What is a functional regression test

Functional tests

What are functional tests?

Functional tests are based on the functional description of the software. The main objective is to evaluate the quality of the implementation of functions and to identify possible errors at an early stage. Functional tests are about testing the previously described functions for correctness. The result of the development is tested in comparison to what was stored in the requirements specification as a user story.

Functional tests provide answers to the following questions, among others:

  • What functions are expected from the software?
  • With which initial criteria are the functions described tested and in what way?
  • What is the expected output from this data?
  • How are tests carried out?
  • How do you compare the actual result with the expected result to see if the application is as expected?

Test scenario ⇒ test case ⇒ test execution ⇒ test result

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Types of functional tests

There are a number of different functional tests that are used during the development process to check the quality of the delivered product and bring it to the desired level. It is not enough to let the developer test it himself. Finally, an experienced developer writes unit tests and also carries out regression tests for his source code without additional instructions. Functional tests, on the other hand, should be anchored in the entire development cycle of an application and carried out as an independent task by an experienced professional tester.

The most commonly used test types are:

  • Unit tests. These tests are usually carried out by the software developers themselves. They continuously test the code they create for completeness and method. In the context of functional tests, it is important that the code is written correctly and works without errors.
  • Smoke tests. This is a first test that has to show whether the basic functions are working properly. A series of test cases is used to determine whether this version of the software is stable and ready for further development and testing.
  • Sanity tests. These are usually carried out after the smoke test, because it is used to determine whether all important functions of the code are working.
  • Regression tests. A regression test checks whether all system components continue to communicate with each other after changes to the software. The focus is placed on the parts that may have been affected by changes to the software or where errors in the software have been found.
  • Integration tests. If different parts of the software need to exchange data, a check is carried out to determine whether the data exchange is working properly. In other words, are they well integrated with each other?
  • Acceptance tests. An acceptance test is also known as a beta test or usability test. This test method is intended to determine whether the software is performing the functions that are expected. From the customer's perspective, acceptance is a process that checks and documents whether the software was developed on the basis of the defined functional requirements. In agile development, you focus on the user stories created in advance.

Functional and non-functional tests

What are the differences between functional and non-functional tests? The functional test focuses on the comparison between the predefined functions of an application. The non-functional test, on the other hand, focuses on the application as a whole: How well does the application work in certain cases? How does this affect the intended use?

Functional tests are about requirements and functionalities, while non-functional tests are about expectations and performance under certain circumstances. Functional tests can often be performed manually, while non-functional tests often have to be simulated.

When creating wishes and requirements, the execution of non-functional tests is often omitted. You can expect a lot from the functionalities in advance, but it is more difficult to make statements about how the entire software will behave in certain situations.

Is it possible to outsource functional tests?

This question often arises from the idea that only the client (the customer, the product owner) knows the functional requirements of an application well. In part, it is actually because the knowledge that is not transferred is not available from an external party. However, outsourcing functional tests makes sense, as the information is passed on to an external service provider. This ensures that the functional requirements are defined as well as possible. This allows the software to be tested better, which benefits the end result. If functional requirements are properly formulated from the start and given the necessary attention during development, functional tests can be outsourced without hesitation and add value to development.

And agile testing?

With the agile development method, it is not necessary to describe all functions in advance. The development is started on the basis of the user stories. If the agile process is set up professionally, the functional structure is carefully documented during the sprints. By integrating tests into this process, we are constantly working on:

  • Describe functionalities
  • Create test cases
  • Conduct tests
  • Evaluate results

Functional tests are therefore not steps after development, but a continuous sequence of description, testing, evaluation and improvement. If professional testers are used for this, it is entirely possible (and often better) to outsource the functional tests. Because testing should be carried out as an independent process without affecting development.

  • improved test coverage
  • faster test runs
  • easily scalable test procedures
  • safe releases
  • Increase in development productivity