Regression Test Automation

What is Regression Testing?

Regression test automation ensures that changes to an existing software do not effect the previously working functionality. Regression testing is a type of software testing that tests existing software applications to ensure that a change or addition hasn’t broken any existing functionality.The changes may include not only changes to the code for enhancements or bug fixes but also changes to the configuration like OS upgrade, version changes to the dependent components or patches. Regression testing helps identify issues that may have been accidentally introduced into the system. By executing the test scenarios and scripts that have been developed when a previous version of software is developed, regression test automation ensures that functionality that was working earlier and fixes made earlier are still working properly. Regression testing can be performed manually or by using regression test automation tools like Marathon. Whereas it is possible to execute regression test suites manually, it is effective only for small projects. For larger software products, regression test automation suites provides multiple benefits – reducing the time execute a regression test suite, ability to integrate it into a Continuous Integration (CI) systems and automatic generation of test reports.

Why do we need Regression Tests

There is a tendency in development teams to test ‘those that are effected by change’ with the assumption that the developer can foresee and guess all the modules that are effected by a change. This approach is a little naive. Though it may make sense and reduce the amount of time to ‘commit’ a change – but it doesn’t take into consideration all those areas that cause unexpected failures. The more complex an application is, there are more chances of unexpected failures cropping up with a small change. It is important for the development teams to recognize that small and petty changes to the source code can effect seeming unrelated modules in surprising ways. A change in the number of characters in a text field – though solve the current issue – may cause the formatting of a report to go haywire. Manual Regression tests when performed makes sure that modification does have the local effect that you are aiming for, but also ensure that there are no inadvertant issues that cause problems in previously working functionality.

Need for Regression Test Automation

For any given software project, it is relatively easy to develop a regression test suite. Regression test automation suites can be developed from day one of the project – including functional tests, integration tests, unit tests – for that matter any test that verifies the system or a module is working properly at a given time. Each modification of the source code, either for a bug fix or an enhancement, can always be accompanied by executing your regression test automation suite to build confidence and ensure that nothing unexpected breaks. Over the course of the project, the regression test suite tends to grow. What started as a few tens of test scripts as a suite may over a period of time can become few hundreds, then few thousands of test scripts. Having to run these tests manually is error prone and really boring the test engineers. This ineffect makes automated testing mandatory for your regression test suite for all but small, self-contained software projects. At this time, there are various regression test automation tools available. They make it easy to create and maintain regression test suites. You can setup a few testing parameters and check your latest version of software with a baseline relatively easily. Allowing that you have required resources, it is even possible to run the whole gamut of test cases when a simple change to software code occurs.

Regression failure – not the tests, the process

Once you have a set of tests for regression testing and they all are automated – what can go wrong? Using the same set of tests day in and day out makes your testing process static. If regression testing for a project becomes too automated and rote, instead of catching issues – your process might start to circumvent them. It is advisable, to keep and maintain your regression test automation test suite along with performing some manual tests. Complementing your automated test suite with manual tests and then updating and keeping your test suite current and well-maintained helps you in deriving the most from your regression tests.

The Future of Regression Test Automation

For regression test automation to be effective, it needs to be seen as one part of a comprehensive testing methodology that is cost-effective and efficient while still incorporating enough variety—such as well-designed frontend UI automated tests alongside targeted unit testing, based on smart risk prioritization—to prevent any aspects of your software applications from going unchecked. These days, many Agile work environments employing workflow practices such as XP (Extreme Programming), RUP (Rational Unified Process), or Scrum appreciate regression testing as an essential aspect of a dynamic, iterative development and deployment schedule. But no matter what software development and quality-assurance process your organization uses, if you take the time to put in enough careful planning up front, crafting a clear and diverse testing strategy with regression testing  automation suite at its core, you can help prevent projects from going over budget, keep your team on track, and, most importantly, prevent unexpected bugs from damaging your products and your company’s bottom line.

Using MarathonITE for Regression Test Automation

MarathonITE provides a set of features that are useful for regression test automation.
  • You can use MarathonITE to automate your tests. You can create a test script using the automated recorder and then refactor them to reuse the test scripts.
  • You can integrate MarathonITE test suite execution into your development workflow. You can use the commandline batch mode to launch MarathonITE from your CI server. Altearnatively, you can launch MarathonITE as a Java task from an ANT build file and integrate it into your CI server.
  • When needed, you can use the Exploratory Testing and if needed, add them into your regression test suite.
  • You can also use Semi Autmated Tests and make them part of regression test suite to ensure that those that can’t be tested automatically can still benefit from test automation