You’ve heard a lot about test automation. But why is it so important? It’s a lot of additional effort and adds lots of code which needs to be maintained later, right?
DevOps Favors Continuous Releases
One of the important parts of any DevOps process is the regular release of working software. In Scrum, iterations tend to be only one or two weeks long. When you use Kanban you release whenever a reasonable package is ready – often multiple times a week. When you do that, you will inevitably see that manual testing becomes a bottleneck. Always.
The Fairy Tale Of The Test Cycle
If your team is not able to test everything as soon as it is ready, they soon will ask you to introduce one or two week long test cycles. They tell you that in that time they can do all the testing and that you’ll have a stable release afterwards.
Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. The later you test, the more effort you’ve got to spend fixing bugs introduced weeks ago. And as the code is changing during the testing weeks, every test cycle you do has to be repeated. In the end, your software is no more stable then it was before the test cycle.
Test Automation To The Rescue
The only way to support a rapid cadence of releases is to automate testing. Only if you use unit testing during implementation you can be sure that a bug fix or refactoring does not break anything later. And only if you use webrat or any other tool to do integration testing can you afford to skip the manual regression tests.
Fast releases drive manual testing efforts through the roof. Automate the critical parts step by step and you’ll be ready for continuous deployment.
Getting started with automated testing is not easy. What are the biggest stumbling blocks you see? Let us know in the comments!