Supporting the Agile Development Paradigm with Agile Testing Sandboxes

Organizations are now, to some degree, aiming to move to an agile development methodology as it offers many benefits including faster delivery and better quality releases of functionality that customers want thus leading to better satrisfied and more loyal customers. Whilst modern development technologies and tools lend themselves to the concepts of agile development including the process of continuous integration, there is still a major bottleneck caused by requirements to access complex back office environments.

People often blame legacy for this but this in inaccurate. Any back-office environment starts off with a relatively simple architecture but as time moves on, it becomes ever more complex as further dependencies are added. Including the requirement to be available 24/7, one can understand why these systems are so precious. So how does one remove the bottleneck? The answers lies in a fundamental change to how applications are developed.

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Sandbox environments, which are simulations of the real test environments, run in the Cloud or using commodity hardware and software platforms on premise and can be stood up as often as is required and ‘on demand’. This offers the potential to use sandboxed systems from the earliest stage of any project offering the following benefits:

  • Prototypes no longer have to ‘pretend’ to talk to the real back office system. Sandboxes delivered the exact same experience thus functional prototypes may be created from day one ensuring that the first version of a product delivers a user experience that users have bought into.
  • Sharing environments is never easy in a continuous integration environment as the state of a real test environment is never stable enough. Using sandboxes, the state of the sandbox is always known providing a perfect platform for a continuous integration process.
  • Where an application uses multiple environments, integration testing, in trying to line up different test environments and to align the data in use, become a nightmare. By sandboxing, all of the required environments are in one place; integration and acceptance testing can be carried out anytime without waiting for specific test environments to become available.
  • Sandboxes enable the concept of ‘shift left’, offering the opportunity to find far more bugs much earlier in the development cycle saving literally thousands of developer hours spent fixing bugs that are released with the software.
  • Of course, no software can be released without testing against the real environment. However, given the amount of testing completed in advance, the testing against the real test environment is far more likely to be successful as it eventually becomes simply a validation exercise prior to release of a new version of the software.

Portus can help to create sandbox environments for test environments in days, thus supporting this new development paradigm.

 

Written by : Ostia Solutions