How DevOps Uses Test Automation Tools to Accelerate Software Development
The goal of DevOps is to build faster, effective, and responsive applications by bringing together the development team and the operations team. It is a cultural shift to remove all barriers between Dev and Ops and provide shorter as well as frequent software deliveries, thus enabling organizations to respond in a much agile manner with respect to the constantly changing customer demands and expectations.
In a nutshell, DevOps via effective collaboration, communication, streamlined delivery, and automation of processes will accelerate software development in the following key ways:
- Faster time to market
- Reduces risks of failures in each release
- Enhances error fixing and recovery time
- Improves the checking process efficiency
- Speeds up the rate of change
- Allows managers to make improved and effective trade-off decisions
- Enables rapid and continuous feedback
- Offers flawless continuity throughout the Software Development Lifecycle
Testing in DevOps starts from the very beginning of application development and hence it is important to make sure that the development team and the operations team work closely with each other to ensure continuous integration and prompt delivery by continuous testing and monitoring.
Related Reading: Test Automation Trends to Accelerate Development Cycles in 2020
Automation Testing in a DevOps Environment
DevOps is categorized into the following 4 processes:
- Continuous Integration
- Continuous Delivery
- Continuous Testing
- Continuous Monitoring
The testing teams require to align their test design, automation, as well as test case development along with DevOps to ensure that the frequent changes made have not affected the final product.
Unlike the traditional approach, automation testing in a DevOps environment requires moving test automation scripts to a control tool which is of an enterprise version. This system of centralized enterprise-level testing results in an integrated test suite that offers centralized execution and reporting.
Let us walk through the different ways in which DevOps makes use of test automation tools:
How DevOps Uses Test Automation to Speed Up Software Development and Delivery
DevOps testing lays its core focus on test automation within the application’s development pipeline to ensure that by the time the application is deployable, it is done without any further confusion. Some of the popular test automation tools of DevOps are Selenium and Water.
Here is a quick rundown on the popular DevOps tools:
1. New Relic– New Relic offers an end to end visibility along with improved customer experience and dynamic infrastructure. It also helps the DevOps team to save their time spent in monitoring applications.
2. Jenkins – Jenkins is a DevOps automation tool used for checking the execution of redundant tasks. Jenkins is an open-source CI/CD (Continuous Integration/ Continuous Delivery) server that allows users to automate various phases involved in the application delivery pipeline.
3. Splunk – This automation tool is used to access machine data. It offers operational effectiveness to both the development as well as the operations teams in DevOps. It offers enterprises the ability to be more productive, competitive, secure, and reliable.
4. Selenium – Being the most popular automation testing tool for DevOps, Selenium is designed to meet the specific needs of a wide range of different browsers. It makes use of lesser resources and supports parallel test execution which reduces the overall time required for the testing process. The test cases prepared can be run on any operating system as well.
Cucumber, Jasmine, JUnit, and JMeter are other popular test automation tools used by DevOps to accelerate application development and deployment.
Related Reading: How To Measure The Effectiveness Of Your DevOps Program
Future of Test Automation in DevOps: Enhancing Application Development
With the evolution of continuous testing, DevOps has enhanced its test automation strategies where it is supported by practices such as a test-case design that is risk-based, stateful test data management, service virtualization, as well as seamless integration into the DevOps set of test automation tools.
To get the best out of test automation and to learn how to incorporate test automation tools using DevOps to accelerate your application development and deployment, talk to our experts today.
How Face Recognition Apps Are Defining The Future Of Competitive Industries?
There has been a lot of talk about Face Recognition Apps recently. It has received accolades for its use in enhancing security as well as flak over privacy concerns. Speculations aside, there is no denying that face recognition software has revolutionized the way we perceive technology. It is no longer a faraway concept as it finds a place in our pockets through mobile technology.
In this blog, we will look at the technology behind face recognition software, what makes it tick and how it has found application across industries.
What Is A Face Recognition App?
Face recognition is a biometric technology that creates a face print of an individual by mapping out his or her facial features mathematically. This face print is stored and used to compare a digital image of a person verifying their identity.
This mapping is done by identifying 80 nodal points on a human face. These nodal points are used to measure different variables of the face. The width of the forehead, the length of the nose, the shape of the eyes – these measurements are captured on a digital image of the person’s face and stored as a face print. Deep learning algorithms are then used to identify a person in comparison with the face print.
