News from the Worlds of Software Development and QA — June 2016

As June draws to a close, here are a few interesting stories from the related worlds of software development and QA. If you want to check out last month’s news, simply click on this link. Hopefully, this month’s edition offers some insights relevant to your daily development and testing work.

Need QA for Continuous Deployment? Enter Continuous Testing.

We’ve talked previously about the growing adoption of Agile and DevOps methodologies by companies hoping to gain a competitive advantage through faster software development. Many of these firms strive for a continuous deployment model where software enhancements happen at a rapid pace.

So how does the QA process keep up? Enter continuous testing.

Many forward-looking companies are beginning to leverage continuous testing to ensure software gets released at a speed letting them successfully compete in the modern business landscape. Ashley Dotterweich recently talked about the emerging practice for DevOps Zone. Faster release cycles, better code, and ultimately a decreased risk of production failures are its major impacts.

One of the key steps in implementing continuous testing involves shifting QA to the left. In short, this involves starting testing earlier in the software development process in the hope of catching problems at a point before a fix becomes too costly. Some would argue a QA presence also needs to be involved during the requirements gathering and design phases.

The use of a continuous integration server infrastructure to execute unit tests also facilitates the implementation of continuous testing. Other forms of automated testing need to be considered as part of a migration to this new testing model. It is something worth considering for organizations hoping to achieve continuous deployment.

Game Development Shops want Standardized Testing Practices

A myriad of AAA video games suffering from high profile bugs and server hiccups over the last year has led to a call for standardized QA practices in the industry. James Batchelor covered the growing issue in a recent post on Develop, a game industry website. Many testing managers in gaming feel standards are vital for keeping (or regaining) the trust of video gamers. 

Testology CEO, Andy Robson, commented on the growing problem caused by a lack of QA standards. “Why do we think it is acceptable to release games that don’t meet the quality level consumers expect? We should have a standard where no Class A bugs are released in a product along with Class B bugs, whether functional or LOC issues. Class C bugs are always going to be in games, but don’t affect the experience, so we could be more lenient,” said Robson.

Stay tuned to see if their efforts at standardized QA are successful.

Is Software Development only for the Young?

A recent study noted the average age for the software developer is under 30. Nick Heath, writing for Tech Republic, wondered if this was due to a glut of new programmers entering the industry or if older developers are leaving? Natalia Radcliffe-Brine, marketing manager at Stack Overflow feels it is the former trend.

“I don’t think it’s that the older developers aren’t there anymore, I think there’s been momentum around technology and you’ve got so many more young people going into computer science,” said Radcliffe-Brine. Whatever the reason behind the hard data, there’s no denying the right mixture between younger workers excited about the industry and the wisdom of veteran developers is a smart call when building an efficient development team.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional news and insights from the world of software development and testing.

News from the World of QA — May 2016

Here is this month’s look at the goings-on in the wide world of software development and testing. Hopefully, these interesting stories inspire a few ideas to help your team deploy bug-free software into production. If you want to check out last month’s edition, simply click on this link.

JFrog’s Software Release Solution for a DevOps World

Companies following a DevOps organizational structure for their IT department understand the importance of a streamlined software release process. The rate of enhancements is nearly continuous, with additional time spent on collaboration between software engineers, QA personnel, and network operations. This places additional onus on having the right tools to get more done with fewer resources.

JFrog recently introduced a new Cloud-based solution in concert with Atlassian that promises to seamlessly manage the software release process for organizations relying on DevOps. Bitbucket, Atlassian’s popular Git repository management tool for the Cloud, now integrates with JFrog’s Artifactory repository manager and its Bintray distribution tool. Together, the three products offer a complete solution for companies trying to handle a continuous integration or deployment scenario for software.

Shlomi Ben Haim, CEO of JFrog commented on the new tool. “With the new Bitbucket Connect add-on, release managers are now able to view the entire ‘chain of custody’ of an artifact directly within the Bitbucket user interface. This includes the entire workflow from Bitbucket, the continuous integration server, JFrog Artifactory and JFrog Bintray. Many of our existing JFrog Artifactory customers are already Bitbucket users. Delivering one unified solution demonstrates our commitment to working together to respond to customer demand,” said Ben Haim.

