Check Design Tips for Your CI/CD Pipeline

When delivering software program to the market quicker, there’s a important must onboard automated exams into your steady supply pipeline to confirm the software program adheres to the requirements your buyer expects. Your steady supply pipeline may additionally encompass many levels that ought to set off these automated exams to confirm outlined high quality gates earlier than the software program can transfer to the subsequent stage and finally into manufacturing (see Determine 1). Relying on the stage of your pipeline, your automated exams may vary in complexity from unitintegrationend-to-end, and efficiency exams. When contemplating the amount and complexity of exams, together with the opportunity of having a number of levels in your pipeline, there might be many challenges when onboarding, executing, and evaluating the standard of your software program earlier than it’s launched. 

This text will describe a few of these challenges. I may also present some greatest apply tips on how your automated exams may comply with a contract to assist improve the supply of your software program to the market quicker whereas sustaining high quality. Following a contract helps to onboard your exams in a well timed and extra environment friendly method. This additionally helps when others in your group would possibly must troubleshoot points within the pipeline. 

Attempt to Run Any Check, Wherever, Anytime, by Anybody!

 Determine 1: Instance Software program Steady Supply Pipeline 


There might be a number of challenges when onboarding your exams into your steady supply pipeline that might delay your group from delivering software program to market in a dependable method: 

  • Amount of Applied sciences

    Automated exams might be developed in lots of applied sciences. Examples embrace pytestJunitSeleniumCucumber, and extra. These applied sciences may need competing set up necessities corresponding to working system ranges, browser variations, third-party libraries, and extra. Additionally, the infrastructure that hosts your pipeline might not have sufficient devoted assets or elasticity to assist these kinds of applied sciences. It could be environment friendly to execute exams in any surroundings with out having to fret about competing necessities.

  • Check Runtime Dependencies

    Assessments also can rely upon a wide range of inputs throughout runtime that might embrace textual content recordsdata, photographs, and/or database tables, to call a number of. With the ability to entry these enter objects might be difficult as these inputs might be persevered in an exterior location that your check should retrieve throughout execution. These exterior repositories could also be offline throughout runtime and trigger unanticipated check failures. 

  • Completely different Enter Parameters

    When onboarding and sharing your exams into your group’s CI/CD course of, it is not uncommon on your exams to have enter parameters to go into your check suite to execute the exams with totally different values. For instance, your exams might have an enter parameter that tells your check suite what surroundings to focus on when executing the automated exams. One check writer might title this enter parameter –base-URL whereas one other check writer in your group might title this enter parameter –goal. It could be advantageous to have a standard signature contact, with the identical parameter naming conventions when onboarding into your group’s CI/CD course of.

  • Completely different Output Codecs

    The number of applied sciences getting used on your testing may produce totally different output codecs by default. For instance, your pytest check suite may generate plain textual content output whereas your Selenium check suite might produce HTML output. Standardizing on a standard output format will help in accumulating, aggregating, reporting, and analyzing the outcomes of executing all of the exams onboarded into your enterprise CI/CD course of. 

  • Difficulties Troubleshooting

    If a check fails in your CI/CD pipeline, this will likely trigger a delay in shifting your software program out to market and thus there might be a must debug the check failure and remediate it rapidly. Having informative logging enabled for every part of your check might be helpful when triaging the failure by others in your group corresponding to your DevOps workforce. 


  • Containerize Your Assessments

    By now, you may have heard of containers and their many advantages. The benefit of containerizing your exams is that you’ve got an remoted surroundings with all your required applied sciences put in within the container. Additionally, having your exams containerized would permit the container to be run within the cloud, on any machine, or in any continuous integration (CI) surroundings as a result of the container is designed to be moveable. 

  • Have a Frequent Enter Contract

    Having your check container comply with a standard contract for enter parameters helps with portability. It additionally reduces the friction to run that check by offering readability to the client about what the check requires. When the exams are containerized, the enter parameters ought to use surroundings variablesFor instance, the docker command under uses the -e option to outline surroundings variables to be made out there to the check container throughout runtime:

    docker run
    -e BASE_URL=
    -e TEST_USER=testuser
    -e TEST_PW=xxxxxxxxxxx

    Additionally, there might be a big amount of check containers onboarded into your pipeline that might be run at varied levels. Having a typical naming conference on your enter parameters could be helpful when different people in your group must run your check container for debugging or exploratory functions. For instance, if exams must outline an enter parameter that defines the consumer to make use of within the exams, have a widespread naming conference that every one check authors comply with, corresponding to TEST_USER. 

