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Andrii Kravchenko, Automation and Manual Quality Assurance Engineer

Nov 25, 2023 19 min read

Automated Regression Testing: Best Practices in 2023

This article provides a detailed overview of the most effective and up-to-date practices for implementing automated regression testing in software development. It discusses the importance of automation in maintaining software quality amidst frequent changes, explores the latest tools and technologies in the field, and offers insights into optimizing test strategies for efficiency and accuracy. This guide is particularly valuable for software developers and QA professionals looking to enhance their testing processes with the latest advancements in automation as of 2023.

Automated Regression Testing

What is Software Regression Testing?

Regression testing is testing existing software after changes have been made to ensure that new code changes have not degraded the existing functionality or introduced new problems. This helps ensure the stability of the application before its next release. Scenarios when regression testing is necessary: 

  • New features: Adding new features to the program. 
  • Error correction: Correction of detected errors or deficiencies. 
  • Code modification: Changes to existing code.

Software regressions are errors or issues that arise in software after changes or updates have been made to its source code Such regressions can show up as a sudden breakdown of features that used to work fine, or new problems popping up that weren't there before the changes were made. When performed, whether manual or automated, regression testing is designed to detect and identify these regressions early in development or maintenance so that developers can detect and fix them before they affect end users. 

This article will look at regression testing automation and the different types of regression tests. We aim to provide you with clear and competent information about such an essential component of software testing and fully consider how to automate regression testing. You can also read our article about the test automation framework for comprehensive insights and strategies to optimize your testing processes.

Why is Automated Regression Testing Important?

Automated regression testing is essential for verifying software to ensure it remains stable after introducing code changes, enhancements, or additional features.  

Automated regression testing is pivotal for several reasons: 

  • Consistent verification: Automated regression tests are run multiple times to systematically identify any problems in new builds, ensuring that with each iteration, all test cases are executed correctly. 
  • Reliability assurance: These tests confirm that new code integrations or feature additions have not inadvertently disrupted existing functionalities. 
  • Efficiency and speed: Automated regression tests expedite the development process by allowing for frequent code integrations and immediate feedback on their impact. 
  • Resource optimization: These tests eliminate the tedium and potential inaccuracies of manual testing, freeing up valuable human resources for more complex test scenarios and quality assurance tasks. 
  • Quality maintenance: By catching defects early in the development cycle, automated regression tests help maintain the software's integrity, leading to a stable and reliable product for the end-user.

In conclusion, regression testing in software testing is an indispensable tool in modern software development. It ensures consistent functionality despite ongoing changes, enhances the reliability of the software, and optimizes the development process. 

When Should You Start Automated Regression Testing?

The Forbes article on automation testing underscores the critical elements for success in test automation: product, people, and process. When organizing a test automation process, it is crucial to begin with the help of experienced professionals and the best-suited technology to achieve your goals efficiently and robustly. 

Incorporating automated regression testing is critical at various stages of project development. Here are some cases when this becomes necessary: 

  1. After Changes: When the development team changes the source code or adds new features to the application, automated regression testing helps ensure that these changes do not break existing functionality. 
  2. During Each Sprint: If the project is developed using the Agile regression testing methodology with sprints, automated regression testing is conducted after each sprint. 
  3. Infrastructure Change: If the infrastructure on which the application runs changes ( e.g., server or database updates), automated regression testing verifies that the application still interacts with the changed components. 
  4. Pre-Release: Before the planned release of a software product, intensive automated regression tests are performed to certify that the product is ready for release and free of critical issues. 

All of these scenarios highlight the importance of automated regression testing in the software development process to ensure quality and quickly identify bugs after changes. 

How to Do Automated Regression Testing?

Regression testing is a complex and multi-layered process that helps ensure that changes in the software code have not affected the system's proper functionality. Let's take a step-by-step guide on regression testing. 

Step 1: Analysis of software changes 

Before initiating regression testing, it’s essential to comprehend the scope of modifications applied to the application. This understanding typically comes from developer task lists and team communications. Knowing the nature of updates — such as new features or bug fixes — provides insight into potential impacts on the existing features without the need to delve into the codebase, except on rare occasions where specific details are necessary. 

Step 2: Analysis of the impact of changes 

At this stage, it is essential to determine the possible consequences of changes in the program code. Consider what systems or functional parts may be involved in these changes and what risks they pose. For example, if changes affect payment processing, this could lead to financial problems. 

Step 3: Building a regression testing strategy 

At this stage, determine precisely how you will perform regression testing. Create a strategy that covers steps such as test data collection, test execution time estimation, test case automation, and more. For example, you can automate regression testing. 

