From chaos to automation: Testing times for software

Knowing how and to what extent an application has been put through testing provides insight into its performance, functionality and suitability for a given use case.

Software is changing. You'll hear the messages repeated ad nauseum every day across the technology industry's newswires, press release channels and social media discussion boards. We've been fed so much elaboration and fabrication on ‘digital transformation' that many of us have reached a point of consternation and frustration.

Perhaps there is a way of digesting and ruminating upon this industry-wide drive for change from a different angle if we think about the way applications themselves are actually built and tested. Knowing how an application is put through basic military training, how it is stress tested and how it finally earns its stripes is (army analogies notwithstanding) a good way of knowing how well it is kitted out… and this may give us additional insight into what it can do for us, the users.

A specialist in this field, Rod Cope is chief technology officer at Perforce Software, a company known for its software configuration management, version control, API management, DevOps tools and collaboration products. Perforce has had significant market use in the gaming sector, which, while child's-play to some, is of course a serious multi-million dollar industry where applications (in this case games) have to be user tested beyond the levels of many enterprise apps.

Due to the rise of DevOps (the coming together of developers & operations teams for greater workflow unity), we have seen testing move forward from being a secondary operations issue, to one that is prevalent right from the start of harmonious DevOps-centric software development and management.

Perforce's Cope suggests that this has meant that improving and testing for User eXperience (UX) has become more important for programmers. This change factor is perhaps most notable in ‘purpose-driven' testing and the way it is approached, ranked in importance and ultimately executed and carried out.

"Testing no longer waits in the wings for the second act; it is centre-stage when the curtain is raised. But not every organisation has embraced this shift in testing. Even those that have emphasised UX continue to face significant challenges in testing across the vast and growing number of devices and permutations available to users. As a result, teams need more comprehensive test environments that go way beyond the functional testing that is traditionally emphasised," said Cope.

 

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