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Why Should We Automate Smoke Tests?

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This testing is the first test to be done on a build released by the development team(s). Based on the results of this testing, further testing is done (or the build is rejected).

The best way to do this testing is to use an automation tool and schedule the smoke suite to run when a new build is created. You may be thinking why should I “automate the smoke testing suite”?

Let us look at the following case:

Let’s say that you are a week away from your release and out of the total 500 test cases, your smoke test suite comprises of 80-90. If you start executing all these 80-90 test cases manually, imagine how much time will you take? I think 4-5 days (minimum).

But if you use automation and create scripts to run all these 80-90 test cases then ideally, these will be run in 2-3 hours and you will have the results with you instantly. Didn’t it save your precious time and give you the results about the build-in much less time?

5 years back, I was testing a financial projection app, which took inputs about your salary, savings, etc., and projected your taxes, savings, profits depending on the financial rules. Along with this, we had customization for countries that depend on the country and its tax rules used to change (in the code).

For this project, I had 800 test cases and 250 were smoke test cases. With the use of Selenium, we could easily automate and get the results of those 250 test cases in 3-4 hours. It not only saved our time but showed us ASAP about the showstoppers.

Hence, unless it is impossible to automate, do take the help of automation for this testing.

Advantages And Disadvantages

Let us first take a look at the advantages as it has a lot to offer when compared to its few disadvantages.

Advantages:

  • Easy to perform.
  • Reduces the risk.
  • Defects are identified at a very early stage.
  • Saves efforts, time and money.
  • Runs quickly if automated.
  • Least integration risks and issues.
  • Improves the overall quality of the system.

Disadvantages:

  • This testing is not equal to or a substitute for complete functional testing.
  • Even after the smoke test passes, you may find showstopper bugs.
  • This type of testing is best suitable if you can automate else a lot of time is spent on manually executing the test cases especially in large-scale projects having around 700-800 test cases.

Smoke Testing should definitely be done on every build as it points out the major failures and showstoppers at a very early stage. This applies not only to new functionalities but also to the integration of modules, fixing of issues and improvisation as well. It is a very simple process to perform and get the correct result.

This testing can be treated as the entry point for complete Functional Testing of functionality or system (as a whole). But before that, the QA team should be very clear about what tests are to be done as smoke tests. This testing can minimize the efforts, save time and improve the quality of the system. It holds a very important place in sprints as the time in sprints is less.

This testing can be done both manually and also with the help of automation tools. But the best and preferred way is to use automation tools to save time.

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