Regression testing is a type of functional testing that checks for issues with existing functionalities that are introduced by new additions or updates to the codebase. These tests are used to find the source of new bugs, and confirm if they were caused by an update. Smoke and sanity tests are often considered related types of test.
Regression testing is a critical aspect of QA for many software development teams, including when a major feature or new version of the application is being released, and when a critical bug has been recently fixed. To get the most out of them, existing regression test suites should be executed frequently to ensure that bugs are caught quickly. Because each deployment carries a risk of introducing new regressions, they can be extremely important for organizations who practice CI/CD, Agile, and other development methodologies that utilize frequent deployments. These teams start regession testing early in development and continue to execute tests after each build.
Effective regression testing strategies can allow development teams to save hundreds of hours of debugging by preventing bugs from being introduced. Many teams opt to automate as many tests as possible in order to run them as frequently and cheaply as possible without creating a bottleneck. There are downsides to over-automation, depending on what technology you choose; the cost of maintainance can be higher. This should be taken in to account when choosing a solution.
Crowdsourced solutions like Rainforest QA can help speed up running extensive regressions processes in cases where maintaining automated test suites may be too challenging to do efficiently.
Regression tests can be run as functional tests, to verify the overall usability of the end product or feature. They can also be unit tests, in order to check individual additions to the codebase. Many repetitive, simple regression tests can be automated to save time and manpower. By leveraging a continuous integration, teams can automate much of their unit-level regression tests and create an immediate feedback system for each code push.
While automating unit-level regression testing can help provide a faster feedback loop, regression testing should also executed at the interface level to ensure overall product quality. Writing and managing automated regression test scripts can be time-consuming and expensive. Regression tests that test usability are most useful when executed by a human tester, in order to best emulate the actual use case of the application. However, these manually executed regression tests can also be time consuming and can create bottlenecks to deployment.
Rainforest’s extensive browser coverage and ability to run multiple tests simultaneously makes it an excellent solution for speeding up regression testing. With a network of 50,000 testers available on-demand, Rainforest allows QA teams to performing regression testing quickly, with minimal investment of resources compared to manual regression testing. Unlike automated regression tests, test can be performe by human testers. This allows Rainforest tests to be more flexible than automated tests, with less likelihood of being brittle or flaky as your code evolves.
PR analytics software company TrendKite uses Rainforest as a comprehensive regression testing tool to allow their developers to spend less time ensuring that their frequent code updates do not introduce regressions. As a result, they have been able to increase the speed of regression testing during development and remove a major QA bottleneck from their developer-owned testing process.
Knowing where to look for regressions can help your team streamline regression testing and pinpoint bugs faster and more efficiently. Learn what key regression test cases you should include in your QA testing suite when you download our free 50 Essential Functional and Regression Test Cases Checklist.