Getting started with automated regression testing
Getting started with automated regression testing
Regression Automation Testing: A Quick Guide
The key to delivering high-quality software is meeting the needs of the end users. There are several tools, techniques, and technologies that go into developing a software application that is loved by everyone. Automated regression testing is one such testing strategy that is pivotal in creating software that is reliable and bug-free.
According to a survey by Tricentis, the major reasons for automating regression testing are to increase efficiency and speed (69%), improve accuracy (54%), and reduce costs (53%).
Companies that adopted automation regression credit faster release cycles, reduced test execution time, and improvement in software quality. If you want to automate the regression testing process at your organization, give the article a thorough read. It will certainly help you in getting started with automated regression testing.
What is Automated Regression Testing?
A recent code change or a software upgrade can result in the application performing in a less-than-desirable manner. Automated regression testing is a technique to check whether the application performs how it is expected to after changes to its code. As the name suggests, automated regression testing checks your software periodically to see that a change or addition hasn’t broken any existing functionality.
Importance of Automated Regression Testing in today’s Software Development
72% of respondents from a Tricentis survey said that regression testing is the most time-consuming aspect of their testing process. Among them, 77% said that they use automation to execute regression tests.
The problem with manual regression testing is that businesses would prefer to slack on proper testing because of the time consumed if it would mean a faster go-to-market time. Automating regression tests removes the dilemma.
Let’s look at the other major reasons that make automated regression testing so pivotal in the software development world.
- It prevents defects from going unnoticed as a result of modifications made to the software.
- By identifying defects early in the development process, regression testing minimizes costs. Fixing issues of already-deployed applications can be time-consuming and expensive.
- Regression testing ensures compatibility with other systems and makes sure that the application works as intended.
- By using agile methodology, it is easy to find the risks involved during the early stages of the development cycle. Regression testing checks the entire system's stability when modifications are made.
- Continuous regression testing increases the software's overall quality and stability.
- Regression testing ensures business continuity.
- Finding defects early in the software development lifecycle helps the testing team meet the project timelines.
Regression testing is an important cog in today’s software development lifecycle wheel. It ensures that the end product functions as it should and meets the users' expectations.
5 continuous testing best practices that differentiate Agile businesses from Laggards
5 continuous testing best practices that differentiate Agile businesses from Laggards
- They consider automating the software quality process to be a “critical business differentiator”
- Focus on contextual metrics such as Flaky Tests and Requirements Coverage
- Measure user experience across an end-to-end transaction
- Build continuous testing suites based on business needs
- Focus on real-time business risks in testing to promote acceptable releases
How to Identify Tests for Automated Regression Testing?
Regression testing is best performed whenever a change is made to the production code. You should perform regression testing in the following scenarios:
- When the bugs are fixed, they are retested specifically to check if it works fine.
- The previously solved issues and bugs are retested to make sure they are still working fine.
- When the program is transferred to a different platform, regression testing is done to ascertain whether the transferred program’s integration was done successfully.
- A complete retest is done on a large scale where every area and every function is tested.
- When software is updated, regression testing helps to ensure that the improvements made haven’t resulted in new issues.
- Select test cases that map to the business requirements.
- Even if the issue is less severe, if it is visible to the user, it is highly prioritized and should be a part of the test cases.
Automated Regression Testing Strategy in Agile: The Implementation
People, process, and technology:
In an agile environment, teamwork and collaboration are quintessential. You must have the right mix of developers, testers, and business analysts to ensure the development of high-quality software. You should follow an iterative and incremental approach that has a clear-cut idea of planning, designing, executing, and maintaining automated regression tests. The technology you choose must be compatible with scalable, easy to use, and maintainable.
Learn how to build a scalable test automation framework for your project
Here's a snapshot of building a test centre of excellence using People, Process & Technology
Test planning and design:
Since the requirements frequently change in an agile environment, you must define the scope of testing clearly. Prioritize the tests based on the risk level, chances of failure, and importance. Ensure that your regression test suite is automated to perform testing quickly and repeatedly. Make sure that automated regression testing is integrated into the Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery process so that quick feedback on changes is possible.
