The Role of Automation in CI/CD Testing
Apr 10, 2023 by Anna Daugherty
Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) is a critical methodology for software testing and bridges the gap between developers, testers, and operations. CI/CD embodies agile methodologies and revolves around building and testing products quickly so that products will fail quickly. Automation testing is a CI/CD cornerstone because it speeds up the CI/CD testing process.
The Importance of CI/CD in Business
Continuous Integration integrates the code changes from many contributors into one product and is essential for allowing many developers to work on the same project. Continuous Deployment combines the creation of artifacts, the deployment of apps, and the provisioning of infrastructure into a single unit. CD is critical to ensuring that each code change is ready for deployment. Thus, the CI/CD methodology requires that developers continually integrate their work so that testers can test it and operations teams can release products and updates quickly. Quickly releasing products improves customer satisfaction and helps to develop long-term, loyal customers.
Why Manual Testing Doesn’t Satisfy CI/CD
The idea behind CI/CD is that bugs are detected early, and the developer receives test results quickly. Manual testing is significantly slower than automation. When repetitive CI/CD testing tasks are automated, testers can perform more rigorous manual tests.
Manual testing also cannot provide the immediate feedback that automated CI/CD testing offers. Automation also allows for more test cases and the easy comparison of multiple tests, which ensures a consistently high-quality product. Without automation, scaling software deployment becomes much more difficult, as well.
The Importance of Automation
Automation, then, is critical to meeting quality control goals. CI/CD testing aims to detect failures quickly so that developers can fix them quickly and before they become issues for the user. Automation enables faster and more extensive testing. Many large organizations have adopted automated CI/CD testing as the norm.
Where Test Automation Fits In
Efficient automation testing requires multiple automated suites to be used at different points in the process. During the build phase, developers will do unit tests. Integration tests check whether new changes or modules work together. Regression tests run at the end of the day to ensure that the day’s work is good. Finally, just before code deployment, performance and load tests are needed.
You can use many of your existing tools in CI/CD testing. For example, you can run automated canary analysis during staging to ensure health while integration tests are run. You can also run automated security scan tests in the staging environment. Automated database upgrade tests run just before deployment can cancel the deployment if problems occur or move forward with it if everything works properly.
Myths of Test Automation
Despite the value of automated CI/CE testing, some companies are reluctant to implement automation because of several myths.
Testing Slows Down Development
Writing tests does require the developer to take time to consider the intended results, which does slow down code writing. However, the time spent writing tests is an investment over the long term. The tests allow developers to ultimately find the right solution more quickly.
Testing Is Only to Troubleshoot
Troubleshooting, or finding bugs, is one reason to automate CI/CD testing. However, the testing offers other benefits. It makes developers feel empowered to alter code because they know they can test their work.
You Must Have 100 Percent Coverage
Developers can calculate the amount of code tested. Often, those unfamiliar with testing think the safest solution is to test every code. However, that’s false. Coverage is only one measure of test quality. The test also should make sense and verify possible combinations of input. Indeed, trying to test 100 percent of the code is a bad business practice, leading developers to spend time writing tests for trivial portions of code. About 80 percent coverage is a reasonable goal.
Armory and Automation
CI/CD testing, derived from agile methodologies, is designed to help developers build fast, test fast, and fail fast. It leads to high-quality, scalable products that satisfy their users.
Automation in CI/CD testing is critical. Without it, developers don’t receive feedback as quickly. Also, many essential tasks may go unrun. Scaling also becomes complicated with only manual testing.
Unfortunately, companies often believe myths about CI/CD testing that dissuade them from using it. Automated testing is an investment that speeds up the process in the long run and frees developers to alter codes, knowing that they have the safety net of testing. Any robust CI/CD program needs automated testing.
Armory provides several solutions to help companies automate their CI/CD testing. You can prioritize tests and automatically verify changes as they are deployed or automatically roll back as necessary. Learn more about Armory and our complete suite of Continuous Deployment tools to scale your automation here.
Is automated testing a part of CI/CD?
Yes, automated testing is a key part of any CI/CD process. Automated tests are used to verify that software and applications run as expected and catch any bugs before they have the chance to affect users. These tests can be run on a regular schedule or whenever code changes are made to ensure that no errors occur in the application over time.
What is pipeline automation?
Pipeline automation is an automated process that allows developers to quickly and efficiently move code from development stages to production. It enables teams to work faster, more efficiently, and produce better code.
How is CI/CD automated?
CI/CD, or Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment, is an automated process for integrating new code into the existing codebase and delivering updates to customers. In a CI/CD pipeline, developers can commit their code changes to a repository and automation tools will automatically test the changes for errors and build them into the software product.