Shift Left Testing: What It Means & Why It Matters

What is Shift Left Testing?

Think of traditional software development models for a second. Testing enters the picture at the very end or to the extreme right of the pipeline. Shift Left Testing literally pushes testing to the “left,” i.e., to earlier stages in the pipeline. The Shift Left approach intends to identify and resolve bugs as early as possible in the development process. This improves software quality and reduces time spent in resolving issues (which usually magnify as development progress) later in the pipeline.

In practical terms, this translates to more tests being run by developers themselves before they push their individual code unit to version control. There are a number of tests every developer should run to contribute to the success of Shift Left Testing, and push better products.

Why Adopt a Shift Left Strategy?

When testing is paused until the end of development, any bugs that do show up will usually be more difficult to fix. Their resolution needs the software to be reworked in its entirety, since all the code has already been created. Consequences of such an approach would be:

  • Increase in cost, since software needs to be sent back and reworked from scratch.
  • Increased time to market, since such reworks will take longer to complete

Main Benefits of Shift Left Testing

  • Lower costs. As explained above, bugs detected earlier are cheaper to fix.
  • Increased efficiency in the development process.
  • Improved product quality because more bugs are detected in earlier stages.
  • Reduced time to market since the QA process doesn’t take as much time.
  • Offers a competitive advantage by letting development teams move fast, build and defend their credibility by innovating in iterations.

The Role of Real Devices in Shift Left Testing

All tests have to be run on real browsers and devices. Emulators and simulators simply do not offer the real user conditions that software must run within, making the results of any tests run on them inaccurate. Consider testing websites and apps on a real device cloud, preferably one that offers the latest devices, browsers, and OS versions.

Find a cloud Selenium grid for automated testing, which can be accelerated by parallel testing. The cloud should also provide integrations with popular CI/CD tools. Additionally in-built debugging tools let testers identify and resolve bugs immediately.

By running tests on a real device cloud, Shift Left Testing can be conducted with the assurance that they are getting accurate results every time. Comprehensive and error-free testing, starting at dev-level prevents bugs from showing up (usually magnified) at later stages, which reduces the time and effort required to handle them.

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