Most important facts about regression testing tools in 2017April 14, 2017
Why visual regression testing is so important
The World Wide Web is swarming with sites and web apps of all sorts. Each year, the competition keeps growing hotter in every segment.
For instance, this year there were almost 2.5 million of applications in Google Play alone. Nearly each day, a fresh new project gets released somewhere. Pick a specific niche, do a quick research, and you will find several rivaling companies competing in it.
UI or CSS testing of a web project is, therefore, a crucial part regardless of what your app is designed to do. Functionality and performance have long been the key factors that keep that influence user retention. In the brave new world of today, UI and UX are just as important.
Let’s face it, adding a new killer feature to your product will do little good if your lead-generating landing page is broken. The best cure against this trouble is visual regression testing performed constantly, as often as you can afford.
In 2017, regression testing automation isn’t an extra activity any more
Things are getting automated in our daily life, step by step. First of all we pass to robots or programs most burdensome and least creative tasks like simulation of simple user queries to an app database during its load testing. Still, there is plenty of areas where the extent of automated aspects is disturbingly low. Believe it or not, UI and CSS regression testing is a bright example.
The reasons blocking efficient visual regression testing automation are pretty obvious and widespread:
- Time: ideally, you would want to add a couple of new QA automation engineers to your project at this phase. In real life, however, your existing QA crew gets switched to this task. As a result, some activities get postponed. No wonder that in short-term projects, good old manual testing will get the most votes from stakeholders.
- Support: automated tests should be reviewed from time to time. It is one of the main downsides of machine work: you cannot count on intuitive approach to testing. A small change — like a button moved to the other side of the screen — and a bunch of tests gets broken.
- Tool: sadly, the regression testing tools in the UI/CSS testing niche are too few. Most Automation testers prefer sticking to good ol’ Selenium and are naturally reluctant to search for Selenium alternatives even given the need for visual regression testing options.
Are you sure you wish to invest time and workforce to hand-code and maintain automated visual regression tests on your project? If yes, let’s explore what a good test automation tool should be able to do to meet today’s standards.
Tools for CSS regression testing automation in 2017: what do we actually want from them
Maintenance is a real pain during regression testing automation. Therefore, your regression test suite should be easy to maintain. Otherwise, you risk spending more time fine-tuning everything than actually working on the test results.
It is important that all tests are fully editable at each point — after recording, during the run, after the run, after an interrupted run, after import, after a failed run, and so on. Parameter override option is no less important. If you have to record a new test each time you need a run with the same steps and different data input, this is definitely not appropriate for regression testing.
In many cases, there is another key objective for a visual regression testing run: “do lots of simple checks and do it quick”. Fast performance is therefore of the highest priority for a test automation tool. After all, we need to automate the most time-consuming and non-creative actions, so that QAs have more time to tackle complicated, high-level tasks.
Ease and simplicity are also influential factors which influence the speed of the regression testing process. Nobody —- at least no one working under constant pressure (and that is a perfect description of every QA engineer doing regression tests) — likes complicated UIs.
Ideally, it must be so straightforward that you would not need any documentation to start using it. On the other hand, the requirement of simplicity implies that a regression testing automation tool should not require coding. Of course, most of QA Automation pros are used to coding and love it. But this tool should be handy for non-coders as well.
Any real test automation tools to save the day in 2017?
It is hardly possible to find a perfect solution for all your troubles at once. But when it comes to visual regression testing automation, we have a tool that aims to address the challenges listed above. It is Screenster, of course 🙂 Let us explore how it meets these requirements:
- Quick: Screenster does not require you to code anything, just click to record a test and browse through your web app like a regular visitor. Screenster will record each step taking a screenshot to form a visual baseline.The platform will optimize your newly automated CSS tests during the next run; and the test is ready! With Screensters simplistic UI, automation becomes simple enough for a non-tech person.
- Easy maintenance: Screenster allows various kinds of fine-tuning: you can modify step parameters, approve steps to baseline, ignore selected CSS areas or entire steps, delete steps, add new steps and even insert tests into other tests. Besides, it provides options for quick copying of a test with input parameters override and URL override on a project level.
- Smart CSS locators: Screenster is a UI test automation tool which not only takes a screenshot of a web page, but also captures its DOM, allowing you to select CSS elements on this page, view their CSS information, perform actions on them (e.g. adding a new step with click on selected button) etc.
What are your main concerns and stopping factors when it comes to automating the CSS regression testing process? Care to drop a comment here?