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 is moving, tech products are getting more advanced and offering numerous amazing benefits. But, along with becoming more advanced, those products are becoming more complex and more prone to bugs and crashes.
You may have built an amazing design for your product but your users are not going to see and admire the amazing design. They are looking for smoothly operating amazing functionalities that can make their job easy. But, it is confirmed that when you add so many functionalities to your code, it needs to be more minutely tested for the best results. That’s where End-To-End testing comes in with attention to every smaller than the smallest detail.
What Is End-To-End Testing?
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.
Why Does End-To-End Testing Need To Be Performed Fast?
Performing so many actions would be unimaginably cumbersome if all those needed to be done manually. But, end-to-end testing exempts you from wasting huge amounts of time on those repetitive and inefficient tasks. However, being responsible for so many small and important actions make these tests more time-consuming than other crucial types of testing like 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. End-to-end testing means ensuring that every smallest component of your UI performs at its best both as an individual and while being dependent on each other. You may think that Unit and Integration tests will be enough for these needs. Still, their time-consuming execution and delay in feedback make it necessary to execute end-to-end tests wherever necessary.
How To Perform End-To-End Testing Fast?
Now, if your team doesn’t stay attentive to their actions and the necessary steps to be taken, 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 All Tests
You have already seen how huge end-to-end test suites affect the CI/CD pipeline negatively. Most end-to-end tests take a long time to get repaired and teams get compelled to move on with other steps leaving the failed e2e tests piled up. To cope with such cases, QA engineers mainly depend on static end-to-end environments. The prime reasons to prefer those approaches are -
- Where the provisioning process is not automated enough, it becomes almost impossible to have multiple test environments in the delivery pipeline. Keeping a few static end-to-end test environments is really beneficial there.
- When working with Internet-of-Things devices or supporting a wide range of mobile devices becomes a headache for the clients, engineers often prefer static end-to-end environments for testing use cases.
Other than these, without the involvement of a lot of hardware, if a product has a lot of variants or supports a wide range of devices, operating systems, databases, etc., using a static end-to-end environment is often given preference over dynamically provisioned environments.
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 -
- Establishing clear test boundaries and the test surface.
- Progressive increment in the test surface while decreasing the number of tests to be executed.
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.
Intelligent Use of A Test Boundary
Using a test boundary is an intelligent and effective strategy that helps you understand which components are under test and which are not. The components under test are inside the test boundary and the rest are outside. This is a highly useful strategy because the behavior of the components under test (or inside the test boundary) needs to be observed and the components outside the test boundary can be replaced with stubs, mocks, or any other mocking mechanism that clearly provides repeatable outcomes.
As in this method, the only concern focuses on observing the components under test and controlling the ones (with predefined inputs/outputs) outside, the test surface gets significantly reduced. The specialty of this method is that it takes a scientific, systematic research approach to manipulate one or more variables to control their effect on a dependent variable.
Mocking Asynchronous Test Calls
You don’t need to be told how many background dependencies modern applications have. To perform a highly effective function, it interacts with numerous services across the world (obviously over the internet). For example, a basic search on a browser needs to call the results from all over the world so that you get the best response to your query. And, the reverse operation is also a massive thing. That means when you are submitting a form, the data you enter will be sent to an external database on another network.
Now, if the page reloads for every data fetching and sending call, you will be likely to end up being stuck on a single page for a long time and that is never a good user experience. That’s why the asynchronous network calls handle the data fetching and transmission operations smoothly without any page reload and eventually you become able to save huge time. But, testing those network calls in a straightforward way can cause huge time consumption because you have to wait for multiple network requests to respond before proceeding to the next phase of the test. And, having no control over those network requests makes you experience unimaginably long delays and you may even have to rerun the test suites.
Efficient end-to-end testing frameworks exempt you from pointlessly waiting for the networks to respond. Using those frameworks, you can mock any network call. As you have already read in the article “Why Mocking Is Necessary In Unit Testing?”, a mock is an object that replicates the behavior of an actual implementation. Similarly, here mocks let you simulate the network connection without making the actual request and as a result, you become able to avoid delays and define the mock’s response. Using mocks brings you an amazing benefit i.e. your tests remain unaffected by the external services that you can’t manage.
However, it is not always a wise choice to use mock for every slow network request. Whenever possible during end-to-end tests, you must always try to test the real behavior. But, as you cannot control those third-party services, we would suggest you mock them.
Automate As Many Tests As Possible
It is probably the simplest and the most effective way to achieve better test coverage in any type of test. There is no need to specifically mention the enormous growth in the tech industry. And, to cope with that and to make your business reach the heights of success, there is no better way than automating as many operations as possible. You can know everything about how to decide about automating your test cases from the article “How To Choose The Best Test Cases To Automate?”. So, it’s your choice whether you want to leave your app untested or execute the repetitive end-to-end test suites in inefficient manners or automate them to achieve the best efficiency and best results within moments.
