While 2018 was the year for planning and implementing shift-left methodologies in testing, mainframe and server testers were, for the most part, left behind. These legacy infrastructure experts were tied down to old-school testing tools. Mainframes kept functioning, but tools and testing practices often became bottlenecks, preventing performance testing teams from testing more quickly mid-cycle and pre-release.
The future of testing is in open source, and finally there are open source solutions being developed and tailored for mainframe testers. Now, mainframe testers can also shift left and become agile.
Here are four reasons why mainframe developers and testers will benefit from shifting lift and embracing open source testing technologies:
Apache JMeter, BlazeMeter (open-source based), Taurus and Jenkins are ideal substitutes for legacy tools, for two reasons. These open source tools are very easy to use, so developers and testers can use them themselves. In addition, they can be automated easily—once scripts are set up, they just run, and developers can get the results and monitor the system and their code.
These two reasons are the building blocks of what shifting left is all about: frequent releases. There is a much quicker option than developing, waiting for QA to run tests, arguing with QA about the results, fixing the code, waiting for test results again, realizing you forgot to commit an important part of the fix, sending the code again, waiting for tests and pulling an all-nighter to fix the code for the last time only to realize that your code clashes with a team member’s code and you can’t release.
By integrating your code tests into the development pipeline, every piece of code is immediately and automatically tested, on its own and encapsulated with other parts of the code. Once the code is approved, a new version is immediately released, to the customer’s/user’s benefit. This also benefits the developers by giving them a clean slate to continue working on. If the code needs fixing, no problem—an alert is sent to the developer, who can easily identify the problem and fix it. The fixed code is immediately tested and released. Now that’s much easier and much more motivating for everyone involved.
Fewer Bugs, Higher Code Quality
Shifting left means more automated tests are run—and more frequently. By constantly checking the system for errors and by running tests every build, you and your team are constantly being alerted of errors, which you can then immediately fix. The result is higher quality code and much better system performance.
Another positive outcome is less hassle for your team when developing, because you don’t have to keep dwelling on previous version errors. Those have already been fixed or dealt with, so you can focus on future plans and exciting developments, which will materialize in higher code quality.
Shifting left means faster and automated testing, resulting in a higher-quality product. By running more tests in parallel all the time, testers and developers can focus on developing new code, resulting in savings for the business. If you’re running tests in the cloud, you’re also saving infrastructure costs.
A higher velocity of releases with quicker fixes and new features results in more satisfied customers, who stay with you instead of moving to your competitors. Customers stay with companies they feel is concentrating on the future, which is why Gartner’s Magic Quadrant “Visionary” recognition is considered to be a big deal for the testing industry.
Better Team Collaboration
The idea of automation and continuous testing might come across as being detrimental to teamwork, but the opposite is true. Even though developers become more self-sufficient with their own code, this complete ownership actually encourages teamwork. Team members will collaborate more on joint feature development through shared workspaces and dashboards, with each developer bringing the code they produced to integrate with others. They also will work together to discover the system’s shortcomings and learn how they can fix bugs and bottlenecks.
Shift-left and automation for mainframe means more time for feature development, getting customer feedback and responding to it; quicker fixes; and faster releases. This is crucial for competing in the market, providing the best services, attracting the highest-quality workforce and maintaining product security.
Start Your Mainframe Testing with Open Source Tools
BlazeMeter recently contributed the JMeter RTE plugin to the open source community. This plugin enables load and functional testing on JMeter for IBM 3270- and 5250-based applications.
Running mainframe tests enables mainframe developers and testers to finally introduce agility to their testing habits, bringing mainframe testers in line with their coworkers who already embraced shift left and open source testing toolkits.