Step 4: Create a test suite 

At this stage, the QA specialist forms a list of tests that will be used for regression testing. Let's say you use automated tests to test the checkout process, add an item to the cart, and remove it from the cart. 

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Regression test suites are generally created once, not repeatedly with each regression session. They are then incrementally updated or augmented with each sprint or cycle to encompass new features or changes. 

For a more in-depth illustration, we've prepared a detailed example of an automated regression test designed for an online clothing store: 

Scenario: Testing the add-to-cart functionality. 

Preconditions: 

  1. The user has the product page open. 
  2. The product is available for purchase. 
  3. The shopping cart is empty.

Step

Expected Result 

The user opens the "T-shirt with logo" product page. 

The product page for the "T-shirt with logo" loads successfully, displaying all relevant information such as the product description, images, size options, and price.  

The user clicks on the "Add to cart" button. 

The product "T-shirt with logo" is successfully added to the cart. The cart icon displays an updated item count. 

The system adds the product to the cart and displays confirmation. 

The shopping cart reflects the addition of the "T-shirt with logo", showing the correct product, size, color (if applicable), quantity, and price. A visible confirmation, such as a banner or a popup, confirms the item has been added. 

The user goes to the shopping cart. 

The shopping cart page loads, displaying all items that the user has added, including the recently added "T-shirt with logo". The cart contains detailed information for review, such as product names, sizes, colors, quantities, prices. 

The creation of test suites contributed to establishing a reliable and effective testing procedure, which ensures that users can interact with the system smoothly, performing all the necessary operations, from selecting and adding products to the cart to proceeding to payment and completing the purchase.  

Code example for an automated TypeScript regression test for the Add-to-Cart scenario in an online clothing store using Playwright: 

This code opens the website, goes to the product page, clicks the "Add to Cart" button, goes to the cart page, and checks to see if the item is in the cart. The test will give an error if the product does not appear in the cart. 

This is an example of a simple regression test automation that checks whether the 'add-to-cart' function of an online clothing store works after making code changes. Automated tests make sure that basic functionality works properly after each software change.  

At this stage, run automated regression tests. During execution, be sure to prioritize test cases and evaluate the reusability of test modules. Ensure a high frequency of testing to identify problems quickly. 

Step 5: Performing regression tests 

At this stage, run automated regression tests. During execution, be sure to prioritize test cases and evaluate the reusability of test modules. Ensure a high frequency of testing to identify problems quickly. 

Step 6: Reporting 

In the final phase, report the regression testing results and communicate them to stakeholders such as the project manager and the client. Review analysis metrics, test scope, and details on achieving test goals. 

Integration of Automated Regression Testing with CI/CD  

Automated regression testing can be effectively integrated with CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment) systems, which is a best practice for software development. Let's delve into how it works and what advantages it provides. 

Why is CI/CD the best option for this type of testing?  

CI/CD is a set of practices that allow developers to automate the processes of building, testing, and deploying software. This means that any change in the application code prompts an automatic check for compliance, then testing. If all checks pass, it proceeds to an automatic deployment of the new version. Integrating automated regression testing with CI/CD helps detect bugs early after changes and ensures product stability. 

Features of integration with CI: 

  • Automatic Triggers: Different triggers automatically run tests after certain events in CI.  
  • Changes to the Application Code: If a developer makes changes to the application code and saves them, the CI system will automatically run regression tests to verify that these changes have not affected the existing functionality. 
  • Changes in Tests: Sometimes, test scripts also change. In this case, testers can update the tests, and CI will automatically execute them.  
  • Using a Timer: Setting regular timers to run regression tests automatically allows you to run them on a schedule that facilitates systematic testing.  
  • Manual execution: There is also an option to run tests manually when required.

Integration with CI allows developers and testers to simplify and automate the regression testing process, ensuring software reliability and stability at every stage of development and change.

Local Automated Regression Testing  

Local automated regression testing is essential to software quality assurance, especially on smaller projects or during development phases where CI/CD is not always the best choice. Let's look at this method and explore some valuable tips on using it effectively. 

How does it work? On local projects where CI/CD is not available or impractical, the Automator can perform regular automated regression tests on their computer. For example, it could be a weekly test cycle, during which automated scripts check the application's functionality and generate a results report.  