This technology has been used in various ways from automatic photo tagging by apps like Facebook for authentication and identification by Apple’s iPhone X. The way in which Apple has used this technology is interesting. Face ID technology, which allows users to unlock their phones using the stored face print, is designed with 3-D modeling. The software compares over 30,000 variables to fine-tune recognition capabilities. This face print or Face ID can be used as authentication for purchases done with Apple Pay and other Apple stores. Amazon Rekognition, Google Cloud Vision API and other image analysis APIs can be now used to add facial recognition capabilities to other applications.
The inclusion of technologies like augmented reality, mixed reality and more have made face recognition software a powerful force. At Fingent, we developed a mixed reality application using Microsoft Hololens. This application helps in the identification of a person and also links the face print to the biodata of the person. It will also be able to capture images and compute similarities between the captured image and all the other images in a secure database.
The Role of Face Recognition Apps in Safety and Protection
According to a Javelin Strategy and Research study, identity fraud hit a record high with 15.4 million U.S. Victims in 2016 and an increase of 16 percent from previous years. In a connected world where such vulnerabilities exist, face recognition software is proving to be an invaluable asset. The software is helping law enforcement and corporate to put a name to the faces of criminals who have been playing havoc with stolen identities. Some applications of face recognition software in ensuring safety are:
- Identity validation at ATMs and prevention of identity theft with photo IDs.
- Face recognition surveillance systems in schools to protect students from expelled students or parents who have been flagged as dangerous.
- Equipping law enforcement personnel with identification of criminals and contextual data to warn them of dangerous persons before they approach offenders.
- Automated facial recognition (known as AFR) helps in forensic investigations by identifying individuals on surveillance cameras and videos, as well as in recognition of dead/unconscious individuals at crime scenes.
- Protecting retailers from shoplifters by warning security personnel of known criminals with a record. It also helps them avoid potential violence in the store by warning them when dangerous criminals or disgruntled former employees enter.
How Various Industries Can Benefit from Face Recognition Apps
Apart from ensuring safety and prevention of identity theft, face recognition software has many commercial applications as well. Many organizations across industries are recognizing the vast potential of face recognition apps and exploring different ways to capitalize on its features. Let us look at the Healthcare and Retail industries as an example.
Healthcare is constantly making giant strides with technology and facial recognition is contributing in unexpected ways. Researchers from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) in the United States have come up with a face recognition system, which can diagnose a rare genetic disease called DiGeorge syndrome. People with this syndrome exhibit particular facial anomalies, which give them characteristic expressions that can be detected by facial recognition software. Despite the many challenges associated with effective detection, the team has developed software with an accuracy of 96.6%.
Another example of face detection software being used in healthcare is the facial recognition app developed by Listerine. This app enables a blind person to detect when somebody is smiling at them, by setting off vibrations when the face recognition app detects a smile. This helps the blind respond better in social situations, thus contributing to their quality of life.
Speaking about the further possibilities that technology can bring to healthcare, Christoffer Nellaker, of the Medical Research Foundation’s Functional Genomics Unit at Oxford says: “A doctor should in the future, anywhere in the world, be able to take a smartphone picture of a patient and run the computer analysis to quickly find out which genetic disorder the person might have”. This is already coming true with the help of face recognition.
Related Reading: Check out how modern healthcare is revolutionizing with automation.
Retailers have been using augmented reality to improve the customer experience for a while now. The retail giant Sephora has gone one step further and added a live 3D facial recognition feature to its Virtual Artist application. This enables a more accurate facial tracking and rendering, allowing users to virtually try on Sephora’s various products while they are moving in real time. Parham Aarabi, CEO of ModiFace, which is the developer of this function for Sephora says: “We believe the ability to see yourself with products can impact sales online … and thus the integration on Sephora will, based on our expectation, result in increased conversions and user engagement.” The goal with this move is to enable customers to try on their products in a fun and more interactive way. The accuracy enabled by this technology will go a long way in enhancing the customer’s experience and boosting sales.
