Building Automated Regression Tests for Complex Web Applications

Building Automated Regression Tests for Complex Web Applications

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

Automating regression tests for a large, complex web application can be challenging, especially when dealing with multiple interlocking web services and a shared test environment. In this article, we will explore practical strategies to effectively build automated regression tests for such applications.

Understanding the Challenges

The application in question is a payroll entry system with numerous configuration choices and dependencies on multiple web services. It is difficult to start from a known state, and the shared test environment can be altered by other users, complicating the testing process.

Potential Strategies

Based on the information provided, here are three potential strategies to consider:

  • Set Initial Conditions: This involves setting up initial conditions by querying databases or screen scraping to determine the current state of the system. While this can ensure consistency, it is complex and time-consuming.
  • Dynamic Checking of Results: This approach involves coding tests to dynamically check results based on active configuration flags. It avoids forcing the system into a specific state but is more error-prone and complex to implement.
  • Hybrid Approach: This method combines setting certain key values while allowing other configurations to remain unchanged. It balances complexity and flexibility, but still inherits some disadvantages from both methods.

One effective strategy, as highlighted by experienced professionals, is to create a controlled subset of the system specifically for testing purposes:

  • Create a “Test Company” and “Test Employees” that are agreed upon by all users to be left undisturbed.
  • Assign unique identifiers to these test entities, such as prefixing with the tester’s initials, to ensure they are easily recognizable.
  • Set up the initial state of these entities with required attributes before proceeding with functional tests.

This approach ensures that the testing environment remains consistent and under control, reducing the likelihood of unexpected changes impacting the tests.

Implementation Tips

Here are some practical steps to implement this strategy:

  • Setup Configuration: At the beginning of each test, configure the test environment to the desired state, either through direct database updates or API calls.
  • Isolate Testing Environment: If possible, request a dedicated test environment with limited access to ensure it remains in a known state.
  • Use Unique Identifiers: Name test entities with unique identifiers to avoid conflicts with other users.
  • Automate Setup and Teardown: Automate the setup and teardown processes to ensure consistency and reduce manual effort.


Building automated regression tests for complex web applications requires careful planning and a strategic approach. By creating a controlled subset of the system for testing and automating the setup processes, you can achieve reliable and consistent test results.

How Repeato Can Help

For those looking to simplify their test automation efforts, Repeato offers a no-code test automation tool for iOS and Android. Repeato leverages computer vision and AI to quickly create, run, and maintain automated tests, making it an excellent choice for quality assurance teams. With Repeato, you can ensure your apps are thoroughly tested without the complexities of traditional coding-based automation tools.

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