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Saturday, June 23, 2012

What are limitations of smoke testing?

Smoke testing though being quite a helpful software testing methodology has got some limitations which will be discussed in this article. 
Smoke testing is an important software testing methodologies when it comes to the development of very large software projects. "The formal definition of the smoke testing states that it a quick and indeed a dirty software testing methodology that is deployed mainly for testing the major features and functionalities of a piece of software system or application". 

About Smoke Testing

- It is essential to perform smoke testing whenever any changes are implemented in the software system. 
- Originally, the smoke testing for software systems was adopted from the hardware industry. 
- Smoke testing is quite time and cost effective since it lays its primary focus on the components that have been changed recently in order to ensure continued compatibility.
- In addition to all this, a smoke test provides an effective means to confirm that the changed code works as desired and does not hampers the functioning of the whole build. 
- Following this approach, the bugs entering the software system can be immediately fixed. 
Smoke testing has many advantages that outweigh the limitations but still the limitations cannot be ignored.

Limitations of Smoke Testing

  1. Biggest limitation of the smoke testing is that its field of application and usefulness is quite narrow.
  2. Smoke testing can only be used when the time frame is small during the introduction of a new functionality or feature in to the software system or application.
  3. Though being wide, a smoke test is very shallow.
  4. Smoke testing does not take into consideration the fine details of the software system or application.
  5. Smoke tests cannot be substituted for actual functional tests.
  6. Smoke testing is a kind of black box testing and does not consider the internals of the software system or application.
  7. In smoke testing the tester cannot access the source code.
  8. In smoke testing the tester has to interact with the system via an interface by giving a variety of inputs and then examining the obtained outputs.
  9. Another limitation is that the path coverage provided by the smoke tests is very limited since all the given inputs have to be checked.
  10. Smoke tests cannot keep a control on targeting the paths and code segments that might be more error prone than the other segments.
  11. Smoke test are a bit difficult to design since they should be designed in such a way that they touch every part of the application software.
  12. Usually the smoke testing can be applied only when some new components are incorporated in to the existing software system or application.
More about Smoke Tests...
- Smoke tests can be thought of as preliminary tests that facilitate the further testing of the software system or application. 
- Though the smoke tests reveal simple failure, these failures are good enough to be the cause of the rejection of a prospective and deserving software project. 
- At last we conclude that there exists no such absolute best software testing methodology, each being having its own weakness as well as strength. 
- You cannot expect a testing methodology to fit the test requirements of every application software and conditions. 
- This reason only is enough to conclude that no testing methodology is most important. 

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