Testing is a vital element of the software development life cycle to deliver bug-free and reliable software. However, traditional testing teams build and execute tests towards the end of software development, typically after the development is finished. This approach does not support quick feedback and early identification of bugs, making testing a costly process and increasing time to market for the final product. To support agile teams and enable quick testing feedback, testing should be conducted early in the software development life cycle. This testing strategy is called “shifting left” and can be applied to functional and non-functional testing. Shift left testing allows developers and testers to work closely to build and execute test cases in the early stages of the development cycle.
What is Shift Left Testing?
While the traditional testing approach requires expensive hardware and set up to be installed and maintained and the testing is performed in the final stages of the development, shift left testing focuses on executing smaller test cases on individual components of a software as soon as they are developed or integrated.
Shift left testing is based on the following fundamental principles:
Shared Responsibility for Quality
In the traditional approach, finding bugs and performance issues is only the testers’ responsibility, and problems are fixed based on the item list provided by testers. This approach overlooks many performance issues and defects that are not easily identified. Additionally, this approach gives developers and testers a shared responsibility to maintain quality by performing ad hoc tests by both developers and testers whenever possible in the development cycle.
Automation by Developers
Testing automation allows testers to create and reuse test cases and speed the testing process. In the shift left testing approach, developers also contribute to creating the testing automation that makes the testing faster and more quality-oriented.
Integrated Test Mode
A good quality software depends on the mutual efforts driven by developers and testers. Shift left testing follows this idea and requires developers to create and integrate small ad hoc tests that testers can use to establish a baseline and build more comprehensive test cases on top of these ad hoc test cases.
Advantages and Benefits of Shift Left Testing
- Bugs, defects, and performance Issues can be identified early in the development lifecycle.
- Testing and maintenance costs can be reduced significantly with early detection and resolution of various issues.
- The final product is of higher quality, with very few bugs and performance issues.
- Time to market is reduced due to integrated testing with the development with quick feedback.
- Better customer satisfaction with improved and consistent user experience.
- The higher quality codebase is achieved and maintained.
- Increased ROI of testing.
Load Testing with Shift Left Testing Strategy
Load testing is a non-functional performance testing done to check the speed, stability, and scalability of a website or software. It is used to determine if the website can sustain a high number of users (load) with normal behavior. It is done by generating an expected amount of load on the website, and performance is measured against various resources and metrics. It helps identify performance bottlenecks and scope of improvement to optimize the website for enhanced performance and maintain performance benchmarks under high traffic conditions. Traditionally, load testing is mostly performed after a website is developed or in production.
Load testing helps identify the following issues:
- Server response time
- System performance
- Database performance
- Network delays and capacity
- Design issues
- Server configuration issues (database server, web server, application server, CDN, etc.)
- Hardware bottlenecks (CPU, memory, network components, etc.)
Applying the shift left approach to load testing offers developers and testers unique opportunities to ensure the website is always optimized for the high traffic conditions with every new release and update. There are two main things that you need to do for the shift left load testing:
Load Test Individual Components
To employ shift Left testing, you should load test all your individual components like independent modules, APIs, third-party API integrations, UI layer, different web pages, etc. To do so, you can use a cloud-based load testing tool and test your modular components for analyzing the performance. Based on the reports and data collected from the load testing, you can optimize those individual components and ensure the website performance on a granular level.
Load Test in CI/CD Pipelines
Shift left testing takes advantage of automation. With automation, performance testing becomes an efficient process where you mostly need to review the performance reports and take action accordingly. CI/CD pipeline is a perfect process where you can deploy load testing to identify integration and development issues regarding the performance and optimize for them effectively. Whenever you integrate a new code into the system, build the release, or deploy it, performing load testing will give you the benefits of testing to identify and resolve performance issues earlier.
Shift Left Load testing With LoadView
For shift left load testing, you need a load testing tool that you can easily use for testing individual components as well as in your CI/CD pipeline automation. LoadView is a cloud-based load testing tool that you quickly deploy for testing web applications, web pages, REST APIs, third-party APIs, and more. You can integrate LoadView with your CI/CD automation tools such as Jenkins to take full advantage of shifting left and deliver higher quality website/application. The following are some significant advantages of using the LoadView platform for shift left load testing:
- LoadView is a cloud-based tool that doesn’t require you to buy and maintain an expensive hardware setup for your load testing requirements.
- LoadView generates load using real browsers and devices to simulate realistic end-users for performance accuracy.
- LoadView also generates users from different geographical locations to test your website for performance in different regions for better understanding and optimization.
- You can adjust the load in real-time to fine-tune your system performance and plan for scaling.
- LoadView uses point-and-click script generation using its EveryStep Web Recorder that anyone can use, with or without any programming knowledge, that makes it perfect if you don’t have exclusive testing resources.
Shift left testing supports agile teams and DevOps practices and produces better quality products with reduced cost and time. Load testing with the shift left approach is a very sophisticated strategy to ensure that your website is always optimized for performance. LoadView is a cloud-based load testing tool that can be efficiently applied for the shift left load testing to achieve a higher quality product with better performance and reduced time to market. Learn more about the different types of shift left testing and how LoadView can enhance your DevOps practices.
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