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5 Best Regression Testing Tools 

5 best regression testing tools

What is a regression test anyway?

Regression testing will show you if you broke something in your code while fixing or creating something else. Remember this meme?

regression testing meme

That’s basically why regression testing is done within your web application or other piece of software. We believe there is a need for a professional explanation for this one.

Regression testing is a software testing method that aims to investigate and locate any possible flaws or bugs in software that has completed a development cycle. Regression testing is performed to find out whether your software has regressed (surprise, surprise) as you continue introducing new updates and bug fixes. Whenever a piece of software is changed in any way, new bugs might emerge and some of the older ones re-emerge.

Most often, regression testing process is performed immediately after introducing a new update, but it isn’t the only factor that might call for the test. If any software or hardware-related factor has changed, regression testing should be committed to find out whether everything performs as it has before the change.

Regression Testing Tools - When to Perform Regression Tests?

There are multiple factors to consider when you are planning regression tests. The test scope and test coverage (what will be tested), the priorities (if you have to limit yourself) or test environment. But in order to answer the “when” question you have to start with getting one piece of information. Do you handle your project in an agile way or the waterfall?

There is one big difference in planning the test and the future regression test automation. If you are an agile team, you can do regression tests in an iterative way and basically you can do those every sprint just after a chunk of code was released. It will take a bit more test cases to create but with proper automation the test coverage might be enormous.

For waterfall teams - yes you guys have to wait until the patch or update is completed to do regression testing. The big advantage though would be that your regression test suite will surely take place in a separate cycle in the life of the software. All eyes will be on you there. You sure love the spotlight, don’t you waterfall people? 🙂

Why do teams perform regression testing?

It is more to that in this type of testing of web applications than detecting regression defects. Regression test cases are there to protect you from system instability. It helps to maintain the overall reliability and integrity of the software you have created. Regression testing of web applications is crucial to a good user experience.

Regression testing ensures that your business runs smoothly, not only your code does. Detecting flaws before they reach the production environment is crucial to your image and incomes. Why would you create and promote an update or a patch that disables a different aspect of your software? You have to provide high quality products to the market.

A proper testing team and the right regression testing tools are there to protect you. If your company creates games, or a simple CRUD app, the customer impact might be not that enormous. But trust us, within all organizations that develop software crucial to their users' existence or business (i.e. operating systems) there are dozens of hours used for regression testing.

What to look for in an automated regression testing tools?

It is relatively easy to make a comparison article.

The key to make it a good one is to give some reasoning behind your choices. We have prepared a few hints on what your checklist should include while browsing the web for an automated test tool for regression testing.

One thing you need to understand beforehand - we stress it everywhere we can. Always think of your resources while preparing the checklist. We will not try to prove that a low-code tool is better than a full-code software. They are suitable for different teams and products. Let us actually start with that one.

How much testing and coding experience does the automation testing tool require?

Nowadays you can fully complete test suites without writing a single line of code. Apart from reducing the time and money of the testing effort, that means that testing can be done by a member of non-technical personnel.

Thanks to such solutions a Project Manager can test your software on a regular basis, provide feedback to the development team and launch bug fixing procedures.

On the other hand you have the full-code tools that are perfect for bigger teams / products and more mature organizations. Those usually have a whole QA team whose job is to execute test cases.

They have another important asset - such skilled engineers will already have their own favorite automation tool. It will make selection relatively easy - just check if it is able to perform necessary application testing in this case as well.

Can you perform a manual test and an automated test by using the same tool?

Those fluent in the art of software testing already know that not all test cases can or should be automated. Those less fluent will get to know it eventually 😃 We discussed it many times before so trust our word on that one.

If not all of your test cases will be automated, then you will need a tool for automated testing and for manual testing as well. Does it mean that you need to double your effort and search for two software testing tools? Luckily no.

There are plenty of testing platforms on the market that will cover both bases for you at the same time. Why is it significant? Well… Money! You don’t have to spend twice as much time on looking for tools, your company saves 50% of the costs. Easy enough, isn’t it?

Does the tool cover functional testing and the visual layer of your app?

From the business perspective the functionality is much more important than the way your software looks, right? Wrong!! Try telling the sentence above to the person in the UX department and watch his/her face change colors rapidly. Both aspects are equally important and there is more and more science in the design aspect nowadays.

What does it mean to our testing tribe? Well in general it means doubling the testing effort. For such purposes we need tools for automated regression testing that will not only check whether the login form is still working after the latest update. We also need to verify if the blue “Submit” button is still blue.

This is actually not that common in regression testing. People by rule assume that the visual layer remains intact after each iteration of updates. It means that regression testing is typically focused on the code or best case scenario on DOM operations. If you want to achieve better test coverage, you need to check the blueness of the blue button. Every time.

How does this testing solution handle test failures?

It does not matter what type of software testing you are performing. Whether it is web testing, API testing, end-to-end testing or what-have-you testing, the aim of testing is to fail. The question is, what happens after the test fails?

While browsing for a regression testing automation tool, always check the bug reporting feature. There are universal factors you have to consider - the speed, the efficiency, how easy it is to set up might be top 3.

Others might be relevant to your needs - does that tool integrate with my communication? Can it send me an e-mail or a Slack message, when the bug occurs. Last but not least - is it readable for me? Can I easily track the malfunctioning code if I need to? All modern tools aim to satisfy the most demanding clients, but it will be your tool to use so it is your experience that matters. Not everyone else's.

We need to mention one last thing. What happens if the test fails, but it should not? The so-called “false failures” are a true pain. Back in the day dozens of hours were spent on looking for bugs that were not there.

