As we approach the festive season and we reflect on the past year and plan for 2022, many businesses will be analysing, forecasting and planning. What worked? How can we do things better, and how is technology going to change the landscape as we know it in the next 12 months?
And when it comes to software and software testing, at DeeperThanBlue we’re looking back, focusing on the present and questioning what we can expect in the future with our homage to A Christmas Carol.
Ghost of Christmas Past
Organisations consider automating when the following factors are in play:
- Repeatable task
- Time-consuming testing activity
- A stable testing environment with little change anticipated
- Repetitive test(s)
The active perception is that test automation enables brands to meet the fast-moving target of building and testing software that is both high quality and able to be released to end-users quickly. The downside of traditional test automation is that building, maturing and maintaining the process is time, cost and resource-intensive.
A lot of traditional automation tools demand expertise in coding and a shift-left focus of testing during development. This is often described as test-first or Test-Driven Development (TDD). Not only to write tests at the outset but also to maintain them over time. The complexities and the nuances of different tools—like Appium, Selenium, Apple simulators, Android emulators, element locators, locator strategies and so on—contribute to the complexity of traditional automation and the need for specific expertise.
This has dynamically propelled the demand for DevOps.
The Christmas takeaway: Organisations still face heightened project risk from the challenge of defining their STLC (software test life cycle) and the distinct role of experts in manual and automation testing. All-rounders that are capable of both, are elusive.
Ghost of Christmas Present
Ideally, a balance of manual testing should be used alongside both traditional automation and codeless test automation solutions. This maximises the speed, scale and quality at which software can be delivered to end-users.
Codeless test automation tools are great for less-involved scenarios—like smoke tests or portions of a regression testing suite. Using codeless tools in this way allows SDETs and dedicated automation resources to focus on higher-priority and more complex automation.
Low-code and no-code development platforms have revolutionised how companies think about application development. The same can be said for quality assurance (QA) software, where codeless test automation solutions handle the burden of coding for organisations that can’t allocate extra programming resources or keep up with extensive writing and maintenance of automated tests.
Codeless test automation can be a big win for companies that are resource-challenged and trying to get applications to market quickly. The overarching value of codeless test automation, on the other hand, is that anyone can do it. With a codeless solution, a user simply moves through a test case and the codeless tool can then transcribe that experience into an automated test. And while codeless test automation tools originally addressed only web applications, more tools now offer the ability to run sessions and create automated tests on mobile apps—on both Android and iOS—as well as web applications.
The Christmas takeaway: Organisations shouldn’t be thinking of codeless tools and traditional automation as an either/or scenario.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
Experts are “spooked” by their success in the field of AI, comparing the advance of AI to the development of the atom bomb. So, as AI develops, we’re seeing proactive calls for the introduction of Asimov-like ethical measures to manage the risks posed. This includes a code of conduct for researchers, legislation and treaties to ensure the safety of AI systems in use, as well as training of researchers to ensure AI is not susceptible to problems such as racial bias.
Will the banning of research lead to an impersonation of humans by machines, Westworld-esque world happen? Or, as we’ve seen with human cloning, will governments proactively push and blur those boundaries?
Artificial intelligence underpins many aspects of current lifestyle choices – from search engines to banking – whilst advances in image recognition and machine translation are among the key developments in recent years. Social media algorithms choose what people read and watch, and they have a huge amount of control over our cognitive input. These algorithms manipulate the user, brainwashing them so that their behaviour becomes more predictable when it comes to what they chose to engage with, boosting click-based revenue. The UK Government is proactively engaged in a consultation on AI and IP (Intellectual Property) covering copyright in works made by AI, text and data mining using copyright material, and patents for inventions devised by AI.
The Christmas takeaway: We’re just scratching the surface of the possibilities and power of AI, with ethical standards essential to govern its growth.
The business awakens changed
So, as our Christmas Carol concludes and we take stock of the technology, software and digital transformation landscape for another year, we wish a Merry Christmas to all this festive season.