By using face recognition software in making educated guesses about a potential customer’s gender, age, etc., big retail giants are optimizing their ad campaigns to specific target audiences. Such advertisements are more effective as they help deliver a targeted message that has a powerful effect on consumers. An example is the “Because I’m a Girl” campaign rolled out by children’s charity Plan the UK. The charity created bus billboards, which would scan the viewer’s face and display an ad depending on the viewer’s gender. This was done to highlight the plight of women who are denied rights based on their sex. Brands like Virgin Mobile, Nike and others have also used face recognition software to create a more immersive ad experience for their customers.
Implementing Face Recognition Technology
Face recognition software is closer to home than we think, and it is apt to look at ways in which your company can capitalize on its capabilities. Talk to us and let’s discuss how.
As we enter 19 years into the millennium, we find that Java has been running on 10 billion devices. The world is yet to witness innovative and user-friendly Java trends that will have a profound effect on application development in the year 2019!!
From peer-to-peer, open source and embedded to wireless and Juxtapose applications, Java has been the most popular programming language in the world of application development, with the highest rating of 16.746 percent, according to the Tiobe index!
A Retrospective Of Java Trends
Java so far has given a step-up to many of the light-weight programming platforms, as for Eclipse, Java Development Kit (JDK), the Oracle JDeveloper, as well as the Eclipse and other Open Source Applications. Let us take a look at the Java trends that made a breakthrough in application development.
Emergence Of EE4J and MicroProfile Projects
The Eclipse Foundation has emerged with pride with the introduction of projects like EE4J and MicroProfile.
MicroProfile has provided insight into how a more open Java EE community could flourish. Both Java EE and Spring technologies benefited out of this rise, by bringing accelerated innovation.
Emergence Of Kotlin
Kotlin, the JVM-compatible programming language has caught the strong attention of the Java/ Android community. Its concise coding syntax and interoperability with Java have already made it a hit in the world of application development. Kotlin is first-class support for Android and is expected to additionally improve its use for mobile application development in 2019!
Java SE 6 Updates And The OpenJDK 10 Release
2018 also witnessed the updates of Java SE 6. These updates, however, are not publicly available as yet! The code restores are only available through the Java SE Support program and in Solaris 10’s Recommended Patchset Cluster and were mainly a couple of security fixes. OpenJDK 10 was released on 20 March 2018, with the adoption of certain new features.
Ensuring Seamless Configuration Of Applications With Containers And Java Runtimes
The Collection framework has managed to leverage more benefits of the use of containers and Java runtimes. This offers a seamless configuration of Java applications and consistent memory management.
Frequent Alteration To Features – To Ensure A Well-Planned Application Development
Yet another major development was the introduction of a ‘six-month release’ interval.
This ensured frequent iterations and faster introduction of features to Java applications. These characteristics were decided to be made available through enterprising shops.
Technology Trends in Java – What To Expect In 2019
Java is a programing language that can run on nearly any system (Thanks to the platform-agnostic JVM!), it has started to get easier to use and scalable than ever before! Below are listed the major trends that we could predict for the year 2019.
Java Continues To Evolve – Java SE 10 Contribution
Java is a programming language that is used by more than 9 million developers. It contains extensive libraries that shape the whole enterprise application development. With the release of Java SE 10, which was created in close collaboration with the OpenJDK Community, came several new added features. Java is also ranked as the #1 developer choice for cloud, with over 12 million developers and over 21 billion cloud-connected Java virtual machines!!
The Real-time Specification for Java (RTSJ) is into existence.
Java creator, James Gosling, and Sun’s real-time guru, Greg Bollella have described embedded systems as “the new frontier in which predictable execution takes precedence” over other system attributes, such as speed, bandwidth, and payload-carrying capacity. They are promoting real-time Java applications for embedded use! With the RTSJ, they have managed to solve the language and runtime issues.
Sun’s JXTA open source platform has gained ample acceptance among developers.
Using Project Juxtapose, Sun hopes to influence standards that will govern future Web services development. With this, Java developers will be able to focus their capability to contribute more for Java application development.
The Java Effect On Scripting Languages
Scripting languages such as Jython, which is a complete implementation of the Python language, is coded in cent percent Java. Python, Perl, and PHP to name a few other programming languages are receiving widespread attention.
Wireless Applications With Its Ease Of Use
Wireless application development in Java has gained noticeable traffic due to its open-source platform nature. The reason being Nokia, the world’s largest mobile telephone maker, has committed to using the open source Symbian OS for all of its future handsets!!
