Software products are the savior of the modern world. Even if you observe for just five minutes, you will hardly notice any of your activities that will not have any direct or indirect involvement of technical products.
As time moves on, tech products are getting more advanced and offering numerous amazing benefits. But, along with becoming more advanced, those products are turning more complex and more prone to bugs and crashes.
You may have built an amazing design for your product but your users won't get the chance to see and admire it with their own eyes.
So when you add so many functionalities to your code, it needs to be more minutely tested for the best results and for optimum user experience. That's where End-To-End testing comes in with attention to every smaller than the smallest detail.
The tests that make you check every bit of your tech product from start to finish in the same way as the users use it are called End-To-End tests.
These tests properly justify their name. Every smaller than the smallest action that will be performed by any potential user of the application is tested in these tests.
In this type of testing, users' actions such as clicking on buttons, filling out forms, ticking checkboxes, selecting from a menu, etc. are simulated to check if the functionalities are not performing at their best or if there is any bug causing crashes.
End-to-end testing methods exempt you from wasting huge amounts of time on repetitive and inefficient tasks. Though they are less time-consuming than integration testing, end-to-end tests can be more time-consuming than unit testing, and functional testing.
The end-to-end test suite often takes hours to complete and the development team stays stuck without proper feedback that will help them to take necessary actions for the improvement of quality.
That's why end-to-end testing needs to be performed fast because it is the only way to ensure that the application works correctly. If end-to-end testing is not performed quickly, it can lead to errors in the system.
Now, if your team is unattentive to their actions, they will end up being stuck with a number of super-slow test cases that clog up the development pipeline. However, the good news is that such situations can easily be avoided by following a few simple steps to make your tests faster.
That's why today we are going to discuss the most efficient and effective ways to achieve that fast-running End-To-End test suite.
Using production clones for end-to-end testing is a great way to test the system quickly.
Production clones are copies of the live environment that can be used for testing purposes. This ensures that the test environment is identical to the production environment. This method is especially useful when there are frequent changes in the production environment.
To use production clones, you need to have a tool that can create and manage them. Once you have the tool, you need to create a clone of the production environment. This can be done by taking a snapshot of the environment or by using a tool to create a replica of the environment.
2. Reducing The Time To Feedback and Repair
Increasing the test surface generally signifies an increment in the time required to get feedback and diagnose the issues. The most popular two ways used for reducing that time are -
Splitting system testing into smaller chunks helps you understand what actually happens during a test. That means there should be a first fundamental step that will efficiently identify which components of the system are being tested at each stage of the delivery pipeline.
3. Intelligent Use of A Test Boundary
When testing an application, it is important to define a test boundary. The test boundary is the area of the system that will be tested. This includes the components and functionality that will be tested.
It is important to use an intelligent test boundary when performing end-to-end testing. This means that you should only include the areas of the system that are critical to the test. This will help to reduce the amount of time that is needed to test the system.
4. Mocking Asynchronous Test Calls
When testing an application, you may need to make asynchronous test calls. This means that you will need to wait for a response from the system before continuing with the test. This can add significant time to the test.
To speed up the process, you can use mocking to simulate the responses from the system i.e. you can continue with the test without waiting for a response from the system. This can help to reduce the amount of time that is needed to perform end-to-end testing.
5. Using Test Automation
Test automation is a great way to speed up the process of end-to-end testing. Test automation means that you can automate the execution of tests. This can help to reduce the amount of time that is needed to test the system.
There are many tools available that can help you with test automation. These tools can automate the execution of tests and provide you with reports. Test automation is a great way to improve the efficiency of end-to-end testing.
6. Make No-Code Testing Tools A Priority
No-code testing tools are tools that allow you to test the system without writing any code. This can help to reduce the amount of time that is needed to perform end-to-end testing.
No-code testing tools can help you test the system without writing any code. This can help to improve the efficiency of end-to-end testing.
The massive movements for No-Code Software Development and Testing have paved the way for more efficient codeless test automation tools, enabling your entire product team to effectively collaborate and come up with an amazing product.
7. Efficient Management of Test Setup and Teardown
When performing end-to-end testing, it is important to efficiently manage the test setup and teardown. The test setup is the process of setting up the environment for the test. This includes creating the data and configuring the system.
Teardown is the process of cleaning up the environment after the test. This includes deleting the data and resetting the system.
It is important to efficiently manage the test setup and teardown because it can help to reduce the amount of time that is needed to perform end-to-end testing.
8. Decide What To Test Based On The Risk Involved
You may have ample resources to test everything but trust us that it is absolutely unnecessary and troublemaking.
Hence, to prevent the occurrence of such issues, you need to analyze the risk involved in any component before deciding to test it.
You have to look at the codes of different components, understand how crucial they are in terms of your business, how often modifications are made to them, and several other factors that will help you decide which components need to be tested and which ones don't.
Based on these factors, you can easily decide on the most important test cases and as a result, your test suite will automatically become much shorter enabling you to proceed with properly directed focus.
9. Determine The Perfect Order and Perfect Time For Testing
From the discussion about risk-based testing, you already got to know that you should never try to test everything. But, you must also know that testing the decided ones in any random order will not solve your purpose of achieving great test coverage very fast.
The common idea of shift-left testing tells that as fast you can execute your tests, the faster you will get the feedback, and the faster you will be able to implement the improvement strategies. That means during the initial phase of a product's journey when developers are building new features and when the test-driven development tells you to create unit tests, you must listen to that call and don't focus on executing e2e tests at this stage. Even if behavior-driven development is followed, running e2e tests at such early stages will not do any good.
You already know that unit tests form the largest subset of the testing pyramid and provide the most precise feedback. Hence, the best order of executing tests will always keep unit tests before any other test because the issues identified at that early stage can still be easily fixed. And, that establishes the statement that end-to-end tests should be run when each feature is completely developed. These slow and time-consuming tests should be executed last when other tests have failed to identify any issues.
