Selenium is a useful tool for automating regression testing, but often carries the unfortunate side effect of bloating test suite run times and creating bottlenecks in the testing process that frustrate developers and bog down release times.
In an attempt to lessen frequent regression testing, many teams run these crucial (hefty) tests less often. While this works in the short term for reducing test suite run times, this method ultimately makes it more difficult to release early and often, with high confidence in quality and accuracy.
So, what’s the solution to faster Selenium regression testing? The answer lies in shifting left, or testing earlier and often.
Regression testing is performed to confirm that a new code change does not negatively impact existing features. Regression testing is performed after a code change, after a new feature is added, or if there is a functional issue or defect. (For even more context: check out this post on the seven types of regression tests.)
In order to perform regression testing, the tester must run a full or partial selection of already executed test cases, to prove existing functionalities still operate after a change in code.
Automated regression testing speeds up the time-consuming process of regression testing by making the test suite setup a single task. Then, as a project grows, testers can continue to add new tests to the suite, schedule tests, and run the tests as frequently as needed, with little effort. This automation frees up devs to focus on other tasks, while still retaining confidence that bugs and flaws will be uncovered by testing.
Automated regression testing with Selenium allows for continuous adjustments, but comes with maintenance ramifications.
Many modern DevOps teams use Selenium to automate their regression tests. Selenium offers substantial benefits to testers, including that it works with several programming languages, can also test web applications, and allows for continuous changes.
That being said, many devs find regression testing with Selenium quite frustrating. Selenium has a bit of a learning curve for usage, needs consistent maintenance, and takes up developer time and resources.
To get started and keep going with Selenium, devs must devote a substantial amount of time to Selenium coding and programming. For some, the time-suck of the setup also outweighs the benefits of the subsequent automation. Another big complaint with Selenium regression testing? The time of test suite cycles. Selenium test suites can be notoriously slow-running, which drags down developer productivity and experience, as well as releases.
Of course, you can’t simply get rid of Selenium tests. Selenium is essential for regression testing and mitigating the risks associated with adding new features or making code changes. Even running parallel tests can only help developer experience to a point, because there is always a testing threshold.
However, there is a better way to speed up your Selenium regression testing: machine learning-powered test selection.
⚙️ Launchable is a layer on top of your existing CI pipeline and tooling. The Launchable CLI interfaces with your existing build or test tools like Maven, Gradle, Ant, etc.
🧠 Next, Launchable learns from your historical code changes and test results, then leverages this intelligence to select and run the best Selenium tests for a code change.
🚀 The Launchable CLI makes it easy to start optimizing your Selenium runs on Day 1. Even better? Over time, Launchable's predictions get better as the model learns about your runs.
Get faster shipping and reduce frustration with earlier test feedback to developers. Because Launchable ranks tests by importance to code changes and allows you to create a unique subset in real-time, so you can run a fraction of your Selenium test suite, while still maintaining high confidence that flaws will be found during regression testing.