Both kinds of Wireless Java applications, Local and Network applications, is more challenging because they are developed on one platform (such as Solaris or MS Windows) but deployed on a totally different one (such as a cell phone or PDA). It is a concern that, while emulators enable developers to do some of their testings on the development platform, they need to test and evaluate the application in a totally different environment of a live wireless network. This is however made easy!!
Growing demand for Java developers
Java being a statically-typed language, it is faster and easier to maintain with fewer bugs. It is also backward compatible, which means old versions of the language will still run perfectly even after new versions are released. This is a big relief for businesses who would otherwise worry about rewriting their code every time a new version comes out. Coupled with its portability, developers know that investing in Java will pay dividends for a long, long time.
Mobile Application Development in 2019
In less than two years, the demand for mobile enterprise applications is estimated to rise five times faster!! Android currently dominates the smartphone market with 80.7% (compared to Apple’s 17.7%) and will continue its expansion! Java will, as a result, continue to be the driving force behind mobile application development trends!
The IoT Era And Java
The Internet Of Things is among the latest development trends in Java! As of now, Java is currently one of the few technologies that are capable of adding life to IoT. It is indeed true that Java’s future lies in the Internet of Things.
Mike Milincovich, Eclipse Foundation strongly believes that Oracle will help to develop a definite end-to-end storage data solution in 2019!! Like the Kona Project that is currently working on Java APIs for embedded systems.
The Java ME platform allows vendors to build secure mobile enterprise applications for the Internet of Things. The language is supported by the Intel IoT platform!
With all these advanced features and development, Java continues to grow and evolve. Java has undeniably achieved the top spot among the most popular programming languages in the world!
More and more enterprises seek to ride the mobility wave towards improving their efficiency and becoming more competitive. Gartner estimates enterprise app demand to grow about five times faster compared to the internal capacity of IT organizations, by 2017. Today’s digital employee use an average of three different devices in their daily routine, and with the spread of IoT and wearable devices, this number is set to increase to five or six devices a day. Mobile phone sales are expected to touch 2.1 billion units by 2019, fueling demand for enterprise apps.
Enterprises find it a challenge to develop, deploy and maintain mobile apps to match the ever increasing demand, leave alone being proactive to preempt competition.
An earlier Gartner survey on mobile app development, conducted in 2014, reveals a majority of organizations have developed fewer than 10 apps, with a good majority of them not having released any mobile apps at all.
Many enterprises grossly underestimate the time and resources required for developing mobile apps, especially the time taken for integration. They find the coding part especially vexatious and arduous. Moreover, hiring developers with good mobile skills is becoming progressively difficult and costly.
Rapid Mobile Application Development Approaches
Enterprises need to develop mobile apps, and develop it fast, to keep pace with the enterprise app demand. They need to use development tools capable of producing apps rapidly, to reduce the gap between demand and supply.
Solutions are in sight though. Significant innovation, mostly through powerful Rapid Mobile Application Development (RMAD) tools is fast replacing native development tools and traditional coding approaches.
RMAD is generally implemented through an effective two-pronged bimodal approach. The first mode involves the creation of stable infrastructure and APIs that enable apps to retrieve and deliver data to back-end systems seamlessly, without disrupting enterprise applications. The second prong involves the deployment of agile approaches to quickly deliver front-end app features required by the business.
The RMAD approach generally starts with requirement gathering through workshops or focus groups, prototyping an early iterative model using no-code or low-code platform, end users testing the design, and reusing software components to the extent possible during the main development phase. Visual development tools like MDD further facilitate iterative, rapid, and collaborative design, with developers able to share prototypes, gather feedback, and refine the requirements.
Several Rapid Mobile Application Development (RMAD) approaches, such as drag-and-drop code-less tools, automated code generation, model-driven development, virtualization, construction of forms, and other methods allow people with little or no coding skills, especially business managers and those with business facing roles to develop applications on-the-fly, and iterate on these designs.
Low-Code and No-Code Platforms
Several low code app development platforms enable rolling out apps in double-quick time. Some of the most popular ones are Appian Quick Apps, Xamarin, Zoho Creator, Microsoft Power Apps, Salesforce Lightning, and others, each offering various levels of low code options, and each having varied levels of effectiveness and popularity.
