What is Smoke Testing?

What is Smoke Testing?

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Updated on Nov 11, 2022 18:06 IST

How do developers determine when the software or a product is ready for the functional testing? It is decided once the software or product has gone through the smoke testing and has passed the testing criteria. The main objective of smoke testing is to test the workflow of an application or software’s core and primary functions.

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So, in this article, we will explore smoke testing in great detail. But, before we do so, let’s go through the list of topics listed under the table of contents (TOC) that we will cover in this blog.

Table of content (TOC)

What is smoke testing? 

Smoke testing definition: Smoke testing is a software testing procedure that aims to determine whether the developed software is so severely broken that further immediate testing is unnecessary.

In layman’s terms, smoke testing is a process that examines the working of all the critical functionalities of the software and confirms that there are no showstoppers (errors or glitches) in the software build that can make further testing unnecessary. Some testing is known as “Confidence Testing” or “Build Verification Testing.”

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Smoke testing example

Let’s consider a test case in order to understand confidence testing in a better way:

Assume that you work in an organization as a software developer, and the organization is planning to launch its App. You are tasked to write a code for that application. After writing the code, you passed the build to quality assurance (QA) testers to perform confidence testing .

So, the QA testers create 2 test cases, such as:

Test case number Test case steps Expected result
1 Open the application
Enter valid username
Enter valid password
Click on the login button
User should be able to login in.
2 Click on the log out button User should be able to login out.

Now, if the actual result matches the expected result for both test cases, then the application passes the smoke testing, or else it fails. We can take another example of Netflix. Smoke tests on Netflix, for example, could include signing in and watching a video.

You can also explore: Difference between Black box and White box testing

When to perform Smoke testing?

You may wonder, when should we perform smoke testing? The smoke testing is performed during the early stages of SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). It is executed before any detailed functional tests (Functional Testing) are done on the software.

You can also use confidence testing when integrating new features into an existing software build that has passed quality assurance (QA) testing or is built in a staging environment. In order to understand confidence testing in a better way, let’s go through an example in the next section.

How to perform smoke testing? 

Performing confidence testing is relatively easy as it does not involve any complex steps. Here are the four steps that you need to perform in order to accomplish confidence testing:

  1. Decide the minimum number of test cases required: Decide the minimum number of test cases you require in order to guarantee that everything is working as intended. This is one of the most crucial steps as it saves you time which you may spend to recalculate the steps, adjust the settings of your automated tools, or determine the number of manual testers required.
  2. Create test cases: The second step is to create test cases. In this step, you have to create your test cases in such a way that the test cases are well-suited to the type of functionalities you want to test. In this step, you also create guidelines that you will follow while doing smoke testing.
  3. Run test cases: The third step is to run the test. In this step, you run the smoke test as per the test cases and guidelines you created in the second step.
  4. Analyze the result: This is the last step, in which you determine whether the overall result is a pass or a fail.

Types of smoke testing

There are three different types of smoke testing, such as:

  • Manual testing: In this type of testing, the QA testers create test cases manually. In this testing, testers are creates, updates, or modifies the test case in order to perform confidence testing.
  • Automated testing: In this type of testing, automated tools are used to create test cases. In this testing, tools, such as Selenium, PhantomJS, etc., creates, updates, or modifies the test case in order to perform confidence testing.
  • Hybrid testing: QA testers and automated tools create test cases in this type of testing. In this testing, tools, and QA testers, creates, updates, or modifies the test case to perform confidence testing.

Characteristics of smoke testing 

There are various characteristics of smoke testing. Let’s explore some of those.

  • It is a documented type of testing that can be stable as well as unstable.
  • It is a type of regression testing and is scripted.

What are the objectives behind performing smoke testing? 

There are many objectives behind performing confidence testing, and some of those objectives are:

  • Helps in detecting errors in the early stage of the software development life cycle
  • Provides assurance that the main functionalities of the application are working as desired
  • Measures the stability of the application
  • Helps to know whether the application should move to further testing or not

Advantages of smoke testing

There are various advantages of confidence testing, and some of those advantages are:

  • Consists of easy steps that make it simple to perform
  • Lowers the likelihood of failure and raises the system’s quality
  • Aids in the early detection of defects and reduces integration risks
  • Reduces testing effort and time and makes progress more accessible
  • Facilitates the detection of critical errors and the correction of errors

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Disadvantages of smoke testing

Some of the disadvantages are:

  • This testing doesn’t work if the inputs are invalid.
  • There is no guarantee that no errors will appear even after completing this testing.
  • In certain cases, especially in large applications, if you have opted for manual testing, it will consume a lot of time.
  • This type of testing only covers certain functionalities of the application being tested rather than every functionality.

Conclusion

Smoke testing is not extensive testing, but this testing can determine whether or not the basic functionalities of a particular build are working as expected. Smoke testing is best performed by the QA lead, who decides whether to pass the build for further testing or reject it based on the results.

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