Regression Testing: Tools and Techniques
Regression Testing, by its definition, is a type of software testing to confirm that a recent program or code change has not adversely affected existing features.
It is done to make sure that the existing application is intact with the newly added features and nothing is broken. In order to achieve that, the existing test cases are executed selectively or sometimes completely. Regression testing ensures that the old code still works once the new code changes are done.
Why is it required?
Regression testing is carried out in many cases-
- Changes in the requirement of an existing feature.
- Addition of new feature
- Bug fixes
- Technology change/upgrade
- Performance Fixes
- Code optimization
Regression testing ensures that the changes have not introduced new bugs in the existing features which were working fine before. Sometimes there is a change in requirements of the existing feature itself which may impact other features of the application. In this case, regression testing is carried out for other features.
Regression testing is also required in cases where the underlying technology is changed or upgraded due to old libraries are deprecated. To ensure that this does not have any impact on functionality, testers perform complete regression testing.
When a developer does code optimization or performance fixes then also testers perform regression testing.
Re-testing and Regression Testing- There is a difference between re-testing and regression testing. Retesting is to test the software/ application when a defect is fixed to ensure that the original defect is completely removed while regression testing is performed to make sure that no new defects are introduced when a new feature is developed or existing feature is changed.
Regression Testing Techniques- Usually testers include regression testing in their test plan for each release. As defined, it should be performed to ensure that new features do not have any impact on existing features, it must be included in each release plan. As most of the organizations follow agile methodology where releases are frequent, regression testing is achieved by continuous testing and automation. There are various techniques of regression testing-
- Retest All- This is the technique where test engineers execute all the existing test cases without any miss. This is quite expensive as it requires huge time and resources.
- Regression Test Selection- In this technique, test engineers select a subset of test cases based on the impact analysis. Test chosen cases categorized as
- Reusable Test cases
- Obsolete Test cases
Reusable Test cases used in succeeding Regression cycles. Obsolete Test cases not used in succeeding cycles.
- Prioritization of Test cases- To prioritize test cases depending on a business impact, critical and frequency used functionalists. Selection of test cases based on priority will significantly reduce the regression test suite.
Types of Regression Testing-
- Selective – Selective regression testing is a type of regression testing where testers select test cases from previously run test suites and test coverage identification. To perform this, test engineers use a sub-set of already run test cases to reduce the cost and effort required in re-testing.
- Complete – Complete regression testing is used when there are changes in the root code of the software. It is also performed when there are multiple changes that have been done to the existing code.
- Corrective – It is performed when there are no changes in the existing software/application. The already existing test cases can be re-used to perform this type of regression testing.
- Partial – This type of regression testing is performed after impact analysis. Test engineers do selective test case execution based on the modules which get impacted due to new code merge.
Can regression testing be done Manually?
Regression testing can be performed manually. But this leads to inefficiency if the application is large and impact is big. Also, it is very boring to execute repetitive test cases again and again for a test engineer.
To perform regression testing, the tester needs to identify the test cases which must be executed.If the no. is big, testers need to find out the best combination and optimize them.
Regression testing Tools- Regression test cases can be automated and executed on a scheduled basis. There are many tools that are reliable and scalable. Let’s have a look some of the most popular tools-
- Winrunner – HP WinRunner software was an automated functional GUI testing tool that allowed a user to record and playback user interface (UI) interactions as test scripts. As a functional test suite, it worked with HP QuickTest Professional and supported enterprise quality assurance.
- QTP – QTP is an automation testing tool by HP which is now called as HPE Unified Functional Testing software. It supports VB scripting language to specify the test procedure and also provides a GUI. To perform more intensive actions the user may need to modify the underlying script.
- Watir – According to Watir website, Watir stands for Web Application Testing In Ruby. It facilitates the writing of automated tests by mimicking the behavior of a user interacting with a website. It supports multiple browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari.
Its latest version is watir webdriver which is based on selenium API.
- Selenium – Selenium is a set of tools used to automate web applications across platforms. It supports many third party libraries to facilitate a complete framework for automation. It also supports multiple programming languages. Selenium has the support of some of the largest browser vendors who have taken (or are taking) steps to make Selenium a native part of their browser. It is also the core technology in countless other browser automation tools, APIs and frameworks.
- actiWate – actiWATE is a Java-based software platform intended to make the test automation process simple and cost-effective for automation of regression testing of web applications. It consists of actiWATE Framework and additional modules. Currently, only one module is released – actiWATE TWA Framework which is a Java-based library. Automated tests use this library for interacting with web applications. actiWATE executes tests without real Internet browser; instead actiWATE Framework emulates Internet browser on its own. actiWATE tests are fully compatible with JUnit and can be run by any JUnit tests runner.
- Rational Functional Tester – Rational Functional Tester is a tool for automated testing of software applications from the Rational Software division of IBM. It allows users to create tests that mimic the actions and assessments of a human tester. It is primarily used by Software Quality Assurance teams to perform automated regression testing.
- SilkTest –Silk Test is a tool for automated function and regression testing of enterprise applications. It was originally developed by Segue Software which was acquired by Borland in 2006. Borland was acquired by Micro Focus International in 2009.
- TimeShiftX –TimeShiftX is a date and time shift testing software that lets you time travel software into the future or past for temporal testing all date and time-sensitive functionality and code such as end of year-month, daylight savings time, leap year, billing, rates, policies, etc. Perform time travel testing without changing system clocks, editing code, or isolating servers.
