These are testing times, indeed

A look at the crucial role of continuous testing of full lifecycle API management software that delivers better, faster services for businesses and customers.

What is full lifecycle API management software? Gartner notes it is impossible to provide a platform for any digital strategy, build ecosystems and run an effective API programme without full lifecycle API management.

The research firm goes on to define full lifecycle application programming interface (API) management as the planning, design, implementation, testing, publication, operation, consumption, maintenance, versioning and retirement of APIs.

Full lifecycle API management has been the benchmark for API platforms for the last five years. With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning moving to the forefront, full lifecycle API management is evolving to continuous API management. This enables real-time and synthetic API testing and monitoring to create a better customer experience while reducing developer load.

Continuous testing is the practice of embedding quality through every phase of the software delivery lifecycle − from planning to production. The goal is to ensure testing continuously reduces risk and improves application quality.

It is important to scale tests early with a unified software testing solution built for developers and QA alike. It is equally important to use open architecture test tools that are brand-agnostic, thereby extending the testing centre of excellence to Agile teams to test early and often.

As organisations adopt Agile and DevOps methodologies for software development, continuous testing has become a core part of continuous delivery and integration. Testing has transformed from independent stages to an ongoing process.

Software development is constantly changing, with new methodologies and approaches being developed at an exponential rate. The main goal is always business application and one of reducing the time to market for new software.

Automation provides a solution that is more robust, runs faster and can instantly provide "go/no go" decisions.

Automation of testing ensures testing can be performed at the speed required by developers at the velocity demanded by agile methodologies, and if done right, provides businesses the ability to release with confidence.

The great news for companies is that it is now possible to improve business outcomes by making data-driven decisions about release readiness and application quality to increase confidence, lower risk and gain competitive advantage.

With the increased adoption of test data management, service virtualisation and test case optimisation, a five-star user experience can be guaranteed with an integrated platform that delivers capabilities − including 360-degree API test and monitoring and performance − during peak traffic times.

Service virtualisation creates simulations of needed systems and makes them available throughout the software development lifecycle. This means developers, testers and performance teams can work in parallel. The result is faster delivery, lower costs and higher quality of innovative new software applications.

Automation provides a solution that is more robust, runs faster and can instantly provide "go/no go" decisions.

Research has provided a concise overview of the current standards and best practices augmented by key recommendations on how to move ahead with continuous testing, ultimately delivering better, faster services for the business and customers.

Release with confidence is as much a business focus as it is a cultural shift. In the DevOps and Agile world, quality is the responsibility of all. To transform segmented processes into integrated and continuous testing, teams need to adopt intelligent automated testing which meets business demands. Provisioning AI-powered delivery pipelines is a major step to ensuring visibility, velocity and quality.

Test teams need to ensure early automation is the new methodology, and tests need to be iterative, easily manageable and scaled to the release that is under development.

Test packs should be flexible, lean and shareable, among team members, available to all, whether it is dev or QA. Maintainability should also be built into every automated test, with as much test script re-use as possible. QA should look to tools that build this into the core of the application.

Choosing open architecture, integrated and API-driven test tools is essential to deliver effective agile testing. It is important to evaluate the test tool or test engine against the application under test. Older test tools are often specific to their brand, lack integration into the pipeline tools, or do not build in test case transportability or code reuse and require custom-written frameworks.

The name of the game is higher quality applications delivered faster. For this to happen, QA and dev need to use all the available tools at their disposal to ensure applications can be developed, tested and deployed at speed.

Tools make this possible, and people and process are the drivers. QA, dev, IT and all factors of business need to work together seamlessly. Making sense of the tools that work for your business, ensuring adoption of the selected tool stack and cultural alignment are critical to releasing with confidence.

According to Forrester, the bottom line is that every business is now a digital business. Companies are scrambling to respond to consumers' higher expectations and nimbler competitors. Application development and delivery organisations are leading this response, transforming their processes and skills to provide high-quality innovative software solutions that delight customers and outpace competitors.

In my second article in this series, I will expand on what is necessary for the delivery of quality applications.

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