Modern-day software solutions continuously expand and evolve along their whole life cycle. As a result, they become more and more complex and all-encompassing in terms of performance and capability. Although this expansion is critical to rapid technology development, it also makes software products challenging to maintain. This is true for mobile apps, desktop programs, and web solutions. Sometimes It may even seem like bugs and issues just keep growing no matter how much time and effort your team invests in quality assurance measures.
Issues with code, compatibility, and integration are common to a large number of IT departments and in companies across industries. Unfortunately, they are normal for companies with unmodernized IBM i platforms powering their apps, and 1980s or 1990s legacy solutions. Simply put, in the case of old 5250 IBM i green-screens, most companies need full-fledged application modernization. It is a mistake, however, to think that simply modernizing IBM i infrastructure and implementing modern enterprise apps is enough. Unfortunately, companies that fail to recognize the importance of quality assurance or choose to neglect it often make this error.
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What are ways to boost enterprise software quality assurance?
Of course, effective quality assurance has always been relevant. It has been a factor since companies started to produce software for external use. But, for many businesses who’ve been enjoying IBM i’s reliability and uninterrupted performance for decades quality assurance only becomes an issue after they adopt new software solutions or migrate to other platforms.
Software QA is a broad field. It has many nuances, technical and otherwise. Without going too deep, let’s take a look at some tips to help companies avoid the consequences of bad QA. Likewise, let’s look at how you can better address the quality of your internal and external software products. This includes software both for organizations and private consumers.
Should I initiate software testing early in the development cycle?
Of course! Unfortunately, implementing quality assurance late during development, prior to release, or even after releasing a product, is a common mistake. Even though it is common knowledge that the cost of fixing a software bug increases significantly after each stage of development. According to this study ( http://jitm.ubalt.edu/XXII-1/article2.pdf ) by the Journal of Information Technology Management, the costs actually multiply by 10 with each new development stage.
Should I plan, define and document all aspects of software testing and QA?
Yes! Software testing and QA, valuable components of the development process, require a serious, well-considered approach. Just like architecting, programming, and implementing software solutions, all QA processes should be planned, defined, and documented. This includes the contributions from all shareholders of the final product. A complete software quality assurance management plan is a comprehensive document that includes many separate items. These include:
- General test plan. A basic document that encompasses all things related to testing. This includes what and when to test, as well as how to conduct the testing and who is supposed to test.
- Testing strategy. A more detailed product-level document that addresses issues related to the testing of a specific software product.
- Test cases. As defined ( https://www.istqb.org/ ) by ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board), a test case is a set of input values, execution preconditions, expected results, and execution postconditions, developed for a particular objective or test condition. The goal is to exercise a particular program path or to verify compliance with a specific requirement.
Should I implement test-driven development?
Certainly. It only makes sense to implement quality assurance measures from the earliest stage of the development cycle. But don’t stop there. The next logical QA step is to adopt more sophisticated development methodologies and test-oriented management approaches.
One approach with great potential to boost the quality of software testing is test-driven development (TDD). TDD implies a stringent test-first approach. It requires developers actually write tests before implementing any code. So, in line with test-driven development, every cycle and the development of each new feature begins with writing a test.
How can I create a strong and empowered QA team?
More often than not, companies that have problems with quality assurance also have flawed QA teams. These flaws manifest in several ways. QA teams may be understaffed or employ adequately skilled individuals. Likewise, they may not have access to proper work conditions or instruments. The relationship and level of communication within the team and with other groups are also important. Sometimes, developers and other departments see QA specialists as teams of secondary importance.
What development tools can improve your software QA?
Achieving a high level of software quality and establishing effective QA processes is a challenge that shouldn’t be oversimplified. That said, certain changes outside of the QA field help guarantee modernization success and minimize the need for QA.
To be specific, one of the best ways to ensure the quality of your software is to select the appropriate software development tool.
Visual LANSA is a low-code development platform that enables accelerated application development by simplifying the process and minimizing the need to have technical skills in order to complete an IBM i app development project.
LANSA incorporates a variety of powerful tools, including several instruments exclusively for the IBM i platform. LANSA’s goal is to make the modernization of IBM i apps and related systems as easy as possible.
Web-enabling your 5250 IBM i applications is a must if you want to achieve improvements in their quality assurance testing. To easily turn 5250 green screens into web-enabled apps, LANSA has a special tool — aXes.
aXes is a tailor-made tool that automates the creation of web-enabled IBM i 5250 applications. It transforms existing 5250 screens into web pages out-of-the-box, without changing source code.
aXes includes an API that allows developers to create programs that automatically operate applications written with RPG or COBOL. In addition, other applications can use aXes to simulate the actions of a person entering data on-screen in a 5250 application. This feature makes it possible to integrate existing 5250 apps with .NET, Java, or other 5250s without changing their source code. aXes caters to a wide range of automation options with versions of the API for .NET for Windows, Java for IBM i and Windows, and RPG for IBM i.
What specific QA solutions are worth trying?
Talking about specialized QA solutions, here are two products by LANSA’s sister companies that we recommend to companies dealing with QA problems in 2022.
TestRail by Gurock
TestRail by Gurock is a test case and test management software tool that helps teams manage and track their software testing efforts.
Quality assurance testing tools by Ranorex Studio
Ranorex Studio provides a powerful set of tools for test automation. It is a GUI test automation framework used to test web-based, desktop, and mobile applications. Ranorex does not have its own scripting language to automate applications. It uses standard programming languages such as VB.NET and C#.
Why is LANSA the key solution to enable the high quality of your enterprise apps?
Even though there are a wide variety of QA tools and solutions available today, many companies, especially the ones that rely on IBM i powered IT infrastructure, still have a hard time with quality assurance. They lack a powerful foundational tool to simplify software development, ease legacy modernization, and improve scalability as well as address other needs.
As you have probably guessed, Visual LANSA is that foundational tool. LANSA’s platform is legendary among the IBM i business users community. It enables the creation of more efficient and accelerated business line applications that also support cross-platform or flexible deployment and integrations.
Not to get into too many details (check our customer case studies if you want to know more from enterprise LANSA users first-hand), organizations across various fields and industries choose LANSA for their development efforts due to its affordable pricing. Its reasonable costs mean quick ROI, high-quality project support, rich multiplatform support for on-premise systems as well as a very low entry threshold for new users.
Why do developers prefer LANSA to other tools?
Software developers, who carry the weight of quality assurance practices on their shoulders, use Visual LANSA because it allows them to address and either cure or minimize a wide range of pain points. Some of the most commonly mentioned problems that LANSA helps them to solve would be:
- Rapidly changing software development tools and requirements, making it hard to keep up.
- Worsening developer productivity crisis (developer productivity decreases).
- IT talent gap and problems with hiring coders.
- Not having enough resources to modernize and innovate.
- Difficulties integrating new tools with legacy solutions.
- High costs of software maintenance.
- inability to scale for growing business needs.
Are you ready to drive your software to the next level?
LANSA’s platform combines all the right trends in modern-day software development as well as digital transformation. It helps organizations truly utilize the power of automation and digital transformation technologies. LANSA is also the solution for organizations that need to implement IBM i modernization and data integration quickly, reliably, and with limited developer resources.
Interested to learn more about IBM i apps modernization? If so, you should download this exclusive LANSA white paper on the topic. It covers modernization challenges in general and explains how to use LANSA’s Rapid Application Modernization Process (RAMP), a single integrated solution that addresses both immediate and strategic modernization requirements of IBM i users.
Ready to begin? Get in touch with us to start using Visual LANSA for your app development and modernization needs.