Most of these platforms enable creating an app quickly and then layering customization and added features on top of it. Using these options, enterprise users may develop their own apps without writing a line of code, or keeping code to a minimum, for any optional customization.
Such declarative development options are popular in several areas of application development, such as
- Logic, criteria, and filtering
- User interface
- Reports and Data Visualizations
- App roles and authentication
- Data import and export rules
- Integration with other apps and systems
The best low-code platform offers step-by-step workflows for most application authoring processes. Point-and-click tools, for instance, guide the user through each step of the process, enabling keeping things in context. Other tools may enable connecting the application with an internal corporate directory such as Microsoft Active Directory, to facilitate single sign-on integration.
Low code platforms also come with much integration in-built as well. A common and very popular integration is online data storage services such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and more.
Low code platforms offer various approaches, with the space rife for innovations. A model-driven development (MDD) approach, for instance, uses visual models for defining data models, application and process logic, user interfaces, and other elements.
Limitations of DIY App Development Platforms
Codeless development brings IT the business together, facilitating more rapid, iterative, flexible, and collaborative development. However, it still pays to enlist the services of a professional enterprise app development company. Low-code platforms, for all the ease and automation it offers, do not eliminate the need for programming completely, and no-code platforms still have several inherent limitations for enterprise use. For instance, these options are specifically weak on integration and user interface, especially mobile UI.
DIY app development platforms are definitely worth a try if these are your baby steps towards the app development world, and your app does not handle critical tasks. However, if you are remaking an app, and wants it to handle mission critical functions, or is customer facing, it may not be worth the risk to go for DIY. Due to limited options available, you will have to either adjust the app according to what is available or seek a real developer’s help to add the extra functions that are not available within the platform.
If you don’t want to take a chance in your enterprise application development, partner with established custom software development companies such as ours, to be assured of a complete web application, with custom layout, ability to access servers on the device, pixel-perfect displays, and much more. You gain from our experience and expertise spanning across several projects, cutting across industries and sectors.
The third industrial revolution or the “digital revolution” has been doing its magic in different industries, since almost the late 1970s. We have all been embracing digitization in our businesses, and have come a long way from our old paper and pen based systems, haven’t we?
But what about our customers?
How much of an impact do you think the digital revolution has had on our customers?
True, they want almost everything at their fingertips these days, which is a clear indicator on how they are catching up, and how much they love digitization as well.
But customer perceptions change as societal trends change, all driven by digitization and it is important to be on the same page as your customers are, so as to channel your customer service efforts. Branding through customer service helps your company in increasing customer satisfaction levels as well as in improving your overall efficiency.
Before we get into how customer perceptions are changing, let’s take a look at why customer perception is important.
Why is Customer Perception Important?
The field service market, or any market for that matter, is extremely crowded these days. You literally have at least a hundred companies to compete with, to say the least.
Moreover, the number of customer touch points, such as online ads, ratings and reviews, have also increased, making it all the more important for companies to maintain their status and goodwill, at all times everywhere.
With so many competitors and customer touch points, it becomes more difficult for you to stand out and make yourself seen, especially since customers’ buying decisions get easily influenced by what they see these days.
Here is how technology has changed and is changing customer’s’ perception of businesses.
Changing Consumer Perceptions
The general trend of consumers is to get inclined towards companies that use technology, mainly because of the benefits that such companies provide. Customers perceive a technology adopting company to be modern and up to date with the latest “convenience tools” for them.
Here are some aspects in which customer perceptions are changing:
Safety and Security
Customers prefer companies that provide more weightage to the safety and security of their customers. No customer would want to find that the personal information they provided to the company was used for other purposes. And companies that make use of sophisticated technology to make sure of that are obviously going to be the winners here.
For example, AirBnb – one of the most trusted accommodation listings around the world, has their whole design system built around trust. For AirBnb, building a strong reputation system was the key to trust, and they researched on people’s behaviours revolving the trust factor to know more. They found that people generally tend to trust other people who they have more in common with or who are more like them, and not those who are different in nature. When put together with the reputation factor, they also found that people were ready to trust even those people who are different from them, if they heard about 10 good reviews about them.
