What is smoke testing in software engineering? admin November 16, 2023

What is smoke testing in software engineering?

Smoke testing

Smoke testing, or build verification testing, is a preliminary software testing activity conducted at the beginning of a testing cycle. The goal of smoke testing is to reveal simple failures that show stopper defects that break the fundamental functionality of the system.

Smoke testing in software engineering is like a health check-up that helps ascertain the stability and readiness of the software build for further, more rigorous testing. It is analogous to how smoke indicates the presence of fire – QA smoke testing points out major failures that make the software unstable.

When is Smoke Testing Performed?

Smoke testing in software testing is conducted after the test build is created, before detailed tests like functionality, integration, regression etc. are executed. 

In agile software development, every sprint begins with qa smoke testing the latest build to verify that critical functionality still works after changes made in the sprint. This ensures the team can continue testing without wasting time debugging build issues.

Smoke Testing Process Flow

A typical smoke testing process consists of:

  1. Configuring the test environment with necessary dependencies.
  2. Setting up test data, tools, and scripts.
  3. Identifying high-priority test cases covering key features.
  4. Executing tests and logging results.
  5. Reporting test summary and logging defects.
  6. Assessing if the build is stable enough for further testing.

Comparison with Other Testing Types

Smoke testing in software engineering differs from other testing types like:

– Integration testing – verifies interactions between integrated components.

– Regression testing – re-runs tests to detect new bugs after changes.

– Build verification – checks that the build is testable before smoke testing.

– Confidence testing – establishes stakeholder confidence before release

Manual vs Automated Smoke Testing

Smoke testing in software testing can be executed both manually and using automation tools. Manual testing allows testers to notice issues that automated scripts may miss. Automation increases efficiency by running pre-scripted tests quickly.

For web and mobile apps, automated smoke testing in software testing should cover UI elements, forms, links, database actions etc. API smoke testing involves validation requests and responses.

Automated testing

Scope Across Platforms

When it comes to web applications, the manual verification of essential functionalities is pivotal. However, tools such as Selenium and Cypress have become instrumental in automating repetitive smoke test scenarios, ensuring efficiency without compromising accuracy. A hands-on manual approach is essential for desktop applications to confirm UI responsiveness and core feature functionality. The use of automation tools like Appium can significantly enhance the efficiency of qa smoke testing across diverse platforms, desktop, as well as mobile.

Automation Tools and Best Practices

Some popular automated smoke testing tools include Selenium, Appium, Postman, and JMeter. It is a best practice to keep smoke tests short but cover all vital components. Frequent smoke testing improves release confidence and saves time by preventing detailed testing of unstable builds.

Common Failures and Troubleshooting

Despite the robust nature of smoke testing, common failures include network issues affecting API calls, database connectivity problems, environmental inconsistencies, and UI element identification failures in automated tests. Troubleshooting these issues is essential for maintaining the integrity of the testing process.

Future Advancements

The future of automated smoke testing is poised for advancements. Integrating AI/ML for predictive analytics, implementing self-healing tests that can automatically recover from certain failures, and seamless integration with CI/CD pipelines are some of the anticipated innovations.

Smoke testing is a foundational testing practice that identifies basic failures before deep testing occurs. Well-designed smoke tests improve release stability, optimize testing efforts, and provide essential early feedback to developers in agile sprints. With the right manual procedures and automation framework, teams can leverage smoke testing to enhance quality and cadence.

Motivity Labs has a successful track record of executing development and testing projects for some of the largest software companies in the world. Contact us to learn how we can help in your digital transformation journey.

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