If you want to have a comprehensive understanding of software testing, at every stage of the SDLC, you need to know a bit (actually, more than a bit) about deployment testing. In this article, we’ll offer a 101-style dive into the basics of deployment testing, its objectives, benefits, and stages.
So, if you’re googling or wondering “What is deployment in software testing?”, this is the place to start.
Table Of Contents
- 1 What Is Deployment Testing in Software Testing?
- 2 The Stages of Deployment
- 3 The Benefits of Deployment Testing
- 4 Top Deployment Testing Tools to Explore
- 5 Objectives of Deployment Testing
- 6 Summary
What Is Deployment Testing in Software Testing?
At the last stage of the software development life cycle comes the deployment stage. This is where the team migrates software from the controlled development and staging environments to production (the technical term for “the real world”).
But, right before hitting production, the software must go through multiple layers of testing, and then a set of sets known as “deployment testing” to ensure that it is bug-free and provides true user satisfaction.
Deployment testing in software testing is the final line of defense against sneaky bugs, unidentified so far. This layer of testing prevents them from filtering into production and ruining software quality where it really counts. It is essential to keep users happy, maintain brand credibility and drive revenue.
In the absence of deployment testing, you might reduce time-to-market, but you’ll end up with a bug-ridden app, customer complaints, higher costs of bug fixes, and 1-star ratings. Hence, QA teams must be equipped with the required tools, knowledge, and structure required to successfully run deployment tests.
Note: Large swathes of deployment testing should ideally be automated as part of your CI/CD pipeline.
The Stages of Deployment
This stage comprises all stages before deployment. It’s essential that you identify and fix as many bugs as possible before the software hits production. Not only does this improve user experience, but also keeps your budget from fizzing into thin air – it’s cheaper to fix bugs in the early stages. Even if you somehow encounter a major bug right before the deployment date and time, it’s cheaper & faster to address it in a controlled environment.
Pre-deployment testing methods
There are many more tests you could run at the pre-deployment stage. Below we mention the most important ones:
- Functional Testing: A black box testing method meant to verify that all functions of the software work in accordance with predetermined requirements that meet business goals. The software is fed a wide range of data inputs that verify how each function responds, and whether the response matches expectations.
- Unit Testing: A test method meant to verify that each independently functioning component (“unit”) works as expected. Unit tests are run by developers; they test each patch of code to scour for errors before pushing it to the larger codebase.
- Stress Testing: A testing method meant to verify the maximum pressure software can endure before it crashes or continues to work with compromised functions. A common example is simulating heavy traffic to check when the software finally breaks. The idea is to throw abnormal conditions at a website/app to understand its limits.
- Integration Testing: A testing method meant to verify that multiple units or modules can work in tandem to execute required functions. Its primary goal is to ferret out faults in the module or the code used to integrate them.
This is it. The software you have painstakingly created and tested is now out in the world, to be used and judged by real users.
As disheartening as it sounds, there will almost always be some bugs that don’t show up in your pre-deployment tests (yes, you still have to run them). Production is a unique environment, without a million unpredictable variables you cannot always recreate in staging (though you can get very close with the right tools).
Once the software is deployed, it’s on the team to monitor, identify and rapidly fix bugs that showed up to bother users. Some of these bugs can even be introduced by the process of deployment itself.
Generally, post-deployment testing is a QA-focused exercise. Testers retest features, comb through user feedback, and monitor the real-world performance of the recently released app/site.
Post-deployment testing methods
- Release verification: Verifies that the app works as expected and exhibits the same behavior as it did in pre-deployment tests.
- Canary Testing: Release software to a certain section of real users, with the express purpose of live monitoring and collecting feedback.
- Observability: Ensure that the released software has been equipped with the required mechanisms for observability so that you can dive into details in order to identify issues and their core causes. These mechanisms also help establish a software’s success/failure rates.
- Investigate issues within the deployment mechanism. Common issues to look for are missing or misaligned configuration of environments, badly installed scripts, or production deficiencies that remain unaccounted for.
- Feature Flagging: Mark anomalous or error-prone features so they can be tested, evaluated, and rolled back (if necessary) in prod.
The Benefits of Deployment Testing
Deployment testing includes (by necessity) compatibility testing, which ensures that software works seamlessly with different hardware & software configurations – devices, browsers, operating systems, networks, etc. Such wide-ranging compatibility is needed for a website/app to work within different environments (low network, bad connectivity, low battery, etc.)
