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The top 3 pain points of test automation, and how to overcome them

There are three steps when it comes to setting up test automation in your development organization: Creation, maintenance and continuous. While these three steps may seem straightforward, Mark Lambert, vice president of strategic initiatives at Parasoft, explained there are specific challenges that arise with each step.

 

Creation: Here, organizations not only have to figure out how to create their test automation, but identify what things to automate because not everything can be automated, according to Lambert. Then, organizations need ways, practices and technologies to help them with the creation process.
Maintenance: Once the tests are created, people have to consider how they are going to move forward with an Agile DevOps deployment. They need to maintain the test framework, make sure it is stable, and be able to make updates. 
Continuous: One of the biggest challenges organizations face when trying to accelerate beyond their initial test automation practice is being able to run the tests any time, anywhere, according to Lambert. 

 

 

Parasoft will be going over these pain points in detail as well as what can be done about them at its virtual Automated Software and Quality Summit, which takes place Tuesday, Nov. 17. The conference will feature a series of 20-minute sessions from peers and customers who will share their experiences, challenges and how they addressed those challenges to ensure the delivery of reliable, safe and compliant software. There will be a 5-minute Q&A for each session for attendees to engage with speakers. Additionally, Parasoft team members will be available through social media and the online chat during the summit. 

“It’s no marketing fluff,” said Lambert, “it is all about the customer and about real-world experiences.”

Some presentations from conference will include:

A keynote from Diego LoGiudice, vice president and principal analyst for Forrester Research. LoGiudice will talk about the importance of test automation and how organizations can adopt that and get going.
Fitch Solutions, a financial intelligence firm, will talk about how they eliminated production outages and went from about 18 production outages a year to 0 in a 100-day period by adopting a high-quality practice.
Caesars Entertainment will discuss how they saw a yearly savings of nearly $1 million with the implementation of test automation.
Alaska Airlines will be talking about “testing the untestable,” and how they utilized service virtualization to really take full advantage of test automation and turn it into continuous automation. 

“We’ve focused much more on the problem first. Technology really is a secondary component. We are talking about real-world problems across industries,” said Lambert. “Everyone is trying to figure out how they can take advantage of the modern software development practices and apply it to their lives and their organizations so we are really happy to have this diverse community of not just different industries, but different people with different types of organizations.”

Learn more and sign up for the conference here

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Daily Crunch: Facebook launches cloud gaming service

Facebook gets into cloud gaming while continuing its public dispute with Apple, Ant Group prepares for a massive IPO and Pinterest embraces iOS widgets. This is your Daily Crunch for October 26, 2020.

The big story: Facebook launches cloud gaming service

Facebook is launching a cloud gaming service of its very own, although the focus is different from Google’s Stadia or Microsoft’s xCloud. Rather than trying to recreate the console experience on other devices, the social network’s gaming service is limited to mobile games, particularly on reducing the friction between seeing an ad for a game and playing the game.

The service is launching on the web and on Android, but it’s not available on iOS. Facebook blamed Apple’s App Store terms and conditions for the absence.

Facebook’s Jason Rubin told TechCrunch that Apple’s rules for cloud gaming service present “a sequence of hurdles that altogether make a bad consumer experience.”

The tech giants

Twitter will show all U.S. users warnings about voting misinfo and delayed election results — Starting today, Twitter users in the U.S. will see two large notices at the top of their feeds that aim to “preemptively debunk” misinformation related to voting.

Ant Group could raise as much as $34.5B in IPO in what would be world’s largest IPO — The long-anticipated IPO of Alibaba-affiliated Chinese fintech giant Ant Group could raise tens of billions of dollars in a dual-listing on both the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges.

Pinterest’s new widget brings photos from favorite boards to your iOS 14 home screen — As iPhone owners began customizing their iOS 14 home screens with new widgets and custom icons, Pinterest iOS downloads and searches surged.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Tencent leads $100M Series B funding round into China-based esport provider VSPN — Founded in 2016, VSPN was one of the early pioneers in esports tournament organization and content creation out of Asia.

Linktree raises $10.7M for its lightweight, link-centric user profiles — The Melbourne startup says that 8 million users, including celebrities like Selena Gomez and brands like Red Bull, have created profiles on the platform.

This startup wants to fix the broken structure of internships — Symba created white-label software to help companies communicate and collaborate with their now-distributed interns.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Good and bad board members (and what to do about them) — The CircleUp saga brings up questions about what happens behind the scenes at startups and about board composition specifically.

What would Databricks be worth in a 2021 IPO? — We’ve described Databricks as “an obvious IPO candidate,” and now it sounds like an offering is indeed in the works.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

NASA discovers water on the surface of the sunlit portion of the moon — Previously, we knew that water was present as ice on the dark part of the moon, but this is still a groundbreaking discovery.

Human Capital: Court ruling could mean trouble for Uber and Lyft as gig workers may finally become employees — Megan Rose Dickey has officially launched her newsletter focused on labor, diversity and inclusion in tech.

Original Content podcast: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is gloriously bonkers — Bonkers!

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.


