To further facilitate test developers using the Test Bed, the Test Bed team now maintains a nightly build development channel that can be used to get access to new features as they are implemented.
The Test Bed team aims to continuously facilitate project managers and developers making use of its services and components. User feedback is treated as top priority input to the Test Bed’s change management and release planning, ensuring that user-requested features are always prioritised. Nonetheless, aside from developing such features, the challenge remains on how to make these available as soon as possible to users. In the case of the Test Bed’s validators (see for XML, RDF, JSON and CSV content) this has been always possible given that validators are primarily made available via their latest releases, providing fixed release milestones as a complement for users with on-premise installations.
In the case of the Test Bed’s conformance testing platform (the GITB software), the approach has differed to validators, given that updates to its components are made available via fixed releases. Although this approach favours consistency and stability, it is lacking when it comes to supporting test development, as developers can only use a requested feature after it has been published in a given release. Until a necessary feature is released, test developers are either blocked or need to apply temporary workarounds that must be revisited once the next release is published.
In the past, such blocking issues have been addressed through beta releases, unofficial releases that are made before a full release, that allow development teams to access new features earlier. Apart from enabling earlier access, beta releases represent fixed milestones that can be consistently used across a project team’s development environments. This continued consistency nonetheless comes at the cost of overhead, as project teams would need to update deployment scripts each time a new beta release of interest is published.
To render this process even more agile, the Test Bed team has now made available nightly development builds that always reflect its latest development branch. Nightly builds are automatically published on a daily basis, allowing users to configure their use once, and then pull updates whenever they become available. This approach allows important features to be made available within a few days, without needing to wait or foresee temporary workarounds. In addition, it allows users to provide further feedback on requested features, allowing them to be fine tuned based on their use case.
In terms of the updates included at any given point in nightly builds, these will typically be communicated to an interested project team by the Test Bed team, which will also provide documentation and samples before the official documentation’s update at release time. Apart from this, anyone may also consult the commits to the Test Bed’s development branch on GitHub, requesting further information for any updates found to be of interest.
Finally, it is interesting to note that detailed information on nightly builds, how to use them and how to receive updates, is provided as part of the Test Bed’s developer onboarding guide. This is the entry point documentation for any developer starting to use the GITB software and specifications to implement test cases for the Test Bed.
As a summary, the Test Bed allows test developers to configure their development environment with the approach that best suits them in terms of stability and receiving updates. Specifically:
- Use of official releases, for consistency and stability at the cost of early feature access.
- Use of beta releases, for consistency but access to features before they are released.
- Use of nightly builds, for access to new features as soon as they are developed.
By making available its nightly build channel, the Test Bed team further facilitates test development and assures that developers can use requested features as soon as possible. If you are a developer already using the Test Bed to develop conformance test cases, make sure you start by familiarising yourself with the developer onboarding guide. Developers of validators on the other hand are invited to check out the detailed guides on XML, RDF, JSON and CSV validation.
If you are completely new to the Test Bed, general details can be found in its Joinup space with its value proposition being a good starting point for newcomers. Finally, if you are interested in receiving the Test Bed’s news, apart from subscribing to notifications, you may also follow the Interoperable Europe’s social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn) for updates on the Test Bed and other interoperability solutions.