IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - March/April 2017 - 47
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problem or to release, knowing a
bug exists in the code.
However, running automated
tests as a regular part of the
development operations helps
find defects as soon as they're
introduced. These can be easily
mapped to code changes that
occurred since the previous successful test run. As a result, they
can be fixed faster and earlier in
the release cycle. Therefore, auto-
mated testing can both improve
quality and reduce risk. This is
known as shift-left testing-where
testing occurs earlier in the project
timeline-and is a key DevOps
practice. Read about how this is an
improvement in "DevOps Practices
in the Real World," below.
An automated test is a program
(or script or job) that invokes the
DevOps Practices in the Real World
Last October, as the IBM Developer for z Systems* (IDz)
team entered the test phase for two fix packs scheduled
that month, I received an email notification that I had been
assigned a new defect. To my surprise, the defect's scenario
involved content assist (autocomplete) in a source code
editor and only occurred when a certain combination of
formatting preferences was enabled.
As an IDz developer with a decade of experience on
the team, I wasn't surprised that a defect was found in a
component I was responsible for or that it was in the product
for several releases. What surprised me were the required
complex configuration steps to reproduce the defective
behavior. These weren't the types of defects typically found
by our testers in the course of testing routine fix packs,
which can occur as often as once a month. How had
our tester found the time and creative energy to test this
byzantine scenario during a one-month release cycle while
simultaneously testing two fix pack releases?
The answer lay in the adoption of many DevOps practices in the past two years. Previously, IDz released fix
packs every one or two quarters rather than the one-permonth cycle that is common today. As part of an overall
effort to enable the product to bring releases to market with
increasing frequency, the IDz team invested in automated
tests. The automated tests run every day, on every build, and
cover many scenarios normally tested to make sure product
quality hasn't regressed. Not only do the automated tests
ensure the quality of the product on a day-to-day basis by
testing function early and often, but the coverage provided
by automation also frees up testers to explore more corner
cases and integration scenarios while testing. This was how
the tester found the defect.
This is an example of the power of shift-left testing-
where testing occurs earlier in the project timeline-and is
a key DevOps practice. Like the IDz team, businesses are
adopting this practice in their mainframe IT teams to maintain
or increase product quality while accelerating release cycles.
Code is code, and effective working code is priceless. There is no
business sensibility in converting
from one involved/evolved effective code base to another involved/
evolved, unproven code base. The
digital age is about turning ideas
that matter into deliverables that
make a difference-continuously.
It's futile to search for the holy grail
of syntax. It doesn't exist. Polyglot
developers know there's no perfect
syntax and use-case requirements
(e.g., existing effective code base,
performance, security, etc.) that
trump their "favorite" language.
Development artisans need the
ability to use their preferred tools
evolved and involved legacy code
bases using agile/DevOps methods.
This requirement transcends all platforms and languages.
What's awesome for mainframe
customers is that COBOL is getting dramatically "de-legacied."
New tools and technologies
will enable mainframe code to
be fully included in mainstream
agile/DevOps methods-and will
millennial developers to quickly,
easily and safely update mainframe
applications. The result: IT will be
requirements across multiplatform
environments that include core,
back-end mainframe systems.
Before joining Compuware in 2014,
Chris was CEO of VelociData, CEO
of Nimsoft, EVP of CA's cloud products and solutions, and EVP/GM of
CA's mainframe business unit, where
he led the successful transformation
of that division.
MARCH/APRIL 2017 // 47
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