Even with the case of information sharing with their customers or even prospects, they found that there are limits and that there are such things as “too less info” and “too much info” that could adversely affect their business. Asking for a lot of information about the prospect, and asking for too few details, while communicating with them were both found to have a bad impact on the trust factor. It made them design an information box, that could fit just the right amount of info while communicating with their customers, which earned more trust.
Hence, AirBnb were able to leverage their customers’ perception of safety and trust, to improve their business.
The quality of service is definitely one of the top priorities of customers. They always prefer companies with which their dealings or transactions are transparent, and the quality of the availed service is always top notch.
For example, Amazon.com – one of the largest e-commerce sites, always makes sure that their customers’ purchases, as well as payment transactions are transparent, and that their customers get due notifications on their registered email ids and phone numbers, right from the time they place their orders, to the time it is delivered. The customers are always kept on the loop so that they know exactly where their order has reached in the processing cycle. And upon receipt of the order, the customers also have the option of returning their order, if they are not happy with it, in which case their money is refunded too, promptly.
The more personalized experiences that companies provide to customers, the more customers they get. Customers always love exclusive attention and as they get more offers and promotions that suit their interests, they become more loyal to the companies that provide it.
Amazon.com again is a good example of a company that makes maximum use of customer’s’ perception of personalization. They analyze individual customer purchase patterns online and send out exclusive promotions and offers accordingly to specific customers, which makes their customers come back for more.
One of the biggest turn-offs for customers is a website or an app that is difficult to use. Even if customers generally turn to companies that are abreast with the latest technology, they are most likely to leave halfway, if the technology is not simple and easy to use. Hence, simplicity and a user-friendly design are must have features for companies, if they want to win customers.
For example, AFCO – a leading service process management partner that works with various industries including water management, food manufacturing, and food safety, uses a mobile application to help its field agents perform food audits more efficiently. The application is simple to use and allows its clients to automate their processes in a hassle free manner. There are also separate user roles for the admin as well as for the clients, enabling their clients to view information pertaining to their company alone.
People are all in for innovation, and by all means, a company that uses innovative techniques and develops innovative products definitely stand a better chance for success. The key is to use technology in such a way that there is a balance between costs and revenue. Something in between low-risk, low-reward in-house innovations and the “out-of-the-box” high-risk, high-reward disruptive innovations – a third kind of innovation.
One of the best examples would be LEGO – the most popular manufacturers of toys for children.
LEGO went from being bankrupt to one of the highest revenue earning toy makers in the world, just with their innovative approach. They have been consistently creating new ways to engage with customers of all ages, all with their regular plastic bricks, by being unafraid to experiment with new technologies. They changed their regular LEGO toy “Bionicle” by including a host of other complementary innovations along with the package, such as comics, books, video games and new packaging. All this made Bionicle irresistible to the target buyers.
Embracing the digital age, they have extended their brand now from physical play to digital play, with their programmable robots, DIY Mindstorm kits and the like.
Companies that utilize these changing customer perceptions and develop products as well as marketing strategies to suit the perceptions will gain the competitive advantage. In this day and age where building brand value through customer service is the key to survival, leveraging customer perceptions can go a long way into making your success.
Enterprises these days, are always looking to adopt the best technologies and applications for their various business requirements. In fact, it is almost inevitable for organizations to use software to automate their processes and improve efficiency so as to gain competitive advantage. Along with it, organizations also need ways to have more sustainable development processes, and the good news is that they have already started to realize it with DevOps. According to a recent research by International Data Group (IDG), there are only 10% of organizations that do not have any DevOps plans in the near future.
Do you think DevOps is that necessary for your business?
To answer that question, it would be worthwhile to discuss a little history of DevOps, how it came into being, and how it is used by businesses these days.
What is DevOps
According to Wikipedia, DevOps is a culture in business enterprises that emphasizes the need for collaboration, communication and coordination between the software developers and other information technology professionals in the organization, while automating the various processes of software delivery and infrastructure changes. It basically aims at promoting an environment, where application development, testing, as well as release, can be more frequent, fast and reliable. In the traditional setup of organizations, there was a lack of integration of these functions with the IT department, which often led to unsatisfactory results. DevOps seeks to bring about a culture, where the processes and procedures in an organization promote communication and collaboration among the development team, the Quality Assurance (QA) team and the IT operations team.
