Effective Strategies for Managing Test Automation Across Multiple Development Branches

Effective Strategies for Managing Test Automation Across Multiple Development Branches

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

In fast-paced development environments, managing test automation across multiple development branches can be challenging. This article provides practical advice on how to effectively handle this situation, ensuring that your automation efforts remain efficient and reliable.

Understanding the Problem

Let’s consider a scenario where your team is developing tests in one branch while simultaneously working on new branches. This often results in a need for code from other branches, leading to conflicts during merges. Ensuring that the automation code is in sync with the application code can be a significant hurdle.

Key Recommendations

Narrow Your Commitments

Before committing to maintaining test compatibility with multiple development branches, consider the resources at your disposal. Testing multiple branches requires more personnel. Focus on developing automated tests for the main development branch, and offer to run these tests on other branches without guaranteeing compatibility. This approach reduces the risk of constantly playing catch-up with development work.

Separate Automation Code

Maintaining automation code within the same repository as the application code can lead to unnecessary complexity. Instead, create a separate repository for your automation code. By doing so, you can manage your automation branches independently, merging them as needed without waiting for the application code to be ready.

Use Tags for Locator Management

When dealing with changes in the user interface (UI) or locators, consider using tags to manage different versions. If the automation code is modular and locators are defined outside the test scripts, tagging files can simplify the process of adapting to changes across branches.

Handle Production Defects with Care

When a serious production defect arises, you may need to cut a new branch from the trunk to address it. In such cases, ensure that your automation branch is also updated accordingly. This approach helps maintain a runnable suite of tests that can be executed against the new branch.

Practical Example

Consider a team that maintains a separate Selenium branch matching the current development branch. They merge the Selenium branch when the development branch is ready for production. This method keeps the tests out of the source code and prioritizes merging test code last. Although this team primarily works on one main sprint branch, their approach can be adapted to handle multiple branches effectively.


Managing test automation across multiple development branches requires strategic planning and efficient resource allocation. By narrowing your commitments, separating automation code, using tags for locator management, and carefully handling production defects, you can streamline your automation efforts and reduce conflicts.

Enhance Your Automation with Repeato

For those looking to simplify and accelerate their test automation process, consider using Repeato. Repeato is a no-code test automation tool for iOS and Android that leverages computer vision and AI to create, run, and maintain automated tests. Its user-friendly interface and quick setup make it an excellent choice for quality assurance teams.

Explore more about Repeato and how it can benefit your testing strategy by visiting our documentation page.

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