Smoke Testing vs Sanity Testing: Differences

A good application is one that provides the most value. The app has to be reliable, insightful, and compelling. However, to check it, we need to test it with methods like Smoke testing or Sanity Testing. To be precise, testing involves an automated set of steps used to validate a software application. Test automation can make the process of testing so much easier and make your job more efficient.

Luckily, automated testing tools have evolved to make it easier and faster for developers to allow their products to pass through the testing phases. Moreover, Smoke and sanity testing have become standardized testing methods in contrast to the “manual”, traditional way of testing. They also reduce time spent on developing the tests and are usually less risky than other testing methods. People may agree that automated tests are more reliable and less time consuming than people testing. Automated tests are run frequently to ensure the build is free from defects.

Smoke Testing

What is Smoke testing? It is the most basic form of software testing. It is a test carried out to determine whether the essential features of a piece of software are working, and a development team used to keep their eye on the ball. The purpose of it is to make sure that no bugs were introduced while fixing other bugs or adding new features.

  • The aim with it is to verify that the new build or change has not broken any other functions or introduced new errors (bugs). Smoke testing is also known as Build Verification Testing (BVT) which is designed to discover defects in-flight i.e. before they have escaped into production release or the customer base. It looks for problems in specific sections of the program rather than the entire application and it continues to be done even when new modules are added to current functionality.
  • Smoke testing does not test all aspects of the project, so it tends to be done in addition to other procedures such as user acceptance testing and integration testing. As soon as each build is completed by the developers and implemented by the testers, smoke testing lets both groups know whether there are critical bugs requiring immediate attention or not.

The reason for having smoke testing performed is that it usually takes a little longer to learn how to operate the program and find out where bugs are in a fully functional application. Before this stage is reached, the smoke test will catch many errors at an early stage. This can considerably reduce the time spent debugging and help change requests become more realistic because they can be better targeted.

When should a tester perform Smoke Testing?

Smoke testing is a type of automatic acceptance testing that is used to implement light-weight, early-stage tests of the main features of a product or system using code or hardware. Smoke tests are automated tests and are conducted at the end of a project’s development phase. The goal of smoke testing is to provide developers with feedback about the overall quality of their product and to detect major functional problems. A smoke test is conducted by executing a suite of basic tests (commonly written as user stories/test scenarios) on the application. If all tests pass, it indicates that test coverage is good and that basic functionality works correctly across most areas of the application.

Advantages of performing Smoke Testing

Smoke testing is a testing technique used to determine whether or not software meets the minimum acceptance criteria for a particular stage in the product’s release cycle. With the advantages that it offers to the testers, Smoke Testing has been performed by the majority of the testers now.

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1.   Less Integration risks and errors

Smoke testing can be accomplished in two ways, by examining several system configurations (using custom scripts), or asking a tester to poke at the software using a process known as ‘graceful degradation’. The combination of a successful smoke test and the completion of associated regression testing provides reasonable assurance that the new software has been properly integrated into the environment and should be put into production.

2.   Quick and simple to implement

Smoke testing is a quick way to check if a build of your code is good enough to be installed and tested with your complete test suite. It is not a replacement for the full test suite run but is a great indicator of potential problems. Smoke tests determine whether the system or its components have basic, elementary functionality and that things such as power are “on.”  By running through the smoke test cases you quickly ascertain if your overall system is basically functioning.

3.  Efficient Testing Method

Smoke tests are simple to set up and can be run quickly, meaning that QA members can quickly check whether the latest software build works as intended. Smoke tests are expected to be complete and perfect. The premise is that if smoke tests pass then it’s safe to say the build is viable enough to require little effort against bug reports. It is used in a similar way to that of smoke testing in hardware: to quickly judge if a piece of hardware works before further testing.

Smoke tests are an amazing tool used to assess the stability of software and applications. Smoke tests allow us as testers to make a judgment call on whether or not an application is ready for human testing, which increases the efficiency of the QA team and allows QA’s to be more productive.

Sanity Testing

In small pieces of software with short lifecycles and large teams, the notion of sanity testing becomes very important. It is used to explore whether a proposed change will create any bugs or defects in the software build. If a bug is found, the QA team will reject the build in order to save time and money on more thorough testing for that new feature. Sanity tests are also used in integration testing at various levels – from unit to functional and system test levels. It is mostly used as an intermediate stage in between smoke testing and end-to-end testing.

