There’s a fun little fact about pyramids that your average person likely doesn’t know: Most Egyptian pyramids were adorned with a pyramidion – a capstone at the very top of the pyramid often made of stone and covered in gold. And the reason why most people don’t know this is simple: hardly any of them survive today.
Within the software testing world, there exists the “Testing Pyramid,” a visualization of how teams separate and condense testing types and hierarchies. And the capstone for these testing pyramids? End-to-end test coverage.
But much like the pyramidion, complete end-to-end test coverage is scarcely seen because of two opposing goals: reducing the risk of escaping defects versus faster testing cycles. Launchable is helping teams achieve both with data-driven end-to-end test coverage.
Complete End-to-End Test Coverage Leaves No (Testing Pyramid) Stone Unturned
The Testing Pyramid is a standard method to visualize your organization’s testing efforts and priorities. It’s generally separated into layers, each test type building upon the other. Each section correlates to how integrated they are in the system and how fast the testing cycle usually is.
While the software testing pyramid helps display the typical test approaches that make up teams’ end-to-end test coverage map, it is also a mere snapshot of the fluid software testing and QA ecosystem.
The SDLC is an aqueous ecosystem of limited resources: human experts and tools. While software testing’s explicit goal is to ship a product with as few bugs as possible, and despite having a roadmap, end-to-end test coverage is often not 100% attainable.
But that is not to say that your test coverage rubric should not be as complete as possible. Instead, it means that end-to-end test coverage is less total tests run and more about the testing rations that allows you to ship an effective product while balancing the constraints of your testing resources.
Faster end-to-end test coverage first requires a completed testing pyramid, followed by data-driven test selection within your pyramid. Here are some of the pyramid building blocks needed to get started:
Laying the Foundation with Unit Tests
Unit tests are at the base of our pyramid, the type of testing that examines individual lines of code within a system. This type of testing is fast, but it’s also more isolated. Unit tests typically only test small parts of your code in isolation, which doesn’t allow you to see how it works as one cohesive unit.
However, without adequate unit testing, the entire pyramid falls apart — after all, it’s the foundation. If your teams don’t perform unit testing, you’ll be opening up yourself to a buggy, most likely inoperable product. These tests are like each brick of the pyramid; they support the rest of the tests and ensure the code works on its own before it goes anywhere else.
Bridging the Gap with Integration Tests
As our middle section, integration tests make up the center of our pyramid. With all the individual components now combined, these tests ensure they all work together as one cohesive unit. Within these tests, they check to ensure that data flows between each piece and that everything runs as expected.
But if a team skips integration testing, they’ll quickly find out why it’s such an important step. Otherwise, individual software components most likely won’t get along when combined. This means that basic functionality beyond unit testing — for example, a login system — may not work at all. The form may capture and send the data, but the API may be configured differently or return the wrong data.
Crossing the Finish Line with End-to-End Tests
At your testing pyramid's top, we’ve reached your pyramidion. End-to-end testing is software testing that verifies the flow of an application from start to finish. Like integration testing, it acts to ensure that an application works from one end to the other, hence the name. This type of testing is done by simulation user actions within your application, giving teams insight into how it would function in a production environment.
Yet, it’s impossible to put a capstone on a pyramid without the foundation and middle sections. End-to-end testing will be a nightmare if these two areas are skipped. Teams will have to cover all three aspects of testing at once — without the separation of concerns that comes with the complete testing pyramid. This means your testing cycle will be a long, grueling process that could have been avoided with data-driven end-to-end test coverage.
How to Use Launchable as Your End-to-End Test Coverage Capstone
One hundred percent end-to-end test coverage is a resource burner and kills delivery velocity. Instead, teams often settle on defining end-to-end test coverage as testing what happens most based on how users use their software. But even with that definition, faster releases are not guaranteed.
Teams often have to prioritize test coverage to reduce the risk of escaping defects at the expense of bloating their test cycles. But it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation.
Launchable helps teams maximize end-to-end test coverage while speeding up releases with data-driven test insights and predictions.
Launchable supports your end-to-end test coverage by harnessing your own test data for smarter, faster testing. Whether you’re running tests on every PR, after merging, or even nightly, you can easily apply Predictive Test Selection to your pipeline to:
Reduce infrastructure costs by analyzing your testing data over time and running a much smaller set of tests at various points in your software development lifecycle.
Get feedback earlier, so your experts can focus their time on innovation.
Keep developers happy with reliable releases from trusted data-driven test selection.
End-to-end test coverage needs visibility into your test suite health. Launchable provides Test Suite Insights, helping teams flag and fix test issues before they impact your SDLC ecosystem, including your developer experience.
Compile flaky tests by their impact so your team can prioritize them during sprint planning.
Track meaningful test suite KPI trends for a complete picture of your evolving test suites.
Discover failures and triage individual issues with a rich, detailed view of individual tests.
Faster releases require developer feedback, but alert fatigue is a plague upon dev resources. Reduce the noise from test sessions and get alerts when they matter with Personalized Test Notifications in Slack.
Minimize alert fatigue by moving your pull requests forward without unnecessary context switching waiting on test run statuses.
Maximize developer resources focused on critical tests with personal messages for each new test session that matches subscription criteria.
With data-driven test selection, insights, and notifications, Launchable helps teams magnify end-to-end test coverage while accelerating releases.