Automated tests in a CD/CI pipeline

Good pipelines are stable and can support frequent and small releases. When building the pipeline you need to include not only the build and unit tests part, but also the e2e tests and even the smoke tests and deploy to all the environments, so you have as minimun as human interation as possible, avoiding releases to be deployed by mistake.

CD pipeline

Below you have an image of a simple pipeline where you have the Build, Deploy, Test and Promote/Release stages. Imagine a developer merging his changes to the master branch, triggering a new build on this pipeline. The CI job builds the application, deploy to the specific environment, perform some tests and if everything is ok, the changes are promoted to prod environment if you have a CD environment. If you have any issue in any of these stages, the CI job is going to be stopped and you will have a red pipeline in the history of this job. These basic stages could be followed like:

Build – The stage where you need to build your application, usually I run the unit tests here already.

Deploy – The stage where you are going to deploy your application, so this could be your dev environment or dev and qa environment at the same time.

Test – Depending of which environment you have deployed your application, you will decide what type of tests you are going to run, for instance: smoke tests for the Staging or the e2e tests for the QA environment.

Promote – This stage is where you are going to add the script to deploy your application to the production environment in case the tests passed.

 

Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Deployment (CD) and DevOps have a common goal: small, frequent releases of high-quality software. Sometimes of course things happen in the middle of the way and you discover a bug after the deployment to prod, but as you have this pipeline with a CI and CD running, the fix will be deployed to prod as soon as it is fixed and there is no other new bugs.  For this reason it doesn’t matter how your release cycle is, integrated automated tests is one of the keys to have a CI/CD job running and doing the job.

Having a continuous integration pipeline doing tests on all the environments after the deployment helps to get a fast feedback, reduce the volume of the merge conflicts, everyone has a clear view of the status of the build and a current “good build” is always available for demos/release.

 

Some test/general recommendations

Separate type of tests for each stage – If you have different type of tests running in your CI pipeline (performance, UI, security tests ), better to separate each of them in a different stage so you have a clear vision when one of the stages fail.

Develop your pipeline as code – This is a general advice as it has been a long time that I don’t see teams developing their pipeline through the UI on jenkins. Always create a .jobdsl containing the pipelines that your project is going to have and create/update them automatically.

Wrap your inputs in a timeout – In case you have a pipeline that demands user interaction at some point, you should always wrap your input in a timeout since you don’t want this job hanging there for weeks. I usually have these inputs on the last release stage (deploy to production)

timeout(time:5, unit:'DAYS') {
    input message:'Approve deployment?', submitter: 'it-ops'
}

Refactor your automated tests – As any development code you need to improve your automation after working in the project and obtaining more knowledge about the product/project. So, to keep your testing efficient, you need to regular look for redundancies that can be eliminated, such as multiple tests that cover the same feature or data-driven tests that use repetitive data values. Techniques such as boundary value analysis can help you to reduce the scope to just the essential cases.

Keep your build fast – Nobody wants a release pipeline that takes hours to finish, it is painful and pointless. Try to trigger the minimum automated tests required to validate your build, keep it simple. Due to their more complex nature, integration tests are usually slower than unit tests. If you have a CD pipeline run a full regression on QA, but if you have a CI and a separate pipeline for the releases run only smoke tests on QA first and then the full regression on the deployment to prod pipeline.

Test in the right environment – You should have an isolated QA platform that is dedicated solely to testing. Your test environment should also be as identical as possible to the production environment, but this can be challenging. Honestly you will probably need to mock certain dependencies such as third-party applications. In complex environments, a virtualization platform or solution such as Docker containers may be an efficient approach to replicate the production environment.

Test in parallel – As speed is essential in a CI/CD environment, save time by distributing your automated tests on multiple stages. As mentioned earlier in this series, keep your automated tests as modular and independent from each other as possible so that you can test in parallel.

parallel {
                stage('Branch A') {
                    agent {
                        label "for-branch-a"
                    }
                    steps {
                        echo "On Branch A"
                    }
                }
                stage('Branch B') {
                    agent {
                        label "for-branch-b"
                    }
                    steps {
                        echo "On Branch B"
                    }
                }
            }

Include non-functional tests – Don’t think that regression tests is only about testing functional end-to-end tests, it takes a combination of automated testing approaches to confirm that your application is ready to release. Make sure you have a bit of performance tests running a happy path with concurrent users, also some security tests and of course the e2e functional tests. Exploratory testing can uncover defects that automated tests miss, but then this should have been done before during the feature tests not the release pipeline

Don’t rely only on unit tests – Unit testing doesn’t tell you enough about how that code will work once it is introduced to the production application. Integration of new or revised code may cause a build to fail for several reasons. Therefore, it’s important to run integration tests, regression tests and high-priority functional UI tests as part of the build verification process.

