News from the World of QA — February 2016

feb qa news

This time out on the Betica Blog, we are going to take a look at some newsworthy stories and trends from the past few weeks related to the software QA world. Hopefully, they offer a measure of insight into other perspectives on QA’s role in the modern business world at large.

Building Better Tools for Software QA

In the past, we’ve covered the importance of leveraging helpful tools to facilitate the software quality assurance process. This rule applies to all areas of QA — from desktop software to websites to mobile apps. Using excellent tools helps the QA engineer perform their job with more efficiency and speed.

Earlier this week, SmartBear Software, a developer of tools for QA, released a new update for its Ready! API testing suite used for this vital area of software development. This news was reported on at the software development news site, SD Times.

Version 1.6 of SmartBear’s product adds useful capabilities aimed at large scale enterprise QA. New support for Docker containers facilitates load testing, which is important for simulating high-traffic websites and distributed apps. Automated test libraries and security certificates make deploying virtual API sandboxes an easier process.

John Purcell, Vice President of Products at SmartBear commented on the reasoning behind the new features. “Professional development and testing teams need tools that support enterprise-level requirements like big data sets, multiple environments, company-issued security certificates, auditing and running only certain branches of tests based on continuous integration events,” said Purcell.

In short, Ready! API appears to be a testing tool large development shops need to explore for use by their QA teams.

The Growth of DevOps leading to Smaller Software Deployments

DevOps, which is in some sense a development out of the maturing Agile movement, continues to affect how software gets written and tested. One notable trend involves longer development cycles using the traditional Waterfall methodology being replaced by smaller iterations following Agile and/or DevOps principles. This gradual shift in direction was reported on in the UK-based IT website, The Register.

The increased close collaboration between software engineers and QA personnel ushered in by DevOps tends to thrive when working on faster iterative cycles. Many enterprises eye Continuous Deployment or Integration as a goal worth striving for, especially in today’s fast-paced, competitive business environment. There simply isn’t the time for 6 to 12 month development cycles when customers — whether external or internal — require new features working perfectly on a weekly basis.

The Register talked about this trend with an IT manager at a large enterprise. “We did an analysis of hundreds of projects over a multi-year period. The ones that delivered in less than a quarter succeeded about 80 per cent of the time, while the ones that lasted more than a year failed at about the same rate,” the manager commented.

Simply put, faster iterative cycles led to a better chance at a successful deployment. More timely updates are what the customer wants, and improved software quality appears to be an additional bonus. Because of this, expect more companies of all sizes to implement Agile and DevOps-based development methodologies.

Stay tuned to the Betica blog from more insights into software QA.