What is Smoke Testing? How To Do Smoke Testing Step by Step? 

One of the most significant objectives of most, if not all, software development projects, is to get the desired product without spending too much time and money on completing the project. This is what most developers are told by their bosses when they begin working on a project.

However, a software product goes through various rounds of testing to ensure that it is fit to be launched in the market. Therefore, preliminary or initial testing is performed to check for basic issues in an application before the critical testing stage. This initial testing is referred to as smoke testing. We will discuss “what is smoke testing” and how it works in this blog.

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What is Smoke Testing?

Smoke testing is also referred to as build verification testing. It is a software testing methodology that includes several non-exhaustive tests that are performed to ensure that the critical functions of a product are in working condition. The findings of this test pay an important role in deciding whether or not the build can move to the critical testing stage. 

Smoke testing is a term that comes from the electronic industry itself. When a hardware component is under repair and if it starts functioning without producing any smoke, the hardware component has cleared the test. Smoke testing touches almost every primary function of a software product without going into the details of any one of them.

What a smoke test reveals is considered important for moving ahead with further testing. If the product passes this test, then you should perform further testing. On the other hand, if it doesn’t pass this test, you should stop even think about further tests and focus on getting a new build that features the required fixes.

If an application is not good enough to pass the initial test, then time is utilized elsewhere instead of spending it on performing detailed testing. It is mostly considered during system testing, acceptance testing, and integration testing. It is not an alternative to regressing or functional testing.

Smoke testing provides you with the freedom to choose test cases that have something or the other to do with the important components or functions of a software product. The goal is in no way to do exhaustive tests but to ensure that the critical functions of a system are in order. Depending on the results that smoke testing provides, testers can make the important decision of deciding whether is product is stable or not and whether it should be passed on to the next testing phase.

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After smoke testing, testers need to ask themselves some very basic questions – am I able to access the software application? Is the GUI responsive? Is the user able to navigate easily between different windows? Let us share an example to help you better understand smoke testing. Every project has several modules, login, user view, task creation, new user creation, detail user page, and more.

With smoke testing, you will check all the functionality that has any association with these modules. So, you will check whether or not the user can log in with their login credentials, users can browse conveniently after login, and more functionality. This test is performed by the development team before the build is moved forward to the testing team.

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Smoke Testing Automation

It is very important to determine the parts of the product that needs testing to perform smoke on a build. Mostly, these are parts with high-level functionality. After this, automated procedures are developed to test these essential parts of the application. Important parts here constitute those operations more frequently used than others.

Testing these operations determine whether or not there are any flaws in the application. Some examples of important functions include login, generating reports, adding and deleting records, and others. Smoke testing can also be performed to verify a host of other things, including:  

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whether or not the database environment is right the version of the database is right for a particular application it is the right time to launch all the sessions, menu and screen selections can be accessed entering, choosing, and editing the data is allowed. 

When you are choosing different tests that you want to automate, the smoke test should be the first name on the list. Smoke testing offers cost and time control benefits to businesses and value to the customers. These tests are added to the reusable scripts library. Conducting these tests could take a couple of days at the most. When you are performing this test on the first release of a software product, make sure that you don’t leave any segment of the system. This way, you will be able to begin further testing without having to wait for the whole application to reach a stable state.

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How to do Smoke Testing?

How you perform a QA smoke test will depend entirely on two critical factors: configuration of the build tool and what’s your application all about. However, the steps of the analysis remain the same no matter what. Here are a few steps that elucidate how to smoke testing is done:

Step 1. Testing Preparation

Once the build is successfully completed, and before you begin testing it, you should perform certain setup tasks. These tasks include installing licenses, storing files at different locations, starting a server, and others. 

Step 2. Gather Test Files

The next step is to get all those files that you want to smoke test. Different smoke testing software has different command lines to get those files that need to be tested to the local drive. 

Step 3. Scriptwriting

To achieve more flexibility, make sure your smoke testing has a single script. Also, the build script should be kept static at this time. Use the build tool to run the smoke test. The reports of the test should be stored at the location where build files are saved. Developers should instantly be made aware of errors as and when they arise. 

Step 4. Clean-up

Clean-up is necessary after performing the smoke test. So, you may be required to delete files, stop the server, and do certain other things. This step can also be performed just before the setup step. This provides a clean environment for tests to start. 

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Smoke testing is performed on every build to detect flaws in the initial stages. The step is the last step after which a software build moves into the system stage. It is a crucial step to ensure that the quality of the application is high. It also reduces the test effort significantly. It can be performed manually, as well. However, the results of automation are far better. 

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What do integration and acceptance testing mean?

Integration testing is done to check how different components actually interact with each other and how well they perform as a system. This test is performed after unit testing, where each component is individually tested. The main aim of integration testing is to check the compatibility and compliance of various components, to reveal the faults, and to check the data flow in the system. Acceptance testing is done to verify if the product developed meets the business requirements. It is a type of black-box testing where the primary focus is on the end-user requirements.

Is there any tool using which smoke testing can be automated?

Browser automation is done to handle smoke tests. The goal is to automate frequently done operations so that human involvement is as minimal as possible. Selenium is an open-source browser automation tool that automates the firing of javascript events, API calls, mounting of front-end components, and many other manually done processes. Selenium has Web drivers, Tool suits, etc, and can run on Linux, Windows, and Mac. It also supports various programming languages such as Java, C#, PHP, Python, Ruby, and many more. Selenium plays a very important role in the CI/CD pipeline and is suitable for Agile software development.

At which level of the software development process is smoke testing done?

Smoke testing is done iteratively whenever new developments are made in the project. It is done to check if the build received is ready to be tested or not. Whenever a new functionality is added, it is tested by the QA engineers using non-exhaustive test cases. All the critical functions are tested and if the build passes through these tests, it is passed on to further phases of testing. If the build does not pass the smoke test, it is rejected and the build has to go back to the development phase again. Smoke testing is done to ensure stability whenever the build configuration changes.

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