Information Age offers Insight for Implementing DevOps at the Enterprise

Speaking of DevOps, companies are increasingly looking at the methodology in the hopes of streamlining the process of software development, but still with a same level of quality. Making the leap to DevOps from an older software methodology can be a daunting task, requiring buy-in from everyone throughout the organization. Information Age recently published a guide to help companies on the path to DevOps.

This collection of tips offers useful insight on the importance of collaboration, providing visibility to the entire development process, and the interesting concept of treating company infrastructure and its documentation as living code, managed in a repository. Providing enough time for the disparate teams to adjust to the changes is another key factor in the successful implementation of DevOps.

Docker supercharging Software Development

We recently talked about Docker and its use of software “containers” to make the software development and QA processes more efficient. Earlier in May, Linux.com offered three reasons why Docker and containers in general are supercharging the world of software engineering. 

Accessibility from the command line, general portability, and the software tool’s open source nature were their three reasons. The last point on openness relates to the additional functionality offered by using plug-ins developed by the robust community supporting Docker. If you enjoy learning new ways to write and test software, this is definitely a great time to be in the industry.

Stay tuned next month for more newsworthy dispatches from the worlds of software development and quality assurance here at the Betica Blog.

News from the World of QA — April 2016

QA plays a vital role in how software gets developed no matter the industry. Here is a look at a few interesting news stories from April related to software quality assurance. If you also want to check out last month’s news, take a look at the March blog post.

QA should have the Power to delay the Release of Video Games

The video game industry obviously depends on the QA role to release a product free of bugs and other gameplay issues. Considering the social media-driven gaming world, news about a buggy title spreads like wildfire within a day or two. The dustbin of video gaming history is filled with companies who gave short-shrift to testing.

A leader of a video gaming testing firm feels QA needs to have a say in when video games are finally released. Andy Robson of Testology spoke earlier in April at the TIGA QA, Localization and Customer Support Summit held in London. “QA should have the power to say this game isn’t ready. We’ve had times when there has been hundreds of issues still logged on our database – but the game has still been released. We need to be given the time to fix these,” said Robson.

Robson notes that marketing pressures ultimately force games to be released before they are properly vetted. It is an arguably unnecessary risk taken by major video game publishers. Many companies simply treat gamers as another QA layer; making final fixes to bug-laden software using post-release patches.

VR Gaming Interfaces complicate Quality Assurance

Ever since The Lawnmower Man hit movie theatres over two decades ago, virtual reality has been expected to enter the technology mainstream. Recently, VR control has reappeared in the video gaming world, and its presence is adding complexity to an already difficult QA role.

Because of these new controller requirements, QA departments have to redesign their testing labs to account for VR headsets and other associated hardware, which is slowing down the quality assurance process. “The VR testing space has been redesigned and rebuilt multiple times throughout the past 12 months and we expect that there will be more redesigning and reconfiguration throughout the next year,” noted VMC’s Kirstin Whittle. 

Considering the applications for VR outside of gaming — the military, surgical, and CAD use-cases are notable — expect QA shops in a variety of industries to consider adding VR testing capabilities to their toolbox over the next few years.

NASDAQ introduces New “Validator” QA Platform

When QA problems happen in the world of stock trading, the financial risks are paramount — an issue we previously noted on the Betica Blog. As one of the world’s largest stock exchanges, NASDAQ is taking the steps to ensure these problems are mitigated by launching a new API-independent QA platform known as NASDAQ Validator. The platform’s audience is expected to be various financial exchanges, clearinghouses, and depositories.

Validator includes a suite containing both manual and automated test tools suitable for the capital markets industry. It focuses on speeding up the manual testing process while also simplifying its use, allowing for validation by a larger stakeholder group. The system interfaces with different securities trading systems from NASDAQ and other providers.

Lars Ottersgård, NASDAQ’s Executive Vice President and Head of Market Technology, commented on the new platform. “By offering Nasdaq Validator to marketplaces worldwide, we are squarely addressing the absolute necessity for robust QA processes, while reducing expenditures and shortening the go-to-market timetable,” said Ottersgård.

Stay tuned for future looks into the wide world of software quality assurance in News from the World of QA here at the Betica Blog.