Test environment setup:
The test environment setup is a critical aspect in the agile implementation of automated regression testing. You must identify the software and hardware requirements and ensure that it is in alignment with the production environment. Create a separate test environment for your testing. Maintain version control of the test environment since the software is continuously evolving
Test case execution:
It is an important step since test case execution ensures that the software is thoroughly tested. Execute automated test scripts as a part of the buildup process. Investigate test failures immediately and take appropriate action to correct the issues. Leverage defect tracking tools and assign them to the right person for resolution. Re-run failed tests to check if it has been fixed properly.
Test result analysis:
For a proper analysis, track relevant metrics such as test coverage, defect density, defect resolution time, test case execution time, and so on. By doing so on a regular basis, you can gauge product quality and make data-driven decisions. Identify patterns and trends using dashboards. There should be ample collaboration between the testing and development teams so that everyone is on the same page. Use the test result analysis to continuously improve the testing process.
Define the reporting requirements to make sure that every stakeholder is aligned with the project’s goals. Ensure that the test report includes a summary of the testing process that mentions the number of tests executed, the number of defects discovered, test coverage, etc.
Collect relevant data like test cases failed, test environment, log files, and create an action plan to identify the root cause. You can do that by reviewing the code, test case, test data, and test environment. Improve the testing process by eliminating mistakes.
Review and feedback:
After you have the results of the analysis in front of you, find out areas where the testing process can be improved. Go through the other factors, like the tools and technologies that you use. Are they easy to use? Do they provide good coverage? Does it integrate with other tools? Consider the cost and maintenance of everything you use. Is your testing strategy sound? For high-quality software delivery, you must ensure that you are working with the right tools, have a solid test strategy, and continuously monitor your testing process.
Automated Regression Testing Example
There is no unitary approach when it comes to regression testing.
Suppose you are working on an e-commerce website that allows users to search for products and add them to their cart. You have recently made changes to the search functionality, and you want to make sure that these changes have not affected any other parts of the website.
To perform automated regression testing, you could write a test script that does the following:
- Navigate to the website's home page.
- Enter a search query for a specific product.
- Verify that the search results page displays the correct products.
- Click on a product to view its details page.
- Verify that the details page displays the correct information for that product.
- Add the product to the cart.
- Verify that the cart page displays the correct product and quantity.
You could then run this test script every time you make changes to the search functionality, to ensure that the changes have not introduced any new bugs or issues in other parts of the website.
Regression Testing Techniques
Regression testing is performed using the following techniques:
Retest all: It executes all the tests that are in the existing test bucket. It takes up a big chunk of time and resources, making it expensive. It is also known as re-testing or confirmation testing since you will need to execute a test again to confirm if the fault has been fixed.
Test case prioritization: Test cases are prioritized based on the impact they will have on the business and the used functionalities. The most critical test cases are executed first to ensure that the core functionality of the software is not impacted.
Regression test selection: It executes the selected part of the test suite instead of the entire one.
Test case optimization: This technique involves optimizing the existing test suite by removing redundant or obsolete test cases and adding new test cases that cover the modified or new functionality. This helps to reduce the number of test cases while ensuring that all critical functionality is tested.
Impact analysis: This technique involves analyzing the changes made to the software to identify the areas that are likely to be impacted and then creating test cases to cover those areas. This approach is useful for testing complex software applications with interdependent modules or components.
Benefits of Regression Testing
Zero human intervention
When the test cases are automated, there is no human intervention required. The tests can be scheduled or triggered at any interval fit for you. The testing happens 24*7 without any assistance.
In an agile project, continuous testing is pivotal. Testing takes up a lot of time when it is done manually. Manual testing in an agile project can be a nightmare since the number of test cases keeps increasing exponentially. Automated tests get the job done with little effort.
By using automated tests, you can cover the same number of test cases in little time, that too in multiple combinations of devices, OS, and browsers.
The best benefit of automated regression testing is that it frees up resources as you spend less time on repetitive tests. They check with high accuracy. Your resources get ample time to explore complex cases that require human intervention.
Faster testing offers the ability to test more. Manual testing takes up a lot of time and is also at risk of human errors. Automated tests can be run at a speed and frequency that manual testing can never match.
Regression Automation Testing tools
There are several automated regression tools in the market. Their popularity and adoption depend on the platform and programming language used for the software application.
Let us look at a few of the popular automated regression testing tools:
An open-source tool, Selenium is widely-used for automated web application testing. Selenium allows testers to write test scripts through several frameworks like JUnit, NUnit, and TestNG.