Why not try running automated compatibility tests on Testsigma? You can create an automation script in simple English.
Automate your compatibility tests for web and mobile, with Testsigma.
You might have built and released the most sophisticated, efficient, and visually stunning software in the world (let’s imagine it’s actually won awards for being amazing). But if your software cannot protect user information, no one will be willing to use what you have created.
A significant part of deployment testing entails testing an app to check for any vulnerabilities that hackers and other malicious parties could potentially exploit to access proprietary data. Thorough, comprehensive, non-negotiable security testing is essential to prevent data breaches, customer churn, revenue loss, and massive loss of brand credibility.
It is a cardinal law of software testing & QA – the earlier you find a bug, the cheaper & easier it is to fix. As a bug travels through a CI/CD pipeline and hits production, it becomes increasingly entangled with the app’s essential functions and foundational code. The more integrated it becomes, the harder it is to eliminate without affecting major functions and app stability. The hardest bugs to fix are the ones that have escaped into production.
Deployment testing ensures that you identify vulnerabilities as soon as humanly possible. This reduces costs and, in the long term, effort – devs no longer have to spend valuable bandwidth dealing with post-production bugs when they can get started on new projects.
No matter how meticulously you design and test a piece of software, it will surprise you when released into the real world. There will always be a few bugs that remained perfectly camouflage during every test you threw at the app.
This is where the “post-deployment” part of deployment testing comes in. Teams must stay on top of collecting user feedback, monitoring real-world usage, performance levels, and use all this data to craft and implement necessary updates.
A slew of functional tests will ensure that your app works exactly and you (and users) expect, even in the worst of conditions. They check for accuracy, intuitiveness, speed, and efficacy – all key features contributing to an app’s success. If your app scores badly on any of these metrics, you can expect unhappy users, which is why this layer of tests is absolutely essential.
The smoother your app, the better its user experience. Deployment testing checks to ensure that every crucial software quality exists and performs at acceptable levels (ideally, it surpasses “acceptable”). A 10/10 UX is at the core of any software’s success. If users are happy, they will keep coming back, repeat purchases and offer positive reviews that encourage other users to try out what you’re putting into the world.
At its core, deployment testing prevents the rollout of any software version with major bugs. It aims to keep the users happy with every iteration.
Top Deployment Testing Tools to Explore
Let’s discuss the deployment testing tools according to the testing types they support
Deployment Testing Tools for Functional Testing
Testsigma is a unified, fully customizable software testing platform that works out of the box. It is designed to help teams build end-to-end tests 5X faster for web, mobile apps, APIs and Desktops. You can use Testsigma to create test scripts in plain English; the scripts can self-heal and require low or no maintenance.
Used by 9000+ test engineers and developers to run tests worldwide (25 million tests & counting), Testsigma stands out by letting you create automation tests fast. You can write test steps in English, so it’s a perfectly usable tool for non-tech personnel.
You can run tests in your local browser/device or run across 800+ browsers and 2000+ devices on our cloud-hosted test lab. You can also view step-wise results for each test and analyze real-time reports & dashboards at the individual, test suite & device levels. Moreover, Testsigma’s intelligent AI automatically fixes broken scripts, heals dynamically changing elements, and suggests fixes for test failures.
Selenium is the most popular test automation tool in the world. It allows testers to design simple test scripts and run them within the browsers. Selenium offers three distinctive products:
- Selenium IDE: Lets you quickly reproduce bug scripts as well as record and playback test steps in Chrome, Firefox, or Edge
- Selenium Grid: Lets you run tests across different environments and devices simultaneously from a single dashboard.
- WebDriver: Let you create automated regression tests, and run them across environments in their browser.
Appium facilitates automated testing of native, hybrid, and web mobile apps. Its greatest advantage is that it lets users create tests for different mobile platforms with a singular API. This allows code reusability between test scripts, saving immense time and effort.
Appium is mostly open-source, comes with an active community, and doesn’t require installations, servers, or code changes. All these advantages make it a widely popular tool for app testing.
This GUI test automation framework is capable of testing web, desktop, and mobile apps. It supports languages like VB.NET and systems & OSes like Silverlight, .NET, Winforms, Java, SAP, WPF, HTML5, Flash, Flex, Windows Apps (Native/Hybrid), and iOS, and Android.
With Ranorex, you get a pretty good Record and Replay function. You can edit user actions with its Object-Based Capture/Replay Editor, which saves the time required to create test steps. Test scripts are reusable, thanks to the Test Recorder.