- CloudQA- CloudQA provides a unified platform for various testing requirements. They have a record and playback tool with integrated reporting which is quite easy to use for creating and scheduling regression testing suit. It also provides integration with various third-party tools for eg-
- ALM tools (TestRail, TFS, Asana)
- Bug Tracking (Jira, BugTracker)
- CI/CD (Jenkins, CircleCI, TravisCI & DevOps support)
- Open API Integration
- Team communication (Slack, SMS, webhooks)
- Version control tools (Github, TFS)
Regression testing automation FAQ
Regression testing automation is a software testing technique that utilizes software tools and techniques in testing software after application to be tested has been changed or updated.
Regression testing automation increases our chances of detecting bugs caused by changes to software and application- either enhancements or defect fixes. Regression testing automation also detects undesirable side effects caused always by changing the operating environment like data, operating system, browsers, resolutions, etc.
Here is the list of most popular regression testing automation tools in 2019
2. IBM Rational Functional Tester.
3. Microfocus UFT.
4. Ranorex Studio.
8. Tricentis Tosca.
Regression testing automation is needed to ensure changes in the application do not disrupt currently functioning parts of the application. Given there are tests (e.g. core features, critical functionality) that need to be repeatedly executed in each regression test run, it is required that these regression test cases are automated.
Agile methodology focuses on building a high-quality product, reducing the risk associated with development. Since agile methodology involves frequent changes, it is important to have a regression test automation process for the same
“Automation” is frequently used in the context of automating a project’s deployment pipeline. Often this is referred to as “DevOps,” or Developer Operations. Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, and Continuous testing are all facets of this overarching domain: leveraging regression testing automation tools to quickly test, retest the application changes to eventually deploy into production.
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How To Select a Regression Testing Automation Tool For Web Applications
Regression testing is an essential component in a web application development cycle. However, it’s often a time-consuming and tedious task in the QA process.
Thankfully, you can improve efficiency, streamline workflows, reduce costs, and shorten the development cycle by automating regression testing.
How should you go about selecting the right regression testing automation tool? What are some available options on the market? What are the best practices that’d help you get the most out of these platforms?
Criteria For Selecting a Regression Testing Automation Tool
After you have decided that the duration and scope of a project are worth the upfront effort needed to set up automation, look for key features in an automation tool that meet the project requirements.
When evaluating an automation tool, you should consider:
- The ability to develop and maintain scripts quickly and easily.
- Ease of test execution by non-technical users.
- Continuous Integration for TFS DevOps integration with builds and deployments.
- Cross-browser and cross-platform (mobile, desktop, web) testing in multiple environments.
- Keyword- and data-driven testing.
- Reliability, maintainability, and scalability.
- The ability to manage the complete QA lifecycle, from test generation to detailed reporting.
- Technical support, including customer service, knowledge base, and community.
The Most Popular Regression Testing Automation Tool For Web Application
Here are some popular regression testing automation tools, each with its unique features that meet the needs of different projects and budgets:
This open source testing tool integrates with Cucumber/SpecFlow and allows you to write test cases in a variety of programming languages, including C#, Java, Ruby, and Python. It also offers a lot of training and support resources.
Record test cases with this Firefox plugin, which is ideal for testing simple web applications since its functionality is rather limited. For instance, it doesn’t support testing for flash video games, music, UI/UX tests or file uploads.
An all-in-one solution for test automation of desktop, web, and mobile apps. Its codeless click-and-go interface makes it easy for beginners and non-technical users to conduct regression testing while its functionalities are powerful enough for automation experts with a full IDE.
This tester-focused automation tool is best suited for testing large web applications. It allows you to conduct testing quickly while minimizing maintenance effort. The smart accessor mechanism is designed to ensure that a test script won’t fail even if there are slight changes in the UI.
This platform enables the execution of parallel regression tests using automated builds without any manual intervention. It supports desktop, web, and mobile apps and can be used for GUI testing.
TruRT’s intuitive interface and the codeless platform is easy to use and offers a variety of features such as integrations, remote test executions, cross-browser testing, data-driven testing, advanced notifications, and comprehensive reporting to increase the productivity of your QA team.
7 Regression Testing Automation Best Practices
After you have identified the right tool for the project, optimize the QA process by following these regression testing automation best practices:
- Plan your QA strategy: build adequate time into the product lifecycle for testing, decide where QA fits into the process, and consider available resources. E.g., will every user story be tested? What kind of testing strategy will be used?
- Identify the test cases to automate: test cases that can benefit most from automation are repetitive, needed for multiple builds, hard to perform manually, susceptible to human errors, using multiple data sets, or time-consuming when tested manually.
- Test early and often: bugs caught early in the development process will have less impact on the project. They are cheaper and faster to fix than those discovered later during production or deployment.
- Integrate development and QA teams: automation and development teams should be working together seamlessly to reduce churn, minimize miscommunications, and increase the efficiency of the entire development cycle.
- Create quality test data: use external data to make automated tests reusable and easy to maintain. To add testing scenarios, you’d simply extend the files with new data so you don’t have to edit the actual test script.
- Create tests that are resistant to UI changes: set up the tests such that they don’t rely on location coordinates to find objects by providing unique names for the controls. This allows you to create stable test scripts that won’t break due to UI changes.
Coordinate development and QA: often times, testing can be done most effectively when conducted one sprint behind the development cycle. Without such a lag, the code could be too fluid for effective testing and changes could break the automation.
Regression testing automation is essential for today’s fast-paced software deployment processes. It helps shorten the development cycles and reduce the time to market, allowing you to respond to user demands in a nimble manner.
To maximize the effectiveness of your testing process, it’s important to select a regression testing automation tool that meets your project requirements while allowing you to manage the entire QA lifecycle seamlessly.
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