London software testing news UK

Preventing defects with automation

Posted in Software testing by testing in London on December 18, 2007

From Redmond Developer

The first step toward automation is to build a supporting infrastructure. Just like a manufacturing plant, you need an integrated production line with the following components:

  • Source control system: A source control system (Microsoft Visual Studio Team System [VSTS] version control, Microsoft Visual SourceSafe) is a prerequisite for nightly builds. All of the files needed for the build should be in the source control system, including build files, scripts, etc.-not just the source that’s being built.
  • Nightly build system: This system builds an app by automatically executing the required build steps at the scheduled time without any human intervention. This way, any problems in the build are detected the next day. You can use MSBuild, NAnt or other scripts, along with tools like CruiseControl, or even the Scheduled Tasks feature available with Windows.
  • Requirements management system (and/or bug tracking system): This is a repository for storing and tracking defects, requirements and feature requests (for example, the Work Item Tracking functionality in VSTS or Bugzilla). The items stored here can be correlated to the related source code and test cases, enabling accurate estimation of their true status.
  • Regression testing system: Any tool or combination of tools that can automatically run the core of the existing tests on the entire code base on a regular basis. Its purpose is to identify if code modifications cause unexpected faults when modifying or extending code that previously functioned correctly. It should include any tools that facilitate change detection and thus help you build a robust regression test suite. This can include the many tools provided with VSTS (code analysis, unit testing, load testing) as well as third-party tools that plug into that environment.
  • Reporting system: This system should be able to gather data from all these components (source control, nightly build, tests) and present it in a visual way to enable analysis of status and trends. This can be achieved by extending the VSTS reporting engine.

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