Welcome!

Open Source Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Plutora Blog

Blog Feed Post

6 Steps to Continuous Integration for Development Testing

continuous integrationBy Jason Schadewald, Product Manager at Parasoft

Build automation is undeniably a critical component of Continuous Integration. But in the most creative and advanced companies, Continuous Integration extends far beyond build automation, enabling them to achieve greater scalability, productivity, and quality throughout the SDLC.

Here are 6 steps to taking your Development Testing activities (and more) from manual integration to Continuous Integrationin less than a day.

1. Identify Manual Processes

Start off by taking an inventory of your regular time-consuming efforts. Your goal is to identify tedious “must do” tasks that you or your team performs over and over. The processes you identify may include:

  • Transferring files between machines
  • Entering commands in a console
  • Copying data between different systems or into another format
  • Visually verifying information, data, or test results
  • Writing documentation
  • Getting verbal or written approval
  • Scheduling and participating in meetings
  • Clicking a button/icon to execute a script or program
  • Creating and sending reports

At this stage, you don't need to worry about automation; focus on determining tedious, routine manual processes. If creating this list takes longer than 15 minutes, stop where you are and move to step two.

2. Estimate Frequency and Duration

Now that you've created a short list of these processes, your next step is to determine the relative gains from automation. The easiest way to do this is by estimating frequency and duration. When estimating the frequency of a process, don't limit yourself to current conditions. Instead, focus on the value of the process by considering how often you would use the results or how long it takes before the results become outdated:

  • Several times per day 
  • A few times per week 
  • Every sprint
  • Twice per release cycle

Next, go through the list and estimate how long it takes to complete each process under current conditions. Durations can range from minutes to days for common process. It’s a natural human tendency to underestimate durations, so feel free to round up or add fudge factors.

3. Select (Sub) Processes for Automation

Review your list and choose one item that if automated would noticeably improve your software development team’s productivity. Common selection methods include:

  • Choose the process with the highest duration
  • Choose the process with the highest frequency
  • Choose the process with the highest (frequency) * (duration)

At this point, many people make the mistake of taking an “all or nothing” view. Instead, focus on the portions of the process that can be automated and proceed with the understanding that you will improve as you go.

Go through the exercise of doing the task, either mentally or physically, and make notes for each step. Jot down information gathered, commands entered, permissions needed, people involved, etc. – enough to jog your memory later.

The end result will be a mini instruction manual for a repeatable human process. Review your instructions and identify the steps that a computer can perform. Commands you entered into a console or textbox and any information pulled from a website or database are good candidates. For multi-person and multi-stage processes, also pay attention to methods of notifying individuals of their turn and role in the process

4. Create Automation Scripts

Look through your instruction manual from the last step, then:

  • Copy your console commands into an editor and save them as .bat (Windows) or .sh (Unix/Linux) scripts
  • Use a development testing tool with a command line interface to
    • Statically analyze code for safety, security, and defects
    • Automatically generate and run unit tests
    • Automatically assign and track peer review tasks
    • Functionally test APIs
    • Scrape websites, services, and databases for intermediate data
  • Use build and reporting tools to inform subsequent stages of the automation infrastructure
  • Capture multi-stage processes in the form of BPEL or another high-level process engine

The goal is to keep it simple and target the low-hanging fruit—you can worry about optimization, generalization, and parameterization later.

5. Schedule and/or Trigger the Artifacts

The formally-accepted definition of continuous integration specifies that your script must be triggered by a commit to your SCM. Most people, however, really just care about getting work done. Whether their processes match one definition or another is beside the point. Feel free to carve out your own interpretation of CI that saves you the hassle of tedious tasks.

Now that you have a script or other automatable artifact, you need a tool to manage the scheduling/triggering of those artifacts. One straightforward strategy for finding automation tools is to search for the term continuous integration; the results will yield tips on automating not just the build, but scores of other development, QA, and IT activities. CI tools provide the simple and necessary framework for scheduling the regular runs of some artifacts and stitching together the triggered runs of others.

6. Iterate, Improve, Repeat

With the time you saved automating your Development Testing processes, you can now focus on improving your basic continuous integration implementation. Go back to step one and add some new manual tasks to your list. For example, maybe you manually modify certain scripts or copy them for slightly similar purposes. Your next automation project might be to consolidate and parameterize your automation artifacts

You just jumped 2-3 CMMI levels (for those keeping score). Congrats! 

 

***

Want more Development Testing tips? Visit Parasoft's Development Testing Resource Center for articles, webinars, blogs, podcasts, and more.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Cynthia Dunlop

Cynthia Dunlop is the lead technical writer for Parasoft.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immediate and actionable interpretation of events as they happen. Another aspect concerns how to deliver ...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.