What is Regression Testing?

Making changes to a big and complex code is tough. When you add new stuff, fix bugs, or make changes to an app or website, it can mess up how things currently work. Developers usually use automated tests to catch these problems. But in this guide, we’re going to talk about regression testing, a different way to make sure everything still works fine after you make changes.

What is regression testing?

Regression Testing is a way to check if everything in your software still works after you make changes. When you add new things or fix stuff in your software, sometimes it can accidentally break other parts that used to work fine. Regression testing helps find these problems.

If you don’t keep a close track of every version of your project, it’s hard to figure out what change caused a new problem. That’s why it’s smart to always include thorough regression testing in your projects.

Why is regression testing important?

Regression Testing is important because it ensures that any new changes or updates to software don’t accidentally cause problems with the parts that were already working well. It’s all about catching bugs early on, which is crucial because fixing issues after a product’s release can be really costly and time-consuming. By regularly performing regression testing, the overall quality and reliability of the software is maintained, giving users confidence that it will work smoothly even after new updates. This is especially key in today’s tech world, where software needs constant improvements and updates. In short, regression testing is essential for keeping software stable and trustworthy while it evolves and grows.

What is regression testing?

Regression Testing is typically performed in several scenarios during the software development process:

  • After Every New Feature or Update: Whenever new features are added or existing ones are modified, regression testing is done to ensure these changes haven’t affected the rest of the software.
  • After Bug Fixes: It’s important to do regression testing after bugs are fixed to make sure the fixes haven’t created new issues in other parts of the software.
  • Before a New Version Release: Before releasing a new version of the software to the public, regression testing is essential to ensure that all features are working correctly.
  • After Environmental Changes: If there are changes in the operating system, hardware, or other software components that the application interacts with, regression testing is necessary to ensure that the application still works as expected in the new environment.

In essence, regression testing is an ongoing process and can be seen as a safety check that is performed regularly throughout the software development lifecycle.

Why is regression testing important?

Performing regression testing in software testing involves a series of steps to ensure that new changes or updates haven’t broken any existing functionalities.

  • Identify Changes: Understand what changes have been made to the software. This could be new features, bug fixes, or updates.
  • Prioritize Test Cases: Not all test cases are equally important. Prioritize them based on the criticality of features, the extent of changes, and areas of the software most likely to be affected by the changes.
  • Update Test Cases: If there are changes in the software, some existing test cases might become obsolete while new ones may need to be created. Update your test suite to reflect the current state of your software.
  • Choose the Right Testing Tools: Select tools that align with your software’s technology stack and testing needs. For web applications, tools like Selenium can be useful. For API testing, Postman or SoapUI are good options.
  • Automate Regression Tests: Automation is key in regression testing, especially for large projects with frequent changes. Automated tests save time and are more reliable in executing repetitive tasks.
  • Execute the Test Cases: Run both your updated and existing test cases. Automated tests should be run using your automation framework, while manual testing can be employed for complex or newly added features.
  • Analyze Test Results: After the tests are executed, analyze the results. Look for any test failures and understand why they failed. This could be due to an actual software bug or an issue with the test case itself.
  • Report and Fix Bugs: Document any bugs found and report them to the development team. Work closely with developers to understand the root cause and verify fixes.
  • Retest: Once bugs are fixed, retest to ensure that the fixes work and haven’t caused any new issues in the software.
  • Regularly Review and Refine: Regularly review your testing processes and test cases. As the software evolves, so should your regression testing approach.

Remember, effective regression testing is methodical and systematic. It requires a balance of the right tools, automation, and a deep understanding of the software and its changes.

When is regression testing performed?

Choosing the right test cases for regression testing is crucial for its effectiveness. Here’s how to select them wisely:

  • Identify High-Risk Areas: Focus on parts of the software that are most critical and have a higher chance of being affected by changes. This includes areas where bugs have previously been found or where major changes have been made.
  • Prioritize Recently Changed Features: Include test cases for recently added or modified features. These are more likely to contain bugs than areas of the software that haven’t changed.
  • Include Core Functionalities: Always test the core functionalities of your software, regardless of whether they have been directly affected by recent changes. These are the features that your users rely on the most.
  • Test Cases with Frequent Defects: Include test cases that have historically identified defects in the software. If certain areas have been buggy in the past, they might be again.
  • Consider User Paths: Include test cases that mimic common user paths or workflows. This ensures that the most typical ways users interact with the software are tested.

It’s important to regularly review and update your selection of test cases for regression testing as your software evolves. This ensures that your regression suite remains effective and relevant over time.

How to do regression testing?

This is done to verify that specific identified bugs or defects have been fixed. Retesting is focused on the specific issue and the area of the software where it was found.This is performed to check whether recent changes (like bug fixes, enhancements) have impacted any existing functionality of the software. It ensures that new code additions haven’t introduced new defects. 
The scope is narrow and specific. It involves re-running the same test scenarios that initially failed, but only after the defects have been fixed.Has a broader scope. It involves testing the entire application or a larger part of it to ensure that recent changes haven’t affected the areas that were working previously. 
 Based on defect fixes. It’s performed after bugs are reported and fixed.Based on change. Any change in the code, be it a new feature or a bug fix, can trigger regression testing. 
Uses the same test cases that were used to find the bug initially.Uses a set of test cases that cover the entire application or the main features of the application. 
Done as needed, whenever a bug is fixed.Done frequently, especially in environments where changes are made often, like in Agile or Continuous Integration setups. 
Often done manually, as it requires retesting specific bug fixes.More suited for automation due to its repetitive nature and broader scope.