- It easily identifies web elements with the help of its several locators.
- Selenium’s WebDriver tool executes test cases faster than most tools in the market.
- It handles dynamic elements using methods like Contains(), Absolute XPath(), and StartsWith().
The platform works with different OSs like Mac, UNIX, Linux, and Windows
It is a commercial automation testing tool that supports mobile, desktop, and web application testing. TestComplete offers a record and playback feature that allows testers to create scripts without programming knowledge.
- It comes with an intelligent object repository and supports over 500 controls.
- TestComplete integrates with the tools in your existing ecosystem.
- Its AI-powered hybrid object recognition engine helps identify and solve potential issues.
- You can reuse automated UI tests across environments and projects, increasing test coverage.
It's a performance testing tool that is widely used for regression and functional testing. You can use it without any knowledge of programming. JMeter displays test results in several ways– charts, trees, tables, and log files.
- It supports multiple test types and basic protocols.
- JMeter has unlimited testing capabilities, allowing you to work with local and server-based instances.
- You can write your tests and extend them using the support visualization plugins.
- Basic protocols such as JDBC, HTTP, SOAP, JMS, and FTP are supported by JMeter.
The open-source automation testing platform supports mobile application testing. Appium uses the mobile JSON wire protocol to drive native, mobile web, and hybrid applications.
- It enables automated testing of native, hybrid, and mobile web applications.
- Does cross-platform testing on emulators, simulators, and real devices.
Appium supports multiple programming languages with Selenium client libraries such as PHP, Java, Python, Ruby, etc
What to look for When Choosing a Regression Testing tool?
An automated regression tool will make your software testing process efficient and accurate. Let’s look at some of the must-haves in it.
- It should have the ability to conduct relevant tests.
- Creating test automation scripts should be easy, and they should be able to adapt to minor changes without requiring any rework.
- The reporting process should be detailed, ideally including screenshots and diagnostic information.
- The testing tool should offer you the ability to modularize your tests. Creating a script library or reusable test snippets should be possible.
- Team members from different departments, QA, developers, and the leadership team should be able to access the tests and test results.
For example, for one of our clients, Zuci was tasked with identifying a right testing tool for their automation needs.
Their scope of automation was:
- End to End Testing
Platforms to support:
- Windows Application (WPF)
- Mobile Application (Xamarin)
We researched and shortlisted two tools: QTP/UFT & Gauge. Based on our comparison, pro's and con's, here's how we arrived at choosing the right tool.
Regression Testing challenges
Let’s look at regression testing challenges every business has to wade through.
Maintenance of test environment & regression test suite:
A stable and consistent environment ensures that the results are accurate and reliable. Maintaining the regression test suite results in comprehensive test coverage as it will include critical test cases. By maintaining the test environment and regression test suite, the efficacy of the testing increases.
Here’s how you can do it effectively:
- Create a document that outlines the specifications of the test environment.
- Prevent unauthorized access or changes to the test environment.
- Remove unnecessary software or files that result in errors during the testing process.
- Use automated tools and scripts to maintain the test environment.
- Review and update the test suite periodically and ensure it covers all the critical functionalities.
Keeping test cases updated:
The test cases should be updated; only then will they be relevant and effective. Updated test cases cover all functionalities and ensure comprehensive test coverage. In a big software project, requirements keep changing, thus resulting in outdated test cases. Lack of resources and time can result in the test cases not getting updated.
Here’s how to keep the test cases updated:
- Implement a robust test case management process that includes regular review and updates.
- Leverage test case management and test automation tools to update the test cases.
- Invest in training and development programs to improve their ability to update test cases effectively.
Regression tests have to be performed frequently. If you were to do it manually, it could take anywhere from a few days to weeks. Even automated regression testing can slow build times and create a bottleneck if not optimized.
Here’s how you can overcome the time constraints:
- Automate your regression testing to cut the time involved.
- Prioritize areas of the software that are more likely to have defects.
- Concentrate on parts where the production code is frequently changing.
Manual regression testing has a high cost associated with it. Even though setting up automated regression testing translates into higher development and setup costs, the ROI is higher in the longer run.
Here’s how you can reduce costs:
- Automate your manual regression testing.
- Consult with the development team on what they changed or worked on during the latest release.
