Continuous Integration (CI) is a development process in which developers incorporate or integrate code changes into a shared repository quickly, usually many times a day. Thereafter, the verification of each integration is done through an automated build and automated tests. The reason for performing regular integration is that it helps teams to identify defects and fix them quickly. When making small changes in the mobile app, sometimes it introduces a new defect that is easy to recognize with continuous integration.
“Continuous Integration doesn’t get rid of defects/bugs/errors, but it allows finding and removing them with ease.”
You can understand from continuous integration that while building software, every time a developer adds a code in it, which requires testing, careful planning, and test automation to reduce risks and improve the quality of the product.
You’ve given the same project to two development teams. Now, check out below how they get the continuous integration done.
First of all, they work on the same code for building software and perform unit testing to avoid any integration problems. In this case, conducting a unit test is necessary because if you take about two weeks or three weeks to write a code and merge it without testing, how do you know it is appropriately integrated. Issues can occur if you don’t check the code while incorporating it into the software. Whenever you as a developer merge or code into a shared repository on a regular basis, it is crucial to verify via automated build because it permits the team to find out the problem in software or app before it’s too late. If developers consume too much time to integrate the code, you may definitely welcome the biggest problem.
Suppose you hire a person to sew a shirt. Now, you can’t give a sleeve and a collar of a shirt to one person and the body to another person because you know if you do it, you can’t ensure to your customer that it will fit him/her properly. Similarly, it is vital to fix defects frequently in the case of continuous integration. Otherwise, it can cost you a lot of money because your software's architecture can become lengthy, and you may find it very challenging to resolve.
How is Continuous Testing Different from Continuous Integration?
In the old Continuous testing process, the project is divided into separate teams like product owner, development team, and QA team.
The Product owner aims to define the stories and software requirements. After knowing customers' unique needs, it is then given to the development team with proper instruction.
A development team's role is to do coding and conduct unit testing that is part of continuous integration, as we discussed above. After that, professionals send the project to the QA team.
QA team plays a significant role in providing quality to software and making it completely bug-free. Their responsibility is to facilitate smooth testing procedures, collaborate with the development team to know about the steps which they miss in business requirements or find bugs. QA engineers ensure that all the requirements are met carefully for the end-client, bugs are fixed before your software’s release to the market.
Do you think this strategy works in modern times? Of course not. Today, no business owner has enough time to wait too long for the product delivery because the competition is too high. The above testing process refers to hand off centric testing in which the software is shifted from one team to another.
No doubt, this process also follows the definite development and QA phases, but it requires more time to produce quality and fulfill the project goals. Due to growing customer demands in the new digital era, businesses can’t compromise with late deliveries. The faster the software they develop from the company, the better they will be able to sell out their products and increase revenue for their betterment. Here, the meaning of continuous is undisrupted testing that is continuously performed. While working on a continuous DevOps process, a release candidate (software change) is continually shifted from development to testing and testing to deployment.
Continuous testing in DevOps is a type of software testing where the software is tested at every aspect of the software development life cycle. The purpose of continuous testing is to evaluate the software’s quality at every step of the ongoing delivery process by testing early and testing often. One can involve stakeholders like DevOps, developers, QA, and the operation system in the continuous testing process.
The benefit of continuous testing is that code is consistently developed, delivered, tested, and deployed. For instance, Whenever a developer examines its code in the source code server like Jenkins, he/she will be able to execute an automated set of unit tests in the continuous process. In any case of test failure, one can reject the build and give information about it to the developer. If the build successfully passes the test, QA servers for exhaustive functional and load tests are implemented to monitor the performance. The execution of tests is done in parallel. After passing all tests, the software is deployed in production.
How to Perform Continuous Testing?
- Using the best test tools to create test automation suites from user requirements/stories.
- Develop the right test environment.
- Copy and encrypt production data for the creation of test data bed.
- Using virtualization service to test API.
- Consider parallel performance Testing.
Importance of Continuous Integration Testing
Continuous testing is a feature of CI (Continuous Integration) and CD (Continuous Delivery). For continuous integration and giving the continuous delivery, you can consider continuous testing as a major requirement. Continuous testing goes hand-in-hand with continuous integration because it ensures that defects will be found at earlier stages and faster to fix. As you know, several changes are made in software daily. Each time, it disturbs a previous functioning part of the code.
Winning in business competition is imperative, but most important is to ensure the customer that quality requirements will meet while implementing continuous integration and delivery. Your customer is definitely in need of entertainment and user-friendly features, but they don’t want to get new features with a lot of bugs as it further becomes the reason for hacking. Organizations should perform continuous integration testing if they want to stay ahead of the competition. To match the speed of continuous integration, automated testing is crucial for giving rapid delivery to consumers and fulfilling all quality standards.
Also Read: How continous integration makes testing easy?
