2018 will not be a year of massive disruption in software testing—or so I think, at least. Here’s a look at the changes (from IoT to security testing) that I expect to happen in the world of software testing over the coming year.
Where We Are
But before looking at next year’s trends, let’s assess where software testing stands at the end of 2017.
Over the years, quality assurance testing for software has evolved from something developers only practice when business users find defects, to a sector with dedicated staff and a plethora of vendors and products to pick from to help find defects earlier and faster.
In conjunction with this growth in the visibility of software testing, software products have become more complex with more discrete components and the spreading of processing over multiple layers of the application, from client-side data entry and validation to caching tiers that connect to multiple microservices—each with its own data store.
With the introduction of Agile methodologies and concepts like DevOps, testing has been instrumental in making these approaches viable and reliable.
Yet there are still gaps that many companies need to address. Efforts to address those gaps will drive test automation in 2017.
DevOps Drives Even More Test Automation
Throughout the next year as more companies both embrace and expand rapid development and release cycles, Agile methodologies and DevOps concepts will be front and center as part of these rollouts.
As anyone with experience in the DevOps space knows, flexible automated testing is the absolute core tenant for a successful initiative.
DevOps and Agile are not new, of course, and neither is automated testing. But thanks to the increased visibility of next-generation technologies like containers (especially Kubernetes-based implementations), demand for continuous delivery pipelines and continuous testing will only increase—and so will the need to automate software tests.
Open Source Testing Tools are Everywhere
With a huge increase in the number of platforms (including public cloud providers) basing everything on open source technologies, there will be an increased desire to work completely within the open source ecosystem. Open source tools are now available, proven, and are deployed in the largest organizations. These tools cover all aspects of testing, from Selenium for cross-browser testing to Appium for mobile testing and SonarQube for security testing.
Leveraging More Services
With the increased adoption of the cloud as the preferred avenue to develop and deploy on, more teams will start leveraging supplementary testing services to increase what they can test, without increasing their capital costs or internal support needs.
It is becoming harder to justify the cost of buying every new phone from every major vendor when for a simple monthly fee (far less than the cost of the newest Apple iPhones), a testing team can access most mobile devices on the market—even obscure and older models.
Supplementary testing also provides the ability to test across multiple desktop browser and OS combinations without having to maintain all those devices in-house. (Headless testing for Google Chrome came out in 2016 and helps with streamlining test automation, but it can only take you so far when you are trying to support the known configurations of multiple enterprise customers, and trying to test on the latest releases for your consumer offerings.)
The Internet of Things Requires New Testing Solutions
IoT has been a buzzword for several years, but it is finally more tangible to the average consumer as more people in the general public buy FitBits, Google Homes, and even remote door locks. As this space grows, so will the need for better software testing and device validation in the IoT market.
A great example of this is the need to fully validate releases on all variants of a door lock before they are automatically pushed to all clients in the field. If it goes right, no one notices, and security patches can be applied rapidly. If it goes wrong and adequate software testing isn’t in place, then people won’t be able to get into their homes, and that will cause a media backlash.
2018 will be the year that software testing teams increase their ability to handle device-specific testing, leverage open source tools before calling traditional vendors, and supplement with services to handle more options, and scale on-demand.
All of these developments will combine, continuing the trend to automate what is routine and innovate where it matters.
Vince Power is a Solution Architect who has a focus on cloud adoption and technology implementations using open source-based technologies. He has extensive experience with core computing and networking (IaaS), identity and access management (IAM), application platforms (PaaS), and continuous delivery.