Test harnesses

With everything going towards continuous delivery, ironic how you don’t see any unit test apparatus in the products. Even the new stuff. Asking for a Unit test harness is like asking for an Audi engine in a Chevy truck.”
Douglas Stevenson

Great call-out here from Dougie in a comment about why Network Engineers don’t trust software.

DevOps / continuous delivery is all about providing a constantly evolving solution to our customers. Rapid releases rather than big-bang change. But if we’re going to offer continuous delivery, we have to ensure we have continuous testing to ensure we’re not breaking existing functionality. If we’re going to offer continuous testing, it has to be automated to be efficient. And to automate testing, it means we have to have some sort of test harness that can run the same tests (on the same data) and compare each test result with an approved baseline result.

Dougie has a point. How many product vendors do you know of that provide specific hooks to connect test harnesses to so that their customers can run automated regression testing?

I’m currently working with an organisation that “gets” programmatic test harnesses. We’re currently developing and using it heavily because of the massive regression challenge of working for a customer that’s forever customising its best-of-breed OSS. It’s primarily used to test machine-to-machine interfaces currently, but can also support GUI-based testing.

Whilst it’s only currently used for internal (factory test) purposes, I can’t help but see it as a saleable feature for customers in the future.

What do you think? Would customers pay extra for this capability or would they just expect it to be thrown in for free in the core product?

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