Testers are responsible for ensuring that an application is working properly by conducting various tests. These include regression and smoke tests. Automation testing would be incomplete if these two are not infused into the process. Both types are used to check the functionality of an application. However, testers can also perform other tests depending on their testing goals.
Both testing methods are quite useful in their own place when deployed at different SDLC stages. Each has a unique set of requirements and features, and they also differ in what they can do. Smoke testing proves the steadiness or weaknesses in the application before performing any further testing. Regression checks the performance of the application after any new functionality or any changes in the functionalities have been made.
In this article, we will refine your understanding of smoke testing and regression testing and talk about the differences between the two types of tests, as well as how they can be used to ensure that the application is working as intended. After that, we’ll take a deeper dive into the topic and discuss in detail the respective strengths of the testing types so that you can decide the order of things. This will also help you determine which one is better to implement at a particular stage of application development.
Before we move ahead let’s understand each of them in brief by their definition.
Smoke testing is a testing process that determines the stability of the core functionality of the application. This testing is used to verify whether a new build is ready for the next phase of testing, or if it needs to be made stable first.
They are small sets of tests performed with every new application build, to check whether the deployed build contains any new features or purely bug fixes. It aims towards ensuring the correctness of the application at the initial stage, and whether the critical functionalities are working properly or not. Smoke testing requires less amount of cost and effort. Skipping smoke testing at the early stage results in encountering defects in the later stages. This may affect the release of quality applications.
If smoke tests fail then the builds are treated as broken. This results in sending the update back to the application developers to resolve. Smoke testing is also referred to as build verification testing since it is specifically designed to reject broken builds early in the process. So additional resources do not get wasted on deeper testing.
Why smoke testing is important
- Smoke testing is an indicator for determining whether a build is stable and ready for formal testing or not.
- Smoke testing lets the developers identify and resolve bugs or defects at the initial stages of application development.
- Other than resolving bugs, smoke testing paves the way for other types of testing, and when more tests are performed on builds, it improves the overall quality of those builds. Therefore this testing is essential without it testers can not move on to functional testing, which means the build can’t progress.
- All the inconsistencies in the build will get identified by performing smoke testing.
- Its purpose is to ensure that the build performs its intended function so that no major issues slip through the cracks or show other signs of instability, and stay within a build for longer.
Advantages of Smoke testing
We have seen that smoke testing is a necessary thing that all application builds must go through to guarantee stability. Smoke testing provides a long list of benefits. Below we have discussed some of the most significant advantages of executing smoke tests.
- Quick and easy to perform.
- Smoke testing provides the flexibility to perform both manually and through automated processes.
- As this testing involves a limited number of test cases, it is non-exhaustive. Hence lets the testers uncover basic errors in new builds.
- It is applicable to different levels of application testing, including integration testing, acceptance testing, and system testing. Therefore provide a broad testing coverage.
- Identify defects at an early stage.
- Delivers improved quality application, as there remain fewer or no bugs.
- Provide easier access to progress.
- Reduced test effort and time.
- Minimizes integration risks.
Regression testing on the other hand is a thorough testing process to ensure that every feature of the application under test is functioning as per requirements. Regression testing means re-running functional and non-functional tests to ensure that previously developed and tested applications still perform the same and are not negatively affected after the change.
The main purpose of regression testing is not just to test the update itself, but to confirm that other areas of the application are not negatively affected by the recent changes. This can be achieved through various regression techniques like retesting all, test case prioritization, regression test collection, and hybrid.
The code change that requires the need for regression testing can be bug fixes, application environment, or new feature releases. Every passed regression test indicates that the application is ready to be released to the end users.
Regression testing is essential to perform before every release because if a major bug is found towards the end of this testing process the developer will have to return to work over the same functionality again that they have already completed and have moved to a different task.
Regression testing is a must to check the correctness of the application and track the quality of the output there. Even a relatively simple bug fix can break the existing functionality that might be completely unrelated. As the test suites grow with each found defect performing regression testing manually will be tiring and time-consuming. Hence test automation is required to perform frequent regression testing.
Why regression testing is important
- The purpose of performing regression testing is to confirm that the updates or changes in the application code had caused any new defects in the existing functionality.
- Regression testing is applied to the passed tests, in order to check for unexpected new bugs.
- Its main purpose is to flag the errors that show up after code changes, this decreases the possibility of missing the hidden requirements.
- Additionally eliminating all underlying side effects caused by code changes in the most cost-effective way possible.
