What is Regression Testing? Regression Testing

What is Regression Testing?

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What is Regression Testing?

Regression testing is a kind of software testing practice that is used to test the functionality of software after changes or additions are made to it. It is used to ensure that new code changes have not prompted negative effects within the existing functionalities of the software and that old codes still function after new code changes are introduced. If a software experiences defects or acquires bugs after an alteration of code or introduction of new code, then it can be said that there has been a regression in the functionality of the software. 

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The Importance of Regression Testing

Regression testing is an integral element of software development practices. It allows developers and product teams to receive informative feedback and promptly respond to the introduction of bugs and defects in new or altered code. When developers are able to identify bugs at the beginning of the development cycle, they can significantly minimize their costs as well as their maintenance efforts that would be required to address built-up defects later into the development cycle. Hence, without regression testing, it is more tedious, expensive, and time-consuming to investigate the root cause of a defect and the architecture of the software. Frequent testing ensures that the quality of your product, or software, is continually improved. 

Even the smallest modification of code can cause a domino effect that creates significant adverse impacts on the functioning of a software. This is why it is so important for developers and testers to execute regression tests even when the smallest alteration is made to existing code.

Regression Testing Techniques

There are multiple different approaches that can be used to carry out regression testing: 

  • Regression Test Selection: This technique of regression testing involves only certain test cases from the test suite being executed to check whether the modified code has adversely affected the software or not. 
  • Prioritization of Test Cases: In this technique, test cases are prioritized based on the degree of impact they have on the business. This method of testing significantly reduces the regression test suites and is, therefore, quick and inexpensive relative to retesting all test suites. 
  • Retest All: This approach to regression testing is the most expensive and time-consuming of all as it involves re-executing all tests in the existing test suite. 

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How are Test Cases chosen for Regression Testing

The following are a few ways in which test cases are chosen for effective regression testing:

  • Test cases that have frequent defects and are therefore more prone to regression.
  • Any complex test cases.
  • Functionalities of the software are that more visible to the users when they interact with the software.
  • Integration test cases. 
  • Boundary value test cases. 
  • Test cases that reflect the core features of the software.

Regression Testing vs Re-Testing

Regression testing and re-testing are two concepts that are often confused although they are quite different from one another. 

Regression testing is used to ensure that any updates or changes made to software have not introduced bugs or defects that could affect its existing functions. Re-testing, on the other hand, involves conducting ‘re-tests’ for a specific reason such as when a defect in the code has been fixed or when a certain test case fails in the final execution.

The key difference between the two concepts is that regression testing is designed to test for defects that you don’t expect to exist while re-testing is designed to test for bugs that you do expect to exist. 

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Challenges to Regression Testing

The following are a few challenges to effective regression testing: 

  • Time and Budget Constraints: When successive regression tests are executed, test suites tend to become quite large and therefore require a larger investment of time and resources. Time and budget constraints may make it impossible to conduct the entire regression test suite. 
  • Difficulty in Determining the Frequency of Regression Test: It is difficult to determine the frequency of regression tests after every introduction or modification of the code. 
  • Minimizing the Test Suite: It is a challenge to maximize test coverage while minimizing the test suite. 

FAQs on Regression Testing

Regression testing is a type of software testing practice that is used on software after changes or additions have been made to it, in order to test its functionality.

Even when small changes or additions are made in the coding of a software or a website, it can lead to larger regressions in the functionality of a website. Regression testing allows developers to identify any defects or bugs early in the development cycle so that they can be eliminated.

Regression testing is used to ensure that any updates or changes made to the software have not introduced bugs or defects into its existing functions. Re-testing, on the other hand, involves conducting ‘re-tests’ for a specific reason.

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Hindol Basu 
GM, Voxco Intelligence

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