Regression testing is the process of checking a software system for bugs or regressions that have occurred in existing code after introducing new code.
Regression testing is a core part of quality assurance, as it helps software developers ensure that their product keeps delivering the functionalities that their end-users expect.
Despite its importance, however, regression testing isn’t exactly popular amongst testers.
In fact, if you are a tester, you’ll probably agree that regression testing is a pretty ungrateful job. It’s time-consuming, error-prone, and, to be frank, outright boring.
Fortunately, due to its repetitive and predictable nature, regression testing is an ideal candidate for automation.
In case you haven’t already read our blog post on automated regression testing, let’s first do a quick recap on regression testing and how it can be automated.
Automated regression testing
To perform regression testing simply means to check that existing features are still performing as intended in connection with a software update or release. The purpose is to ensure software quality.
The regression test execution can in theory be performed manually, but as software systems change or grow, so will the number of test cases and thereby the regression suite. Eventually, it’ll reach a point where it’s no longer feasible to manage the regression test cases manually.
Automated regression testing, if set up in the right way using the right tool, can make regression testing much less painful. It can free up testers’ time and let them focus on tasks that require more creative and critical thinking.
In an automated regression testing suite, setting up your functional tests is a one-time effort, and you can keep adding new tests as you go through software builds. You can schedule your tests to run as frequently as you want. This enables agile teams to update and release software much faster.
A good automation tool will also give you immediate feedback when tests fail. With an automation tool that creates visual recording and logs, you can easily go in and detect why those tests failed.
The greatest benefit of automated regression testing is perhaps that it frees up resources for your team. You can set up automation to check specific parts of the software with great accuracy, and then spend your brainpower on other types of tests and bug fixes, that will overall enhance your software product and ultimately give your customers a better, and significantly less buggy, experience.
Crucial to this process, however, is selecting an automation tool that will make it easy for you and your agile team to maintain a clear overview of your test suite. With the wrong tool, you risk a messy and unmanageable testing suite.
Now let’s take a closer look at regression testing tools.
How to choose your regression testing tool
There are a vast number of tools available for automating regression test cases.
The ideal automation tool for you will depend on your project and team, but there are a few features that the best ones have in common.
Your chosen regression testing tool should be:
- Easy-to-use, enabling testers to set up test cases from day one
- Visual, providing you with a good overview of your regression test suite
- Collaborative, allowing your team to work together on the software
- Code-free, enabling all testers to set up and understand test cases
- Automated, allowing you to run your entire regression suite after every build
- Adaptable, working across all web, mobile and desktop apps and technologies
- Trackable, capturing why test cases fail in recorded videos and logs
- Supported, getting you the help you need when you need it
Selenium as an automation tool: Pros and cons
Many testers use Selenium as a tool to automate their regression testing. This is mainly because Selenium is an open-source framework (meaning it’s free and accessible to all), and it enables skilled testers to automate many testing processes.
Selenium can be used to test web applications, and it works with severable programming languages. Furthermore, Selenium allows fast feedback and continuous changes, corresponding well with the typical needs of an agile team.
A final benefit of Selenium is that, due to it being open-sourced, there are also strong communities to learn from and to share best practices with.
However, Selenium also has its disadvantages: It takes time to learn how to use it, it requires a fair bit of maintenance, and it can take away resources from other important tasks.
The biggest disadvantage of Selenium is probably that it requires decent amounts of coding and programming skills – more than the typical tester has – resulting in developers doing the work instead. This means that the input of time taken to set up the automation may potentially surpass the output of time saved, and that, in the end, you risk throwing valuable resources out the window.
LEAPWORK: A code-free Selenium
To avoid spending more time and resources than necessary, it can pay off to invest in a test automation platform, such as LEAPWORK.
LEAPWORK runs on Selenium, but is much easier to use and doesn’t require any coding skills. When using LEAPWORK, you as a tester can navigate through your regression testing suite using a visual interface. You don’t have to worry about any coding, as it all goes on behind the scenes.
At the same time, LEAPWORK provides you with all the important features of an automated regression testing tool listed above.