 
Resources:

https://www.ranorex.com/blog/10-best-practices-7-integrate-with-a-ci-pipeline/?utm_source=ebook&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=en_ebook_test-automation_follow-up-7

https://www.cloudbees.com/blog/top-10-best-practices-jenkins-pipeline-plugin

AWS Online Tech Talks 2019

Hello guys, just came here quickly to share with you this link containing AWS presentantions for this year, some of them already happened, but you can register and watch the next ones for free, the link is below:

https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/events/monthlywebinarseries/

How to test internal microservices in a kubernetes cluster

Hello guys, I have been working with kubernetes, docker, postman and newman a lot lately due some tests on internal microservices. To test these internal microservices I am running postman scripts in the same kubernetes cluster where the services are running.

Kubernetes is an open source container orchestrator, which means you can group together all the containers (services) that share information. You don’t need to expose their endpoints for them to be available among themselves. PS: This is just my brief explanation, but feel free to explore a bit more.

To be able to run tests on internal microservices that are inside a Kubernetes cluster I created a Postman collection and together with Newman run the tests pointing to these services without the need to expose the endpoints.

Creating the postman script

– You will need to have postman installed to create the script

– I am not going through the details of this part, because this is not the aim of this post, but after you create the script on postman you will need to export to api/collections folder.

– Also, you will need to export the environment variables that you create it and save it in the api/envs folder.

– You can see an example of the collection here and an example of the environment variable here. Remember that the hostname needs to be the name of the deployment of your service in kubernetes.

Creating the docker file

– I am using this docker image as base, but you can use any other, you just need to install newman.

– Then we need to build a Docker image containing the postman collection, environment and global variables, data files, etc.

– After this we need to create a jenkins file that will build and push the image to the docker hub, the best practice is you to have a separate pipeline just to build the image (so the tests contains just the tests and don’t take longer than necessary to run), but in this example I am going to have just a separate stage to build the image and another to run the tests.

dockerfile:

FROM postman/newman
WORKDIR /etc/newman/
COPY . /etc/newman/
RUN chmod -R 700 /etc/newman

Creating the kubernetes deployment

– Now we need to create the jenkins file to build and push the docker image to docker hub.

– You can get the full code here.

– But this is the important part, the command below will create a kubernetes deployment in the namespace and run the tests from the image that we have just pushed.

kubectl run microservices-tests -i --rm --namespace=${ENVIRONMENT} --restart=Never --image=${IMAGE}:latest --image-pull-policy=Always -- run /etc/newman/api/collections/collection.postman_collection.json -e /etc/newman/api/envs/${ENVIRONMENT}.postman_environment.json --reporters cli --reporter-cli-no-failures

  • microservices-tests is the name of the deployment that you are going to create.
  • -i Keep stdin open on the container.
  • --rm is the argument that says to delete this deployment once the command is finished.
  • --namespace=${ENVIRONMENT} is the name of the namespace (environment) that you will run this deployment, so it needs to be the same as your services are running.
  • --restart=Never is the argument that says to not restart the deployment once is finished. You don’t want your tests running over and over again forever.
  • --image=${IMAGE}:latest is the image that kubernetes is going to pull.
  • --image-pull-policy=Always this is to ensure that kubernetes is always pull the image even thought you have pulled before (this is to ensure you have always the latest).
  • -- this is to mark the end of the kubernetes commands and everything after is going to be the newman commands/arguments to run the postman script.

So, creating this deployment in the same namespace of your internal services, you can hit them and test the endpoints even though they are not external.

You should see something like this on your console:

This means that your script is running as expected in the cluster.

Thank you guys ! See you next time !

Chaos Engineering: Why Breaking Things Should be Practiced

Hello guys,

Last week I went to the WebSummit 2018 Conference in Lisbon and I managed to join some of the AWS talks. The talk that I am posting today is about chaos engineering, which specifically address the uncertainty of distributed systems at scale. The aim of this practice is to uncover the system weakness and build confidence in the system’s capability. 

The harder it is to disrupt the steady state, the more confidence we have in the behavior of the system.  If a weakness is uncovered, we now have a target for improvement before that behavior manifests in the system at large.

Today I am going to post the video on the exact moment that this talk starts.

https://player.twitch.tv/?autoplay=false&t=02h05m17s&video=v333130731

This talk is presented by AWS Technical Evangelist Adrian Hornsby.

You can find tools to help you with the tests in this repo:

https://github.com/dastergon/awesome-chaos-engineering#notable-tools

 

References:

https://principlesofchaos.org/

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/333130731

Amazing repo with content/links about the topic: https://github.com/dastergon/awesome-chaos-engineering

Cypress with Galen Study Project

Hello peeps,

Today I am going to post a study project that I have created to try Cypress and Galen. As some of you know Cypress doesn’t support cross browser testing at the moment. This is because the creators believe that nowadays you don’t really need to do functional tests on all the browsers, so what they suggest is to create an automation project for the functionality and run on only one browser and then create another project to run the layout tests on the other browsers.