Nowadays, as more and more applications are being built to meet different business requirements, and they are constantly updated to adapt to the changing needs, the processes become seemingly never ending. This is where DevOps would particularly be useful. It accelerates development, testing as well as deployment of applications with the help of tools and techniques that automate tasks for operations, while at the same time give the developers more control and command over the entire application life.
A brief history
It was in 2009 that the term DevOps became popularized through a series of devopsdays in Belgium. Since then, it has been widely used among web-based businesses, like Netflix and Etsy.7 Although, that is not the case now, when enterprises know and have seen the benefits of DevOps and are capitalizing on adoption.
How enterprises are utilizing DevOps now
According to the IDG research, almost 61% of organizations are embracing new strategies and techniques, like the agile development methodology and DevOps in the upcoming year, which is an increase from 48% this year. This only proves the level at which DevOps has grown in adoption and how much popular it is in increasing efficiency. Up to 77% of organizations say that their software development team and IT operations team collaborate frequently, and 56% of them also say that their IT operations team plays an increasing role in the management of outsourced development activities. This again goes on to prove that DevOps is definitely the way to go. With the increased role of the IT team and considering how important their association is with the development team, a combined culture will go a long way.
Considering that DevOps is a whole culture change and not just a kind of technology that can be adopted and used easily, enterprises do need their time to adapt themselves and get used to the new ways of interaction and working.
Michael Rembetsy, VP of Technical operations, Etsy says, “It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of effort from people at the top and it takes effort from people at the bottom as well. It’s not just the CEO saying, ‘Next year we’re going to be DevOps’. That doesn’t work. It has to be a cultural change in the way people are interacting.”
According to the research, almost 60% of organizations still use a waterfall development approach, which is a linear progression through the development stages of a project. It often leads to misinterpretations and failures, as there may be change requests by the client after the entire process is complete.
41% of organizations use an agile development process, which involves smaller and more frequent builds, regular and continuous planning, testing and integration and a more welcoming attitude towards new requirements. It leads to a faster time to market as well. DevOps clearly serves the needs of this approach, as it involves frequent interactions as well. Simply put, it leads to more sustainable processes.
Another reason why DevOps is necessary is because of the rise in demand for innovative web and mobile applications. Since such applications are required to connect and interact with customers and partners regularly, and capture their preferences and needs at all times, there is no such thing as “one-and-done” with them. They are always changing to adapt to the different needs of customers. DevOps helps to shorten the time of productions of these apps. It adds automation and streamlines workflows so that the developers can build, test and deploy applications smoothly. The research report says that 49% of organizations are planning to increase their investment in custom mobile app development, out of which 57% of organizations are planning to mobilize customer relationship management apps, 51% are planning to go for enterprise relationship management apps and 50% of them for field force automation apps. This only means that DevOps is all the more necessary to keep up with the changing environment.
Benefits of DevOps methodology
According to the report, using DevOps can lead to:
- 41% more automated development processes, which can free up a lot of time for other important activities.
- 38% more positive interactions with the operations team
- 38% accelerated time to production
- 38% ability to improve the product for which a developer is responsible
Not using a DevOps approach can lead to problems like, lack of proper visibility into IT operations requirements in the development processes, increased development costs because of redundant jobs resulting from lack of timely communication and the like. Apart from all these, there will be much less collaboration between the development team, the operations team and the business.
DevOps is definitely becoming increasingly prevalent for all the above mentioned reasons. It is indeed better to shift to a more dynamic and interactive culture today, as the already fast paced business environment is rapidly changing to become even more so in future.
Developers and Testers: Two people from two different planets working together to deliver a quality product to an “Alien”! Funny isn’t it?! The story is more or less the same in every software firm. A developer works hard to develop a product, which he handles with so much care and gentleness; a tester works hard to break this code handling it in the worst possible cases and scenarios to test its defects, resistance power, and strength.
So, when a developer finally hands over his much-nurtured sprint to the merciless team of testers, ready to execute the ‘out of the box’ testing, this is what happens:
o User Interface element alignment? Off!
o Inputting special characters instead of string? Unknown result!
o Putting 01 for a range from 1-10? Crash!
o Entering a date in the past? Crash!
o Working with special characters in names like, Neil ’O? Nope!
And there they silently demolish the code….
Sandpapers scrape and scratch, but to create polished surfaces!
