Why Automated Regression Testing is Essential

May 16, 2024  |  Nadzeya Kliashchova

Quality and reliability are paramount in software product development. Regression testing, a crucial phase in the software development lifecycle, ensures that new code modifications do not disrupt existing functionalities.

In this article, we’ll explore why automated regression testing is not just beneficial but essential for successful software development.

What is Regression Testing, and Why is it Indispensable?

During software development, new code changes almost always impact the software’s existing functionality. Think of it as a domino effect—when one change is made, it can set off a chain reaction.

The goal in development is to ensure this chain reaction does not introduce any unintended issues or bugs into the existing system. That’s where regression testing comes into play. It helps your development team verify that those recent code changes have not adversely affected the existing functionality. It ensures that bug fixes, new modifications, and enhancements aren’t inadvertently introducing new faults into previously working components.

Modern software systems are incredibly complex. As systems evolve, even small modifications can have significant effects on the code base. Known as software regression, it is a type of a software bug where a feature that has worked before stops working. Regression testing helps you detect and resolve issues before the software is deployed to users and stakeholders.

Challenges of Manual Regression Testing

Manual regression testing used to be the standard practice and it is still a necessary component of the development process. It involves human testers methodically executing test cases without the aid of automated tools to ensure that changes to existing features aren’t adding new bugs to the user experience.

The process for manual regression testing is time-consuming and labor-intensive. Testers review all documentation and requirements of the application. They identify the areas of the software that are most likely to be impacted by the changes or updates, and then they create test cases that cover those functionalities.

For each step of the test case, testers must manually carry out the interaction—inputting data, navigating the application, and verifying behavior. As they execute each case, they compare actual outcomes with expected results and meticulously log any failures or unexpected behavior. This information is passed back to the developers along with screenshots and details.

The developers work through the report, make necessary changes to the software application, and then the testers retest. The feedback loop continues until the fixes are verifiably resolved and successful. While necessary in some cases, this process requires significant human resources.

The drawbacks of manual regression testing include being:

  • Time-consuming
  • Repetitive
  • Costly
  • Inefficient
  • Error-prone

Fortunately, you can streamline the regression testing process and expedite a speedy, accurate, and efficient deployment using automation.

Benefits of Regression Test Automation

Regression testing is a strategic necessity for organizations as it helps increase efficiency, ensure software stability, minimize risks, maintain customer satisfaction, and save time and resources. Regression testing is crucial to drive continuous improvement and maintain a competitive edge in the market.

The key benefits of automated regression testing include:

  • Increased efficiency and speed: Automation allows developers to run tests quickly and more frequently, providing real-time feedback.
  • Improved accuracy and consistency: Automation reduces the likelihood of human error, especially in repetitive and routine tasks.
  • Reduction of long-term costs: Despite the initial investment, automated regression testing helps reduce costs associated with testing over time. It allows for continuous testing—run tests repeatedly without additional cost or resources, particularly economical for large, complex projects.
  • Scalability: Automation allows you to accommodate changes and additions to software easily. Scale testing efforts as your project grows and execute a vast number of tests each cycle to cover a wider array of features and functionalities.
  • Ability to Reallocate Assets: By automating routine testing tasks, your team can focus on more complex and higher-level testing scenarios. This shift in focus adds value to the development process.

These benefits make automating regression testing not just a luxury, but a necessity for most developers, helping them meet today’s demands. It enables software enhancements that allow you to stay competitive and improve software functionality while avoiding many inefficiencies and pitfalls that can occur with manual testing.

What are Test Automation Frameworks?

Automation frameworks are handy tools for streamlining the test development process and creating a repeatable and reusable test process. They make automation testing much easier and more effective as they allow for the automated execution of a test suite, which leads to repeatable results in quality assurance of the software under test.

These frameworks come equipped with plenty of features, such as test runners, action recording tools, and reporting output.

In addition to a better test execution consistency, it also increases the efficiency of the quality assurance process. Selecting the best framework for your organizational needs will help ensure that your tests are reliable, repeatable, and fit for purpose.

At IBA, we offer JuNaSe, a zero-cost, full-cycle test automation framework that automates testing of different application types under a unified approach. In an effort to meet the latest trends in the realm of Automated Testing and Test Automation Frameworks development, Junase offers advanced features and capabilities to streamline the creation and execution of automated regression tests. The test automation framework consists of a set of guidelines, practices, and protocols that the entire team can follow in order to reduce maintenance efforts and avoid the costs associated with creating test automation scripts. Junase automates the testing of all your applications in a single framework. The unified testing approach is scaled across web, mobile, desktop, SAP, and Java applications. Junase can run integration tests by calling different drivers within the same test scenario and transfer data between various applications.

Future Trends of Automated Regression Testing

Let’s take a look at what trends and technologies are shaping the future of automated regression testing. Here are a few key advances that are significantly changing the way organizations achieve high quality and reliability of software products:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are being increasingly used in automated regression testing to analyze test results, optimize testing processes, and identify patterns and anomalies in software behavior.
  • Continuous testing practices, integrated with CI/CD pipelines, allow organizations to automate regression tests and ensure that code changes are thoroughly tested and validated in real-time.
  • Shift-left testing practices involve testing early and often in the software development lifecycle, enabling organizations to catch and fix defects sooner and reduce the cost and effort of regression testing.
  • Containerization and virtualization technologies such as Docker and Kubernetes are used to create isolated testing environments for automated regression testing, improving test reproducibility and reliability.
  • Test automation frameworks continue to evolve, offering new features and capabilities to streamline the creation and execution of automated regression tests.

By leveraging the practices above, organizations can streamline regression testing processes, catch defects early, increase test coverage, and ensure the quality of their software products.

Why Automate Regression Testing? Why Not?

The real question is not whether automation is necessary in regression testing, but why you have not yet adopted automation in the regression testing process.

Regression testing will continue to be beneficial for nearly every software product as technologies evolve to become faster and more user-friendly. The days of manual regression testing, where testers have to repeatedly go back and forth every time a change is made to the codebase are dwindling. As software grows in complexity and size, manual testing can delay feedback loops, slow down the development cycle, and extend your time to market for new features and fixes.

The repetitive, error-prone nature of manual testing decreases overall testing efficiency and increases development costs. It raises software vulnerability, leading to bugs that slip through the cracks, causing post-release fixes and reputational damage.

With many great tools and frameworks on the market, one of which is IBA’s own JuNaSe automation framework, it’s increasingly affordable and feasible to adopt more automation into your regression testing process. Improve your regression testing strategy and tighten the software development lifecycle.

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