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PyTorch 1.7 now available with new APIs, profiling, and benchmarking tools

The latest version of the open-source machine learning library PyTorch is now available. PyTorch 1.7 introduces new APIs, support for CUDA 11, updates to profiling and performance for RPC, TorchScript, and Stack tracers.

New front end APIs include torch.fft, which is a module for implementing FFT-related functions; C++ support for nn.transformer module abstraction from the C++ frontend; and torch.set_deterministic, which can direct operators to select deterministic algorithms when available. These new APIs are all currently available in beta.

Performance updates include the addition of stack traces to the profiler, which allows users to see not only the operator name in the profiler output table, but also where the operator is in the code. 

In addition, TorchElastic is now a stable feature. TorchElastic provides a strict superset of the torch.distributed.launch CLI. It includes added features for fault-tolerance and elasticity.

Other distributed training and RPC features include beta support for uneven dataset inputs in DDP, improved async error and timeout handling in NCCL, the addition of TorchScript rpc_remote and rpc_sync, a distributed optimizer with TorchScript support, and more.

More information on PyTorch 1.7 is available here

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Dallas’ ShearShare has a marketplace connecting stylists with available seats at salons and $2.3 million in funding

Courtney Caldwell and her husband Tye have been building the Dallas-based startup ShearShare, which provides a marketplace service connecting stylists with open seats at hair salons, since 2017.

Since their launch the two co-founders have been committed to the humble hustle of starting their own business — including flying between San Francisco and Dallas weekly to participate in the 19th 500 Startups cohort or participating in Y Combinator’s Fellowship program.

Now, with a seed round of $2.3 million and another non-dilutive cash grant from Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, the early-stage company is ready to expand.

The two co-founders certainly have a pedigree in the beauty industry. Tye Caldwell has been a luminary in the industry and is a member-elect of the Professional Beauty Association’s advisory board. Together with Courtney he runs an award-winning salon in Dallas.

ShearShare co-founders Tye and Courtney Caldwell

Meanwhile, Courtney Caldwell spent more than 20 years working for Oracle in technology marketing. But the two hadn’t really been exposed to the venture capital industry. So when they came up with the idea to start a service providing online matchmaking between salons and stylists — based on their own need to fill a chair at their salon — they didn’t really no where to turn.

Enter TD Lowe. A longtime investor on her own and with organizations like StartupGrind, Lowe introduced the couple to the world of venture capital and startups, and the two were off to the races.

“We pioneered on-demand barbershop and space rentals,” Courtney said. “If a salon or barbershop has an open station a stylist can book it like they would a hotel room.”

According to the Caldwells, the beauty industry is the second largest industry for freelancers and independent contractors. Unlike other companies that are trying to serve stylists by offering them features like booking and appointments independent of salons — or services for salons alone — ShearShare is trying to serve both sides of the marketplace with the tools they need.

“We’re not a StyleSeat. We’re not a Squire,” said Courtney. What they are is expanding rapidly. The company has listings in more than 600 cities ranging from a chair that rents for $15 in Georgia to one that rents for $569 in the heart of Manhattan in New York City.

Google is providing cash awards to 76 startups through a racial equity initiative announced in June

The company processes payments for the stylists directly through a partnership with a local payment solution called First American Payments based in Ft. Worth, Texas.

“Everyone is setting their sights on direct-to-consumer,” said Courtney. “This is a way we’re helping to keep people at work and refuel the individual economic recovery.”

The next step for the company is to begin launching more ancillary services for stylists. They’re pioneering an insurance policy for stylists that would cover them from on-the-job lawsuits.

“It’s becoming a huge opportunity for the stylist that just didn’t exist,” said Tye. And it all began when the two Caldwells couldn’t find any options when they searched for any terms related to renting space at a barbershop, they said. “We reached out to a friend and told her about the opportunity that we’d been presented with and she said, ‘Guys… that’s a billion-dollar idea.’ ”

That friend was Lowe — who came in to advise the couple and show them the ropes of startup investing.

It’s at least an idea that’s worth tens of millions. That’s how much the startup Mayvenn has raised for its business providing hair extensions and other cosmetics to stylists.

With a new deal for customers and a fresh $23 million, Mayvenn extends its hair care business

Now with its new funding, ShearShare is ready to expand, the couple said.

ShearShare’s backers include: Precursor Ventures, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Structure Capital, Backstage Capital and 500 Startups, alongside new participants Bread and Butter Ventures, ArlanWasHere Investments (Arlan Hamilton’s fund, in which Mark Cuban is the sole LP), Lightspeed Venture Partners Scouts Program (with Veronica Juarez and Jason McBride leading), Jaylon Smith of the Dallas Cowboys through the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute, Thaddeus Young of the Chicago Bulls with Reform Venture, the Bumble Fund, Notley Ventures, Sachse Family Fund and other global investors.

These investors are part of a new breed of investor that’s pushing venture investment into areas that were previously considered beyond the reach of typical firms.

As the chief executive of a beauty and lifestyle startup, Julie Fredrickson told TechCrunch three years ago, “Most of these brands are commensurately underfunded compared to tech companies in similar positions. There’s a chance for a totally new dominant player and no one’s really gunning for it.”

