September 26, 2020

11 Ways That Automation Is Streamlining Software Development

From the California Business Journal Tech Newswire.

Software development has changed repeatedly over the years. Now, developers use practices such as continuous integration and continuous development to ensure they ship the best app or software possible. Project requirements are also getting more complicated, which is forcing companies to hire more people. When you have many more people working on a project, that increases the complexity of the project a few times over. Because of this, companies are starting to use automation as a viable solution to help streamline the software development process.

Creating a Better Workflow

Software development companies have always found it challenging to assign tasks. This is because software development is rarely a linear process. Automation helps with the assignment of tasks so that everyone knows what they should be working on at any given time. This makes it easier for the team leader to see who is working on what, and they are better able to judge the state and progress of a particular project.

Automation tools like Zapier and automatic Kanban boards are just some of the tools that could be used to make this as simple as possible.

Automation Makes it Easier to Integrate New Changes

When people work in a team, different developers use slightly different coding. This is not a problem where changes can be reviewed manually and integrated into the main codebase. For larger teams, this is almost impossible. Automation can compare the changed code and add it into the main codebase only if there are no conflicts. This saves time and increases productivity as only code that does not pass needs to be reviewed manually.

Automation Ensures Everyone Is Working in the Same Environment

When working in a team, it is likely that everyone has a different type of computer or laptop in addition to having different operating systems. Some work on Windows, some on Mac, and some on Linux. These are all different development environments that are likely different from the production environment (where the app or software is deployed).

This gives rise to a situation where the code might run on one developer’s machine (development environment) and not run very well or at all on the production environment. Some companies can manually replicate different environments across their developer machines and production servers, but that is almost impossible for a larger company.

Automation makes it easier to replicate production and development environments so that everyone is working in the same environment. This means that if one machine can run the code, all machines, including the production server, can run the code.

Automation Makes it Easier to Test an App or Software

Testing code manually is impossible in a large codebase. This is especially true when you have different people working on different parts of the software. Automaton helps you test the different parts of the software as it is built and added to the final code. This means there are fewer errors with the final code in addition to making the final test run faster and easier.

Testing code can be convoluted, especially if you do not know how to implement test automation for the first time. If you do not know how to implement test automation, companies like Global App Testing can help you out. Global App Testing gives you access to over 40,000 testers who take a closer look at your final app or software to ensure there are no bugs and that it functions as expected. They combine this with intelligent test automation, so you ship the highest quality code from anywhere to anywhere else in the world.

Automation Saves Time

Automation is used in software development to save time and increase productivity. Manually pulling down the latest codebase so that you can begin working can take some time, but if you can have that code any time you need it because it was automatically updated on the main branch and then downloaded onto your machine, that saves you a lot of time.

Automation also saves you time when doing tests. A lot of software companies require that you add tests for each major part of the code that you finish. Testing the code manually after every stage and again at the end of the development process wastes a lot of time. Instead, developers write tests that run automatically after the development is done.

Faster Feedback

Developers need to know that one section of their code works before they move onto other tasks. Automation gives them instant feedback as soon as they run their tests, so they know if they can move on or need to make some changes to their code.

This is a better way of working than finishing a large section of the code only to find out that you have some bugs at the very start of the code that makes that whole section unusable.

Automation also improves communication between developers. Automation lets other developers know of any bugs and glitches faster. This way, developers know exactly what needs to be fixed immediately when it comes up. This has the added effect of increasing the whole team’s productivity.

Automation Improves Code Quality and Consistency

Different developers set tests up differently depending on their experience and expertise. This means it is possible to get varied results using different tests from different developers if those tests are run against the same codebase. This makes it challenging to gauge the quality of the code if each test produces a different result.

Although setting up the initial tests will take some time, automating the test process ensures there is consistency in test results, meaning that if the tests are set up right, the quality of all the code that is run against those tests will be high enough and consistent regardless of the developer who wrote it.

It Allows Breakdowns to Be Resolved Quickly

Software breaks all the time, especially in the development stage. Automated testing can detect any anomalies and issues before they become a problem. It can help pinpoint exactly where the problem is and help the software developers resolve the problem and get back to working on the main software branch faster.

It Allows for the Compartmentalization of Code

Cascading errors, where one error causes others down the line, can cripple a whole project. This happens quite often with new developers who add new features to existing code and break something downstream. Automated tests allow for the compartmentalization of problems so that they do not affect the larger codebase. This allows other software developers to keep working on their portion, ensures the main software does not stall, and gives the developer who noticed the problematic code enough time to resolve it.

It Gives Developers the Tools to Double-Check Everything

Software works how it was coded in addition to how the developer wants it to work. This means that even if software seems to be running correctly, it might have a bug that the developer cannot see. It also means that it is working the way it was coded but not how the developer wants it to. Automated testing ensures both of these things happen at the same time e.g. the software works as it was coded, while doing exactly what the developer wants it to.

Automation in software development touches everything from the way tasks are assigned to the way code is tested. Because automation affords software development teams so many benefits, including helping streamline the development process, every software development company should find ways to put automation in place.

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