Functional testing is the automation of web app testing across several platforms or browsers. In the past, functional testing was less common due to long development cycles and the lack of multiple browser options. It was done primarily in-house via proprietary software like Rational or QuickTestPro.
Today, there are four trends converging to radically change how organizations test web applications:
- Continuous integration – An increased emphasis on performance of the software through the end customer’s perspective is leading agile development. Gartner predicts that by 2012 agile development methodologies will be used by 80 percent of all software development projects. Teams are shifting away from rigid quality control to quality that is demonstrable to the end user. With this shift, comes a need for quick, simple and automated testing tools.
- Open source – Open source tools, like Selenium, are viable for functional testing. Today’s development environment has dramatically changed and a lot more people are contributing than ever before. The major advantages of open-source are speed, time to market, time to value, and the ability to reach and grow a developer and user community. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2012, 80 percent of all commercial software will include elements of open source technology.
- Cloud computing – Testing in the cloud is an affordable and scalable alternative to testing behind a firewall. It is expensive and time consuming to maintain on site test infrastructures that cover a vast number of browsers (and versions) of operating systems in several languages. The increase in the adoption of cloud computing creates an opportunity to leverage the space for functional testing. We believe the life cycle for cloud-based applications will look different in the future. New solutions that are cloud based will support cloud-base applications.
- Mobility – Websites need to support multiple browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Rockmelt, Opera on various platforms including Windows and Mac. Smartphones only add to this “Browser War 2.0” battle with the plethora of mobile operating systems. These various environments make the infrastructure required more complex and the need for functional testing more relevant that ever before.
Are there other trends beyond continuous integration, mobility, open source and the cloud that will change how organizations test their web applications?