Black haircare startup Naza Beauty just raised $1 million from Alexis Ohanian’s Initialized Capital

There’s a huge opportunity for businesses serving all aspects of the beauty industry to flourish, entrepreneurs and investors.

“Venture is obsoleting itself as private equity and family offices increasingly go downstream because they’re willing to seek venture-style returns in verticals that venture capital is not prepared or is less educated about,” according to Frederickson.


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Google Firebase adds new building blocks to accelerate application development

Google is updating its mobile platform Firebase with new building blocks to accelerate app development. The company made a number of announcements at its Firebase Summit 2020 this week.

“Over the past few months, we’ve seen that apps not only improve the way we live, they also enhance our ability to adapt to change. In 2020, more businesses and families have turned to apps to stay connected, productive, and entertained. At the same time, our developer community has stepped up to build and scale the apps people are relying on,” Francis Ma, director of product management for Firebase, wrote in a blog post.

The announcements included:

Authentication emulator for rapid iteration and local development
The Emulator Suite that lets users run emulated versions of Firebase’s backend products for a faster and safer development experience now includes support for authentication, according to Ma. 

The new auth emulator also enables developers to run integration tests that rely on authentication. 

“The Emulator Suite, now with Firebase Authentication, allows you to shift to a local-first developer workflow so you can experiment and rapidly iterate without touching production data, incurring costs, or worrying that you’ll break something,” Ma.

New hosting preview channels let users see changes before publishing
With Firebase Hosting, companies can deploy secure, fast-loading web apps and landing pages that are backed by a global CDN in less time and less hassle. 

Now, users can deploy changes to a preview channel in seconds with a single command and generate an obscured unique URL to share with your team.

“Preview channels not only let you check that your changes look as intended right away, they also make collaboration quicker and easier even if you’re working across a distributed team,” Ma explained. 

More extensions for adding features and functionality
The Firebase team announced that it partnered with Stripe to release the Send Invoices using Stripe and the Subscription Payments with Stripe that let users integrate the Stripe payments platform without requiring users to learn Stripe’s API. 

Another new feature is the preview of another extension through the company’s Alpha Program, called Detect Online Presence that shows which users or devices are currently online and stores that data in Cloud Firestore. 

Redesigned performance monitoring dashboard to help users focus on critical metrics
Firebase Performance Monitoring gathers and presents data about an app’s performance to show exactly what’s happening in an app – and when users are encountering slowness. 

“This new dashboard makes it crystal clear if one of your critical metrics needs attention so that you can take action, and it’s customizable, allowing you to bring the metrics you care about most to the forefront,” Ma stated. 

New organizational and targeting tools for Remote Config explained
Firebase Remote Config can dynamically alter an app, safely test and release new features, and help developers stay in control of their whole experience. 

First, the company added information about experiments into the Remote Config dashboard and launched parameter groups. Then, the company added the feature to sort parameters alphabetically and enhanced the search tool.

The addition of improved vision targeting made the feature available for iOS and added support for semantic versioning so users could utilize numeric operators such as “>=” to target specific app versions without resorting to complicated regular expressions.

The most recent launch of config metrics gives users more visibility into how an app configuration is behaving for users to find and fix incorrect configurations quickly. 

Google Analytics APIs for better data management
Firebase’s integration with Google Analytics helps organizations understand what actions users are taking inside of an app so that they can make smarter business value decisions. 

Three new APIs announced today include the Google Analytics 4 Measurement protocol for logging events directly in Google Analytics, Data API that offers programmatic access to Google Analytics reporting data, and Admin API that gives users the ability to configure their Analytics account and set user permissions. 

The team also introduced the ability to bring custom segments back from BigQuery into Firebase with the launch of imported segments. 

“With these improvements to Firebase, we aim to make app development faster and easier so you can stay focused on creating the amazing app experiences that people need to stay productive, connected, and entertained,” Ma

Additional details on all of the product updates are available here.

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Twitter starts showing all US users election misinformation warnings

Starting today, Twitter users in the U.S. will see two large notices at the top of their feeds that aim to “preemptively debunk” misinformation related to voting. The striking messages are designed to push back against the deluge of false claims about the 2020 election.

One notice warns users that they “might encounter misleading information” about mail-in voting while the other attempts to head off online election-related chaos by cautioning that the results of the U.S. election may be delayed.

Delayed results are a very possible outcome in an election that will see more ballots than ever cast through the mail. States have differing rules about when mailed ballots can begin to be tallied, making it possible that official results may indeed take time to trickle in — a situation that it’s wise to normalize in advance.

Image Credits: Twitter

The prompts will point users to Twitter Moments that collect authoritative information on both topics. The notices will also pop up in searches of relevant terms and hashtags.

Social media companies have scrambled to ready their platforms for the unique challenges of a deeply contentious U.S. election in the midst of a worsening national health crisis. While those efforts have been mixed — some weak, some more robust — serving proactive, attention-grabbing notices to everyone is a solid step up from the easy-to-miss misinformation “labels” that get tacked onto false claims across Twitter and Facebook.

Changing how retweets work, Twitter seeks to slow down election misinformation


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