On average, how long would it take to discover problems with a website’s functionality? An hour? A day? Until your customers told you about it?
By utilising available automated testing software, these problems can be identified almost immediately, reducing manual work and allowing actions to be made before short term damage can occur.
At Remarkable Commerce we are constantly innovating and discovering new ways to improve both the functionality and efficiency of our projects. Therefore it is vital that we are able to monitor their performance on a daily basis and take action as soon as issues arise.
Since June last year we have employed a powerful tool – our internal Client Monitoring software, which has a huge range of useful tools available such as…
- Building unique monitor views – Provides a highly visible view of the status of a selected test task
- Compounded Folders – Allows us to organize jobs into folders which can be customized for project type, priority and other criteria
- Mission Control – A full dashboard view displaying build history, build queue and project status
At Remarkable Commerce we have been able to tailor the software to function in a way that notifies us of all statistics that are vital to maintaining solid website performance and usability.
With the appropriate configuration and automated tasks setup to run hourly, we have set the software up to:
- Pull the latest version of each client website from our version control software
- Build the entire project and immediately identify if there are any issues with erroneous code
- Do a local (loading on the developers computer only, rather than all customers seeing a change) publish of the website to ensure it includes all files needed to run the website
- Upload the locally published website to a test server and ensure it runs up in a production environment
- Run a suite of automated user tests to ensure key journeys through the website are still possible.
These include customer actions such as add to basket, edit account details, change of quantity at basket and more. We also test other behavioral actions like, if the customer proceeds to the checkout as a guest or existing account holder.
If any of these tasks fail, the full development team for the project are instantly notified that an issue has arisen through our internal Slack communication platform. Action can then be taken so it is resolved quickly and ensure that all code written at Remarkable Commerce is bullet proof before it even hits a test server.
The website monitoring reports will also include enough information to narrow down where the problem is and the updates that could have led to it happening. Again, saving a large amount of time that would have been needed to perform analysis manually.
How is this data distributed within the agency?
Our monitoring TV is a huge 50” screen in the Remarkable Commerce office, so we have real-time updates of which projects are running, passing and failing. The Slack plugin also allows us to associate each project and it’s specific test report with the corresponding Slack channel, also sending out real time notifications to team members.
We have found this method of communication around the test process extremely useful, as an agency we are able to work together and discuss report findings, identifying new methods and practices that will contribute to the overall efficiency of our work.
How can we learn from Environment Monitoring ?
As well as delivering data real-time, our testing software can have a long term benefit for Remarkable Commerce. If reoccurring issues are appearing in reports, how can current work practices be adapted to prevent them? The software can be used to identify new opportunities and features. Additional automated plugins can be used to identify website areas that require more attention and testing, utilising the unique features that the software has to offer.
What is the next phase ?
Maintaining this accuracy and speed of reporting is achievable by adding more hardware resources such as Docker – a leading containerization platform. By running the testing software on various machines, reports will be able to run faster and it will be able to handle the demand of our numerous client projects. At Remarkable Commerce, we are satisfied with the efficiency and convenience of this new process, we have gained useful information that has helped widen our understanding of the importance that automated reporting holds for our agency and clients.