  • Have a Frequent Output Contract 

    As talked about earlier, the number of applied sciences being utilized by your exams may produce totally different output codecs by defaultFollowing a contract to standardize the check output helps when accumulating, aggregating, and analyzing the check outcomes throughout all check containers to see if the total outcomes meet your groups software program supply tipsFor instance, there are check containers utilizing pytestJunitSelenium, and Cucumber. If the contract stated to provide output in xUnit format, then all the check outcomes generated from the working of those containers might be collected and reported on in the identical method.

  • Present Utilization/Assist Data

    When onboarding your check container in your pipeline, you’re sharing your exams with others in your group, such because the DevOps and engineering groups that assist the pipeline. Others in your group might have a necessity to make use of your check container for example as they design their check container. 

    To help others within the execution of your check container, having widespread choice to show the assistance and utilization info to the buyer could be helpfulThe assistance textual content may embrace: 

  • An outline of what your check container is trying to confirm 

  • Descriptions of the out there enter parameters 

  • Descriptions of the output format 

  • One or two instance command line executions of your check container 

  • Informative Logging

    Logging captures particulars about what came about throughout check execution at that second in time. To help with quicker remediation when there’s a failure, the next logging tips are helpful:

  • Implement a typical report format that may be simple to parse by trade tooling for observability 

  • Use descriptive messages in regards to the levels and state of the exams at that second in time   

  • Be sure that there is NO delicate information, corresponding to passwords or keys, within the generated log recordsdata that may violate your group’s safety insurance policies 

  • Log API (Utility Program Interfaces) requests and responses to help in monitoring the workflow

  • Bundle Check Dependencies Within the Container

    As talked about earlier, exams can have varied runtime dependencies corresponding to enter information, database tables, and binary inputs to call a number of. When these dependencies are contained exterior of the check container, they might not be out there at runtime. To onboard your check container in your pipeline extra effectively, having your enter dependencies constructed and contained instantly within your container would be sure that they’re at all times out there. Nonetheless, tlisted here are use instances the place it might not make sense to construct your dependencies instantly within your check container. For instance, you may have a necessity to make use of a big enter dataset that’s gigabytes in dimension, in your check. On this case, it might make extra sense to work along with your DevOps workforce to have this enter dataset out there on a mounted filesystem that’s made out there in your container.

  • Setup and Teardown Assets

    Automated exams might require the creation of assets throughout execution time. For instance, there might be a requirement to create a number of Account assets in your shared deployment beneath check and carry out a number of operations on these Account assets. If there are different exams working in parallel towards the identical deployment that may additionally have a requirement to carry out some associated operations on the identical Account useful resource, then there may be some surprising errorsA check design technique that may create an Account useful resource with a novel naming conference, carry out the operation, assert issues had been accomplished accurately, after which remove the Account useful resource on the finish of the check would scale back the chance of failureThis technique would guarantee that there’s a recognized state in the beginning and finish of the check. 

  • Have Code Assessment Tips

    Code overview is the method of evaluating new code by another person in your workforce or group earlier than it’s merged into the primary department and packaged for consumption by others. Along with discovering bugs a lot earlier, tlisted here are additionally advantages to having different engineers overview your check code earlier than it’s merged:

  • Verify the check is following the appropriate enter and output contracts earlier than it’s onboarded into your CI/CD pipeline 

  • Guarantee there’s acceptable logging enabled for readability and observability 

  • Set up the checks have code feedback and are properly documented 

  • Guarantee the exams have appropriate exception dealing with enabled and the suitable exit codes  

  • Consider the amount of the enter dependencies 

  • Promote collaboration by reviewing if the exams are satisfying the necessities 


You will need to contemplate how your check design may impression your CI/CD pipeline and the supply of your software program to market in a well timed method whereas sustaining high quality. Having an outlined contract on your exams will permit one to onboard exams into your group’s software program supply pipeline extra effectively and scale back the speed of failure.