Cypress Best Practices for Implementing Visual Testing in Web Applications

Charlotte Miller

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Cypress Best Practices for Implementing Visual Testing in Web Applications

Developers prefer developing dynamic web applications for better engagement with the audience. In a dynamic web application, visual integrity and consistency maintenance are necessary. Hence, visual regression testing allows you to detect visual defects in the software application. However, manually finding regression and irregularities in a software application may require a lot of effort and be time-consuming. To overcome these issues, testers utilize automated tools to execute visual testing. Cypress is one of those.

Cypress has gained significant popularity in visual testing web applications. It is an effective end-to-end testing framework that provides developers and testers with the power to consistently execute visual testing on their web applications. Utilizing Cypress for visual testing can help deliver a seamless user experience.

In this article, we will be discussing Cypress and visual testing. We will understand why Cypress is popular for automating web application visual regression testing and how the successful coordination of Cypress capabilities streamlines the testing process of a software application. We will also learn various Cypress best practices for acing visual regression testing on web applications and how the developers and testers utilize Cypress’s best practices to secure the visual integrity of the web applications.

What is Cypress?

Cypress is an end-to-end testing framework. It allows developers and test automation engineers to run web and API tests. The developer community widely prefers it because it is a JavaScript-based test automation framework. Cypress is a testing tool aimed at developers and quality assurance engineers. It employs exclusive DOM control procedures and works specifically within the browser. It supports different browser versions. Cypress comes with numerous features that are required to automate advanced web applications. Features such as automatic waiting, single page application (SPA) support, and simple investigating of tests make Cypress special within the industry.

Cypress’s automation tools are not restricted to end-to-end testing but also support API and unit testing. Cypress Dashboard is a special tool that permits companies to see the analysis of their tests. However, in most cases, the open-source adaptation of Cypress is adequate for testing.

The client interface is the center of any web application. If it is smooth, the application is more likely to attract clients’ attention. Visual regression testing is required to guarantee that the UI is error-free. Visual testing improves test execution through client interfacing and proficiency. Cypress supports visual regression testing utilizing third-party plugins.

Also Read : Implementing Visual Testing With Playwright: Pixel Perfect Automation

What is Visual Testing?

Visual testing (visual UI testing) is a testing approach that examines the user interface, appearance, and behavior of software applications. Visual testing improves your software application by checking its appearance. It distinguishes obvious mistakes in mobile apps and website display pages. The visible output of the software application is then compared to the anticipated design results.

Visual testing assesses all components on a web page to guarantee that they have the right appearance over browsers, devices, and operating systems. Furthermore, visual tests check different behaviors of a web page and incorporate visual components and other features. This makes a difference because software developers provide reliable involvement with clients. By analyzing the anticipated rendering output, you can rapidly distinguish irregularities and errors within the visual representation of your web application or website. You can guarantee that your software applications meet convenience standards and are optimized for different platforms.

Developers and testers utilize visual testing to guarantee that developed software applications provide reliable client involvement for all end users, regardless of device or browser and the versions used.

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Implementing Cypress for Web Application Visual Testing

You have known about Cypress and visual testing. You also understand why Cypress is a good choice for implementing visual testing. Let us now understand how you can implement Cypress to automate visual testing for web applications.

  • Installation and Setup: To begin using Cypress to visually test the web applications, you must first install It using npm or yarn in your project directory. After installation, you need to initialize it into your project. Generating a Cypress folder structure and configuration files in your project directory shows that initialization has been done.

  • Adding Visual Testing Plugin: Cypress does not have a built-in feature to perform visual testing. You need to integrate a visual testing plugin. For this, you can install the Cypress Image Snapshot Plugin. Once installed, you need to update your Cypress plugin file. This will include the plugin in your project, and you can perform visual testing.

  • Capturing Baseline Screenshots: Next, you must identify your software application’s complex and critical components that need visual testing. Once you know the critical components, use Cypress to navigate these pages and take their screenshots.

  • Writing Visual Tests: You must compose test scripts to compare the screenshotted components. For comparison, you have a baseline screenshot. Into your test scripts, you should add the Cypress Image Snapshot Plugin’s cy.matchImageSnapshot() method to compare the screenshots automatically.