So, there is this formidable wall between developers and testers most of the time, which stops them from having a sustained smooth association. There are many reasons attributed to this silent difference in opinions. For instance, developers are often seen to possess parental attachment to the stuff they create. It’s more like; “I know my kid, he wouldn’t do that”, when the reality is, the kid actually did just that! It might sound silly, but a good programmer should learn to be more objective and accept the fact that they have to do terrible things to their code. Because, if they don’t, others will!
Another problem is, developers have little or no idea how their code is going to be handled at the other end of the boundary wall, and thus they aren’t ready for the million bugs that testers backfire at them. Being in the developing environment, which usually revolves around positive scenarios of how to make things work efficiently, they often lack the ability to switch to ‘what can go wrong’ mind state.
Programmers are pros at breaking down complex scenarios into small programmable chunks; ‘The Computers’! – What can be a better example to support that statement! Can you imagine, the computers do all their work with just 0 & 1, the binary numbers and some operations on these, like OR, AND, NOR, NAND, NOT, XOR and XNOR! On the other hand, testers are experts in finding complex scenarios, where they can probably uncover a glitch to break the system!
Thus, the million justifications, silent cursing, and muted murmurs before finally reaching “The end product”! Though these are the situations, the product keeps gaining value from the combined efforts of programmers and testers. And that is how self-resistant codes are born; after all, testers care for their end product, you see! And it’s for developers to realize how their application can flunk in million ways, any time!
Developers with Testers- the perfect wedding!
Though organizations often make efforts to improve the communication between developers and testers, this is often not enough. If only their thoughts cross these barriers and start thinking somewhat within the same boundaries, can we expect super conflict-free Apps! (Pun intended)
It’s always a good idea for programmers to sit through some training/seminars that test engineers attend. A Developer who has attended such seminars is found to avoid making silly (yet common) errors and is often more vigilant. Moreover, a programmer’s awareness of testing tools, methods and processes goes a long way in enabling smooth and fast testing practices. He learns to stand in tester’s shoes while writing codes, to understand what in his code can probably be a tester’s target, what changes he makes will give testers a tough time and what makes it easy, thus making the entire process productive. For instance, any coder might not find it an issue to change a button label from, say, “Clear” to Reset”, but a developer who has sat through the testers’ seminar/ training can probably understand why this silly button label change affects the testing and how it can be frustrating to his colleagues in Testing.
The developer can thus create applications keeping in mind the worst cases that his code can go through, or gets tested in. He will eventually learn to make discipline around testing (or breaking) his own creation- his own code, which indeed makes him a better programmer. So an out of the box thinking is always good! Also, testers need to understand that everything changes with time, and so are the cases with software development too. It doesn’t make sense to change/ rebuild the code every time there’s a change, but the efficient solution is to encourage programmers to make wise changes in their code than to frequently change it.
One team- One goal
In hybrid agile development environment like ours, we handpick Engineers from departments, to form a dedicated team working together throughout the lifecycle of a particular project, with the single goal- the final release! I say ‘Engineers’ and not testers, designers or Business Analysts (BAs), because everyone in this team is a developer, and contributes to the development. This ensures that there are no separate groups (like developing group, testing group, BA, etc.) coming into play at various stages of developing a product, but a single team dedicated to every phase of the product development- from day 1, Sprint 0 to the Release of the End Product! This practice guarantees that the resources and their time are fully and efficiently utilized at every phase.
For instance, with the beginning of a new project, from day one, that is, the initial product backlog creation stage, you have a team in place, consisting of testers, QA experts, developers, UI designers, DBAs and analysts gathering at every SCRUM meetings, to discuss and contribute to everything they may not be directly involved in. Even before the development of the product starts, that is, at the programming estimation phase, testers start writing test cases, estimations etc. for features that will be developed, BAs do the requirement analysis and stuff, Developers plan and decide on features, and so on. At each SCRUM meeting, the team determines how it shall accomplish the work that needs to be done. This way, not only everyone has tasks throughout the sprint, but also knows and understands the roles, responsibilities, hard work and effort taken by each member. Thus, they learn to respect, understand and get on well together to work as a REAL POWERFUL TEAM!
Ultimately, we know the entire team has one single goal- “A Quality product”! It’s just that the developers and testers take entirely different paths to get there, just as in the much-admired Love stories!