10. Prioritize Running The Tests Concurrently
You got to know about selecting the e2e test cases that are essential to run but that number is also not very small. And, if the automated testing tools follow the default approach of executing the tests sequentially i.e. moving to run the next case only when the execution of the previous one is complete with a successful or failed result.
So, naturally, when you have numerous test cases to run, this approach will cause you to waste a lot of time and your team will remain stuck until they achieve the automated test results.
Now, the easiest solution to this issue is concurrent or parallel execution of the test cases. Check if your preferred automated testing tool allows you to perform the tests that way. If that's possible, you will be able to execute multiple tests at once, and eventually, the overall testing time will significantly decrease.
However, to achieve smooth and efficient execution of concurrent or parallel tests, you will have to use more resources like powerful servers, high-end computers, efficient software, etc. It is possible that you may not have all such resources at the top level but you can at least try to achieve the maximum number of concurrent test execution that is possible with your infrastructure.
Also, keep in mind that the tests must be performed in the most suitable order and without hampering the overall performance & stability of the system.
11. Run The Tests On Highly Powerful Hardware
From the previous point, you can predict how the system's capabilities play an important role in the overall performance of the tests. Not only when you want to run multiple tests concurrently, but end-to-end tests also dig into the very depths of your application and check every bit of it. And, to smoothly run those minute test cases, you just need a high-end system with enormous capabilities.
The good news is that with the unimaginable evolution in the tech industry, the tech stacks are becoming more and more affordable & efficient. So, nowadays, upgrading your system is not that financially draining. Considering the amount of time and resources you can save in the long term and the significant efficiency you can achieve, getting some advanced upgrades will surely become a necessary investment for you.
However, if we imagine a scenario where you are nowhere near the position to spend on your system and you are facing backlogs due to the inefficiency of the tests. Well, the modern world has an ultramodern solution for that too. Yes, we are talking about Cloud services. With this amazing technology, you can get the advantage of using extremely high-end systems for your tests in exchange for a small fraction of the price that you would need to upgrade your system. And, the best part is that you can also get amazing deals like only paying for the small duration that you use the services for.
But, you must keep in mind that Cloud services are completely virtual so they depend on various factors like network latency, smoothness in data transmission, and some other external factors. So, it is quite evident that Cloud services are not the equivalent replacement for real high-end hardware. It's just that instead of staying absolutely stuck with low-end systems, Cloud services can help you reach much better performance and efficiency.
12. Always Proceed With Proper Test Data
No matter how much you take care of your testing infrastructure, if you try to perform the tests with poor data, stay assured that you will not receive the best results. So, providing the testing tools with high-quality data in proper quantity is an essential step in ensuring the best performance of the tests.
One widely used shortcut for producing high-quality data is copying them from production but the real story is that it brings a lot of issues with it. When you are copying data from production, it is quite possible that the copied data might lack edge-case scenarios that need to be tested, and the recently added database tables might be absent. The most crucial risk is that such a practice of copying data from production brings a risk of compromising the security of sensitive data such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or business-sensitive data.
The best way to get rid of such risks is using a robust Test Data Management (TDM) process. Automatically generating test data is the recommended approach that you can follow. Also, if you plan to adopt production cloning, you must ensure data masking to prevent sensitive data from leaking into non-production environments.
13. Keep In Mind That The Tests Are For Users' Benefits
It might be the most important thing that you must keep in mind during the complete journey of your product. All your efforts certainly have the end goal of delivering the best user experience. So, without proper knowledge of users' requirements, you can never build the best-suited products for them.
Hence, when you are planning to build a new product or test it end-to-end for improving its quality, keep your users at the forefront or center of your objectives. Try to know what they are expecting from the product, and what they are trying to achieve by using it, and analyze whether your application will fulfill their objectives. In short, try to put yourself in your users' place and put all your focus on improving the product for the users' welfare.
14. Treat The Application's Performance As A Top-most Priority
Often testers put so much focus on enhancing the test quality that they forget that no matter how many features your application has or how fast it is tested & launched if its performance is not up to the mark and keeps on crashing, the users will take no time to find a better alternative to it.
It can easily be observed and concluded that the modern world is always in a rush so it always prefers fast and efficient products. Now, if you have developed a lot of functionalities but never ensured whether the app is running properly or the functionalities are rendering at a good speed. In such a case, your users will surely lose interest in using such a slow product of yours and will look for better alternatives.
So before developing and delivering a product, developers and testers should prioritize the performance of the application so that you get plenty of time for fixing it.
On the contrary, if you get crazy just about developing numerous features and launching the application, your users will keep experiencing poor performance but by then, it might become extremely difficult to enhance the performance. And, our bigger concern is that an already slow-performing app is an even worse site to perform lengthy end-to-end tests.
Even if you don't get much scope to improve the performance of the product being tested, you must minutely analyze and point out the points where improvements can be done to enhance the performance. Adding performance testing to your CI/CD pipeline is a great step to achieving that. Ensuring the best performance of your application will not only satisfy your customers but also exempt the lengthy end-to-end tests from dealing with a slow app.
The modern world is always on the lookout for faster, better-performing, and consistent applications. And, all those properties can be surely present only when you focus on testing every bit of the products through end-to-end tests.
These tests are usually very long as you have to perform and test every smaller than the smallest action that your users will perform. Hence, you can clearly see how important it is to perform these tests faster so that your CI/CD pipeline is properly maintained.
Don't forget that user satisfaction is the ultimate goal of any software development project. In order to achieve this goal, it is important to ensure that the system works as expected from start to finish. That's why end-to-end testing is the best way to verify that the system works as intended.