- Regression testing involves running specific test cases and comparing them to earlier recorded outcomes. This enables it to form the basis of the reports used to illustrate application defects or deviations from use cases.
- Performing regression testing every time changes in the code are made, protects the application from potential malfunctions.
- Allows the developers to make continuous improvements to applications without upsetting the end user’s experience.
Advantages of Regression Testing
Regression testing is an important process in application development. It allows developers to analyze problems resulting from introducing new code into existing applications and ensure its stability during each sprint at every stage.
Regression testing provides the following additional benefits.
- Helps in evaluating the success of implementing new codes into an existing program or application.
- Helps in maintaining the existing code functionality by ensuring that any newly added features or updates to the application do not distort the current existing features.
- Regression testing is used in quality assurance assessments to check for defects and their adverse effects on the application.
- Increase chances of detecting bugs caused by changes to the application, either enhancements or defect fixes.
- The testing team needs to be well aware of the advantages of regression testing that make regression testing essential in every test cycle.
- Automated regression tests help in increasing the testing process and shorten the testing lifecycle. This also enables the generation of faster results and allows retesting for similar releases and tracking any error in the application on a constant basis.
- Automated regression test cases save a lot of time in execution as the same automated regression test scripts can be reused for testing and modified on a need basis. This saves a lot of time.
Difference between regression testing and smoke testing
As we have discussed above both regression testing and smoke testing are the testing techniques used to check the application. The goal of these testing types is the same to check the application, but methods and techniques are different.
When it comes to differentiating between the two they are different from each other in their functionality. Regression testing is considered deep-level testing while smoke testing is surface-level testing. Let us discuss some key differences between these two tests in the following points.
- Smoke testing is often called build verification testing, while regression testing does not have any other name.
- Regression testing is time-consuming, hence the results are collected over an extended period. Smoke testing is a rapid test that generates immediate feedback.
- Professional testers execute regression testing while smoke testing is performed by code developers and testers.
- Regression testing is carried out frequently through the testing phase while smoke testing is followed by regression tests.
- Regression testing is deep-level testing that checks whether the changed part of the code affects the existing features or not. While smoke testing is surface-level and non-exhaustive. It is used to check only the newly developed applications.
- Regression testing is used to check the rationality of the application whereas smoke testing is used to check the stability of the system.
- While performing smoke testing, the whole process of the test is documented and scripted. In regression testing, every detail is not documented and scripted.
- The cost of regression testing is high as it requires more time and effort whereas smoke testing requires less cost as it requires less time and workforce.
- Regression testing tests the functioning of all impacted aspects. By following new features or code changes in the current build. Whereas smoke testing puts the new build’s stability to the test.
Automate Smoke Testing and Regression Testing with LambdaTest
In practice, all QA teams need to do Smoke and Regression testing. These testing types have a pre-defined number of test cases that need to be executed multiple times. Repeated testing helps find application failures, well before release deadlines.
The repetitive nature of these tests makes them an ideal candidate for test automation. There are too many advantages to automating these two types of testing. But to have the full advantage of automation there are a few things to consider before you automate.
Firstly, only automate those features that are stable enough, and there are no plans to change them in the nearest future. It will be more cost-effective. Once the tests are automated, they will start bringing significant benefits, like saving time on every test run. Testing will be far cheaper and less laborious to perform. Additionally, by saving time and effort, the QA team can spend more time on improving other areas of the application
Once you get a stable application you want to automate testing for, the second is to choose the right automation tool. And the recommended tool to use is the one that provides you with ROI on automation from the initial stages. LambdaTest is one such tool and the best all-around choice due to its simplicity and broad coverage.
With LambdaTest, you get access to the infrastructure of 3000+ real mobile devices, desktop browsers, and operating system combinations on the cloud, which is capable of executing tests and delivering feedback in time. Hence it facilitates quick, convenient automated testing on both desktop and mobile devices.
LambdaTest is a cloud-based cross-browser compatibility testing platform that allows performing testing for web and mobile applications, both manually and automated. Provides the ability to test applications across on-demand browsers, operating systems, and real mobile devices.
With LambdaTest you can run Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, Puppeteer, and Appium tests seamlessly. It can also be integrated seamlessly with popular CI/CD tools like Jenkins, Jira, TeamCity, Circle CI, etc.
In conclusion, it can be said that both regression testing and smoke testing are essential in their own ways. Their differences are quite clear now, each has its own concern. I hope this article has given a clear direction for tests while continuing with your testing and releasing quality applications.
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