Applitools this week revealed it has acquired Preflight, which provides a low-code automation platform infused with machine learning algorithms that makes it possible for developers to write their own tests.
Applitools COO Moshe Milman said Preflight extends the company’s efforts to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to shift more testing capabilities left toward application developers using its existing test automation platform. The Applitools platform is compatible with frameworks such as Selenium, Playwright and Cypress.
One of the major challenges organizations encounter as they encourage developers to run more tests is that many of them don’t have the skills required to write them. Applitools’ AI capabilities reduce the cognitive load required to create and run tests, noted Milman.
The goal isn’t so much to replace dedicated application testing teams but to enable developers to more easily test code as they build it, noted Milman. There will always be a need for dedicated testing teams to evaluate more complex use cases for applications, he added.
The issue is, thanks to advances in DevOps automation, the pace of application development is outpacing the testing resources available, said Milman. IT teams need to invest in test automation to close what has become a quality gap because not enough code is being thoroughly tested, he noted.
Test automation also serves to reduce the total cost of creating tests. That enables organizations to conduct more tests without slowing down application development, noted Milman.
In the longer term, Applitools also plans to leverage large language models (LLMs) to provide generative AI capabilities alongside existing support for machine learning algorithms to further automate testing, noted Milman. Applitools is already making use of computer vision to automate app testing. Preflight adds a set of tools infused with AI to create tests.
The reasons behind inadequate application testing aren’t entirely clear. Whether it’s because tests are too difficult to create or development teams simply run out of time because of scheduling delays, the impact is the same. Too often, developers convince themselves they will address any issues that might arise with the next update only to become distracted by other priorities. Regardless of the reason, however, there are more poorly-tested applications running in production environments than many DevOps teams would prefer. In fact, much of the technical debt IT organizations need to manage today can be traced back to inadequate testing.
However, as testing tools become more automated, the overall quality of applications should improve and technical debt may become less of an issue. In the meantime, automated testing promises to improve overall developer productivity as it becomes simpler for developers to create code that has been, at the very least, vetted by algorithms before being added to a codebase. In effect, developers are running out of excuses for not testing applications before delivering them to unsuspecting end users.