Regression testing is a significant part of software development, especially in the current fast-paced Agile/DevOps environment. It is even more significant in today’s competitive world where companies need to make sure their users’ online experience is spot on. Otherwise, their users will easily move on to their competitor. In order to stay relevant, they need to constantly improve their website with a sense of urgency. This means they need to release more frequently, which in turn means more regression testing – to make sure the existing code is not breaking due to the newly added ones. We’re faced with a new challenge – regression testing needs to keep up with the frequent, fast-paced code changes.
In this eBook, we will cover all you need to know about regression testing, and how you can expedite this process to prevent it from becoming a bottleneck in the dev process. When the end goal, of course, is to release a better product with a flawless user experience.
What Is Software Regression Testing & the Challenge it Presents
Regression testing is the process of confirming that a recent change in code, or a new addition to the code, has not affected the existing code. It ensures that all features are operating as they should.
The regression test re-runs previously executed test flows to ensure that all features and functions work as they should.
The main challenge with regression testing concerns test coverage – what portion of the test suite to run again. Due to time and budget constraints, careful consideration is needed to determine coverage and frequency of regression testing.
There’s no straight answer here. This is where the experience and judgment of the testing team come in handy in order to make an educated decision.
Software Regression Testing Becomes More of a Bottleneck as Release Cycles Get Shorter
As more and more companies move from Waterfall to Agile dev methods, release cycles get shorter and shorter.
Source: HPE survey, March 2017
A survey done in 2013 by Forrester shows that for web-based apps – 12% release daily or more frequently, 18% release weekly, and 15% release monthly – numbers that only grow as agile becomes more and more of the norm.
Source: Forrester survey, September 2013
Source: HPE survey, March 2017
The agile development method is supported by a growing number of tools to make the dev process faster and more effective. However, testing methods and tools haven’t evolved as much, thus creating a QA bottleneck in the dev process.
This bottleneck will only build up as the release cycle becomes shorter as each release requires a re-run of regression testing. The more mature a company is, it has more existing code to check and the volume of regression tests grows accordingly. Multiply this be the growing number of test environments and available platforms and the challenge become even greater.
Therefore, QA tools and methods have to stay relevant and evolve continuously – that’s where codeless test automation comes into view.
Why Are We Talking About Regression Testing?
We’re talking about regression tests because we believe you can significantly improve the quality, effectiveness, and speed of your regression testing. Simple as that. Whichever way you conduct your regression operation – either manual testing or code-based automated testing – you’re probably spending valuable time and resources that could be allocated to more judgment intensive tasks.
Visual, Automated, Codeless Regression Testing Tool
The biggest issue with regression is adjusting existing tests over and over to accommodate changes in the software (new feature, a button moved, etc.). If you’re using coded automation, you need to dive back into the automation code and start hunting for each line that includes the element being changed or added. Once the change is found, you need to adapt to the change, look for other pieces of code that were influenced by the same change, fix them, deploy, and continue the search for more changes. There’s nothing exciting about it. It’s purely technical and consumes valuable time and resources. It’s a significant contributor to the notorious testing bottleneck.
Instead, you can enjoy the power of AI (artificial intelligence) and allow an algorithm to automatically fix these code changes.
More so, in the slight chance that changes were not overcome by an AI algorithm, applying the change the codeless way (specifically in TestCraft) is very easy and takes a couple of clicks. Our tool will point out what needs to be changed and with a simple point-and-click the change is applied. It will automatically apply to all other tests that use the same code as our platform offers the capability to reuse test elements and test cases.
Automated Regression Testing Tools – Codeless Regression Platform Vs Recorders
Automated functional testing tools operate in the UI level, meaning, they imitate the actions a user may take on your web application to ensure the results of the actions match the expected results.
Recorders (record & playback tools) follow the actions of the tester and record them, creating a script of sorts – a flow. In the testing phase, the script is being played back to ensure that the flow is operational.
In case there is a change in the flow (another step is added or a button changed its location for example) the test needs to be recorded all over again, from scratch. This is time-consuming and redundant.
