NSTC speakers reveal the importance of using the correct tools

How to identify machine learning talent

Software Testing News speaks exclusively with The National Software Testing Conference speakers about the importance of tools being fit for purpose, up-to-date and easily accessible

Software applications are becoming more and more complex and intertwined because of a large number of different devices and platforms. This is why it’s important to ensure that you, as a tester, have the correct methodologies and tools in place; to meet your clients’ specified requirements and to secure your software. Nevertheless, this can be a challenge.

As we all know, IT has witnessed an evolution of virtualisation in the form of cloud computing over the last couple of years, which comes with an array of different tools. It has helped testers view everything ‘As a Service’, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS), as well as comes with a lot of benefits, such as scalability, low cost, is easily customisable and ensures dynamic availabilities in testing environments – helping users to easily replicate a customer environment and find defects early in the cycle.

Cloud computing

Steve Watson, Interim Project Manager at Reed Business, agreed: “Test environments always used to be a pain to manage – they were never up-to-date with the right data or code changes, and there was always a cost element to requesting more environments, so often environment clashes would ensue. With the advent of cloud computing, we can spin up a test environment when needed, and tear it down once finished.”

With the upcoming GDPR coming to light on the 25 May 2018, many firms are doing all they can to comply with this new privacy law. Many vendors are offering tools to help firms comply and prepare with the GDPR, such as security tools; assessment, data governance and management tools; and user consent and compliance tools.

“With the advent of GDPR, we have to be careful about obfuscating any personal data that we may have in pre-live environments. In terms of tools, Selenium Webdriver has almost become the defacto standard for web application testing, and you can configure it to work with other tools such as Specflow or Gauge to add in business case definitions, and then code in whichever language you choose,” Watson continued.

Decision making

Ensuring tools are up-to-date can be particularly difficult, because of the scope of software testing changing rapidly, as well as clients needs. Having the correct tools in place is essential for organisations looking to move beyond a basic testing approach. Test tools are needed in order to conduct quality tests at high quality, as well as increase capacity, accuracy and capabilities.

“It can be very hard to stay up-to-date with tools, particularly when you are few in numbers. But if we don’t keep an eye on the future then it might hit us hard in the face when it becomes the present. Very often we put too many constraints in place, which prevents people from experimenting. We do need to make sure that strategic work doesn’t have a free for all approach to tooling, but for tactical work, making it easy to experiment provides a low-risk way to learn new approaches,” said Alan Richardson, Independent Consultant at EvilTester.

Tools can be used to fit the root cause of a problem within a product/project. It’s highly important to ensure that you have made the right tool decisions at the start of a project, which can be a time-consuming project in itself. Typically, testing tools such as Selenium and SoapUI appear to be helpful.

Wojciech Bulaty, CTO at Traffic Parrot, continued: “We often ask ourselves why our current environments are not fit for purpose or tools up to date. When we understand why, we fix the root cause or the problem.

”Typically, it’s because of failing to articulate the on-going costs of keeping things as they are, compared to the cost of change. Sometimes it’s best to leave things as they are, more often fix the issue by upgrading software or architecture as soon as possible.”

DevOps has also had a massive effect on the industry. Not only is it a combination of cultural philosophies and practices, but its tools also help to increase an organisation’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity: improving projects and products at a faster pace than firms using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes.

Ensuring the tools and environments are fit for purpose, up-to-date and easily accessible is a major part of my job! I undertook a substantial restructure and investment over last year, and this, to make sure that the tools and environments we use are suiting our needs and future desires. This has ultimately led to the DevOps initiative that my mum team are now working on,” added Felicity Lord, Quality Assurance Manager at Wyndham Vacation Rentals.

Be sure to register your place for the National Software Testing Conference which will be held on the 22-23 May 2018 at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, Kensington, London, for the chance to listen to our speakers talk more in-depth about pressing industry topics such as automation, quality engineering approaches, emerging technologies, manual testing and continuous testing. Click here to register and find out more about this unmissable event: http://www.softwaretestingconference.com/about/

Written by Leah Alger

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