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Posted June 12, 2015

Why Technology Has to Be 'Continuous'

They say that Facebook ‘deploys’ and releases a new version of itself as many as 14 times a day.


They say that Facebook ‘deploys’ and releases a new version of itself as many as 14 times a day. Whether the real number is four, 14 or 145… it doesn’t matter; the point is that software application development now champions the Agile (CAPS A) methodology and works to extol the virtues of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD).

Subliminal Acceptance

We as users have subliminally come to already accept this new continuousness in the form of application continuity. We expect our online cloud-based applications on our tablet and smartphone to be up to date every time we log in. We understand that operating systems (Windows is a good example of one) might still need to be updated (please wait while we install update 24 of 69), but in most other areas we now expect and demand continuous continuity.

Continuousness in software exists in several areas:

  • Continuous requirements gathering

  • Continuous development

  • Continuous testing (and User Acceptance Testing – UAT)

  • Continuous delivery

  • Continuous performance monitoring and Quality Assurance

  • Continuous integration

  • Continuous updates, upgrades and maintenance

… and if we do it right, then we get to a continuous user experience across device form factors.

Continuousness is important enough for Apple to develop its “Continuity” project, which aims to make user movements between phone, tablet and desktop seamless, as they say.

Then there is Microsoft with the still-being-developed “Continuum” coming inside Windows 10. Continuum aims to automatically and dynamically switch system operational behaviour dependent on which hardware is being used at the time. This means that attaching a keyboard to a Microsoft Surface automatically tells Windows to change from touch-oriented usage to mouse and keyboard usage.

In the guts

But back to the guts of the matter. Making the continuous factor happen at the software application development level are firms like Sauce Labs. The firm’s cloud-based automated web and mobile application testing platform is said to be ‘specifically engineered’ for Continuous Integration (CI) workflows. The premise here is a chance to test web and mobile applications more quickly and with greater insight into their software builds.

"Development teams are embracing new software delivery processes and philosophies such as CI and Continuous Delivery. While both practices have proven their value in accelerating software production beyond traditional approaches, they are still not always easy to implement – particularly the critical functional and regression testing components. The new revision of the Sauce Labs dashboard offers detailed information about builds and automated tests, as well as manual tests and overall usage,” said the firm, in a press statement.

Now. the idea is is that developers can concentrate on the status of entire builds rather than on individual tests, allowing them to (in theory) more quickly navigate to and resolve issues. Developers can click on a build to receive complete details on all tests within it, as well as highlight the ones that have failed. They can also view the status of each individual test and manage their Sauce Connect tunnels.

“It can be difficult for companies with large numbers of accounts to track usage of third party tools across the organization and ensure they are being effectively used.  Sauce Labs offers enterprise management features allowing users to manage permissions and access to testing resources – such as provisioning access to master accounts, teams or individuals. The result is enhanced reporting, giving organizations insight into individual usage via 60-day graphs that describe historical usage, minutes consumed and tests run by day,” said the firm.

500 combinations

The firm says that Sauce continues to be optimized for integration with CI/CD systems where the emphasis is on speed, scale and reliability, and offers integrations with the most popular CI platforms including: Jenkins, Bamboo, Travis CI, Circle CI and TeamCity. Sauce Labs currently supports more than 500 browser, operating system, and device platform combinations.

If the continuous factor is there in the software you use and you never really thought about it, then it’s working properly isn’t it?

Jun 12, 2015
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