Software testing forms an integral part of quality engineering services. It is not a linear and solitary process that is used to validate software. Instead, it consists of an umbrella of processes such as smoke testing, sanity testing, regression testing, etc. Most software testing stages cannot be predicted as the occurrence of a stage depends solely on the outcome of preceding stages.
In a software testing lifecycle (STLC), every stage is important. However, smoke and regression testing are two of the most common stages of testing. Both these testing processes are distinct in nature. Nonetheless, there are instances when people get confused and use these terms interchangeably.
So, here are some specific differences between these two testing types:
- The testing stage
Smoke testing is performed in the initial stages of the STLC.
Regression testing can be executed during the entire testing cycle, depending on the requirement.
- The testing procedure
Smoke testing is a surface-level software testing process. The testing involved here is limited to validating only the basic functionalities and features of a software application.
Regression testing, on the other hand, is a detailed software testing procedure. Here the testing is done after every new update is incorporated into the applications.
- The testing objectives
Smoke testing is performed to validate the software build of a newly developed software. It checks the formidability of the software build to ascertain if the build can withstand the successive testing processes.
Businesses usually update their software applications with some new modifications over a period of time. The main objective of regression testing is to determine if these changes impact an application’s overall functionality or behavior.
- Test cases documentation
The smoke testing process needs a limited number of tests to validate the overall health of the software application. So, scripting and documentation form an essential part of smoke testing.
Regression test means, rerunning the existing test cases and matching the new results with the previous ones. Therefore, there is no documentation required as the test cases are already documented.
- Testing teams involved
Smoke testing or build verification testing mostly centers around the general health evaluation of a software build. Here the testing process is simple, so besides testers, the developer can also execute it.
Regression testing is quite critical because it needs to check every minute detail of the software’s functionality. Therefore, only the QA testers with technical expertise can undertake this testing.
- Impact on the project
The process of smoke testing is fast and straightforward. As a result, the cost incurred during the process does not impact the project significantly. Moreover, both developers and testers can perform the test. Therefore, even in terms of the workforce, there is not much cost to bear.
As already discussed, regression testing is quite intricate in nature. After adding a new feature, the QA team needs to check every element of the software product. Due to such complexities, this process requires expert testers, thereby increasing the cost of the project.
- Level of automation
The QA testers execute smoke testing either by automating the testing process or by manually doing it. Automated smoke testing can be efficient, but the automation depends on what the test requirements are. Even though manual testing is the standard practice for smoke testing, several automation frameworks are available for executing smoke tests.
Owing to the testing complexity and availability of existing test scripts, automation is preferred in regression testing. There are numerous tools available for automated regression testing. Moreover, automating this testing process can also reduce the cost and duration of the project.
- Testing type
Smoke testing is only concerned with validating if the software product is good enough to pass through subsequent testing stages. Here, the testing process involves verifying mainly the core functionalities along with some non-functional features. Therefore, smoke testing can be considered a component of functional testing.
In regression testing, however, QA testers check all the existing crucial functionalities of a software build. So, this testing process can be considered an integral part of functional testing.
To sum it up
Both the testing processes are quite distinct from each other as they are executed at different stages of the STLC. Nonetheless, both smoke testing and regression testing are equally important when it comes to a software application’s quality. To provide a better customer experience with their software product, businesses need to execute them flawlessly.
Not every business is familiar with the intricacies of regression testing or are experts in creating comprehensive test scripts for smoke testing. So, in all such cases, companies need to seek guidance on software testing from experienced quality engineering and digital assurance service providers.