How to Improve Your Application Testing System

Creating a quality application unit test environment can save IT time and money and prevent major errors!

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When I was managing software development, one of the messier and less efficient areas was the system test region that was set up so programmers could unit test their applications.

As part of meeting the tight project deadlines, we focused on allocating resources for QA testing, staging, and application production. Lower priority was given to creating a “sandbox” system so that developers could test their applications as they wrote them.

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The result was an increasing number of wasted system resources that no one deprovisioned after performing the unit tests. Applications that took longer to pass QA and could even fail in production, all because programmers in the early stages of application development were forced to test their applications against outdated data.

To be fair, there were reasons stores operated like this. The idea within the application development group was that it was the job of the QA team to test and catch application errors. All the developer had to do was make sure the code compiled and the app worked. In addition, the database and systems groups were always overwhelmed with work. It wasn’t difficult for either group to deprioritize data freshness from an application sandbox.

This line of thinking was and still is common practice in many IT departments, but with today’s resources it is no longer necessary.

How to Improve Your Application Testing System

Here are three ways sites can use to improve their unit test environments for new applications:

Use system allocation script templates

If an application developer needs to test their application on a specific distribution and version of a Linux operating system, they should be able to access a generic script to provision the operating system and only have to make minor adjustments. There is no reason to hand-write a script to provision the correct operating system environment for your application.

Continuing with Linux as an example, there are several vendors of this operating system that now have automatic provisioning of new operating systems for unit testing applications. Automated OS provisioning eliminates the need for developers to hand-code their own scripts to create OS test environments for their applications. It also eliminates the possibility of human error that can be introduced when writing manually.

Automate resource allocation and deallocation

A second sticking point in application unit testing is the allocation of databases and other system libraries that need to be loaded in order to create a proper test environment for the application.

Application developers often have to queue for database and system groups to be available to configure these test regions and resources for them.

To address the issue, a number of vendors now offer point-and-click interfaces for developers to select the database and system resources they need for their application unit test environments. This point-and-click selection of resources allows developers to set up their own unit test environments on their own without having to ask the database or system groups for help, saving everyone time. time and effort.

In the background of development, once an application is fully unit tested, there is usually no need to maintain system resources and storage that were reserved for unit testing. Unfortunately, developers usually overlook this, so storage and resources sit idle.

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This waste can be eliminated if the database and/or system group defines settings to automatically deprovision test regions. For example, a message might be sent to the developer stating: “In ninety days, your test region for application xyz will be deprovisioned if no usage is detected.” This gives the developer a head held high.

Perform regular refreshes of test data

Data refreshes are often performed infrequently in application testing environments. When data is outdated, there is a greater risk that applications tested against that data will fail in QA and even in production.

The database group should have a regular schedule for refreshing test data. This saves everyone time during testing and QA checking, and it rules out the possibility that a significant application error could occur in production.

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