So with all the automated testing buzz occurring in the quality world of ubuntu this cycle, I wanted to speak a little about why we're doing the work, and what the output of the work looks like.

The Why
So, why? Why go through the trouble of writing tests for the code you write? I'll save everyone a novel and avoid re-hashing the debate about whether testing is a proper use of development time or not. Simply put, for developers, it will prevent bugs from reaching your codebase, alleviate support and maintenance burdens, and will give you more confidence and feedback during releases. If you want your application to have that extra polish and completeness, testing needs to be a part. For users, the positives are similar and simple. Using well tested software prevents regressions and critical bugs from affecting you. Every bug found during testing is a bug you don't have to deal with as an end user. Coincidentally, if you like finding bugs in software, we'd love to have you on the team :-)

The How
In general, three technologies are being used for automated testing.
Autopilot, Autopkg, and QML tests. Click to learn more about writing tests for each respectively.
Any color is good, as long as it's green
The Results
The QA Dashboard
The dashboard holds most of the test results, and gives you a much nicer view of the results than just looking at a jenkins build screen. Take some time to explore all of the different tabs to see what's available here. I wanted to highlight just a couple areas in particular.
  • Autopkg Tests 
    • These testcases run at build time and are great testcases for low level libraries and integral parts of ubuntu. Check out the guide for help on contributing a testcase or two to these. Regressions have been spotted and fixed before even hitting the ubuntu archives.
  • Smoke Tests for ubuntu touch
    • This is some of the newest tests to come online and displays the results of the ubuntu phone image and applications, including the core apps which are written entirely by community members. Want to know how well an image is running on your device? This is the page to find it.
Ubiquity Installer Testing
Curious about how well the installer is working? Yep, we've got tests for those as well. The tests are managed via the ubiquity project on launchpad.

Ubuntu Desktop Tests
Wondering how well things like nautilus, gedit and your other favorite desktop applications are doing? Indeed, thanks to our wonderful quality community, we've got tests for those as well. The tests can be found here.

The Next Steps
We want to continue to grow and expand all areas of testing. If you've got the skills or the willingness to learn, try your hard at helping improve our automated testcases. There's a wide variety to choose from, and all contributions are most welcome!

Sorry robot, all our tests are belong to us
Don't have those skills? Don't worry, not only are machines not taking over the world, they aren't taking over testing completely either. We need your brainpower to help test other applications and to test deeper than a machine can do. Join us for our cadence weeks and general calls for testing and sample new software while you help ubuntu. In fact, we're testing this week, focusing on Mir.

Finally, remember your contributions (automated or manual) help make ubuntu better for us all! Thank you!