Regression Testing in Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) Pipelines

Regression Testing in Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) Pipelines

Keywords: Regression Testing Services, Regression Testing

Testing is an important step to ensure quality and functionality in whatever you’re producing, whether it be taste testing a sauce before sending your final dish to the table, or rehearsing a show before opening night. It’s about working out all the kinks so you can put your best creation forward. Because testing is used in just about every scenario you can imagine, there are a myriad of different types of testing, and today we’re focusing on regression testing… specifically in software testing for continuous integration / continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.

Regression testing services are vital to ensure that defects have not been introduced following any changes made to software or code. It provides the necessary confirmation that the user experience remains unchanged and has not become destabilized when new updates are implemented.

Software development is an evolving and dynamic landscape. Agility and rapid delivery are of vital importance, and as such continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) pipelines – have now become standard development practice. CI/CD practices have quickly formed the backbone of most agile development practices, and for good reason, as it allows teams to better streamline and automate their software delivery pipeline. Due to this speed-oriented paradigm, the importance of undertaking ongoing regression testing can’t be underestimated.

 

Regression Testing Within the CI/CD Pipeline

The CI/CD pipeline is structured to ensure that there is a seamless flow from code integration to deployment, incorporating each stage along the way using automated processes.

Once developers commit any code changes, regression tests are performed to ensure that these changes haven’t introduced issues or breakpoints to existing functionalities. Conducting regression testing at this point also allows quality assurance teams to provide immediate feedback to the development team about code or changes that need improvement, modification or complete rework.

Regression testing contributes to the repetitive nature of CI/CD by validating that the software remains consistent and reliable across all development iterations. This allows for incremental updates that do not compromise quality.

Regression testing isn’t a standalone phase. It’s actually an integral part of the development cycle, with the emphasis on the word “cycle” here, as regression testing can and should be done as much as is required to reach the result of quality code. Let’s take a closer look at the process in terms of phases:

● Pre-commit phase: This is where developers are performing localized unit tests before making any code changes.
● CI phase: Once committed by developers, code enters this phase, where it undergoes automated regression testing. The aim is to catch any integration issues and ensure that new changes align with the existing codebase.
● Post-deployment phase: Even after deployment, regression testing needs to continue. This ensures that the production environment remains stable and that recent updates haven’t adversely affected the user experience.

 

Benefits of Regression Testing in CI/CD

Regression testing provides a number of benefits for organizations, including:

● Ensuring continuous quality and stability: In the evolving software development landscape, maintaining product quality and stability amidst continuous change is critical. Regression testing within CI/CD pipelines acts as a safety net for developers, ensuring that each incremental code change doesn’t compromise the overall quality of the software. Through verifying that existing functionalities remain unaffected, it ensures that users continue to be provided with the consistent and reliable experience they expect.

● Early detection of issues: One of the primary advantages of regression testing in CI/CD is its ability to detect issues much earlier in the development cycle. By automating the verification of existing functionalities alongside new changes, it can promptly identify any unintended consequences introduced by code changes. This early detection significantly reduces the time and effort required for troubleshooting, debugging and rectifying issues. In turn, this prevents problems from escalating, reaching the production environment, and subsequently impacting customers.

● Improving the efficiency of development: While it might seem counterintuitive to add more testing during a rapid development process, regression testing in CI/CD pipelines actually contributes to faster delivery, without compromising on quality. By automating repetitive test scenarios and seamlessly integrating them into the development workflow, practitioners can reduce manual effort and speed up testing cycles. This efficiency enables development teams to focus more on innovation instead of manual testing. The result? A faster time-to-market for new features and upgrades.

 

Best Practices

Best practices for regression testing in CI/CD pipelines include test case selection, test automation and parallel execution and scalability.

Test case selection

Testing teams and developers must identify and prioritize the most important test cases that cover critical functionalities, high-risk areas, and frequently used features. The focus should always be on scenarios that are prone to regression and have a significant impact on the application. Teams can avoid any further redundancies by regularly reviewing and optimizing their regression test suite. This should include removing obsolete or duplicated test cases while ensuring comprehensive coverage of essential functionalities at all times.

 

Automation of regression testing

Leveraging tools and solutions to automate repetitive and time-consuming regression tests will lead to more consistent execution, reduced human errors, and faster completion of the testing process. Automated regression tests should always be essential parts of the CI/CD pipeline and ideally automatically triggered at the appropriate times.

 

Parallel execution and scalability

Test execution should be completed in parallel to reduce the overall testing time. By running multiple test cases concurrently, teams can expedite and add efficiency to their regression testing process. Testing infrastructure should always scale according to the demands of the CI/CD pipeline. Cloud-based testing resources or containerization technologies should be utilized to enable greater scalability and accommodate increased testing needs.

 

Conclusion

It’s proven; regression testing is essential for maintaining and improving software quality, providing assurance to development teams – and allowing them to iterate rapidly, without sacrificing on reliability. Crucially, the automation of regression testing accelerates overall testing and the subsequent speed of deployment.

Without continuous regression testing, every single update could put user or customer stability at risk. Without this important type of testing, development teams could spend hours or days of downtime searching for the source of an issue that’s live, negatively affecting customers in real time.

With the speed of developments in the era of CI/CD, it’s not just a good idea… It’s essential to automate some or all regression testing.This ensures the stability, reliability and quality of software applications and systems while still keeping pace with the evolving needs of the business and its customers, and is especially important to consider when implementing CI/CD pipelines.

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