Smoke testing

Smoke testing

Smoke testing is not exhaustive testing but it is a group of tests that are executed to verify if the basic functionalities of that particular build are working fine as expected or not. This is and should always be the first test to be done on any ‘new’ build.

When the development team releases a build to the QA for testing, it is obviously not possible to test the entire build and verify immediately if any of the implementations is having bugs or if any of the working functionality is broken.

In the light of this, how will a QA make sure that the basic functionalities are working fine?

The answer to this will be to perform a Smoke Testing.

Once the tests are marked as Smoke tests (in the test suite) pass, only then the build is accepted by the QA for in-depth testing and/or regression. If any of the smoke tests fail, the build is rejected and the development team needs to fix the issue and release a new build for testing.

Theoretically, the Smoke test is defined as surface-level testing to certify that the build provided by the development team to the QA team is ready for further testing. This testing is also performed by the development team before releasing the build to the QA team.

This testing is normally used in Integration testing, System testing, and Acceptance level testing. Never treat this as a substitute for the actual end to end complete testing. It comprises of both positive and negative tests depending on the build implementation.

Smoke Testing Examples

This testing is normally used for Integration, Acceptance and system testing.

In my career as a QA, I always accepted a build only after I had performed a smoke test. So, let’s understand what is a smoke test from the perspective of all these three testing, with some examples.

Whenever a build is released to the QA, smoke test in the form of an acceptance testing should be done.

In this test, the first and most important smoke test is to verify the basic expected functionality of the implementation. Like this, you should verify all the implementations for that particular build.

Let us take the following Examples as implementations done in a build to understand the smoke tests for those:

  • Implemented the login functionality to allow the registered drivers to log in successfully.
  • Implemented the dashboard functionality to show the routes that a driver is to execute today.
  • Implemented the functionality to show an appropriate message if no routes exist for a given day.

In the above build, at the acceptance level, the smoke test will mean to verify that the basic three implementations are working fine. If any of these three is broken, then the QA should reject the build.

This testing is usually done when the individual modules are implemented and tested. In the Integration testing level, this testing is performed to make sure that all the basic integration and end to end functionalities are working fine as expected.

It may be the integration of two modules or all modules together, hence the complexity of the smoke test will vary depending on the level of integration.

Let us consider the following Examples of integration implementation for this testing:

  • Implemented the integration of route and stops modules.
  • Implemented the integration of arrival status update and reflecting the same on the stops screen.
  • Implemented the integration of complete pick up till the delivery functionality modules.

In this build, the smoke test will not only verify these three basic implementations but for the third implementation, a few cases will verify for complete integration too. It helps a lot to find out the issues that get introduced in integration and the ones that went unnoticed by the development team.

As the name itself suggests, for system level, the smoke testing includes tests for the most important and commonly used workflows of the system.  This is done only after the complete system is ready & tested, and this testing for system level can be referred as smoke testing before regression testing also.

Before starting the regression of the complete system, the basic end to end features is tested as a part of the smoke test. The smoke test suite for the complete system comprises of the end to end test cases that the end users are going to use very frequently.

This is usually done with the help of automation tools.

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