- To optimize your testing, use regression tools like testRigor, Katalon Studio, Selenium, etc.
Ensuring test coverage:
Achieving comprehensive test coverage during regression testing is difficult. The main challenges in ensuring test coverage are limited testing resources, the absence of sufficient test cases, complex scenarios, changing requirements, and legacy code.
Here’s how you can ensure test coverage:
- Prioritize testing based on risks and their impact.
- Review existing test cases, identify gaps in test coverage, and create additional test cases.
- Break down complex scenarios into manageable ones.
- Update the test plan and test cases to ensure they align with your current requirements.
- Understand the legacy code and identify critical areas that require testing.
Regression Testing Best Practices
Here are a few best practices to keep in mind while doing regression testing:
Automation of regression tests:
Automating regression testing improves your efficiency and saves your time. Manual testing is prone to human errors, as giving your best after a point will be difficult. It will certainly impact the quality of the final software. Automated regression tests give the opportunity for your testers to work on complex functionalities. The test cases and software can be reused in automation, thereby increasing your ROI.
Regular review and update of test cases:
Test cases are performed by the regression pack when there is an update in each new software. These are scripted tests that are created, keeping in mind the requirement specifications of older versions of the software. It is best to keep the regression test cases updated. You don’t want to keep testing for functionalities that don’t even exist anymore. It is a waste of time and effort. Ensure that the test cases align with the latest functionalities of the software.
Prioritization of test cases:
The most frequently used pathways will be the use cases that you need to concentrate on. It will hold your application’s most popular features and core functionality. Understand how your users interact with the features of the application. The regression packs should have tests that ensure the proper working of the core functionality. Focus on high-risk areas in the software and then move on to lower-risk areas.
Use of regression testing tools:
Regression testing tools automate testing by executing a set of pre-defined tests. It compares the output to the expected results. These tools can execute many tests, covering a wide range of scenarios and test cases, ensuring that the software application is thoroughly checked. Since the tests can be integrated with continuous integration and delivery pipelines, they enable automated testing throughout the development
Collaboration with the development team:
The development team is responsible for making changes to the software application. Collaborating with the development team helps you understand the changes made and will give you an idea of the impact it will have on the existing functionality. The development team can also tell you the application areas prone to bugs or defects.
The testing team can avoid working on unrelated test cases by sharing the latest test cases and test data with the team. The development team will also be able to provide insights into the root cause of a particular defect and work together to fix it.
Use a regression testing checklist:
Keeping a checklist is the best way to be sure about executing all the tests that matter. Checklists ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a series of tasks. The testing effort will be thorough when you use a simple checklist to carry out all the tests.
Minimize test suite:
Covering as many testing scenarios as possible is a good technique to optimize your testing. On the other spectrum, you should also remove redundant and unnecessary test cases that are a part of your regression test suite. It will ensure that the testing time and effort are reduced while covering critical functionalities.
Involve all stakeholders in code reviews:
One of the best things you can do to improve the test results is to involve all the stakeholders in code reviews. Even if they don’t understand how to code, they can offer a variety of valuable perspectives by asking questions like how a layperson would.
Release small batches often:
If there are several changes made in a release, the chances of testing for more risks are high. Request the development team to release code to the test environments as often as possible to increase the instances of testing. Check how sections of an uncompleted feature behave in the backend or front end of the system
Use the LEGO method:
Here’s an interesting way to model the system using LEGO toys. Think of each LEGO block as a feature, module, or function of the software. It will help you identify the different parts of the product and how they are connected with each other. Connect the blocks using the string. Here, each string is considered a connection or integration between the features, functions, and modules.
When you implement changes to your code, you can visually see the integration and regression risks, each of the connections with the other objects.
Pair it with developers:
For developers, pairing with testers is a great way to develop testing skills. A tester-developer pairing has a lot of benefits, especially for agile teams. When testers and developers collaborate, it promotes a shared understanding and results in more maintainable tests which provide good coverage. A tester is likely to think about how the customers will use the feature, while a developer focuses on the area of the code and aims to make it more robust. These diverse POVs create a much better product.
Regression testing with Zuci Systems
Do you want to save time for your testing team? Want to reduce costs associated with developing a software application? Increase test coverage? Improve product quality? Let us fix your problems with our test automation service. We follow a time-tested process that standardizes the automation process but still understands your business requirements and works accordingly.
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