Quality Assurance in the New App Dev World

In the application development world, quality assurance testing is no small matter. It is a critical component of the software development lifecycle (SDLC), and failing to allow sufficient time for thorough testing could mean the difference between a successful, revenue driving application and a costly, reputation damaging outage.

The importance of comprehensive QA testing has been hammered into the brains of developers since the beginning of modern-day application development, but traditional approaches to QA are no longer viable. There are things are shaking up QA: increased focus on performance, closer ties with the development teams, and the proliferation of mobile.

  1. High Performance - Ensuring seamless application performance has traditionally fallen under the QA team’s remit and is generally left to the end of the process, after the functional issues and coding bugs are addressed. While application performance has always been important, in today’s market, with more complex infrastructures and increased competition, it has become more crucial than ever. If an application doesn’t work fast enough, especially if it’s consumer facing, users simply abandon it for another. As a result, development teams are now baking this step into the development process and running performance tests more regularly. Making performance testing a regular part of any continuous integration process helps developers precisely pinpoint why an application may be slowing down and work to correct them quickly, especially since performance trends can be easily spotted over time.
  2. Working Together - Traditionally, QA teams and development teams have acted as two distinct entities, and testing has been conducted at the end of the development process or sprint iteration, after the development team has already produced the bulk of code. At that point, QA testing begins and anything that isn’t up to snuff is sent back to development for edits and updates. This hindsight approach can be time-consuming, not to mention costly, as it creates massive amounts of back and forth between teams before the code is deemed error-free and the app is market-ready. 

    While this process may have been acceptable in the past, today’s development world demands a faster SDLC and shorter time to market window. This shift has encouraged companies to reexamine their QA processes, and in some cases work to unite the QA and development teams so that they can work more closely throughout the entire development progression through active collaboration with existing tools. This more agile approach to QA testing helps ensure that quality issues are identified and rectified early on, before they cause potentially larger performance and functionality problems that could result in delayed time to market and increased IT spend down the line.

  3. Going Mobile - Mobile advancement is the final trend that has overhauled today’s QA practice. A few short years ago, the process of mobile test automation was immature and the market lacked the knowledge necessary to make it a priority. These days, that’s all changing. As mobile applications become increasingly complex and sophisticated, the need to test the applications’ functionality is more crucial. Automating those tests has become necessary from a time and resources standpoint. Mobile applications work and are deployed differently than standard desktop and Web applications. Finding quality and performance issues are critical in the early stages as device fragmentation and a voracious consumer appetite leaves little time to “make good” on a bad application. Another challenge in this area is the shift toward hybrid applications, which saves work for developers but shifts the load to the QA team that now has to work with applications that evolve themselves to the target platform. This puts more strain on QA teams as more platforms need to be tested more often, a time-consuming ask which further emphasizes the demand for mobile automation.

It’s clear that the world of QA testing is changing as we shift to a more demanding, more mobile market. However, while the process may be changing, the importance of QA stays the same. Regardless of how it is approached, companies must dedicate sufficient time and resources to thorough QA testing if they hope to produce high-level products.

About the author

Archie Roboostoff is Director of the Borland Portfolio at Micro Focus.