You need to follow these tips to achieve maximum results: 

  1. To use local automated regression effectively, it is essential to follow a regular testing schedule, for example, weekly. This will help detect potential problems in time and ensure the program's stability. 
  2. Keeping detailed reports and logs about the performed tests is essential to local automated regression. This will help in identifying problems and tracking their correction. 
  3. Using automated test scripts that cover the key functionality of the application will allow you to perform tests quickly and efficiently. 
  4. If necessary, you can use local automated regression for testing on different operating systems and browsers.

Automated Regression Testing Tools

Automated regression testing is a complex process that can be made much easier using powerful tools. This section will look at some of the most effective automated regression testing software that helps testers work efficiently and productively. 

Playwright

Playwright is a framework for automating web application testing that supports all modern web browsers.  

Main features: 

  • Works with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. 
  • Allows running tests on Windows, Linux, and macOS. 
  • Includes scenarios such as concurrent sessions, mobile device emulation, working with files, and more.

WebdriverIO (Wdio)

WebdriverIO represents the next generation of testing frameworks that support both web and mobile applications. 

Main features: 

  • A large number of plugins and integrations for extending functionality. 
  • Simplifies test writing with a Node.js-style synchronous API. 
  • An active community and a wealth of user-contributed add-ons.

Cypress

Cypress offers a comprehensive solution for front-end web application test automation.  

Main features: 

  • Tests run in a real browser environment, ensuring accurate testing. 
  • Visual tracking of test execution in real time. 
  • Integrates effortlessly with other tools and services like GitHub and Slack.

Testim.io

Testim.io is a cloud-based platform for test automation that specializes in the rapid and intuitive construction of automated test scenarios for web applications.  

Main features: 

  • Tests can be created and executed directly in the web browser, with no need for additional software installation. 
  • Uses artificial intelligence to improve test stability and reduce the need for frequent updates. 
  • Easily integrates with major continuous integration and delivery systems.

Selenium

Selenium is an open-source browser management software that supports all popular operating systems and browsers. The tool supports various programming languages, including PHP, Ruby, C++, Java, JavaScript, Perl, Python, and C#. Selenium easily integrates with other frameworks to optimize test automation. 

Main features: 

  • Support for various operating systems and browsers. 
  • Integration with other frameworks. 
  • Ability to record and playback tests.

Appium

Appium is a comprehensive mobile test automation tool suitable for various testing types, including regression test automation. It supports multiple programming languages, enabling the creation and execution of diverse test scripts. Appium can be used for Android, iOS, and Windows. Appium allows you to connect both remote and local mobile devices. 

Main features: 

  • Support for various programming languages. 
  • Ability to connect remote and local mobile devices. 
  • Support for dynamic display of the device.

These tools make automated regression testing more efficient and productive, simplifying the process and improving test quality. Choose the one that best suits the needs of your project and team. 

Selection of Tests for Regression Testing 

To effectively choose the right regression tests, it's important to understand the process. Regression testing involves re-running a defined set of tests to ensure that changes to the software have not introduced new bugs in existing features. 

How do you choose tests for regression testing? 

Functional Importance: Prioritize tests that cover key system functions critical to the business.  

Frequency of Change: Functionality that changes frequently has a higher risk of introducing errors. Include tests for these areas in the regression suite. 

Defect History: Pay special attention to functionality with a history of errors. 

Can any tests be used for regression testing? 

Not all tests are equally suitable for regression testing. Tests that require significant effort to maintain or those that rarely detect errors may not be the most efficient choice. The regression suite should be optimized in scope and include tests that provide maximum coverage with minimal time consumption. 

The difference between regression tests and other types  

Smoke Testing

Smoke testing, also called "build verification testing", is usually performed to verify that the system's main functions are working and that the build is ready for further testing. It does not usually include negative test cases, as the goal is to test core functionality, not to test system boundaries.

Unlike smoke testing, regression testing focuses on identifying errors that may have occurred due to changes in the software code. This includes re-executing both positive and negative test cases across the functionality to ensure that existing functionality has not been broken. 

Retesting 

In software testing, there are two essential approaches – regression testing and retesting. Although similar in name, these two concepts have different goals and implementation methods. Regression testing ensures that software updates do not adversely affect its functionality, while retesting focuses on verifying fixes for previously identified problems. Our table below presents a comparative overview of these two methods, revealing their main differences and uses. 

Aspect

Regression Testing 

Retesting

Purpose

To ensure software updates don't negatively impact the software. 

To verify that previously failed test cases have been fixed. 

Defect Checks 

No defect checks performed; checks for code modifications' impact on functionality. 

Defect checks are conducted to assess previously failed test cases. 

Test Cases Included 

Only test cases associated with regression testing. 

