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Best of TechBeacon 2019: App dev and testing pros share best practices

Jaikumar Vijayan Freelance writer

Many organizations that have implemented agile development practices are struggling to derive full value from them because of a variety of factors, including a slowness to jettison conventional approaches and a failure to adopt best practices.

TechBeacon's top app dev and testing stories for 2019 examine some of the biggest challenges organization face in implementing agility. Experts in the field share what organizations are doing right—and where they are going wrong with agility and test automation techiques and tools. Get their recommendations on the best practices and approaches to software development in the agile era.


How to create and lead high-performing agile teams: 8 secrets

Establishing and building effective agile teams for software development doesn't have to be complicated. But you have to be willing to jettison traditional views of organizational and team dynamics, say Mary Thorn, agile practice lead of Vaco, and Bob Galen, principal agile coach at Vaco, in this report. Thorn, who has held management-level positions at various software development organizations, and Galen, a longtime practitioner, offer eight tips for building a solid agile team. 

4 agile best practices every enterprise architect should follow

Software architects play an important role in agile development environments. Without them, code management can become a nightmare. Because many of the command-and-control mechanisms that exist in traditional development environments are not present in agile, things can get ugly as sprints go by. Independent consultant Joydip Kanjilal offers four agile best practices for enterprise architects to follow.

Agile extended: 3 business agility trends to watch in 2019

At many organizations, agile practices are expanding outside of IT—​into product development, portfolio management, and human resources groups. Companies that have embarked on a business agility mission are experiencing tangible benefits even as they struggle to overcome entrenched culture and processes to do so. Agile consultant Yvette Francino says that instead of IT organizations focusing on improving just their own workflow using agile, they should work to enable agility across the business.

3 ways silos sneak into agile teams—and how to tear them down

Work silos are one common roadblock that keep development teams from benefiting fully from agile practices. Though agile has been around for nearly 20 years and is one of the most discussed development approaches, implementation continues to be a challenge in many organizations because of work silos within agile teams. Shawn P. Conlin, quality engineer at virtual tabletop maker Roll20.net, explains how such silos can creep into development environments and offers tips on how to demolish them.

App Dev

Forget monoliths vs. microservices. Cognitive load is what matters.

Often discussions around the effective delivery and operation of modern software tend to devolve into a debate over monolithic versus microservices approaches. The real guiding principle should be cognitive load. So say Matthew Skelton, head of consulting at Conflux, and Manuel Pais, an independent DevOps and delivery consultant. They provide an overview of monoliths and microservices and explain why cognitive overload can undermine team ownership and software supportability.

Why your COBOL code isn't going anywhere

Just because COBOL has been around for six decades doesn't mean it has become obsolete. On the contrary, COBOL use continues to be strong and many businesses applications that were written in the language continue to evolve and thrive. Here, Mark Conway, director of the Office of the CTO at Micro Focus, looks at some of the reasons behind COBOL's amazing resilience and explains why the venerable language isn't going away anytime soon.

10 programming languages defining the future of coding

Figuring out which of the current programming languages will have the biggest impact on future coding can be difficult. Some languages, such as COBOL, have lasted decades, and others, including Java and R, have been at the forefront for years as well. However, for every COBOL, Java, and R, there are many other languages that once appeared promising but have since fallen by the wayside. Freelance writer Peter Wayner looks into his crystal ball and serves up a list of the top programming languages that will likely define coding in the future.

8 open-source tools that will lift your API game

Forward-leaning platform architects know how to create self-service developer portals that match the needs of their developers. The capability is crucial because the use of APIs—mostly based on the OpenAPI Spec—is rising. In this report, independent consultant Bill Doerrfeld identifies eight open-source tools that can help platform architects improve usability and make the overall API experience better for developers.


6 test automation tools developers love

One reason developers are resistant to doing security testing is that the testing tools just aren't fun to use, says Joe Colantonio, founder of TestGuild—​a site dedicated to software test automation. Though scrum and agile practices were supposed to have established a whole-team approach to testing, there still is a big divide between developers and testing at many organizations, Colantonio says. He reveals tips on how to make testing fun again for developers, and the six tools that developers enjoy using. 

How to stamp out intermittent testing issues with periodic automation

Intermittent, hard-to-reproduce, and sometimes catastrophic issues can be very frustrating for testers. Most automated tests involve looking for problems at event boundaries or at the point where some code might have changed in an application. But such tests are of little use in reproducing intermittent issues that don't occur at predictable points or schedules. Paul Grizzaffi, principal automation architect at Magenic, spells out why periodic automation in addition to event-boundary testing is a good approach for dealing with intermittent issues.

3 ways to get test automation done within your sprints

Doing automated tests on features you introduce during a sprint—before you exit the sprint—can be challenging. But organizations that don't do it are heightening their risk and accumulating technical debt. While automation engineers work on developing tests for previous sprints, more and more features get introduced into the code without proper regression testing. Angie Jones, senior developer advocate at Applitools, recommends three approaches for resolving the problem.

How to make your test automation run in parallel

Running tests in parallel is a great way to speed up automated UI testing—if you know how to do it. There are several requirements for automated tests that can run in parallel, says Nikolay Advolodkin, CEO and senior test automation engineer at Ultimate QA. Here he lists four requirements that some of Ultimate QA's customer use to run 50,000 automated tests daily. They include the need for automated tests to be atomic and autonomous.

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