Using Code Automation Strategy to Improve Software Development
Using Code Automation Strategy to Improve Software Development
With the continuous technological advancements in the world, software development has become more complex than ever. Many companies have started to implement code automation for software deployment.
Some applications consist of hundreds of thousands of lines of code. Such complex projects are dependent on numerous libraries and external modules. Any changes that made to these programs tend to affect the functionality of the entire system. Errors can sneak into the system when testing new features.
Sometimes, even testers are unable to check the whole system for errors. Therefore, it becomes very tedious and expensive to perform all testing scenarios manually with each deploy.
Every error that is found and patched requires some changes in the codebase. This means that the entire system needs to be tested again from scratch. Such practices often cause a long spiral of tests and new errors. Inadequate testing can also result in errors being pushed to production.
Each week the average software tester will spend 4 hours waiting for tests to complete. They also spend an additional 3.5 hours waiting for builds, and another 3 hours for environment management.
Therefore, more than a quarter of their week is spent not creating anything of value. This is one of the biggest problems in the software development industry. However, things are changing now. More companies have started to implement code automation for software deployment.
Automation and Software Testing
When implementing changes, software developers usually check if the code is working as intended. But often, they do not possess the requisite knowledge of the system. Sometimes, they even have time restrictions when checking the entire system to see if the functionalities of the system have been affected. These issues can be solved by implementing automated testing of software.
Here are some of the characteristics of automated testing:
1. Automated tests are easy to run in any environment. Every developer should be able to run it in their development environment.
2. Tests are high-speed, otherwise, developers might skip it because it is taking too long to complete. These tests should be conducted every time the software is changed. Ideally, after each commit is tested, the developer should test each code snippet to be pushed to the master branch.
3. Automated tests cover the broadest scope of the software. Sufficient planning can enable the testing of all crucial and significant functions of the software. The development team must ensure that all tests have been completed and the software works properly.
4. Tests are a part of the build. Generally, the build automatically launches all tests and displays their results.
5. When the developer updates the master branch with code that breaks the software, it hinders the work of others. When anyone starts working on a new task, using the latest build, it will not work due to errors in the code. If a new commit breaks a part of the software, everyone who wanted to work on it is stalled until the error is fixed. Automated testing prevents such situations.
The Automated Software Development Process
Automated testing helps developers build a mechanism in which they always know the state of their software. Every time they add new changes, they can check if it will introduce new errors. Since it was tested in an environment identical to production, it makes the software development process faster and safer.
These are the features of an automated software development process:
- Common Code Repository – All developers place the code they write in a single repository. The code repository consists of the code that is the sole source of the software. The company does not distribute additional scripts, programs or code by email or any other means.
- Standardized Build Process – A standardized process is put in place to build subsequent software copies. With standardization, every developer, tester, and script uses the same process during software development.
- Automated Build Process – The build process is another piece of code, which is also stored in the code repository. A developer can obtain the current version of the software by downloading the latest build version from the repository. The same process can be used for all testing tools and environments. Therefore, there is no need for anyone to perform a large number of manual actions.
- Frequent Fixes – The software package does not last very long. Hence, it requires testing results and implementing fixes multiple times. The team makes changes several times a day. Then, the working code is pushed to the master branch on an ongoing basis.
- Automated Production – The testing environment is intended to replicate the production environment. Therefore, pushing new changes to production can be done by running a single script.
The Benefits Of Code Automation in Software Development
Currently, there are a lot of companies that use manual processes for software development. But digital transformation is changing the entire industry at a very rapid pace. Businesses should shift their focus to trying to foster a software development team. By automating their development process, they can bring even more benefits to the table.
Here are some of the most significant benefits of automating your software development process:
- Ability to Rebuild Development Environments – The biggest problem with most projects is the discrepancy between how the software runs in testing environments, compared to the production environment. Earlier, changes in the environment needed to be made by hand. Therefore, developers rarely did it. The fact that every environment has its quirks only makes this problem worse. Thus, the risk that the code created in one environment will work differently in another becomes higher. Automated code eliminates this problem by quickly rebuilding the environment.
- Single Source of the Current State – The build of software gives an accurate image of what the code looks like. By showing the code works, it removes and discrepancies in the assessment. The most recent build of an automated project is the only thing that goes under evaluation.
- Get Desired Results – Developers can build software and test it in the testing environment until they get the desired results. This allows them to guarantee that deployment will go as predicted.
Automation in software development directly translates to higher customer satisfaction. Even the development team is more satisfied with their work. When tests are designed well, and automation is implemented correctly, organizations can deploy their software according to a set schedule.
The benefits of code automation are not limited to checking why something worked in one environment and not another. It can also replicate errors from the testing environment to a local one. The selection of the right automation tool and testing process is crucial for code automation to be successful.
Developers can use tools to make the code review process more automated. CodeGrip, a free to try an automated code review tool achieves this automation easily.
Now you can get started with automating your code review process.
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