testing strategy.
Here are 15 CI/CD practices That Enhance Test Automation Capabilities:
1) Identify and Categorize Tests
All tests cannot be automated every time, while some test cases work well with the manual process. It is important to identify and categorize the test cases that can be automated, by frequency and skillset.
- By Frequency
Test cases with high frequency consume time, personnel and resources, and are also prone to human errors. So, automating them improves efficiency and eliminates possible errors.
- By Skillset
This set of test cases demand high skillset and additional resources. This involves reliance on specific test experts and will be a challenge in case of emergencies. Automating them eliminates the challenge of dependency and makes it easy for anyone to run them once automated.
2) Automate as Many Tests Possible
Develop an effective testing strategy with a detailed understanding of all processes. Categorize the test cases by manual and automation testing requirements. Test cases that are frequent and require special skills are ideal for automation. Automate the maximum possible.
3) Run Multiple Tests in Parallel
Running multiple tests in parallel increases the testing speeds and shortens the overall testing turnaround time. If you have a limited infrastructure to do so, try cloud-based testing infrastructure to run multiple tests.
4) Start with Simple Tests
Test are often termed in two different ways, as lightweight and heavyweight, each of them requiring different timelines and resources. So, its recommended to run lightweight tests first as they can run faster and then go for the heavyweight tests that are often complex and time-consuming.
5) Prefer Clean Testing Environment
Make sure to use a clean testing environment that is not impacted by the residual effects of the previous tests. This can often be a temporary environment that can be discarded for every new test. It is recommended using containers to avoid this concern of residual effects on new tests. Containers minimize the effect of different host environments and integrate components through standard APIs.
6) Version Control
Issues/flaws missed out in previous releases often come up while executing tests on apps. This situation naturally demands root cause analysis, which can often consume more time and result in missing features in the production environment. This is where its recommended to roll back the changes that developers implemented to fix issues in the previous releases. To do so, you need a version control system.
7) Single-click Code Migration
Migrating code changes between environments is a tough task and usually consumes time and effort. Automated procedures like single-click code migration can do this for you without much effort, alongside reducing conflicts between operations. Embedding such a procedure into infrastructure boosts operational and production capabilities.
8) CI/CD Pipeline is Key
The CI/CD pipeline plays a significant role in ensuring the successful movement of code changes through automated testing cycles and further to staging and production. Establish comprehensive testing practices along the pipeline and ensure the pipeline is clean, efficient, fast and reliable.
9) Isolate and Secure CI/CD Environment
Considering the access that a CI/CD infrastructure has to critical components such as credentials, data, apps, etc., it’s important to safeguard CI/CD environment from cyberattacks to avoid any significant loss or process shutdown. To keep it secured, its recommended to isolate CI/CD environment and control access (exempting developers) to certain assets.
10) Central Code Repository
Experts recommend the usage of a central repository when dealing with code in a software development environment. This repository is the location where developers place the source code. Establishing a central repository for code ensures timely updates and their sync with the latest source code.
11) Continuous Learning
Given the fact that SDLC involves different phases, learning from previous projects can help you avoid similar instances in the future. This requires deep analysis, evaluation and documenting of techniques used, best practices, gaps and everything about earlier cases, to streamline and improvise future processes.
12) One-way Mechanism
Make sure the CI/CD pipeline is the only mechanism to run your process chain. Working in the CI/CD pipeline involves implementing best practices that apply to the entire process chain. Any changes to any of the internal processes adhere to the standard and policies set for the entire pipeline. Any failure prevents the process from moving to further stages until its rectified. The resultant would be the clean code pushed to the production.
13) Continuous Feedback
A continuous feedback system is very important to check the functioning of automation tools and ensure they are generating desired results. Feedbacks will help understand bugs and rectify test scripts to ensure the perfect code enters the production phase. Unclear reports often demand rewriting of test scripts. Overall, continuous feedbacks help identify bugs, rewrite code, improve test processes.
Perfect sync among teams is very important to ensure success. Giving regular status about test cases, the continuous integration practices boost transparency in the process chain. This naturally results in increased team collaboration and enhances the quality of testing and overall efficiency.
15) Right Tooling
While the above factors show the path for successful test automation through CI/CD pipeline, the right tooling plays a crucial role in this journey. It’s important to choose the CI/CD tools that can perform any kind of testing function. Looking for such effective tools avoids deviation in the mid of product development.
Understanding the DevOps CI/CD Pipeline Model
Get on your Development and QA teams to implement these best practices and achieved enhanced automation capabilities in development, testing and deployment cycles.