Continuous integration and continuous deployment is a methodology developed to bridge the gap between developers, testers, and operations. The process is built around a CI/CD pipeline that prioritizes continuous integration by developers, continuous testing by testers, and continuous deployment by the operations team.
Here’s why you need to look at CI/CD pipeline automation testing to build more resilient and secure products.
What is continuous integration?
Continuous integration involves several steps that primarily work to integrate different parts of software together to ensure they work as planned without breaking. It entails that integrations should be done as frequently as possible, even hourly or daily.
The CI pipeline typically starts with detecting changes in the code repository, quality analysis of the source code, building, executing unit tests and integration tests, generating artifacts, and reporting the status. If one of the steps fails, the integration is halted until the issue gets fixed.
What is continuous deployment?
Continuous deployment takes up where the CI pipeline ends and deploys all the code changes that have passed unit and integration testing to the testing or staging environment.
It involves automated unit, integration, and system testing before pushing the code to production. The CD pipeline also includes a feedback channel to report test failures to the developers and testers quickly.
Why does the CI/CD pipeline need to be integrated into testing?
One of the core principles of CI/CD, namely – ‘Build fast, fail fast’, requires an ecosystem where the feedback loop between development and testing is as short as possible. This can only happen if the CI/CD pipeline is integrated directly into your automation testing framework. Here’s why.
- Easily handle smaller changes – Instead of working on manually testing major changes, CI/CD integration enables teams to continuously test and deliver a stream of smaller changes to the next stage.
- Enable continuous testing – Building a shorter feedback loop requires continuous automated testing. This ensures that bugs get found early before the code gets deployed.
- More consistency – Incorporating CI/CD into testing enables testers to build more effective testing processes that consistently provide the results needed without many alterations.
- Better agility – In an agile environment, testing needs to become more frequent and extensive. Integrating CI/CD can enable continuous testing, allowing for better and more exhaustive testing earlier in the release pipeline.
Where do automation tests fit in the CI/CD pipeline?
Based on the principle of tighter feedback loops, it’s best to introduce test automation at multiple stages of the CI/CD testing strategy. This allows for greater testing as well as development efficiency since testers can catch and fix defects before more code is deposited on top of them, and the team will have a better context-oriented approach to fixing the bugs.
Many advanced test automation solutions have inbuilt CI/CD integrations. They can be used to feed the test data directly into the pipeline, run the tests when required, and extract the results after each test. You can also automatically push a build downstream based on the testing results.
When using automation testing, it’s better to hierarchically arrange the tests in order so that the fastest ones run first. This way, there will be quicker feedback available for developers to work with. Moreover, before committing to longer tests, this step will guarantee that basic, initial tests have been passed.
Many experts suggest looking at the testing pyramid to prioritize the order of tests.
Devised by Mike Cohn, the testing pyramid postulates that building a strong foundation of simple unit tests should precede more complex and progressive tests such as integration, regression, and performance tests.
Benefits of CI/CD pipeline automation testing
Without test automation, the CI/CD pipeline will become way too long to be efficient. Automated tests help shorten the feedback loop, improve efficiency, and make teams more flexible to changes. Here are the top advantages that test automation in CI/CD provides.
- Higher efficiency – The most prominent benefit of including test automation in your CI/CD framework is better efficiency and productivity from your employees as well as software.
- Fewer defects – As test coverage increases and more tests are conducted at multiple stages in the pipeline, fewer defects can pass through into the build. This means your end product is much cleaner and gives your users a desirable experience.
- Faster product delivery – Faster, more efficient automated testing condenses the overall testing cycle. With lesser time spent on testing, you can deliver quality products faster.
- Log generation – Visibility is key to DevOps and agility. With the right test automation solution, you’ll have access to all the necessary metrics to keep your CI/CD pipeline in order.
- Quicker rollbacks – With test automation in the CI/CD pipeline, you can identify broken builds faster. When an issue is recognized in the production environment, the code changes can be rolled back quickly and reverted back to the previous stable version.
- Efficient testing and monitoring – Continuous testing and monitoring introduce a cycle where all repeatable tests are automated and run on each build, platform, and configuration to consistently deliver better end products.
To realize all the advantages of Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment, you need a robust test automation solution that lets you run multiple tests parallelly, implement version management, and achieve continuous test automation to reduce defect slippage and downtime. Avo Assure is one such solution. It’s a no-code, heterogenous, platform agnostic, test automation solution that offers both on-premise and cloud deployment. It has a CI/CD pipeline that integrates with DevOps, a self-healing upgrade analyzer, in-sprint automation, and an elastic execution grid. All these features make it the ideal testing partner for a dynamic and agile environment. Along with intelligent reporting and intuitive UI/UX, the no-code platform has a short learning curve enabling even non-tech personnel to conduct testing.
In fact, the American property and casualty insurance giant, CNA Insurance, used Avo Assure to become more agile, achieve in-sprint automation, and deliver a 10x faster test automation rate.
If you want to learn more about Avo’s CI/CD testing, book a demo with us today!