Shift Left? Headless Browsers? What Does It All Mean?

Posted May 14th, 2019

You’ve probably heard the phrase "shift testing left" before. But what does that even mean? Simply stated, “shift left” is an application of continuous testing best practices. Development and release velocity is increasing to support user demand for new features, and to support this acceleration, testing must adapt to ensure that bugs are found and fixed quickly without slowing development. By incorporating more testing earlier in the software development lifecycle, you can find and fix issues when they are easier and less costly than if they had been found just before deploying to production.

Shifting testing left can offer a number of benefits. Incorporating early pipeline testing helps increase not only application quality, but also the speed at which new updates and features get to users. However, early pipeline testing has its challenges as well. For example:

  • Shift-left testing means that developers are required to test more as part of their workflow. This is a cultural shift, and making the case for it can be difficult. 
  • Now that developers are understanding the benefits of early pipeline testing, they must share resources that were once reserved for QA. This often leaves teams queueing up for infrastructure, which can counteract the speed benefits discussed earlier.
  • Finally, there is the question of which tests go where in the pipeline. As quality paradigms undergo these massive shifts, it’s important to understand shift left as part of a unified testing strategy across a number of different teams. To truly see the benefits, everyone must be working for the same common goal—release better quality software, faster—to delight their users and grow their business.

Despite these challenges, teams are successfully shifting their testing left by introducing headless browser testing. By offering developers a lightweight infrastructure to provide fast feedback on code quality, and for them to scale as needed without testing becoming a bottleneck, headless testing is proving to be the right infrastructure for the unique challenges associated with early pipeline testing.

In the newest edition of Sauce Tech Talks, I explore the challenges of shift left testing, and why headless browsers have emerged as a solution to help teams deliver better quality software faster.

Learn more by watching the Tech Talk, and see why “Shift Left” isn’t just a dream, but a very achievable reality.

Written by

Alissa Lydon