  • Configuring Tolerances: visual testing usually generates false positives. To avoid this, you must define acceptable tolerance for visual differences in your tests. The tolerance can be defined using the imageSnapshot property under the Cypress configuration file.

  • Running Visual Tests: Once you are ready with all the configuration and test scripts, you can start executing your test. To do this, you should use Cypress’s test runner interface.

  • Analyzing Test Results: Cypress provides detailed logs and images of visual differences. You can use these images to analyze the issues causing your tests to fail. Also, through the test results analysis, you can find visual discrepancies that have not been detected.

  • Integrating with CI/CD: once you have found the error and issues in your software application, you make the necessary changes. To automatically test your software application after every code change, you must integrate it into a CI/CD pipeline.

Best Practices for Implementing Cypress

Here is a list of Cypress’s best practices for implementing visual testing in web applications.

  1. Use Cypress Image Snapshot Plugin

Cypress does not support visual testing. However, it provides a plugin that allows visual testing. Cypress has Compare Screenshots and Cypress Image Snapshot Plugin for this. These plugins can be seamlessly integrated with Cypress to conduct visual tests.

  1. Identify Critical Visual Elements

It is always considered best to identify all the critical elements present in your software application in advance. This lets you know where to focus more, ensuring visual consistency throughout the software application.

  1. Leverage Cypress Commands

Cypress has various commands that can be used to interact with your software application. These commands reduce your effort in analyzing the specific points during test execution and help automate visual testing.

  1. Define Baseline Screenshots

Before executing your test cases or updating your code, you must screenshot the critical components of the software application. These act as a baseline for visual comparison.

  1. Use Visual Regression Testing

You should opt for visual regression testing to compare the screenshots. This will repeatedly execute the test cases for comparison. This is also beneficial in detecting a maximum number of defects and issues present in the web application.

  1. Set Tolerances

Visual testing tends to give false positives in test execution. To avoid it, you can set certain tolerances for your visual differences. However, tolerance should not affect the visual consistency and sensitivity of your software application’s user interface.

  1. Include Wait Times

Be sure to include appropriate wait times in your tests. This will ensure that your assets are fully rendered before taking a screenshot. Add delays using Cypress commands such as cy.wait().

  1. Organize Tests

You should logically organize your test scripts. This organization can be based on functionality or components. Test organization helps improve maintainability and scalability.

  1. Run Tests in Different Viewports

Web applications can be accessed through multiple devices with different browsers and operating systems. Therefore, you must conduct tests on different viewports to ensure the software application’s responsiveness and correct appearance across every screen size. You can use a cloud-based platform like LambdaTest rather than actual physical devices.

LambdaTest is a comprehensive test orchestration and execution platform that leverages artificial intelligence to facilitate the seamless and efficient running of manual and automated tests on a large scale. With a focus on providing a versatile testing environment, LambdaTest empowers users to conduct both real-time and automated testing across an extensive array of environments, encompassing over 3000 configurations, including browsers and real mobile devices (Device farm).

  1. Integrate with Continuous Integrate

You need to test your software application after every change to ensure the seamlessness of the web applications. This requires both time and effort. Therefore, you can integrate your web applications into a CI/CD pipeline to avoid excessive time and effort. This will automatically execute the test cases after every change.

  1. Review and Analyze Results

You should regularly review and analyze your test results. This will allow you to identify the uncovered discrepancies in the web application. By reviewing and analyzing results, you can easily investigate and address any failures efficiently.

  1. Update Baseline Screenshots

After executing the test cases, you should update the baseline screenshots. This will reflect the changes done to the user interface. Also, the screenshot updation will reflect the current state of the software application.

Conclusion

Visual testing concentrates on an application’s user interface and visual components and is essential to the software testing process. Due to its benefits, visual testing is used in the testing of web applications. It helps ensure the web applications’ overall quality by detecting design discrepancies and guaranteeing a seamless user experience.

Cypress’s usage for visual testing in web applications follows an organized approach that guarantees visual consistency and integrity. Developing teams can effectively identify and resolve visual discrepancies by leveraging Cypress and following the leading practices in the article above. Cypress’s intuitive interface and robust features empower web developers to improve the quality and reliability of their web applications, eventually giving them far better client involvement.