What is Smoke testing? The ultimate guide

1. Introduction

When it comes to identifying and eliminating bugs from software development projects to maximize the quality of the system, performing the right type of software testing at the right stage of SDLC is important. Testers must perform the different levels of smoke testing before finalizing and releasing the product. This helps the software testing services providers gain the customer’s confidence and trust. But the implementation of the testing process must be strategic and it must detect bugs in software at an extreme level or else it is useless. This is why having a complete understanding of smoke testing for identifying critical issues in software is very essential. Therefore, in this blog, we will learn everything about what is smoke testing and how it helps to detect critical errors.

2. What is Smoke Testing?

Smoke Testing is a type of testing that enables software development companies to verify the stability of the solution. It helps the testing team to serve all the software testing prerequisites and also allows them to proceed with further testing. This type of software testing is unique as it can be performed universally for every new app. In clear terms, across every new build. In simple terms, smoke testing enables verifying whether the critical features are necessary or not. For instance, if a rapid regression test is conducted for major functions, it will assist the software testing team with useless test processes and this means that it decreases the project costs.

So after the software is verified in a smoke test, it is ready for formal testing. And each type of software build comes with data files, libraries, engineered components, and reusable modules. All of them are needed for the implementation of different functions.

3. Why is Smoke Testing Important?

If QA testers  don’t perform a smoke test on the application, it is a waste of time to run other tests. This means that smoke testing is important as it indicates whether the structure of the software is even ready for formal testing. If this is not done, major issues might slip through the cracks and there are chances that those issues stay within a build for a longer period of time.

Besides bugs, smoke testing also helps as it paves the way for other testing types in the build improvement process. This means that without performing smoke testing, the software testing team cannot move on to functional testing and this means the confidence testing or build verification testing can’t progress. Once you complete smoke testing then only you can move further on functional testing. In addition to this, smoke testing is an integral part of the testing process.

4. When Should You Perform Smoke Testing?

Smoke testing is a process that is done whenever the new functionalities of the software solution are developed and integrated with the current build. This ensures that all the functions in the solution work perfectly fine. Besides, this smoke testing enables the software development team to deploy the build in the Quality Assurance process. When the subsets of test cases are identified, the QA team  can run different test cases on the build. Basically, the QA team tests the app against difficult functions and the test cases they perform are designed to expose errors in the build.

5. How to perform smoke testing?

It is possible to do a smoke test in one of three methods. You can go fully manually, with hybrid, or fully automatically. If you want your smoke tests to always come out clean, it’s important to follow the procedures outlined in this guide.

Step 1: Determine How Many “Smoke” Tests Will Be Conducted

There is no use in beginning a smoke test without first determining how many test cases will be required. In subsequent phases, you may be forced to pause and recalculate if you haven’t already determined the minimum number of test cases required to ensure that everything is functioning as planned.

To avoid this, give some thought to how often the smoke test has to be executed for each version. You’ll need to fine-tune the parameters of your automated testing tools and/or establish the scope of your manual testing team before you dive in.

There’s always the allure of saying you’ll do a single test and then taking the outcome at face value. The results, however, become more robust and helpful the more frequently testing is done. For this reason, selecting a sufficient sample size for your tests is essential.

Furthermore, choosing the amount of test cases in advance ensures a quicker smoke testing process. This is because the point of completion will be obvious.

Step 2: Create smoke tests

This step entails not only selecting the appropriate tests, but also developing the necessary test cases and test script be it manual, hybrid, or automated.

Checking that your tests are appropriate for the business you’re operating is an essential part of this phase.

Since a code is the soul of a SaaS firm, for instance, they may need to perform the most exhaustive smoke tests. The opposite is true for an online store, which is more likely to focus on the most fundamental features before worrying about aesthetic details.

Step 3: Conduct Smoke Tests

The most crucial aspect to remember is to stick to the rules you established in the earlier stages. For example, you should always have backup manual testers on hand in case some of them unexpectedly drop out.

You should already have preparations set to cope with such types of events by this point. Unexpected things can always happen. Thus, it is crucial to take an active role in overseeing the process and keeping an eye out for problems.

Make sure you or your testers are keeping track of the outcomes of each smoke test. The next procedure will be less difficult because of this.

Step 4: Analyze smoke tests

You can tell whether your smoke tests passed or failed as a whole by analyzing the results. Numerous factors, including your own organization’s requirements and expectations, will determine the cutoff points for success and failure.

Again, if you’re a software-as a-service provider, you’d have to insist on a very high standard for your program (or web application). Which means you should generally bring it back for correction if 10% of your tests point to an unreliable build. However, the same fraction could be considered stable by different programmers.

In other words, when you’re in the assessment phase, it’s important to remember that your objectives should be tailored to your own needs.