Retesting includes tests that previously failed. 

Focus 

Focuses on potential unforeseen negative effects. 

Focuses on confirming resolution of the initial issue. 

Execution Method 

Can be executed both manually and automatically. 

Typically executed manually. 

Regression testing ensures that new changes to the software do not lead to new bugs, while retesting is aimed at verifying that a problem discovered during previous testing has been fixed. These two types of testing have different objectives and methods of execution, and their use depends on the need of a particular test case. 


Advantages of Regression Testing Automation

Regression testing automation is a powerful tool that provides numerous benefits for ensuring high software quality. Here are some of them: 

01

Efficiency of standard operations: Automation makes it easy to perform standard testing operations, such as adding items to the cart or logging into the account. This frees testers from routine work and allows them to focus on more complex tasks. 

02

Create different types of users: With automation, you can easily create users with different access levels. For example, you can set up tests for administrators, moderators, and regular users to ensure all user groups have the correct access to system features. 

03

Test simultaneously or faster from different accounts: Automation allows simultaneous testing. This is useful for testing the functionality of many users working with the system simultaneously. In addition, automated tests can run significantly faster than manual tests, which improves productivity. 

04

Running independent tests in parallel: One of the automated regression testing benefits is the ability to run tests independently in parallel. This is especially useful for cross-browser and cross-platform testing, where you must check how the software works on different browsers and operating systems. Running tests in parallel significantly reduces execution time. 


Automated Regression Testing Best Practices

Automated regression testing is an integral part of the software quality assurance process. The use of advanced methods and strategies helps to maintain the high quality and efficiency of this type of testing. Consider some of these methods: 

01

Update regression test cases: Regression testing is a critical stage in the software quality assurance process. Given today's projects' broad scope and technical complexity, the right approach to automated regression testing is critical. Here are the best practices in automated regression testing from a testing perspective:  

02

Rerunning successful tests: After extensive software updates, it is essential to rerun all successful tests. Even when the test has passed without errors, updates can change the application's functionality, and testing is mandatory to identify possible problems. Rerunning successful tests is a critical step in guaranteeing product stability after changes. 

03

Classification of tests: Additionally, we recommend classifying tests, which helps manage testing tasks more efficiently. Classifying tests by their categories makes it easier to identify the sources of any failures and provides vital information about the causes of possible problems. This ensures faster detection and correction of errors, even if the test fails. 

04

Building a regression testing strategy: The testing team should develop a regression testing strategy that defines the sequence of actions. This strategy may include test data collection, test execution time estimation, test case automation, test execution, report generation, and iterations for further testing. 

05

Reporting: The last stage is preparing a report on the results of regression testing. The report should contain an analysis of indicators, the scope of testing, and a detailed description of the achievements of the testing objective. The report is provided to stakeholders, including the project manager and the end customer. 

Using these methods in automated regression testing helps to ensure excellent stability and high quality of your software product. They complement traditional approaches and avoid unforeseen problems in development. 


Conclusions

In this article, we explored how to do regression testing in automation and found out when it is appropriate and how it should be effectively carried out using specialized tools. We've also covered the main difference between regression testing and retesting, helping you better understand their purpose. With our tips and best practices, you can implement automated regression testing into your workflow and improve the quality of your software. We hope that the provided information will help you in your future work. Feel free to use it to achieve tremendous success in software product development. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is regression testing important?

Regression testing aims to check whether recent software changes have not affected its existing functionality. It is necessary to ensure that new patches or additions have not caused adverse consequences for the program. 

How often should regression testing be done?

The frequency of regression testing depends on the rhythm of software product development. It is usually performed after each significant code change or addition of new features, and most often, at the end of each sprint. 

How can you improve the efficiency of automated regression testing?

To elevate the efficiency of automated regression testing, one must judiciously select automated software regression testing tools that integrate seamlessly with the CI/CD pipeline and support scalable, parallel testing. Building a dynamic test suite with prioritized, modular test cases ensures comprehensive coverage and maintainability. Finally, establishing a robust reporting system with clear, actionable insights  facilitates swift issue identification and resolution, thereby streamlining the testing process and enhancing overall software quality. 

What are the advantages of automated regression testing over manual?

Automated regression testing can be faster, less expensive, and more accurate than manual testing. It also allows you to run the same tests as needed without errors, reducing the risk of human error. 

Why should you choose Luxe Quality for automated regression testing on your project?

Luxe Quality is your trusted partner in automated regression testing thanks to our technical expertise, CI/CD integration, scalability, and security focus. For detailed information  — Contact us

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