Enabling continuous deployment of pixel-perfect user interfaces

On the 9th of March, our Software Engineer, Stefano Rago, attended Incontro DevOps Italia 2018 to present his talk titled “Enabling continuous deployment of pixel-perfect user interfaces”.

The conference was really well organized and participants had the choice of multiple concurrent tracks, with abundant topics and variety, including Continuous Delivery, Cloud, Microservices, Automation, Testing and many more. The event repeats every first Friday of March, so if you are into these topics and happen to be in the Bologna area during that time, I highly recommend attending.

The fundamental point of my talk is that while on one hand, automated testing of software has become a widely accepted practice, there is still a relatively low focus on applying the same techniques and approaches to the cosmetics of visual interfaces.

This aspect of software development, which is obviously the most visible to the end user, is recognized to be a fundamental aspect of the broader concept of UX (user experience) and for that matter, it deserves as much attention as all other software development areas. Companies that fail to transfer their brand’s strength impeccably to their users risk lower conversion rates, lower retention and their credibility can suffer, especially for medium and small businesses.

I have been working quite intensively during the past years to adopt a Test Driven approach to visual testing that can be integrated into Continuous Integration and Deployment systems and I demonstrated this approach during my talk.

I used a specific set of technologies and tools that fit well with the technological ecosystem at hand during the time this approach was developed, but nonetheless, I believe the concepts are the key takeaway here, and they can be applied regardless of the specific tech stack.

Besides the clear advantage of having better quality in the delivery of visual interfaces, another key benefit I have observed adopting this approach is that the people involved in the implementation, testing and even design of user interfaces end up having better workflows, increased confidence when introducing changes and ultimately better collaboration.

The talk was received quite positively by the audience, so I decided to publish the code that I built to demonstrate the approach here.

Here you can find the slide deck for the presentation and since it has been video-recorded along with the demo I will update this blog post to include the links once the videos are available, so make sure to check back if you are interested!

 – Stefano Rago, Blacklane Software Engineer

See Stefano’s talk in full: