Testing is the Key to Continuous Innovation
The Story of Cypress.io
Testing: 2014. It’s the most hated part of development. But what if it didn’t have to be? What if there were a framework that brought fast, easy and reliable test automation to the modern web?
Enter Cypress. Founded by Brian Mann, Cypress has revolutionized testing, placing it right in the browser and making it a real-time, agile part of how applications are built.
Slack, Netflix, the NBA, Disney, Shopify. These are just a handful of companies, among the tens of thousands of developers around the globe, that rely on Cypress every day. Between its free, open-sourced, MIT-licensed Cypress app and its subscription-based Cypress Cloud, Cypress guides and informs—not only with different types of tests, but with metrics and actionable insights that empower teams to continuously improve software.
But things didn’t start out this way. Before Cypress hit the market, it was a different world, one where testing was still stuck in the dark ages.
Web 2.0 gave the world Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon, the New York Times, and thousands of other companies that depend on multiple micro-applications deploying every time a given page loads.
For programmers, the challenge of greater interactivity meant getting that personalized ad or Facebook feed to load everywhere, despite the browser or mobile phone type. Developers, testers and QA teams struggled with the new paradigm, because while the focus of programming had migrated from the server to the browser, the tools used to debug applications had not.
The application that became Cypress began as a reaction to Selenium, an open-source, server-based project. Brian Mann, then a lead developer with a software development firm, didn’t have grand ambitions to revolutionize testing. “I just wanted to build something my team could use,” he said.
His tool proved essential not only to his immediate cohort, but the broader community of developers he encountered as a frequent guest speaker and the host of the popular Screencast series BackboneRails.com.
Mann and his team spent the next eighteen months getting the Cypress app to MVP. The closed beta involved rigorous, one-on-one testing with the tool’s swelling user base.
“From the thousands of interviews we did, we realized we had to develop two products,” Mann said. “The Cypress app was essential. And without Cypress Cloud to give teams data across their entire organization, we would be giving developers only half the solution.”
In October 2018, Cypress launched, its commercial debut exceeding even the most optimistic projections. Disney, the NBA, LEGO, Slack. Cypress’ customer list became a who’s-who of blue-chip brands, as did the company’s business profile. Senior executives from GitHub and Dropbox became board members by the end of the year, rounding out an executive team led by CEO Drew Lanham, who joined Cypress in April, after three $500M+ exits.
Throughout 2019 and 2020 as agile development became the default strategy of many companies, revenue increased 10X, alongside two major rounds of funding from Bessemer Venture Partners. The company’s total raise as of December 2020 topped $54M, in a market expected to grow to $29B by 2024 (source: MarketsandMarkets).
Today, Cypress is the leading holistic testing platform. With the Cypress app, developers needing a real-time testing solution for code can write all forms of tests, including unit, integration, and end-to-end. And using Cypress Cloud, they are able to orchestrate and unify results with quality metrics and actionable insights that power the agile workplace.
“It’s odd being at this inflection point,” said Mann. “But honestly, after so much work, I only see how much work needs to be done to place a single pane of glass between coding and testing. Testing is—and will always be—the most important part of development.”