Adapting Continuous Testing for a Shift Left Philosophy

In recent years, the software testing landscape has undergone significant transformation to meet the continuously rising demand for high-quality software in a shorter amount of time. Although the waterfall model has historically been used to test software applications, the industry is now searching for alternatives to make release cycles as short as possible. Shift left testing is one of these remedies. 

What Is Shift Left Testing?

Simply put, shifting left refers to the principle of carrying out a task earlier on in a procedure. The practice of pushing all the testing processes of your software to the left in the delivery pipeline or testing your product sooner than is typically done throughout the development lifecycle is called shift left testing.

While there are several advantages to shift left testing, one advantage stands out above the others. You can be almost certain that no severe flaws will remain in your program by starting the testing process earlier in the development lifecycle. 

This method finds software defects that might cause significant problems earlier because software components are evaluated as they are created and integrated into the main codebase. Thus, these errors are rectified at earlier stages, at which point the repair is usually simpler to develop. Therefore, merely starting the testing process earlier in the lifecycle can ensure that errors committed months earlier in development do not delay software delivery.

Shift left testing processes

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Advantage of Shift Left Testing

Speed

Critical issues are discovered and resolved earlier in the software development cycle. As a result, the time between releases is greatly shortened, resulting in faster delivery.

Test coverage

When testing begins at the beginning of the development phase, each feature, function, and performance parameter of the software can be quickly examined or tested. With shift left testing, the test coverage percentage automatically increases. This increased test coverage substantially influences the overall quality of the program.

Workflow

Shifting to the left requires effort, but it is beneficial. It allows the QA team enough time to research the product thoroughly and apply innovative testing methods. It also helps the testing crew become acquainted with the appropriate tools and technology.

What Is Continuous Testing?

Continuous testing is running tests as part of the pipeline for delivering software to provide real-time feedback on the business risks related to a release candidate. 

continuous testing

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The scope of continuous testing includes everything from evaluating system requirements to verifying bottom-up requirements or user stories, monitoring the system in production, and looking for issues that need to be fixed.

Combining Shift Left and Continuous Testing

To be effective, we must first comprehend why we are integrating shift left testing and continuous testing and the intended outcome.

The goal is to automate as much of our application testing as possible, increase our test coverage as much as possible, and do testing as early as possible in the development process.

Automated Testing as Part of Acceptance Criteria

Getting developers to be consistent in their attempts to automate testing is key to getting the DevOps team up to speed with continuous testing. To test each new feature as it is created, test scripts must be written.

Including automated testing as a criterion in the user narrative’s acceptance criteria is an excellent method to ensure this happens frequently. In doing so, the user narrative won’t be deemed finished until test scripts for automated evaluation of the developer’s work have been created.

Connect CI Builds and Automated Test Scripts

You should make sure that the application’s features and automated test scripts interact effectively with your CI tool as they are created. For example, during each build, the test scripts should be executed; if they fail, the build should also fail.

This will ensure that no new code is generated that breaks any current functionalities. Additionally, before each deployment to a new environment and during each integration with the codebase, the application must be continually tested.

Summary

Shift left testing and continuous testing are two effective tactics that can significantly aid your company’s adoption of the DevOps tenets. Together, they will help catch bugs early and frequently validate the code, saving your company time and heartache by reducing the time and effort needed to fix application problems and improving the quality of the product being released.

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