6 Essential software testing tools to add to your arsenal in 2019

Evandro Miquelito, Last updated on April 5, 2019

It’s 2019, and speed is more essential to software development than ever before. The top IT performers deploy applications on-demand multiple times every day, while their competitors lagging behind may release code only a few times per month.

To join this elite group of high performers, software development teams need to be able to release fast without breaking things. The only way to achieve this is by having a rock-solid development process supported by cutting-edge technology with multiple layers of automation.

In this article, we’ll discuss 6 software testing tools that will help you move more quickly and release a higher-quality final product.

Cypress

End-to-end testing checks whether an application is working correctly by observing its flow from start to finish. Organizations such as DHL, Shopify, and even NASA have adopted Cypress, an end-to-end testing framework for writing and automating tests in JavaScript.

Cypress makes it easy for users to get started writing and running tests. You can watch the test execute in real time right in your browser, complete with human-readable error messages that make it easier to debug any issues. Cypress takes snapshots for you while your tests run on any front-end framework or website.

With the Cypress framework, there’s no need to use Selenium, WebDriver, or an external testing library such as Mocha or Karma—just a single smooth, all-in-one experience.

Mabl

Mabl leverages the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to make your testing and QA processes easier and more efficient. The Boston-based startup seeks to reduce some of the pain points around using Selenium, like breaking your test suite when you make changes to your application’s front-end elements. The Mabl tool integrates with a variety of popular development tools, including Jenkins, Bamboo, Travis CI, Slack, Jira, and Bitbucket.

By analyzing vast quantities of data from your tests—including logs, HTML data, images, and errors—Mabl can understand the expected behavior of your website and uncover deviations from that behavior. For example, by measuring the time that it takes for the pages on your site to load, Mabl can detect that a certain page is having performance issues when it loads more slowly than usual.

Squash

Squash is a cutting-edge replacement for traditional development, staging, and QA servers, and a very handy tool for your user acceptance testing (UAT) process. It behaves like a development environment on steroids, giving you the power to experiment with changes with zero DevOps time.

With Squash, you have unique virtual machines for each branch of code in your repository, each with its own unique URL. This allows teams to quickly preview a fully working version of their application with the changes made in the branch.

The service also helps to reduce server costs and bugs, since the environments are fully automated and isolated. Deployments are active only when you need them, with automatic shutdown policies to save you money and eliminate server waste. You can scale the number of deployments up and down automatically, as best fits your business. Squash also comes with very handy features such as the ability to upload data to share across deployments through an assets storage, SSH/Shell access by default and an optional persistent storage to keep your data intact between runs.

Percy

Traditionally, user interface testing has been slow and error-prone, requiring developers to monitor manually examine changes to a website’s appearance. All that has changed with the arrival of tools like Percy, which calls itself an “all-in-one visual review platform” for discovering changes to your website’s look and feel.

When you make changes to your code base, you need to perform regression tests to make sure that the user interface looks the way you want it to. The goal of Percy is to add structure and consistency to the UI testing process. The tool automatically detects pixel-by-pixel changes, taking snapshots so that you can clearly identify the differences.

Gremlin

Chaos engineering is the idea of stress testing taken to its extreme: the notion that systems should be tested by subjecting them to chaotic and/or novel conditions to understand their behavior. Gremlin is a website testing tool with the goal of “resiliency through orchestrated chaos.”

The software provides a safe and secure environment for you to unleash virtual “gremlins” upon your website. You can test a variety of different failure scenarios—from exhausted memory resources to unreliable network connections—and see how your system responds. By isolating the weak points of your website, you can proactively move to fix them before they become a real problem for your users.

BackstopJS

Another visual regression testing tool like Percy, BackstopJS has the additional benefit of being open-source, helping you automate your testing workflow at lower cost. The tool includes support for screen rendering with Headless Chrome, PhantomJS and SlimerJS, as well as scripted browser interactions via Chromy and CasperJS.

Once you’ve made changes to your website’s code, BackstopJS provides an in-browser reporting tool with a visual diff inspector. As such, you can get immediate feedback about exactly how the interface has changed.

BackstopJS users rave about the tool’s ease of installation, configuration, and use. Whether you use it as a basic sanity check or an essential part of your regression tests, BackstopJS has a lot to recommend it.

Conclusion

Adopting the 6 tools mentioned above will help you make your development environment faster, more automated, and ultimately more efficient for your human employees. Besides these 6 tools, modern dev teams need a solid pipeline for continuous integration/continuous delivery, unit tests, and best software engineering practices such as code reviews.

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