Make No-Code Testing Tools A Priority
Well, we have come to the most modernized tools that are dominating the modern tech world. Nowadays, businesses want the expertise and ideas of each member of their teams to be incorporated into the product. But, the barrier of coding knowledge used to exempt the non-technical persons from taking an active part in the development and testing process.
However, the massive movements for No-Code Software Development and Testing have demolished those barriers and the efficient codeless test automation tools like PreFlight enable your entire product team to effectively collaborate and come up with an amazing product. To get more amazed by the advantages of using this amazing browser extension, you must check out this article “10 Amazing Software Testing Benefits From PreFlight In 2022”. You may think that you have to occasionally write some codes to create some custom tests for your code. Well, then the good news is that PreFlight provides you with a much easier setup to write all the custom code that you want to add. Hence, using this amazing tool makes it possible to distribute a huge load of testing among all the members of your team regardless of their coding knowledge and department. As a result, you will save a lot of time & resources, and the developers can put more focus on building more amazing features and apps to boost your business.
Efficient Management of Test Setup and Teardown
Often your app needs a testing approach where you need to perfectly set up the database, other data stores, etc. with the information that will ensure the consistent execution of the test cases and an efficient cleaning up after the completion of the test suite. This practice ensures consistent results from your end-to-end tests as many times as your team performs them or are executed as a part of the CI/CD pipeline.
The definitional names of setting up the initial parameters and cleaning up after the test are Test Setup and Teardown respectively. Most end-to-end testing tools have special steps to achieve maximum efficiency in these two crucial phases. However, our concern is that these two phases increase the consistency between the test runs but eventually result in the test suites becoming slow in most cases.
To deal with that issue, you need to determine whether you need to perform your actions once at the start or end of the test run or let these two phases run before and after every test scenario. A wise choice about when you have to use which approach will lead you towards efficient management of these phases.
For example, if any operation of yours needs numerous records/inputs to be stored in a database and needs some data to be reset after the tests, then you should make necessary arrangements for the setup and teardown only once before and after the test run. On the contrary, if that management is not taken care of, that setup and teardown will occur after every entry of the inputs. Hence, it can be concluded that though the management of proper setup and teardown functionality takes a bit of initial planning and effort, if it is completed efficiently, you will eventually save a lot of time on the actual test execution.
Decide What To Test Based On The Risk Involved
When you have decided on an efficient testing approach and have started using an amazing no-code test automation tool like PreFlight, you will feel like you can test everything in no time. But, that urge to test everything will lead you towards neither an easy goal nor better test coverage. 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.
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 a great test coverage very fast. To know about the suitable order for your tests and about the timing to perform them, you can simply check out the amazing article “How To Choose The Best Test Cases To Automate?”.
The common idea of shift-left testing tells that as fast as 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.
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, this benefit comes with an expense. 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.
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 must need a high-end system with enormous capabilities. Keep in mind that these tests will juggle crucial tasks like rendering your web application, handling browser instances, executing steps in your scenarios, and many more. So, it depends on your analysis of how you choose the system that can easily handle such huge loads at once.
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.
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 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. However, if you want to stay away from these headaches, lend these responsibilities to PreFlight which takes care of everything by itself. You just need to book a demo and start experiencing efficient tests just through some clicks.
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.
An easy and widely used method to achieve this is involving stakeholders in the requirements analysis process. And, that’s where PreFlight excels in the game. Our amazing tool makes it possible to execute the tests by anyone from any department (be it marketing, sales, finance, etc.). So, the team members who interact the most with the stakeholders can actively take part in creating and performing the end-to-end tests, and eventually, the tests will achieve awesome results in significantly less time.
Treat The Application’s Performance As A Top-most Priority
Finally, we are talking about one of the most crucial points about testing as well as the improvement of the overall quality of a product. 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. You can easily learn about the importance of an application’s performance in most of our articles. We have put a lot of research and clear explanations into them.
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. Also, the slow loading applications consume a lot of resources and never return a suitable outcome. Hence, if you want to satisfy your users and retain their interest in your product, ensure that it consists of the pages and applications that load and perform within seconds.
But, the unfortunate fact is that despite an application’s performance having such high importance, the tech businesses indulge in the rat race of offering more and more features. Hence, 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.
Hence, even if as a tester, 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.
All these discussions clearly show us how important end-to-end tests are, why you should prioritize performing them faster, and acknowledge you with the ways to achieve that. 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.
However, it has been evidently proved that there is nothing faster than turning all your development and testing processes absolutely codeless. You may have already developed numerous applications using bubble so you must know how to test those bubble apps with no-code testing. We must mention that PreFlight is one of the most efficient no-code testing tools out there. This simple and extremely effective browser extension lets you create and execute tests within seconds through some basic click actions. To become a greater fan of this magical tool, you must check out its benefits. So, start enjoying those awesome features by booking a demo now.