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Friday, June 22, 2012

How is optimization of smoke testing done?

Smoke testing being one of the quick and dirty software testing methodologies, needs to be optimized. This article focuses on the need of optimizing the smoke tests and how to optimize them. 

Let us first see the scenario behind the need for optimization of the smoke tests that are carried out on the software system or application. 
- In most cases of the development of software systems or applications, the code can be executed either directly from the command prompt or via a sub- routine of the larger software systems or applications. This is called the command prompt approach. 
- The code is designed in such a way that it has the qualities like self awareness as well as it is autonomous. 
- By the code being self aware, we mean that if anything goes wrong during the execution, the code should explain it. 
- Commonly two types of problems are encountered during testing and have been mentioned below:
  1. The path was compiled with too much of optimization and
  2. The data directory is not pointed out properly by the path.

Steps for Optimization of Smoke tests

- In order to confirm that the code was compiled correctly one should run the test suite properly at least once. 
- The first step towards optimization of the smoke test is to run it and then examine the output. 
- There are two possibilities that either the code will pass the test or it won’t. 
- If it is the second case then there are two possibilities that where your smoke test went wrong:
  1. Compiler bugs and errors or
  2. The path has not been set properly.

Compiler Bugs and Errors

Let us take up the first possibility, i.e., the compiler bugs and errors. 
-  It is probable that the correct code might not have been produced by the compiler. 
- In some cases of the serious compiler bugs, it is possible that there might be some hardware exception and these kinds of errors are caused mainly by the compiler bugs. 
- In this case the optimization level of the code should be minimized. 
- After this the code should be recompiled and observed again. 
- Optimizing is good for code but if it is of aggressive kind then it will definitely cause problems.

If path is not set properly

- It is obvious that if the code is not able to trace its data files then it will definitely show up some error and this happens because the path has not been set properly. 
- In such cases you need to check which path was it, fix it and recompile the whole code and execute once again.

When does a system or an application crash?

Don’t think that the software system or application crashes only when there has aggressive optimization of the code! 
- Crashes also happens with those programs in which there is no optimization of the code. 
But in such cases, only compiler errors can be blamed since it happens only if the compiler has not been set up properly on your system. 
- If no program executes, it means that your compiler is broken and you need to talk about this to your system administrator.

How to optimize smoke tests?

- A lot of help comes from MPGO (managed profile guided optimization). 
- The best way to optimize any kind of testing is to maintain a balance between the automated and manual testing.
- You need to run MPGO tool along with the necessary parameters for the test and then run the test. The test now will be optimized. 
- It is actually the internal binaries that are optimized either fully or partially. 
- Partially optimized binaries are deployed only in automated smoke testing. 

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