Difference Between Smoke and Sanity Testing

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What is Smoke Testing?

Smoke Testing is a type of software testing which is usually performed on initial software builds to make sure that the critical functionalities of the program are working absolutely fine.

Smoke testing in technology is now broadly used to test product features in a limited time. If key features don’t work, or if key bugs haven’t been fixed, testing is ceased so that further time is not wasted installing or testing the build. Fixing the identified issues becomes the programmer’s top priority.

Smoke testing is essentially a subset of all defined and planned test cases that cover the main functionality of a component or system. The testing ascertains if the most crucial functions of a program work, but the testing does not bother with the finer details. Some of the capabilities tested during the smoke test phase include accessing the application, logging in with a set of users (admin, regular user), and checking the main modules of a particular application.

Advantages of Smoke Testing

  • Minimizes integration risks.
  • Improves the quality of the end-product.
  • Uncovers functional errors as well as architectural and component-level design defects.
  • Helps diagnose errors.
  • Simplifies corrections by associating tests with incremental new builds and rebuilds.

What Is Sanity Testing?

Sanity testing is performed once the smoke test has been cleared and accepted by the Quality Assurance team. During this testing, the primary focus is on validating the functionality of the application rather than performing detailed testing. When sanity testing is done for a module or functionality or complete system, the test cases for execution are so selected that they will touch only the important bits and pieces. Thus, it is wide but shallow testing.

The main purpose of Sanity testing is to verify that the changes or the proposed functionality are working according to plan. Suppose there are minor changes to be made to the code, the sanity test further checks if the end-to-end testing of the build can be performed seamlessly. However, if the test fails, the testing team rejects the software build, thereby saving both time and money.  

Advantages of Sanity Testing

  • It saves lots of time and effort because it is focused on one or few areas of functionality.
  • It is used to verify that a small functionality of the application is still working fine after a minor change.
  • Since no documentation is required, these tests can be carried out in a lesser time as compared to other formal tests.
  • In case issues are found during Sanity testing, the build is rejected. This saves a lot of time and resources.
  • It is the simplest way to assure the quality of the product before it is developed.
  • Sanity testing is simple to understand and to carry out and very effective in detecting bugs.
  • It can reduce the effort during Smoke and Regression testing.
  • It helps to find related and missing objects.

Sanity Testing vs Smoke Testing

Basis of ComparisonSmoke TestingSanity Testing
MeaningIt is a wide testing technique in which all aspects of the application are examined.It’s a type of testing that focuses on certain aspects of the application.
MeasuresIt performs rigorous testing to determine the system’s stability and basic functionality.It is deep testing that performs rigorous testing to determine the system’s logic.
TechniqueManual or automated smoke testing is available.Sanity testing is possible without the use of scripts or test cases like functional testing.
ExecutionBoth testers and development team are involved in this processIt is carried out solely by testers.
PurposeTesting is carried out without going into great detail, but when it is necessary, the tester must delve into great detail.Sanity testing does not need a thorough examination of the application.
Performed atThe first test conducted on the initial build is smoke testing.When the build is rather reliable, sanity testing is undertaken.
Documentation DocumentedNon documented
UseIt is planned testing used to test the application’s end-to-end functionality.Only modified or defect-free functionality are tested using it.
SubsetIt is a subset of acceptance testing.It is a subset of regression testing.

What you need to know about sanity and smoke testing

  • The purpose of smoke testing is to ensure “stability,” but the goal of sanity testing is to verify “rationality.”
  • Developer teams and testers both do smoke testing, sanity testing is performed by testers only.
  • Sanity Testing evaluates new functionalities, whereas Smoke Testing tests the system’s critical functionalities only.
  • Acceptance testing includes smoke testing, whereas regression testing refers to sanity testing.
  • Sanity testing is among the types of testing which are not documented or programmed, unlike smoke testing.
  • Sanity testing exercises only a single component, whereas smoke testing exercises the complete system from start to finish.
  • Sanity testing is regarded as narrow and depth testing. It is about detailed testing on a few highly critical features, whereas smoke testing is considered broad and shallow testing, but tests on all relevant aspects.
  • Development team uses Smoke testing as soon as the build is installed, whereas sanity testing takes place once the problem fixes are completed.