I kind agree with this statement, since most of the bugs that I have found in my latest projects are layout bugs and doesn’t affect the funcionality of the feature. I say most of the bugs, because I can remember one or two situations where the layout issue affected the functionality. Eg.: Imagine there is a menu that shows a list of options when the mouse is over it. You could have an issue with the css, where this list is overridden by a div and the options are not displayed and clickable.

To give it a go on this idea, I have created a project doing functional tests with Cypress and layout tests with Galen.

The link to the project is here: https://github.com/rafaelaazevedo/bug-free-garbanzo

As always feel free to fork and improve the code, share ideas, fix bugs, etc…

I am still fixing the Docker image to integrate the Cypress and the Galen tests in the same container. For now you can run the tests in the Cypress docker container.

See you next time 🙂

How to Develop a Growth Mindset in Tech

I should have posted this ages ago when I went to the Growth Mindset workshop, but I was on holidays so I had to postpone it a bit. Growth mindset is how you approach failures and challenges in your life. I am going to focus on how to have this mindset in your workplace.

 

 

Have you ever found yourself in your comfort zone ?

 

If you are in your comfort zone you will be for some time until something happens.

Most of people love to be in the comfort zone, it is a safe place right ? But it is not in this zone that you have the chance to improve and be the best version of yourself. I started in the QA area as a manual tester as most of the QAs start and if I didn’t challenge myself I would still be there, doing the same job, unhappy but safe.

When you don’t push yourself to get out of this zone, you will need to wait until you are forced to get out. In these moments you will find yourself defeated because something happened out of your control. Sometimes if you have been in this place for many years you won’t even know where to start. I saw people working +10 years in the same company and when there was a cut they couldn’t find a job after more than 2 years and why is that ? I get that you are comfortable where you are, you have a good salary, quality of life, but and if you are outdated with the current market ? Do you think is really a good idea be completely dependent of a job ? Not sure if it is a good idea, for this reason I prefer not to wait for these moments and create myself new challenges.

 

How do you react a feedback ?

 

Embrace the challenges and be persistent, maybe will take more time than what you expected, but when you reach your objective you will feel fulfilled. There are some feedbacks that depending from who is coming you can ignore, because they are not there to add anything, these are called destructive feedbacks.

These feedbacks could be given by managers who don’t really know your work, they are not working with you daily or they don’t communicate with the team. This makes really hard for a person to give a realistic feedback, so in this case you can completely ignore because clearly this person has no clue of what you do.

They will give you a superficial feedback like you need to communicate more or have lunch with the team more often. Remember that social gathering is optional and you should do only if you feel comfortable enough. Don’t push yourself to go to places with people that you don’t trust or don’t add anything just for networking. It is better spending your time creating a quality network in another place instead.

This problem usually happens when the manager doesn’t know how to build bridges across the team, otherwise socializing in the workplace wouldn’t be a problem in the first place. During these 10 years of experience, I’ve had only 2 good managers which who I still have contact and they became my friends outside work.

The constructive feedbacks should be embraced, they come from these kind of managers. They really care about your development and your growth. They do regular catch ups (doesn’t need to be formal or even announced) with the team and they know how to build a trustworthy relationship.

Keep your mind open for these feedbacks, don’t take it personal and don’t be upset about it. I know we have a constant fight with our ego, but these feedbacks are the steps for your own development. Be thankful for having managers like this that can see yourself under the superficial impression and can give you a good feedback. My suggestion is to keep these kind of people always around, surround yourself with good professionals and be inspired by them.

 

Vision and values: Does the company has the same values as you ? Do you agree with the vision of the company ? Does the company has a vision ? Do you feel included in the company’s vision ?

Money: Do you know your value in the market ? If you don’t, are you doing some interviews to figure out ? Do you have goals where you need to sacrifice your work/life balance for an amount of time ? Is your company valuing you enough increasing your salary ?

Experience: Look for companies that look for generalist developers this means that the company will always follow the new technologies and you won’t be outdated.

Managers & Exec team: Do you trust in your manager ? Do they have your back and fight for the team ? Does he care about your happiness in the work ? Does he take your opinions into account or just ignore them ?

Peers & team: Are you respected in your team ? Do you trust in your team ? Do you have a good sense of collaboration across everybody ?

Work/Life & respect: Do you have a flexible work that understand your needs ? What is the police to work from home ? Do you need to feel the stress of commuting ?

Growth and empowerment: Can you learn from the people that you work with ? Are you growing ? Are you stuck doing the same thing over and over ?

 

How emotionally intelligent are you ?

 

 

Constant Learning

 

To summarize basically what was being written here, push yourself and accept the challenges. You won’t be successful on all of them, but be resilient and continue improving. Take advantage of learning with the previous mistakes. Sometimes you will need to change your strategy or even your goal, but what matters is the quality of the journey !

 

Thanks Joanna Chwastowska for sharing this workshop !

Using Artificial Intelligence to Speed up your Test Automation

Hey guys, today I am going to share with you this awesome webinar that I watched last weekend ! I suggest to follow IIST as they are always sharing good webinars about test.

 

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