How to Automate Regression Testing

Lucia Cavero-Baptista

Automation Expert

Software is continuously evolving through changes, updates, and bug fixes. However, even the smallest of the changes can have a domino effect on an application’s source code. 

Despite this, some software development teams choose to only run tests on the actual code changes, under the assumption that if the new software component works, then the rest of the functionality will as well.

In order to avoid unwanted changes happening in an application, software development teams need to perform regression tests. But developing and performing these tests manually is time-consuming and can create unnecessary bottlenecks.

By automating regression tests, companies are able to save time and money in the long run.

However, before we dig deeper into automated regression testing, let’s review what regression testing is and why it shouldn't be overlooked.

What is Regression Testing?

Software regression is defined as an unintended issue caused by a code change, such as configuration changes, bug fixes, or software enhancements.

Therefore, regression testing is the re-running of functional and non-functional tests to ensure that no newly developed code causes bugs or breaks any existing functionality.

In other words, regression testing is the process of looking for unwanted changes to ensure the tested software still performs after a change.

Regression testing requires constant repetition of testing scenarios to discover any possible unintended flaws in the application, and also to make sure that previously eradicated bugs haven’t re-occurred.

Depending on the size of the project, regression tests can be performed manually. However, repeating these tests in every release cycle takes a lot of time and, with each found defect, the regression test suites tend to grow, reaching a point in which they can no longer be managed manually.

For this reason, test automation is often a solution to managing regression testing.

 

Why is Automating Regression Testing Important?

Automated regression testing is critical for businesses wishing to achieve fast go-to-market and shorter system development life cycles.

Automated regression testing uses computer-based tools and techniques to test software that has been changed or updated.

An automated tool makes it possible to create automated regression suites to re-run all regression tests at specified intervals, such as daily or weekly, and report any failure. This means that automated regression tests can be executed 24/7, the same way every time.

If managing manual regression testing is creating bottlenecks and is increasingly time-consuming for your team, you should consider shifting to automated regression tests. 

When regression testing is automated, you can quickly and reliably run through simple scenarios and check a variety of changes to get fast feedback. This, in turn, frees up time for testers to focus on other types of testing or conduct manual exploration into more unusual cases that require special attention.

Finally, building automation cases is a one-time effort, meaning that once built, they can be reused indefinitely. By automating regression tests, you’re giving the opportunity to testers to focus on what matters most – user experience. 

On-demand Webinar: Automating Regression Testing with Leapwork

How to Automate Regression Testing

The first step is to decide which test cases you should include in your automated regression suite. To begin with, you can add any existing test cases, such as functional tests, integration tests, unit tests, etc. 

The next step would be to identify potential test cases. Ideally you should include those that check business-critical features, core product features, new features, integrations and features that are highly visible to the end-user.

When it comes to frequency, as a rule of thumb you should run you automated regression suite  every time a change is made to the code. However, if you want to maintain quality at speed, you should run do it as much as possible.

Lastly, you need to keep updating your regression testing suite. As your application changes and evolves, so does your testing suite. Keep adding test cases when relevant and delte those that have become obsolete.

Related reading: How to do Regression Testing (Faster)

A Codeless Tool to Automate Regression Testing

You can automate regression tests with computer-based tools, but not all of them offer the same features. Before you choose one, you should take into consideration some key factors to see what testing tool best fits your organization.

Leapwork offers an automated platform for all regression UI testing of any web and desktop application. It works in any application thanks to native support of desktop technologies combined with Selenium-based web automation.

Leapwork allows you to build regression tests without writing code.

This means that everyone on your team – whether it’s technical testers, non-developers, or management – can design and execute automated test cases as visual flowcharts.

In these flowcharts, you can insert blocks into a workflow, assign actions to them and tell them what to look for, using image and text recognition that identify content on the screen.

Leapwork thereby makes it easy to scale and maintain test automation.

Related reading - Regression Testing Tools: Selenium vs. Leapwork

Everything you need for codeless regression test automation

Learn more about codeless regression testing in our whitepaper on how to do regression testing in agile teams. Download below.

Download regression testing whitepaper