What is Continuous Integration and how is it relevant to the HP automation products?

One of the hottest topics in today’s testing domain—and in software development in general—is the movement to Continuous Integration (CI). HP is no stranger to this domain; we create software solutions to address the new challenges that arise from CI, we also perform our own development using CI.

 

Today, I would like to:

  1. Explain what CI is all about, including benefits and testing challenges 
  2. Discuss some of HP’s CI solutions
  3. Announce HP’s new open-source plug-in for Jenkins

 

What is Continuous Integration?

CI is the practice of merging all developer workspaces several times a day with a shared mainline. When developers check their code into the mainline, or trunk, the code is automatically compiled and then automated unit tests are run to provide quality control.  In the same vein, the practice of Continuous Delivery further extends CI by making sure the software checked in on the mainline is always in a state that can be deployed to users and is enabled for rapid deployment.

 CI helps you improve the quality of your software. It provides a shorter feedback loop on the quality of the slimmer build, therefore reducing the risk associated with the newly integrated code. CI can discover integration issues earlier and isolate and resolve defects faster. But in order to achieve this advantage, you must have the right tools, processes, and a well-developed test suite. In this blog I will focus on the testing aspects. 

 

What unit testing misses

A common misconception when doing CI is to think that unit testing is sufficient. This is rarely the case because unit testing only scratches the surface and can miss issues that may cause build regressions.  Unit testing only tests the code itself, it usually don’t’ cover the entire system. it usually miss the API and GUI layers, the servers, the databases, the hardware and third party services etc. Missing this testing is typically the source of a build regression.

 A good test suite should include integration tests, load tests, functional tests and end-to-end acceptance tests. All of these tests should be automated to reduce the execution time, to allow frequent reusability and offer the ability to execute as part of the build process.  

 

Moving to CI raises the bar of existing requirements and creates new ones to the automated testing tools, such as:

  • The ability to cover all layers and aspects of the Application Under Test (AUT) even if some of its services are not available
  • Ability to perform better “Risk-Based Testing”—which prioritizes the tests of features and functions based on the risk of their failure. This is a function of their importance, likelihood and impact of failure. Focusing on what’s matter becomes more important than ever before with shorter release cycles and less time to test.
  • Automatic test environment creation
  • End-to-end reporting capabilities to know constant state of key indicators such as health, progress, stability and risk 
  • Integrations to the CI tools

 

What does HP have to offer in the CI domain?

After looking at some of the challenges that CI introduces, let’s look at how HP answers them:

1.       Ability to cover all the layers and aspects of the AUT: With Unified Functional Testing (UFT), HP provides a solution that can test both the GUI layer and the services/API layer in a single test for web applications, native applications or mobile applications.

With UFT’s integration with Service Virtualization (SV), we can now test virtualized services that simulate the inaccessible services. These services may be inaccessible because they are not available, they cost money or other usage restrictions. It means no more dependency on services availability.

2.       Better risk based testing: HP Application Lifecycle Intelligence (ALI) provides an action-oriented decision support system that’s embedded in HP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM).

This innovative technology aggregates information from diverse resources to expand ALM traceability to source code management systems and build management systems. This  provides application teams with predictability into upcoming builds and associated code changes. It gives you a better platform to decide which tests should be run in order to validate the new code changes.

3.       Automatic test environment creation: Lab management automation—available in HP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) allows application teams to schedule, provision and deploy their lab, tests, and other assets in a hybrid-delivery environment. We understand that your environment includes many pieces in differing forms: physical or virtual environments, a traditional data center or in the cloud.

4.       End to end reporting capabilities:

HP ALI empowers the application teams to make ALI.pnginformed decisions based on an intelligent understanding of the health, stability and risk of new builds.

The integration between the developer’s IDE and the ALM system enables auto-capturing of each developer’s task progress and completion, the progress of the whole project team and the status of the iteration or the release.

 

222.png

 

HP UFT provides end-to-end test reporting through its Run Results Viewer. The viewer contains a description of the steps performed during the run session, the data used in each step, optional screen captures or movie, optional Log Tracking report, optional system monitoring and information, data table parameters, as well as any output values retrieved from a test and more.

 

5.       Integrations with CI systems: See the section below

  

Organizations that take advantage of the above capabilities should be able to optimally leverage the Continuous Integration advantages while minimizing its associated risks and challenges.

 

 

New open-source plugin for ffff.png
HP has released an open-source plugin to Jenkins which allows HP Unified Functional Testing tests, HP QuickTest (version 10 and 11) tests and HP Service Tests to be run as part of a CI build creation process. 

You can run tests from HP Application Lifecycle Management, HP Quality Center or directly from the file system where the tests are stored.  You can select specific tests or even select a folder, and the plugin will run all of the tests in that folder.

The Jenkins plugin can be configured to run the tests on the build machine (master or slave), or on a remote machine that can be specified. If your tests are stored in HP ALM/QC test set, you can configure Jenkins to use the machine specified in the test set.

 3333.png

With HP’s Plugin for Jenkins, you can decide exactly which tests you want to run, the order they should run and have them run seamlessly as part of the CI configuration.

 

The plugin also collates the tests’ results which are then 4444.pngdisplayed as part of the Jenkins build report.

Since this is an open-source plugin, the users can customize the solution to fit their organization’s needs.

 

BTW, Soon LoadRunner tests will also be supported by this Plug-in :-)

 

 For more information visit:

  1. www.hp.com/go/UFT
  2. Our new HP Live Network space at: https://hpln.hp.com/group/unified-functional-testing
  3. Read the attached technical white paper  on 'Automated testing and continuous integration'

Comments
sb419 | ‎03-20-2013 02:50 AM

Hi,

 

Thanks for the article.  I am using HP ALM 11.5 and would like to integrate it with Jenkins to run the Performance Center load test suite (which is integrated with ALM 11.5).

Could you please help me with how to get this plugin?

 

Thanks in advance!

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