Functional and Regression Testing

All testing strategies need Functional & Regression Testing at their core. While the purpose of Functional Testing is primarily to ensure usability, accessibility and requirement specs testing, Regression Testing ensures that new product version still works after the new changes have been made.

What is Functional Testing?

  • Functional Testing is a software testing approach that evaluates all features/functions of the software to ensure that each component operates in conformance with the requirement specifications. Each functionality or component of the application is tested in-depth to verify that the output/result provided by each application function is as desired.
  • Functions are tested by feeding input and verifying the output to check what the system does. The testing may involve checking of APIs, database, security, user interface, client/server applications and functionality of the Application Under Test. The internal structure, code, performance, and environmental factors are typically not considered in Functional Testing.
  • The purpose of functional Testing is primarily to ensure usability, accessibility and requirement specs testing. It verifies that a product or application will function properly and optimally for the users.
  • There are many testing methods. The two primary techniques are white box testing and black box testing although any of the following are often used:
    • Unit testing
    • Smoke testing
    • User acceptance testing
    • Integration testing
    • System integration testing
    • Localization testing
    • Regression testing
    • Globalization testing

Why Functional Testing?

All testing strategies need Functional Testing at their core. Functional verification should be a continuous process during the development cycle and through production. It ensures that:

  • End-user requirements are met
  • Application development goals are fulfilled
  • Regulatory and compliance requirements are met
  • Identifies incorrect specification
  • Finds initialization errors
  • Looks for interface errors
  • Also finds termination errors

What is Regression Testing?

  • Regression Testing is the approach in software testing that ensures that the older programming still works after the new changes have been made to the code. It is a routine part of the software development lifecycle and now often carried out by code testing specialists.
  • Coders develop test scenarios and exercises that test new bits of code after they are written. These tests are part of the ‘test bucket’. Before new product version release, old test cases are run against new version to ensure the old functionality is intact. The reason for this is that sometimes, adding new code can introduce errors into the code.
  • Regression Testing often means partial or full selection of tests that have been already executed, to run again.
  • Regression Testing is necessary when
    • Code is modified due to changing requirements
    • New features are added to software
    • After defect fixing
    • Performance issue fix
    • Patch fix
    • Major changes
    • Configuration changes

Optimizing Testing for Agile

Functional and regression testing can cause delays and challenges for Agile teams. Often, teams spend the full sprint on regression. The increased time and efforts add up to the costs. How can you create an effective regression strategy for agile teams?

  • Prioritize test cases with critical functionality and core features and those that pose bigger risks of failure
  • Choose test cases that have the highest code coverage or those that had the maximum number of defects in the past.
  • Create a test-first culture. So that developers create automated unit tests for new code.
  • Use Continuous Integration server to run unit and integration tests for every build.
  • Always ensure that your final check off includes regression testing and that all software changes have passed regression tests.

Functional and regression tests are ideal candidates for test automation. They need to be repeated often and are comparatively stable. Automating your functional and regression testing suite allows you test in parallel or on short notice and ensuring their continuous integration.

It is one of the most important aspects of testing because it helps to ensure the overall quality at various stages in the software testing lifecycle.

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