Best Continuous Integration Tools
There are numerous continuous integration tools available in the market, and it is very challenging to select the best one for customer's projects. To make your work hassle-free, we’ve mentioned some best tools that you consider in 2021.
Continuous integration with Jenkins is on trend because it is an open-source tool based on the Java programming language that allows real-time testing and reporting on isolated environments. With this software, developers can quickly find defects and resolve them in a code & can automate the tests of their builds. Overall, it is an ideal choice for continuous integration testing as it offers various features such as:
- It can be simply set up and configured with its web interface.
- It allows us to scale out to an extensive array of nodes and share the workload equally among them.
- It comes with a WAR file for easy installation. To get the set up ready, all you need to drop it into your JEE container.
- It allows for the distribution of work across various machines.
- It is quickly updated with all operating systems and versions of Mac OS, Linux, or Windows.
GitLab CI is a web application with an API that may save its state in a database. Managing the projects in GitLab CI is extremely easy because it is part of GitLab and provides an easy to use user interface. Apart from that, it gives many features that you can check below:
- GitLab Container Registry is a secure registry for Docker images
- It allows you to change metadata of any problem or combine requests without adding slash commands in the comment field.
- It protects your information from Confidential Issues.
- It supports developers while adding their ideas into production and helps them identify improvement areas in the development process.
- It provides APIs for developers and lets them develop deeper integrations with the product.
- GitLab’s internal projects can promote the inner sourcing of internal repositories.
It is the smart data testing platform or full DevOps solution for continuous data testing. The key features of QuerySurge are detailed data intelligence and data analytics, robust APIs with 60+ calls, etc. It allows for seamless integration into the DevOps pipeline to test the software continuously. You can even verify a wide variety of data faster with this tool.
- It provides a huge ROI.
- It enhances your data quality at high speed.
- It helps you detect data issues continuously in the delivery pipeline.
- It increases data validation coverage significantly.
- It gives insights to optimize the vital data.
TeamCity is one of the best Continuous integration servers that includes powerful features like project level cloud profiles, extensibility and customization, comprehensive VCS integration, remote run and pre-tested commitment, On-the-fly build progress reporting.
- It gives you better code quality for any project.
- The configuration of builds is possible in DSL (Domain-specific languages).
- It provides maintenance support for the CI server and keeps it stable even when no builds are operating.
Buildbot is one of the best continuous integration tools for managing and scheduling a wide variety of jobs. It can only be configured via Python script because it doesn’t support major operating systems. However, it is fit for implementing tasks across multiple platforms and monitoring source-code repositories while reporting the results. It is a software development CI that can automate the test cycle and is used for many software projects, mainly when it comes to validating code changes.
- It is an open-source tool that provides support for multiple testing hosts with several architectures.
- It manages a single-source repository and automates the build and deployment.
- Every commit builds on the mainline on an integration machine.
- It can disclose kernel crashes of hosts.
Apart from that, many software testing companies use Selenium and Appium because both are open source tools that support automated tests and suitable for continuous integration testing. One can use the CrossBrowser Testing tool to implement test execution and create an environment for continuous testing in the cloud. Besides, it is essential to consider automation to match the speed of CI processes. Keep in mind there are various types of testing, so choosing only continuous testing tools are not enough. For brand new features, some testers prefer exploratory testing. There may be different reasons and scenarios to perform numerous types of automation testing.
Continuous Integration in agile is a robust procedure and used by many companies due to its key benefits:
- Developers can make changes multiple times throughout the day or weeks. Sprint planning allows them to get rapid feedback from customers, developers, and other team members.
- Everyone in the team works on the newest codebase, which automatically minimizes the risks in software.
- It allows for continuous deployment even if you don’t make a practice of code in the company. Still, you can make changes from anywhere and send them to your teams.
- Any changes that you’ve made in the backend are readily available for frontend developers.
- Product managers can also examine the latest changes quickly so they will be benefited from the continuous integration process.
- Continuous testing is a never-ending process. You can test early, often, everywhere, and automate whenever you like.
- You can have access to Selenium, Travis, Jenkins, and many other continuous testing and integration tools to improve code quality and meet business requirements.
- Continuous testing gives actionable feedback as per each stage of the delivery pipeline.
- The old way of testing was hands-off centric, which restricts cultural change among development & QA teams.
- Longer code integration cycles give integration problems, and you can’t fix defects on-time.
Getting software with proper integration is imperative for your customer. Always choose the right tool that can help you stay on track and also support your development processes whatever you decide to follow. To help you run a successful CI/CD pipeline, we provide some simple steps:
- Don’t forget to integrate your changes regularly.
- Write effective tests to develop a safety net.
- Execute your tests simultaneously and keep every function in mind while fixing any issue or defect.
- Delete the tests that you don’t need in the future.
- Keep your build clean.
- Involve the professional team for continuous integration and continuous testing.
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