Regression testing is a crucial step in the software development cycle. It is often overlooked or not done well, but it can save hours of frustration when problems arise.
This article will outline why regression testing is essential and why you should be doing more of it. We will then go over seven techniques that can help you do this better.
What Is Regression Testing?
Regression testing is a process of ruling out the possibility that any changes you've made to your code have caused errors. When problems come up during updates, and there isn't a lot of necessary previous data, you can go back or regress to find potential solutions.
After making some changes to the software code and pushing it live for an update (or release), you can do additional tests on what your new change does before releasing this updated version with these improvements.
If so, then running various test cases against your system will ensure that everything works as expected - just like how things worked previously - and identify if anything has changed unexpectedly. That way, you won't risk releasing a new update with bugs that you could have avoided.
Why is Regression Testing Important?
The goal of regression testing is to ensure that any changes you've made do not adversely affect your product.
Suppose you're updating a database, for example. In that case, it's crucial to regression test the database update thoroughly before releasing it live so as not to release bugs into production unknowingly - this saves time on rework, which improves efficiency and helps keep costs down.
You may also want to hire skilled technical professionals who have extensive experience performing successful tests of these types for software or hardware devices.
In short, what is the importance of regression testing? It allows you to:
- Verify that new updates will not break existing functionality.
- Determine what caused the problem in the first place.
- Make adjustments to your system accordingly.
- Assess whether or not your software is meeting customer needs and expectations.
7 Techniques to Better Regression Testing
There are a lot of different techniques when it comes to performing regression testing. Here are seven of the most important to consider.
Define Your Regression Testing Goals
The most crucial technique is to define your goals. What are you looking to achieve with your testing? Is it security, performance, or stability?
It is essential to understand why regression testing is necessary in the first place. It may be due to a bug detected and fixed during development, but this doesn't mean there won't be any more bugs introduced later when new features have been added.
Test for the Simplest Regression First
Once you define your goals, the next technique is to test for the most straightforward regression first. This will help you identify which area of code needs work and why it's not working without having to go through every section in your system from top-to-bottom.
You can then use these insights as a way to plan out what sections need more attention.
Ensure That Your Tests Are Thorough and Complete with a High Code Coverage
Another essential technique is to ensure that your tests are specific and complete with high code coverage. This will ensure you cover the most critical part of the system to avoid bugs in more obscure sections, which might be difficult to catch without properly testing or looking for them.
Avoid Testing Against a Production Environment as Much as Possible
One thing you'll want to be sure of is to avoid testing against a production environment when you can. You want your tests to be independent of the system and not influenced by anything else being run on it so that you can get an accurate portrayal of how well the code will behave when put into use.
Make Sure to Use Good Quality Test Data, Not Just Random Values
Another critical technique to keep in mind is to use good quality test data, not just any random values. You want to use something that mirrors the input your application will receive in production to simulate a real-life scenario better and avoid getting misleading results from an improperly implemented system.
Use Automated Tools for Regression Testing Whenever Possible
If you've done regression testing for a long time, you've likely created many test suites and scripts to help automate the process. Sometimes automation is impossible or impractical, but when possible, why not save yourself some time?
Tests can be automated by using scripting languages like Perl or Python on Unix systems for Linux-based applications. For Windows-based applications, you can use Microsoft's Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript).
Keep Up-to-date on New Technologies in Your Field of Expertise and Apply Them When Appropriate
Finally, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that not all regression testing techniques are created equally. Some may be better suited for your specific needs than others, so it's worthwhile to explore different options and tools before settling on just one particular approach.
New technologies are always coming out, and by staying up-to-date on what's new, you'll be able to use the best tools and techniques for your projects.
Bonus Tip: Create Clear Guidelines for What Constitutes a Passing Result in Your Regression Test Suite
You want to be sure that everyone is on the same page about what it means for something not to break into production. The best way to do that is with clear guidelines upfront on what a passing result looks like.
At some point, you're going to have a bug in your software product that will be tough to find. When this happens, regression testing is the best way to figure out what went wrong and get it fixed as soon as possible so things keep running smoothly for both you and your customers.
Regression testing can also help ensure that any new features or changes are working correctly before they go live. This means less time wasted chasing down bugs and more time spent on other important tasks like marketing campaigns or website design updates.
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