The rise of mobile app development and digital transformations normalized the idea of ongoing and rapid change with the applications everyday people use. In fact, consumers and business users alike expect it. Yet to prevent each new code iteration from derailing the ever-growing train of modifications and additions to an application, businesses need to adopt continuous integration (CI) testing practices.
According to the 2020 DevTestOps Landscape Survey, 60% of testing and QA professionals make continuous integration testing activities part of their approach. For those hesitant to adopt CI practices, you’re likely missing out on these four advantages to your DevOps best practices and your overall business.
Agile is more popular than ever. In the 14th Annual State of Agile Report, 95% of organizations report using Agile development methods. Additionally, 54% use a continuous integration tool while 26% plan to adopt one in the near future. Though development teams using waterfall methodologies could get away with categorical integration testing, Agile organizations cannot.
The iterative releases that are central to Agile methodology depend on the integrity and functionality of release branches. Rather than sculpting an application to be set in stone, we think of Agile coding work as pruning and cultivating a bonsai tree: you can make adjustments with each iteration instead of massive corrections.
Continuous integration testing verifies that each addition assimilates with the whole and that further sprint outputs will not cause unintended consequences at launch time. Testing early and often is much easier with the typically automated nature of continuous integration testing.
Speed is of the essence with bug detection. When you catch a bug or glitch during integration testing, you save a significant amount compared to catching it during acceptance testing or production. Look at the notorious case of Amazon’s 2014 software glitch. Deep into the holiday season, prices dropped to mere pennies and the automated fulfillment shipped products out before vendors could catch them, costing some as much as $30,000. Few businesses can weather setbacks like Amazon, so you’re better off catching issues during CI testing.
Continuous integration testing minimizes the above threat by prioritizing automated tests. Each new code integration is subjected to a battery of tests that determine the integrity of the code before it reaches the production environment. If any bugs or glitches are detected, they are usually minor enough that it’s easy to identify the cause and make necessary changes. Your team can course correct early rather than waiting until the finish line to overhaul the entire application, causing budgets to skyrocket and stakeholders to grow impatient.
No matter the size of your team, an extensive backlog of technical fixes or tests can slow your project to a crawl. When testing & QA processes are not dealt with in a timely manner, duplicate testing requests or coding deliverables can happen as a result, accumulating before your team even realizes what is happening. Plus, motivation for your development team can drop as application progress grows more ambiguous with an expanding backlog.
If there’s pressure from management to have these fixes done yesterday, there’s also a tendency for development teams to rush and miss what might otherwise be glaring. Continuous integration testing prioritizes QA processes throughout the full lifecycle. By implementing test automation, your team can continue to work on code, stopping only when there is a verified glitch in each integration.
End users have a low tolerance for buggy applications. Often, the most publicized user attrition happens with mobile games when new features or code iterations tank the overall experience. Yet this issue isn’t an exception for companies developing gaming applications. An established survey shows that 88% of people will abandon any application if it’s replete with bugs or glitches.
Though you can attempt a staged release to a low number of users as a way of road-testing code you haven’t formally reviewed, any issues can still threaten your overall brand and user base. Continuous integration testing activities decrease the likelihood that bugs or glitches will remain off the radar of your team. The regularity of testing each iteration, especially if it’s done on a daily basis, will help to prevent costly issues from arising and causing customer satisfaction to plummet.