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Creating, executing, and maintaining reliable tests has never been easier.
Everyone has a stake in product quality; developers want to deliver high-quality code and reduce rework with early feedback, product owners want to reduce customer churn and avoid spending cycles on fixing bugs, while quality teams want to improve organizational confidence in product quality, reduce everyone’s deployment stress, and contribute to a better customer experience. The importance of quality means that everyone has a role to play in software testing, especially as DevOps practices mature and delivery cycles accelerate. Determining that role, however, often leads to contentious debate. Developers are spending a shrinking amount of time actually writing code, and automating tests with open source frameworks often results in maintenance debt that demands an increasing amount of developer time.
But when armed with the right effective automated testing tools, quality teams can build testing workflows that minimize the time and effort needed from developers that also enable them to catch bugs earlier in development cycles, reducing rework and deployment stress for the entire organization.
Optimizing Software Testing for Cross-Functional Collaboration
Low-code test automation supported by AI and machine learning helps quality teams build software testing strategies that help developers and product owners realize their quality goals without being overwhelmed. This starts with aligning testing contributions to everyone’s areas of expertise: developers are best suited to running unit tests, integration tests, and other early-stage quality checks in lower environments, while quality engineers can leverage their product knowledge and technical expertise to run comprehensive end-to-end tests. Together, the team contributes to an extensive automated testing strategy that unleashes high test coverage at DevOps speeds, which allows development organizations to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
A high-impact software testing strategy for DevOps
Developers and Software Testing: Integrating Automated Testing Into DevOps Pipelines
Developers are responsible for the quality of their code and therefore need to create and maintain proper unit tests and integration tests that provide an early warning when things break. For many development teams, this is where developer contributions to quality are concentrated. But developers also benefit from the holistic perspective fostered by end-to-end testing that reflects the customer experience. Open source frameworks like Selenium, Cypress, and Playwright allow developers to create automated end-to-end tests very quickly, but offer limited coverage across complex customer journeys and ultimately result in maintenance debt. Low-code and AI capabilities in modern testing platforms have made automated testing much more efficient, enabling developers to better collaborate with quality professionals.
- Unit testing: unit testing is the process of testing discrete functions at the source code level. A developer will write a test that exercises a function. As the function is exercised, the test makes assertions against the results that the function returns. Developers can run these tests locally on their machines as they save their work, reducing the risk of defective snippets of code being merged into larger projects, or worst case, the main branch.
- Integration testing: Integration tests help ensure that several pieces of code (e.g. functions, components) can work together without unintended consequences. Typically performed after unit tests, integration tests cover APIs and other integrations to ensure that different functions and components create a seamless user experience.
- End-to-end testing: New developments in test automation, most notably in AI and low-code, are enabling developers to get more value from testing with less effort. Developers can run end-to-end tests that cover UI and API testing earlier in development pipelines so that CI/CD pipelines can move quickly without sacrificing quality. These tests help developers understand how their changes will impact the customer without the burden of time-consuming test maintenance.
API Testing: The Ultimate Test Automation Collaboration
As noted above, integration testing should include API testing. But given the expanding role of APIs in software development, quality teams and developers have a role in ensuring that test coverage remains high across all APIs. Developers typically run API tests focused on internal APIs and contract testing for external APIs, but those tests don’t necessarily reflect how customers are interacting with APIs across the product. Quality teams can bridge this gap by expanding test coverage for external APIs, either as part of end-to-end tests or independent API tests. When integrated into end-to-end UI testing, API testing can help shorten test execution time and the effort needed to investigate test failures.
Quality Engineers: Connecting Code to Customers
Building on the quality foundation laid by developers in the early stages of development, quality engineers support better customer experiences with comprehensive end-to-end testing, exploratory testing, and manual regression testing when necessary. Though developers can participate in these testing strategies, quality teams are generally closer to customers, typically have a close working relationship with customer support, and understand which scenarios need to be tested.
- Comprehensive end-to-end testing: In contrast to end-to-end testing that can be done by developers, comprehensive end-to-end testing that covers complex customer journeys with functional and non-functional testing has only recently become possible with the growth of AI in test automation. Comprehensive end-to-end tests give development organizations a powerful tool for understanding how changes will impact their users. These late-stage automated tests aim to cover as much of the user experience as possible, including automated accessibility checks, email and PDFs, shadow DOM components, cross browser testing, and real-world scenarios.
- Exploratory testing: exploratory testing gives quality professionals the opportunity to test edge cases and unusual user scenarios, ensuring that customers always have the best experience possible. With their unique combination of UX knowledge and product expertise, quality engineers are best positioned to manage exploratory testing.
- Manual regression testing: Regression testing ensures that any fixes or updates don’t break the existing user experience. Though regression testing is ideally automated for faster delivery cycles, manual regression testing can help improve test coverage across new functionalities or unexpected user journeys that only become apparent when an experienced software tester is interacting with the product.
Testing Collaboration Improves Quality Efficiency
Engaging non-QA teams in software testing shouldn’t mean slowing down, or adding excessive tasks to already full workloads. Instead, testing collaboration should help everyone achieve their goals and gain greater visibility into product quality. When they’re actively engaged in testing, developers can quickly support QA when resolving defects, particularly when supported by rich diagnostic data that’s easily accessible in tools like Jira, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. With collaborative testing supported by test automation built for DevOps, developers, product owners, and quality assurance teams have the ability to achieve their goals and expand software testing.