Six Best Practices for Continuous Testing of Mobile, Web Apps

eWEEK DATA POINTS: Certain best practices are absolutely necessary for effective continuous testing of web and mobile apps. Sauce Labs offers six of them.

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The explosion of mobile devices and the mass movement of relationships and transactions to web and mobile applications is changing the basic nature of customer expectations. In the process, this trend is forcing companies to upgrade and speed up the way they deliver products and services.

Consumers expect a fast and flawless experience when interacting with you via your website or mobile app. To keep up, savvy organizations have undergone–or are undergoing–some level of digital transformation, highlighted by a shift to agile development. Developer teams are playing a more strategic role, thanks to their ability to quickly respond to customers’ needs and flawless applications now critical to business success. Arming developer teams with the tools and technologies they need to succeed with agile, DevOps-driven development methodologies thus takes on added importance.

Continuous testing is a critical but often overlooked component of the modern development playbook. Properly executed, continuous testing enables developers to identify and remedy bugs in real-time throughout the development process, which in turn keeps the delivery pipeline moving and ensures applications are released to market on time and with a flawless user experience.

This eWEEK Data Points article features industry information from Lubos Parobek, Vice-President of Products at Sauce Labs. Parobek offers six best practices necessary for effective continuous testing of web and mobile apps.

Data Point No. 1: Shared focus on web and mobile apps  

Businesses looking to achieve digital excellence must find the right investment balance between their web and mobile applications. Assuming web apps take precedence over mobile apps could very well be a dated notion. Look closely at your business model and customer buying habits, so you can smartly allocate your development resources between web and mobile applications. 

Data Point No. 2: Shared ownership of quality

With continuous testing, as with any key IT initiative, people come before process, and developing the right mindset comes before developing the right strategy. Effective continuous testing requires a cultural commitment to quality and efficiency across the organization. This commitment to teamwork fosters collaboration among developer and test engineering teams. Developers and test engineers must collaborate closely and view quality as a shared responsibility. This requires organizational, process and tools changes. For example, devs and testers should be on the same teams, approaches like test-driven development (TDD) or behavioral-driven development (BDD) should be employed, and scalable testing tools like device clouds should be deployed.

Data Point No. 3: Commit to shifting left

Shifting left may be the single most important tactical element of any continuous testing strategy. To shift left means to conduct both functional (i.e., does something work as it should?) and non-functional (i.e., is the user experience a good one?) tests as early in the development lifecycle as possible. It’s about speed and efficiency. The sooner developers get feedback on and can address issues in their code, the more productive they’ll be, and less the likely a business is to be exposed to the delayed releases that occur when bugs are discovered late in the development process–or worse, to the poor customer experiences that occur when those bugs are not discovered at all. 

Data Point No. 4: Embrace cloud

If you’ve been lucky enough to build a great development team, the last thing you want that team doing is burning cycles managing complex test infrastructure. There’s an ever-growing world of browsers, operating systems and mobile devices on which applications need to be tested. Keeping test infrastructure up-to-date in real time is a tall task for even the most sophisticated organization. And then you need to scale your environment to run tests in parallel. This is where the benefits of cloud can be put to use. Using a cloud-based testing platform offloads the time-consuming work involved with scaling and maintaining a test infrastructure, and frees developers and quality engineers to focus on what they do best.

Data Point No. 5: Drive automation

An increasing number of companies are already leveraging automation to drive efficiency in many areas of the business; testing is no exception. Manual testing still serves an important purpose, but it doesn’t scale to meet all the needs of today’s modern development practices. Automated testing does what manual testing can’t-- run tests in parallel with the speed and scale developers need. With automated testing, teams can reduce weeks of testing time to a mere few minutes, significantly accelerating the app development process while removing the human errors commonly found in a manual approach. It also frees manual testers to focus on other tasks such as exploratory tests and usability tests.

Data Point No. 6: Leverage analytics

To know where you’re going, you have to be able to see where you’ve been. Implementing analytics into your continuous testing practice gives developers the ability to view test results by browser, operating system and device, gain visibility into pass/fail and error trends, and see how tests behave over time. This allows developer teams to easily identify and take action on inconsistent tests. Analytics is a critical component to understanding how tests are performing and to quickly identifying the root cause of bottlenecks and quality issues.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...