The tool of your choice will not be immune to that issue. No tool is. Some will give more false failures in the UI department, others will show them in the code. But while you are on your research quest, do verify what is the tool creators’ policy on tracking false failures.

How flexible is that testing tool?

This is more a business aspect of test automation tool selection. You are looking for a perfect testing tool that will suit your needs and will enable you to pay only for what you actually use? We are sorry to say, but so is everyone else. The best way to have such a tool is to actually create one.

Instead of looking for perfection, look for flexibility. First of all the quality and quantity of integrations you may perform. Does it fit your CI/CD process? If you need a test environment, does it have one? Does it allow changing the number of tests within a subscription? You can have a gazillion questions like that.

After you perform the “what?” analysis, you have to do the “how much?”. The most flexible ones can prepare a tailor made offer just for you. Such flexibility is only one question away from you.

5 best regression testing tools for a web application

Selecting a regression testing tool is not an easy feat. We assembled a list of 5 top regression testing tools for web applications.

BugBug

BugBug is a testing tool that allows users to automate functional and regression testing (among others of course). Its very intuitive UI plus a broad scope of functionalities does lower the bar for end-to-end testers or tester wannabes.

bugbug test automation tool

From the business perspective, the low-code approach helps to create automated scripts in less time and effort than the competitors. On top of that we have the whole fully functional (for free if used locally!) recording interface that enables you to record new steps midway thru your testing suite.

It has all the bases covered by having the following functionalities:

  • Test recording and replaying
  • Intelligent autoscrolling and real clicks simulation
  • Test monitoring
  • Public API and CD/CI integration
  • Plus many other tools to enable the users testing success and cost saving

Let’s come back to the checklist we put above. Does it require much technical skills to start? Not really. The pro-user approach lowers the barrier for team members who are not necessarily qualified testers, but are obliged to create and perform web application testing. It is perfect for companies where people like Product Managers are fulfilling tester roles.

How little skills does it take to start? Do check out the test recording feature. Just install a Chrome plugin, click out a test case for your web app and let BugBug do the work for you.

BugBug test recorder

BugBug is a test automation tool by design. We encouraged you to look for a regression testing tool that will allow manual testing as well. This software does the next best thing. You can set up and run individual test cases, re-run and re-record tests as well.

If your tests need full or almost full test automation - BugBug is perfect. If you need a more manual approach, then it is almost perfect. 🙂

Does it perform UI and functional regression testing? Yes it does. You can easily set up regression scenarios in order to check both functional and visual aspects of your web application. No more browsing the console for HEX codes.

Also we asked you to check the error handling. Thanks to multiple integration possibilities you can set up the full scale bug reporting. BugBug can send you all kinds of messages, and can be integrated into your CI/CD pipeline. Heck, we can even send you a message via a pigeon if you’d like to. (joke - we can’t).

Last but not least, the flexibility. Regarding the finances - unless you want to use our cloud solution, BugBug is free. There is no bigger flexibility than that, right? Whereas while speaking of functional flexibility, this tool allows to test across different technologies. Also do check our documentation, and find out if we have the right features for you.

Selenium

For many years the synonym of web application testing. This open source tool is still widely used across the testing universe. It easily integrates with multiple testing frameworks (JUnit for example) providing advanced reporting, test management, and parallel execution capabilities. It is a very mature product full of features and functionalities supported by a vast community.

But.

It has a huge learning curve. This is a tool for testing pros. Those who learned to code with a pencil and a piece of paper. Imagine a person, who last left home to watch The Beatles in a live concert. You get the picture?

Also Selenium lacks native built-in reporting functionalities. While it integrates well with various test frameworks that offer reporting features, generating detailed and customized reports may require additional configuration or customization. Nevertheless - still one of the most popular regression testing tools for big organizations.

TestComplete

This is also a rather popular choice. One of the most popular no-code tools to be honest. The list of features that it has is simply astonishing. Another huge asset is the cross-platform support. Web app, mobile app, desktop app - you name it. TestComplete will handle it.

The creators did not forget about a proper set of integration possibilities. It also provides support for custom scripting and extensions, allowing you to enhance and customize your regression tests.

On the other hand there is the pricing. The license costs quite a sum. If you own a startup, or even create a "shelf application", you will definitely be discouraged when you enter the "pricing" subpage on their site. Unfortunately it is also said to have some performance issues.

Watir

Another open source tool for regression testing. It is designed in Ruby which might be both in the pros and the cons section. Ruby by rule is a powerful language, but not the most popular. If you do not like it, you might not fancy Watir at all.

Watir supports multiple browsers. You can create regression tests for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. This enables comprehensive regression testing of software across various browser environments.

It is almost impossible to use Watir standalone. It relies on WebDriver, which requires the installation and configuration of appropriate browser drivers for each browser. Managing these dependencies can add some complexity to the setup process.

Katalon Studio

Last but not least we have Katalon Studio. It is a complete regression testing package. Katalon Studio provides a comprehensive suite of tools for test automation, including test case design, test execution, and result analysis.

It offers a unified platform that covers all aspects of regression testing. It comes with cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility. There is nothing to complain about the amount of integrations as well.

Even though you may start testing without too much knowledge with Katalon Studio, the more sophisticated features might be hard for a beginner. It is easy to use, but difficult to master.

While Katalon Studio promotes script reusability, sharing and reusing test scripts across different projects can sometimes be challenging.

Top regression testing tools - summary

We hope we were able to provide you some content which will help you in your research and selection. Not only will you find our proposal on  regression testing tools, but we managed to prepare a checklist on what to look for in those tools.

Happy (automated) testing!

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Marcin Łojewski

Software Developer

Software developer currently working as a tech writer and PM. linkedin.com/in/marcin-%C5%82ojewski-a4191518/

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