Ranorex provides robust UI test execution XML reports, ideal for bug reproduction and test maintenance. Reports are also accompanied by screenshots of failed tests/test steps.
TestComplete facilitates automated UI testing for desktop, web, and mobile apps. It also stands out by offerings native support for Behavioral Driven Development.
The tool is known for its user-friendly interface, powered by an AI engine that makes it easy to create, maintain and run functional tests. Since test creation takes less time and effort, you can write more tests which expands test coverage and improves overall software quality.
TestComplete is also known for offering a hybrid object recognition engine, powered, once again, by AI. It uses AI-driven, property-driven visual recognition to detect UI elements accurately and fast.
Deployment Testing tools for Integration Testing
From the above list: Testsigma, Ranorex, TestComplete, and Selenium can be used for Integration Testing too.
Deployment Testing tools for Unit Testing
Below are some tools that can be used for unit testing as a part of deployment testing:
JUnit is an open-source unit testing framework that supports Java and is known for its efficacy in facilitating test-driven development. It belongs to a family of unit testing frameworks popularly known as xUnit.
Basically, you set up your test data first and then build software code around it. JUnit users like to call this approach “test a little, code a little, test a little, code a little”. This technique has been proven to amp up productivity and software stability because all code is intrinsically designed to pass necessary tests. Consequently, devs have to spend less time debugging the app post-release, because not too many bugs show up in already tested code.
xUnit is an umbrella name, referring to multiple unit testing frameworks that draw their hierarchy and ability from SUnit, a framework created back in 1998. Currently, xUnit acts as an open-source unit testing framework for .Net. It works best with .Net aligned languages like C#, VB.Net, and F#.
xUnit doesn’t require any installation and is often used with ReSharper, Xamarin, TestDriven.Net, and a Console runner that lets you run unit tests.
xUnit is particularly favored for the fact that it allows wide extensibility of test classes and test methods.
Like JUnit, NUnit also belongs to the xUnit family. However, this framework is written in C#. It supports all .Net languages and is similar to JUnit in functionality. This open-source framework was originally ported from JUnit, but has been restructured to offer multiple unique, new features that present-day testers require to verify modern software.
NUnit 3.0 has been released under the MIT license. It is known for being user-friendly; testers can start utilizing it after going through a short and gentle learning curve.
Deployment Testing tools for Stress Testing
Below are some tools that can be used for stress testing as a part of deployment testing:
Apache JMeter is an open-source Apache project designed to load test applications and measure their performance under high-stress levels. While originally designed to test only web applications or FTP applications, it is now capable of testing apps across the board. You can, for example, use it to run functional tests and database server tests.
JMeter can be used to test the performance of static and dynamic peers, especially dynamic applications designed for the internet. Use it to simulate heavy traffic on a single server or cluster of servers, networks, and objects to check how they respond to different loads emerging from user traffic.
BlazeMeter is a continuous testing platform, which comes with a wide range of functions to run, among others, stress tests. This is a paid tool, though you can try out its free starter plan to get acquainted with its services.
BlazeMeter lets your run performance tests for web & mobile apps as well as microservices and APIs. You can check software performance against heavy loads at every stage, and judge its efficacy with analytics data and extensive collaboration.
You can use BlazeMeter to upload and configure test scripts, using open-source frameworks like JMeter, Selenium, Locust, and more. It gives you granular control – you can manage threads, hits/sec, arrival rates, and more – in real time. You can run tests for smaller components, and leverage parallel testing for faster results.
Objectives of Deployment Testing
- Identify and explore issues that end-users might face when using the software.
- To evaluate the scalability of the system – how many users can it handle without any lapse in function?
- To evaluate software stability in different conditions – low internet connectivity, low battery, etc.
- To analyze performance levels – discovery rate, trap processing rate, data collection rate, etc.
- To ensure that the software works seamlessly in as many end user scenarios and humanly possible.
Deployment testing refers to multiple layers of testing any software must go through before being released to production. It is required to ensure that software does not find its way to real-world users while riddled with bugs, errors, and bad UX.
There are multiple stages of deployment testing, each stage comprising specific tests. These stages have been defined above, as are the tests that belong to each stage.
The article also dives into the benefits and objectives of deployment testing. We also lay out five major tools that can help you set up, execute and manage deployment tests with minimal time & hassle – automation is essential.