Retesting is about making sure specific bugs are fixed, while Regression Testing ensures that those fixes (and any other changes) haven’t created new problems elsewhere in the software. Both are integral to maintaining the overall quality and functionality of software products.

How to choose test cases for the regression testing?

  • Ensures Software Quality: By routinely checking if new code affects existing functionality, regression testing maintains the overall quality and reliability of the software.
  • Catches Bugs Early: It helps identify issues introduced by recent changes early in the development cycle, making them easier and less expensive to fix.
  • Increases User Satisfaction: Consistent regression testing leads to a more stable and reliable product, improving user experience and satisfaction.
  • Supports Continuous Development: In agile and continuous integration environments, regression testing enables frequent updates and additions without compromising the software’s integrity.
  • Facilitates Test Automation: Many regression tests can be automated, making the process more efficient and reducing the workload on the QA team.
  • Improves Documentation: Regular regression testing helps keep test documentation up to date, providing valuable insights into software functionality and changes over time.

Disadvantages of Regression Testing:

  • Time-Consuming: Without automation, regression testing can be a lengthy process, especially for large and complex applications.
  • Resource Intensive: It requires significant resources in terms of manpower and tools, especially if a large portion of the testing is done manually.
  • Maintenance of Test Cases: As software evolves, keeping the regression test suite relevant and updated can be challenging and requires ongoing effort.
  • Possibility of Redundancy: There’s a risk of redundancy in running the same test cases repeatedly, particularly if not well managed.
  • Requires Skilled Personnel: Effective regression testing requires skilled QA professionals who can identify the most critical areas for testing and update the test suite as needed.

While regression testing is essential for ensuring software quality and reliability, it does come with challenges such as time and resource requirements. However, with strategic planning, automation, and skilled QA professionals, these challenges can be effectively managed.

Regression testing example in practise:

Let’s imagine a company that’s developing a new flight booking application. The first version they plan to launch will just have the basic features – like searching for flights, booking them, and managing reservations. Before they release this version, they do a regression test with 500 test cases to make sure all these basic features work as expected. If the app passes all these tests, it’s good to go live.

After the launch, the app becomes popular for its easy-to-use interface. The team decides to add some cool new features, like seat selection and in-flight meal choices for an extra fee. The developers work on these new additions and integrate them into the existing app. But with these new changes, it’s time for another round of regression testing. They create 200 new test cases for these new features, but they also need to rerun the original 500 test cases. This is to check that the new updates haven’t caused any problems with the basic booking and reservation features that were already working fine. Key areas those 500 test cases could cover are:

Flight Search Functionality:

  • Correctness and relevance of search results based on different criteria (destination, date, number of passengers, etc.).
  • Filters and sorting features working as expected.
  • Response time and performance of the search feature.

Booking Process:

  • Completeness and accuracy of the booking flow.
  • Correct calculation of fares, taxes, and total costs.
  • Functionality to select different flight classes and options.
  • Input validation for passenger information fields.
  • Confirmation and error handling mechanisms.

Payment Processing:

  • Secure and error-free payment transaction process.
  • Compatibility with various payment methods (credit/debit cards, online wallets, etc.).
  • Proper handling of payment failures or cancellations.

Reservation Management:

  • Ability to view, modify, and cancel bookings.
  • Correctness of reservation details displayed to the user.
  • Email or SMS notifications and confirmations.

User Account Management:

  • Registration, login, and logout functionalities.
  • Profile editing and password management.
  • Integration of loyalty or rewards programs, if applicable.

UI/UX Consistency and Responsiveness:

  • Consistency in design elements across different screens.
  • Usability of the app on various devices and screen sizes.
  • Accessibility features and compliance.

Performance and Stability:

  • App’s load time and responsiveness under different conditions.
  • Handling of network issues and offline scenarios.
  • App behavior under peak load.

These test cases ensure that the core functionality of the app remains intact and reliable, providing a solid foundation upon which new features can be added. By covering these critical areas, the regression tests help maintain the app’s quality and user experience as it evolves.

This is how regression testing is used in developing software like a flight booking app. It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s crucial for making sure that new updates don’t mess up what was already working well.

To wrap it up, regression testing is really important when making software. It’s what makes sure that when you add new things or fix bugs, you don’t mess up what was already working. Sure, it takes extra time and effort, but it’s worth it because it keeps the software running smoothly for everyone who uses it.

In the fast-paced world of tech, where things are always changing and improving, regression testing keeps everything stable and trustworthy. It lets developers add cool new features without worrying about breaking the app. Think of it like a safety check for your software.

So, whenever you’re using an app or a website that works really well, it’s probably because it went through good regression testing. This kind of testing isn’t just another step in making software – it’s a big part of making sure everything works great for the user.

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