6. Types of Smoke Testing

There are three main types of smoke testing and they are –

6.1 Manual

Manual testing means employees testing the applications by performing manually smoke tests. If a software development team is creating a brand-new mobile app that requires testing, a manual testing team can run tests across a variety of devices. Though this process seems time-consuming, it comes with the built-in benefit that helps the QA team in exposing the app in a way that would make it look after it is being put on the market. And this means that the test cases performed manually are going to be more indicative of the app’s practical functions.

6.2 Automated

Automated testing is accomplished with the use of various tools that help the testers to boost the efficiency of any business drastically. Besides, automating smoke testing clearly means that the testers can save money and resources. Basically, the automated testing process is quick, efficient, and accurate.

6.3 Hybrid

The third type of smoke testing is hybrid testing. It is a combination of both manual and automated tests. It includes some kind of automation in the smoke testing process but also relies on software testers to manually check the build of the software. Hybrid testing comes with a mixture of both testing types and this offers a lot of advantages to both the business and QA team.

7. Smoke Testing Cycle

Here is a chart that shows how smoke testing actually works. It will give you a clear idea how smoke tests are passed for functional testing after the build is deployed in QA. And in this case, the diagram will also show that if the test fails, it won’t end until the issue in the build is resolved. 

Smoke Testing Cycle

8. Advantages of Smoke Testing

8.1 Simple Process

Smoke testing is a very simple process that can be carried out by any software tester and this is what makes it the best choice. Using this type of testing doesn’t require a lot of resources in the process. The simplicity of smoke tests makes them compatible with other testing methodologies and this makes the integration of testing types easy.

8.2 Improves end-Product Quality

Smoke testing helps in identifying bugs and resolving them as soon as possible. This results in the system having fewer bugs. This helps software development companies in offering a high-quality product to the client and gaining customer satisfaction.

8.3 Identifies Bugs Easily

Identifying key bugs at a faster rate is the specialty of smoke testing. It catches bugs as early as possible and makes sure that the build is fixed before it goes to the deployment process. This ensures that the most prominent errors don’t make it to end-users. Besides, when smoke testing is carried out regularly, it ensures that the system will remain relatively bug-free.

8.4 Improves Efficiency

When it comes to testing a software, software development companies don’t want to waste their time and see that the developed system has different types of errors. Therefore, smoke tests are put in as soon as the system is ready for the tests and they will point out all errors affecting the stability of the software. This is why smoke tests are considered reliable for the foundational code of the system.

8.5 Saves Time and Resources

As smoke testing finds errors quickly and efficiently, it enables the testing teams to carry out regression testing and acceptance testing at the early stage. This can fasten the entire testing process. Besides time, it also saves test effort and resources on smoke testing as it follows automation.

9. Characteristics of Smoke Testing

  • Offers self-scoring process
  • Runs quickly
  • Provides broad coverage 
  • Exposes basic errors of any new system build
  • Can be run by software developers and QA experts.

10. Smoke Test Cases Example

Sr. no. Test case Description Step Expected Result Actual Result Status
1. Genuine login inputs Verify that a guest with a valid username and password can successfully connect in to the web application being tested.
  1. Start up the program in question.
  2. Go to the website’s sign-in page.
  3. Use a genuine user name.
  4. Provide a correct password.
  5. Select the login option and press the button.
The login procedure must succeed. As predicted Pass.
2. Including features Capable of include in shopping cart
  1. Pick a group of classifications
  2. Include it in your shopping basket.
“Add to cart” button should be activated. The product is not being added to the shopping bag. Fail
3. Add logout feature Verify the process of logging out
  1. click the “logout” button
The user needs an exit option The user cannot log out Fail

11. Conclusion

As seen in this blog, nowadays, businesses need quality products like high-performing mobile or web applications to stay ahead of the competition. And to have quality products, software testing is essential. It comes in different types like integration testing, unit testing, sanity testing, system testing, acceptance testing, hardware testing, interface testing, and one of the most important types of software testing, smoke testing. Smoke tests bring a new update and a clear idea about each software build. After deep testing, it also seems that if the build is broken, it needs to be solved before sending it further to start functional testing.

Basically, there are multiple benefits of using smoke testing at an early stage of software development life cycle. It helps in quickly evaluating the major functionality of a new build. It also ensures the stability of the build. This shows that when any software development team is working on a project that is going to have critical functionalities, adopting smoke testing and implementing it before the development team deploys the software is very helpful.

Itesh Sharma

Itesh Sharma is core member of Sales Department at TatvaSoft. He has got more than 6 years of experience in handling the task related to Customer Management and Project Management. Apart from his profession he also has keen interest in sharing the insight on different methodologies of software development.


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