With TestCraft codeless Selenium – creating the test is as easy as record-replay and may be confused as such. However, we create a model, not a recording. A model that is automatically adapted to change by a unique AI algorithm or can be easily modified in case a deeper change is made.
Keyword Driven Testing Tools
Keyword driven testing offers a semi-automated solution for regression tests and testing as a whole. In this method each keyword is assigned to a specific action, such as clicking, uncovering a menu dropdown, opening a window, or inputting a text.
Tests can be created either by simulating the actions of a user (functional) or by tracking the actions of a user (recording).
The keywords are then organized into tables. Each table stands for a test flow.
As easy as keyword-driven test creation is (indeed easier than writing scripts in VBScript or JScript), you can fall into the same trap once you run the regression and it fails – manually locating all the faulty parts, and recreating the tests to accommodate the changes in code and functionality.
If you do choose to go this way, you need to make sure to recruit testers who know keyword driven testing or train your current testers to learn the method. Although this may seem easy to enforce, it’s definitely not intuitive and requires some coding skills.
Visual Regression Testing Tools
Although visual regression tests slightly differ in essence and practicality – it’s still regression so, we’ll say a few words about them.
Basically, it’s a visual comparison between the baseline version of your site, software or application and the version that is handed down by development. The tools in question are looking for pixel differences between the two versions, either by taking screenshots or looking at DOM elements. This method is highly beneficial for responsive design across various screen sizes.
However, visual regression testing only solves a single aspect of regression testing and in most cases should be used as an add-on to a regression automation tool or method.
Here are the leading tools for visual regression testing:
- Applitools (integrated with TestCraft codeless regression platform)
Tools/code Used for Regression Testing
The most common tools used for regression testing are all code-based. Meaning they require writing code and thus call for additional time, resources, and skilled programmers.
Except for Selenium, which is an open source code, all the other tools are very costly – they entail a high licensing fee, lengthy training to implement, and programmers who can operate them. In addition – and this is a very important issue – choosing such a solution creates a stringent obligation as it does not allow you to migrate the code to other tools or solutions.
Furthermore, those code-based solutions, require heavy maintenance – this alone makes many automation projects fail, as companies can’t keep up with maintaining the testing code at the same pace the software code is being changed.
Selenium is used for browser-based regression testing. Whether a tool or a platform, Selenium offers the convenience and challenges of open-source.
If you’re contemplating using Selenium we recommend reading this Selenium ebook.
- Quick Test Professional
Software from HP used to automate functional and regression tests. You’ll need to use VBScript language for the automation.
- Rational Functional Tester
From IBM, another automation tool based on Java. The RFT is focused on regression testing for software applications.
Codeless Selenium Automation Regression Testing Platform – Summary
When choosing a solution you need to focus on your current testing team and their skills, the resources you have for the chosen solution, and ensure the maintenance will be as easy and brief as possible – otherwise, you can fall into the same traps many companies have fallen into before.
TestCraft codeless Selenium takes care of many of these drawbacks:
1. It eliminates maintenance with:
– An AI algorithm which automatically overcomes more than 82% of changes in the app.
– The ease of applying a change by a simple point-and-click.
– The reuse of tests and test steps which allows a single fix to apply across different tests
2. Use existing testing teams with testing and business knowledge as it doesn’t require coding skills (if you do, however, wish to use code, you can incorporate code sections between the tests). We use a very simple intuitive visual way of creating tests, which can be easily mastered in a couple of days.
3. Selenium-based – we translate tests scenarios into Selenium code. Our Selenium Bricks feature makes it easy to enjoy all available Selenium code libraries created by the Selenium community.
4. No need for setting up an automation framework (to read more, download this ebook).
5. Easy migration – TestCraft is the only platform that allows you to download the code that is being generated by the platform, in case you want to run it externally.
In this eBook, we covered what regression testing is and why you can’t do without it.
The need for regression testing will only become more crucial as release cycles shorten. There are many methods in which you can apply regression testing, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. Your end goal should be to choose the right solution for your team.