Everything You Need to Know About Smoke Testing

There is heavy traffic in the direction of software product development. Whether it is mobile apps or any other software product, it has to undergo rigorous test processes to assure that all the functionalities of the software products align with the requirements and are working efficiently up to the mark.

There are various stages involved in the testing cycle once the development is complete. Smoke testing is part of the early stages that identify the smooth running of main or important functionalities of a software product.

Smoke testing is performed by testers in a software development team or QA team on a software build or a product before it is taken up for extensive testing in a software testing company

In this blog, we try to understand what encompasses smoke testing and why it is an important step in software product development.

What is Smoke Testing?

Smoke testing is a part of the software testing process that ensures that the build is stable. It is crucial and can be identified as a green signal for the QA team. What constitutes the smoke test suite are the few set of tests for critical functionalities of the build. 

Smoke testing derived its name from the hardware repair system in which smoke is used to check defects in pipelines. The smoke testing performed in software development yields faster results and identifies the problems with major functionalities. 

It returns the product to the development team for modifications without wasting time in forwarding it for extensive tests running.

In order to perform smoke testing either automation testing tools are used or it can be done manually. Smoke tests can be of the following two types:

  • Functional testing
  • Unit Testing

By exercising functional testing, the QA team feeds various inputs that are scripted series of program and test the build. In the case of unit testing, there can be a layer of code that functions as a test without interfering with the actual code.

Smoke testing can be termed as mini regression testing. Its prominent role is significantly minimizing the time and resources when the actual testing is carried out by the QA team. 

Smoke testing can be performed by Developers as well as Testers. It is carried out on a build that includes data files, libraries, engineered components & other modules. 

Smoke testing is also known as Confidence testing or Build Verification Test (BVT).

To understand the concept in a primary manner, smoke testing looks after simple things like whether a user is able to login successfully if a product is getting added to the cart as soon as the user clicks, are the payment gateways implemented successfully, are the login and log out processes working? etc.

When is smoke testing carried out?

Smoke testing is to assert that the software developed is now reading for the testing stage. And, also that all the critical or major functionalities are in place. It quickly identifies any errors in the initial stages of the build.

So, every time there is a change, new functionality added or integrated into the existing build, smoke testing is carried out. It is also a common and good practice among developers to carry out smoke testing as soon as the MVP is created.

We now move forward to understanding the advantages of Smoke testing.

The Cycle of smoke testing

Any Software build undergoes the following steps in the cycle for smoke testing

Step 1: Software code development is carried out for a feature, functionality, or a complete product.

Step 2: This new build is passed to the QA team who prioritize test cases as per the product in hand.

Step 3: The test cases are executed and smoke testing is performed.

Step 4: 

Case 1: If the build fails, it is returned to the development team where the identified bugs are to be fixed 

Case 2: If the build passes the smoke testing stage, it is forwarded for further process of rigorous and extensive testing.

Benefits of Smoke Testing

  • Defects and bugs are picked up in the early stages of the testing and developing life cycle. 
  • It plays a remarkable role in CI/CD i.e. continuous integration and continuous development processes.
  • It makes the job of the QA team simpler and save time as they can focus on the core competencies rather than surface-level problems that can be identified easily and be looked after with quick fixes.
  • It curtails the possibility of any major changes in the latter stages of development as any major issue is highlighted and immediate action to fix or change the segment of development can be taken.
  • It minimizes integration risks and the progress becomes easier.
  • It helps project managers in staying practical and well informed about the deadlines for complete project development as all hurdles are known and also the prospective time to repair them.
  • It ensures quicker time-to-market.

In Conclusion:

With the complete information, we can now safely say that smoke testing is a simple concept with supreme powers in the development of a well-functioning software product. It speeds up the whole process of finding bugs and errors thus improving the overall quality of coding and programming. 

Thus smoke testing is a shallow yet wide concept that prepares your build for the testing stage.

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