It takes a clever man to find a link between vegetables and Sitecore development. But as Arke Senior Consultant Patrick Perrone explained, a unique perspective can help illuminate important truths — in this case, about testing.
“Testing in the development world is a lot like persuading yourself to drink a kale juice smoothie instead of a soft drink: You know you should, but would prefer to not do it,” he said.
But just as maintaining a well-balanced diet is important to your health, testing is vital to development operations.
Sitecore Global Virtual Summit
Perrone, a Sitecore MVP, shared his thoughts on testing during an Aug. 31 webinar.
The webinar was part of the Sitecore Global Virtual Summit, a 10-week initiative to advance knowledge on a broad range of digital marketing subjects.
“Many customers like the idea of testing but want guidance on the best way to do it,” Perrone explained.
“They are often confused on what testing involves. Some worry they lack the time, the people or the workflows to do it correctly. They also worry about cost. And many lack of awareness about tools and techniques.”
Reducing Fear, Uncertainty
Perrone developed the webinar, now available on demand, “to reduce the amount of fear, uncertainty, and doubt” he said he encounters from clients. The webinar will enable participants to develop a stronger knowledge base for efficient testing, he added.
With more than 13 years of experience as a professional developer, Perrone said he enjoys imparting the knowledge he has gained — especially about “using tools others may not be aware of.”
During his tenure at Arke, Perrone has taken a keen interest in Sitecore. He serves as a lead architect on client projects, helps lead Arke’s internal development best practices, and guides the development and management of Arke’s Sitecore SDK.
Layout Simulator Benefits
During the webinar, Perrone discussed how Arke developed a dynamic test page for one of its clients, which allowed for better testing.
“We then turned into the Layout Simulator, which creates more efficiency in the development operations process,” he said. “It cuts testing time and enables quality testing for functionality, which is baked into the CI/CD process.”
Layout Simulator means less time working with multiple test web pages for specific components, he added.
Testing in the Development Process
“Although it takes time to test, testing adds value. Conversely, not testing can hurt a client by creating future technology debt,” he continued.
“Quality control and testing are tedious. But understanding how to use Layout Simulator means there’s no need to maintain as much test data in Sitecore and creates a faster testing process.
“Many developers don’t do functional testing in Sitecore and focus their efforts on implemented pages. Renderings are often developed in isolation, so it is beneficial to test them in isolation.
“Renderings can be tested in an automated fashion before going live. That reduces chances of problems in production.”
Perrone said many developers fail to think beyond “unit tests.”
“Unit tests are low-level tests that validate the smallest testable parts of your code — typically methods and properties. The Layout Simulator module can help developers create functional tests,” he said.
Enhanced testing enables developers to be more granular, down to things like, “Is this the right image size?”