  • Sanity testing is often considered a component of integration testing. However, some assert that it is not truly integration testing because it is done after the build passes the smoke test and before it goes to the end-to-end testers.
  • Basically, sanity testing is used to ensure that the build scripts functionality functions as expected. Sanity tests are designed to ensure that the proposed modifications do not have adverse effects.
  • For example, if adding a new feature to an application is being considered, then the sanity test should check whether it affects other existing features. If so, how? Does it damage the other application’s performance? Or does it cause any errors? If adding a new method to an object throws an exception for some reason, then should one fix it, or improve the method itself?

This testing is a type of testing that is carried out to check if any bugs are present in the software product and if those defects reported or detected during the previous testing are fixed or not. The test cases that were developed and worked upon can be executed again with the same results.

When should a tester perform Sanity Testing?

The purpose of Sanity test is to verify that the new features of the software are operating as intended. We also call sanity tests smoke tests, as it is often just a quick safety check that doesn’t require a lot of time or resources. Once the build is received, the install media is built and the entire setup is put through sanity testing. This test to ensure that any problems with software were caught before the live build of the product. For example, if during a test period an application crashes or fails to operate as expected, these issues are addressed and corrected immediately so that the product will meet or exceed expectations of customers at launch. Additionally, sanity tests ensure that all installed software packages are compatible and there are no misconfigurations in the operating system or applications.

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Advantages of performing Sanity Testing

Sanity Testing helps ensure that the system meets the business requirements of the testing organization and its customers. Requirements for acceptance testing are generally based on user stories and use cases. And with the advantages that Sanity Testing has, it makes it a famous testing method for the testers.

1.   Quick Detection of Bugs

The main advantage or the feature of using Sanity Testing is that it offers fast and easy detection of the bugs or errors that are making it difficult to get the fundamentals of the code right. Furthermore, it helps to determine if an application is too damaged to pass any thorough testing. This detection will help the testers to understand where they are lacking and what can be done to improve it.

2.  Process can be completed in less time

Sanity testing validates that each unit operates correctly under given conditions; integration testing is done to ensure that two or more components operate correctly together. It checks whether the product as a whole is working as intended. Moreover, with no documentation present in the process, it can be completed easily and in less time.

3.   Done if the project is in deployment mode

Sanity testing is a quick and dirty test on a new build of software. The purpose of a sanity test is to make sure that what you are looking at is actually the build that you think it is (i.e., sanity). It usually involves rapidly going through the interface and functionality of the application, not looking for problems but just verifying that the build works well enough to be considered stable for further testing.

Key Differences between Smoke and Sanity Testing

Smoke testing allows testers to check an application for immediate flaws by creating or validating small sample test cases. In contrast, sanity testing verifies the functionality of core application components and their integration within the application. Now, let’s look at the key differences between the two testing methods.

Features Smoke Testing Sanity Testing
Aim of the Testing It is done to determine how stable the product is. It is done to ensure the correctness of the actions performed.
When to perform It is done when the product is in the initial stage. It is done when the product is completed and is all set to be deployed.
Support and Documentation The documentation present in this can be scripted. The documentation here isn’t scripted and is natural.
Functions Covered This testing has all the basic functions of the product covered. In this type of testing, only specific modules are taken where the changes have been made.
Executed by Developers and testers both take part while performing Smoke Testing. Only testers take part while performing sanity testing.

Role of Real Device Cloud in Smoke and Sanity testing

It’s crucial to run smoke and sanity tests on real device testing platform which provides real smartphones, browsers, and OSes to let you test apps in real user conditions and get accurate results.

The LambdaTest real device cloud is one such platform provides 3000+ real browsers, devices, and OS for instant, on-demand testing. In addition, it integrates with popular CI/CD tools like Jira, Jenkins, TeamCity, Travis CI, etc. A set of inbuilt debugging tools allows testers to identify and resolve bugs quickly. LambdaTest also offers Playwright automation testing on 50+ browser versions on cloud, with instant, hassle-free parallel testing.

Final Thoughts

In an application development life cycle one of the final stages is the testing stage. It is one of the most important stages because it is where quality assurance is focused. When you test software, you are supposed to check whether it meets the specifications and requirements defined during the designing and developing stages. There are different methods of software testing, among them is Smoke testing and Sanity testing. Smoke and sanity testing methods share the same goal: they detect bugs in the application. Although smoke and sanity testing may sound similar on a superficial level, they vary in their conceptualization, execution, objectives, and desired outcomes. Always keep in mind that without proper testing you will fail to produce a stable and quality product. At some point you have to shift your attention from getting a lot of tests done to making sure your outcomes are correct. By implementing these processes, project teams will also achieve higher productivity.

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Shankar is a tech blogger who occasionally enjoys penning historical fiction. With over a thousand articles written on tech, business, finance, marketing, mobile, social media, cloud storage, software, and general topics, he has been creating material for the past eight years.