How To Build An Effective Regression Test Suite?
Regression testing is a must-have testing activity. A quite common best practice is to build a regression test suite consisting of many related test cases for a particular feature. This test suite is scheduled to run automatically after a code update to check if that particular feature is affected by the update.
The real question is not about how to build a regression test suite, but rather, on what criteria we should categorize our test cases. In this article, we will explore those criteria, as well as the best practices in the industry for regression testing.
Read More: What is Regression Testing? A Complete Guide
What is A Regression Test Suite?
A regression test suite is a collection of regression test cases that share certain characteristics. Test suites are usually grouped by feature-under-test, but that is not the only approach to building test suites. We can actually group test suites by a rich variety of aspects, such as severity, area of impact, or type of tests.
Read More: 15 Types of QA Testing That You Should Know
The goal of a regression test suite is to:
- Streamline the regression testing activities and achieve higher efficiency.
- Manage test cases in a more layered manner
- Faster test prioritization
How To Build A Regression Test Suite?
Step 1: Choose The Right Approach
When it comes to any type of testing and not just regression testing, there are usually 2 major approaches:
- Manual Testing: execute tests manually as a human tester. For regression testing, this is a highly counterproductive approach, as regression testing is repetitive by nature. It makes perfect sense to just automate it entirely.
- Automation Testing: execute tests automatically either by running an automated script or using an automation testing tool. This approach is really suitable for regression testing, which is also why so many QA teams have moved from manual testing to automated testing just to improve their regression testing efficiency.
Building a regression test suite falls into test management activities. Test management is the process of planning, categorizing, organizing, coordinating, and scheduling testing activities.
If the team follows manual testing, they usually have a dedicated spreadsheet to note down the details of their regression test cases, with a column to show which test suite each test case belongs to.
If the team follows automation testing, the practice is quite similar. However, there’s an inherent issue with using spreadsheets for test case management: lack of testing-specific customization.
Testing is an interconnected process, and test case management should sync with test planning, test creation, scheduling, execution, and reporting. Imagine having to manually note down, schedule, then update the results of hundreds or thousands of test cases and test suites. As your team scales, this administrative task becomes a true burden.
To solve that challenge, QA teams can either build a system that can automatically update their regression test suites and connect all activities together (e.g. with Selenium) or find a comprehensive software testing platform that can do everything in one place.
Read More: Katalon vs Selenium: A Detailed Comparison
Step 2: Assign Tags/Taxonomy For Your Test Cases
We can now build our regression test suite. All test suites should share certain characteristics, which is why our tags will now come in handy. These tags represent the specific category (or test suite) that these test cases belong to.
Here are some categories for you to consider:
- Functional Modules (or software component under test)
- Test Case Types (e.g., unit, integration, system, acceptance)
- Test Priority (high, medium, low)
- Positive/Negative Scenarios
- Test Environment (browsers, OS, mobile devices, etc.)
Of course, you can assign several tags for one test case. A test suite can be created using many tags. If you are using Google Sheets, you can easily filter the tags to quickly arrive at the list of test cases with specific tags that you want.
Step 3: Have A Naming Convention For Your Test Suites
For better management, it is highly recommended that you have a naming convention for your test suites. You should also have detailed documentation of the naming convention for team members to easily follow and identify your test suites.
Choose names that clearly describe the purpose or focus of the test suite. Opt for a consistent casing convention such as CamelCase or underscores. Include the specific category that the test suite represents in its name. Also, make sure to strive for consistency in naming conventions across testing projects.
How Katalon Fits in Your Regression Testing Need?
Let’s see how you can build a regression test suite from a testing platform - Katalon.
The Katalon Platform is an innovative and comprehensive testing platform that unifies all of your testing in one place. You can write tests, manage them, execute them across a rich array of test environments, then immediately generate visualizations of your testing effectiveness without any additional integrations.
To experience the power of Katalon, simply download Katalon Studio. This is the primary space where you build and execute your test cases.
In Katalon Studio, on the top bar, click on the [+] icon to create a new test case.
After that, you can name your test case, provide a detailed description for it if needed, and even assign them specific tags. These tags should come in handy as you start building your regression test suite and need to filter out test cases based on specific conditions.
Here you can see we name the test case as “TC1_Verify Successful Login”, following a defined naming convention (Test case ID + Test Case Purpose). Katalon Studio provides 2 test creation views: Manual and Script, which can be found at the bottom bar.
In the Manual mode, Katalon offers a rich array of built-in keywords for you to quickly craft test cases. Simply click “Add” and choose a suitable keyword from the dropdown list. Here we have crafted test cases from the Comment, Open Browser, Click, Set Text, Verify Element Present, and Close Browser.
These keywords, at their core, are just code snippets that automatically perform the corresponding actions. You can switch between the Manual (Low-code) mode and the Scripting (High-code) mode for further customization capabilities.
You can choose to execute those actions locally, remotely, or on-cloud with Katalon TestCloud.
You have built your test case without having to write a single line of code within minutes, and this means you can also build hundreds of similar test cases. To group them together, go to File > New > Test Suite
After that, name your test suite and give them a detailed description.
Once done, you can add your test cases to those test suites.
How is that better than managing your test suite in a spreadsheet? As previously mentioned, you can execute and view reports of your testing activities right within Katalon. It is a high level of streamlining and integration that general-purpose spreadsheets won’t be able to achieve. Technically, you can, but that requires a lot of customization and maintenance, and over time the effort can grow to be counterproductive without some automation.
For regression testing, this means doubled, or even tripled testing efficiency, at significantly less time spent testing, since a lot of the work has already been streamlined and/or automated. You can read this to see how Saga, a leading UK-based insurance provider, is writing better tests faster with Katalon.