Sanity testing is a cursory test to confirm if a particular software produces the desired results or not. This implies that the software has already passed other kinds of testing before they can undergo sanity testing. It is important to note that sanity test is not as in-depth as other kinds of testing.
Sanity testing can be categorized under regression testing because the procedures for both these tests are basically the same. Before we go any deeper into sanity testing, let us first look at what regression testing actually is. Regression testing involves testing procedures that ensure the software’s ability to perform intended tasks even with improvements or modifications.
Whenever a new feature is added or whenever an existing function has been changed, regression testing is conducted. The test cases in regression testing will enable software developers to know if the modifications have affected the functionality of the software. But note that regression testing in itself would not go into the design structure of the software so you will not know the description of the errors when you merely use regression testing without using it together with other kinds of software tests.
Why Sanity Testing is Important?
The main purpose of sanity testing is to give a cursory check to the software before it can undergo the last different stages of testing such as the alpha test and the beta test. You may ask why this kind of test should be conducted when there are different kinds of test that can be used to have an in-depth knowledge of the software’s capabilities. Well, the answer lies in the fact that it is not always necessary to run an in-depth analysis in the software’s functionality. So running sanity testing in this case is not only practical, it is also advantageous in the sense that there will be no bias that is present. The tester will simply try the software and then try to see if it produces the necessary output.
Disadvantages of Sanity Testing
The greatest advantage of sanity testing may also be its greatest weakness though. This is because the cursory nature of sanity testing will not let software developers go deep into the software’s problem in case any is encountered. Instead, they would need to conduct other kinds of testing that will look into how the software can be fixed.
Also, because sanity testing is basically under regression testing, this test only focuses on the functionality of the software itself. It does not even go to the design structure of the software so software developers would not know how to fix any bugs or errors in sanity testing. They would need to perform different methodologies of white box testing to see the internal workings of the system and how it can be fixed.
Sanity Testing vs. Smoke Testing
Now that you know the basics about sanity testing, you might question why sanity testing is often confused with smoke testing. We will look deeper into this as we go along. Both smoke testing and sanity testing are applicable to other aspects aside from software testing.
For example, smoke testing can also be used for engineering and other hardware related aspects. Outside software testing, smoke tests are conducted using actual smoke. This means that you will use the smoke to detect any leaks in the sewer or pipeline to be able to fix these problems before it can be used. On the other hand, smoke testing in software uses the same concept although it does not make use of actual smoke in this case. You can expect smoke testing to lead you to the errors but you cannot expect this kind of test to tell you how to fix the software.
In the same way, sanity testing will also lead you to the source of the problems but it will not go to the finer details of the problem. Some of the tests factors that are tested using sanity testing include the test on the application servers and the test on the connectivity to the database among others. So where is the distinction between sanity test and smoke test? Smoke tests are usually scripted meaning it uses a set of tests that are already written or automated. Meanwhile, sanity testing is unscripted.
Another distinction between these two types of test is that smoke testing is more thorough compared to sanity testing. This is because sanity testing can either be broad and shallow or narrow and deep, it cannot be both broad and deep unlike the smoke test. In addition, another main concern of the sanity test is to know whether there are aspects in the software that may be contributing to its slow function or if there are aspects that can destroy the entire database but it usually cannot point you to the right direction on where to look for these errors.
Sanity Tests Process
In the matter of conducting sanity test, you can categorize it under the regression testing. A number of methodologies make sanity testing more helpful and beneficial for the software developers. Initial testing stage and testing the future increments that interact with each other are the two issues that this test tackle very easily.
For example, the basic process of sanity testing starts right during the execution of various modules through an online transaction and batch program. With this approach, you can find if the software runs efficiently without experiencing a possible termination.
Sanity testing can help you detect many of the problems that occur outside the environment. Sanity testing is very easy to perform. It is not complicated too. Just test it to check if it can produce the desired output. The user needs to have both a compiler and a computer to do this kind of quick sanity testing.
Another beneficial aspect of sanity testing is its use in mathematical domain. You can use it to cross check some calculations. For example, in multiplication, consider the numbers 918 and 155, if they are multiplied by each other, the product cannot be 142135, because the number 918 can be divisible by 3 and the number 142135 isn’t.
Sanity testing is a useful way of checking a software product. It is very useful because it will enable software developers to conserve lot of time and energy. A simple and cursory testing is just enough to check the functionality of the software application. However, you may need to use other tests apart from sanity testing to ascertain the full functionality of the software. You may also need to use other tests to remove the errors that exist in the application.
In reality, sanity test is a superficial type of test as it just gives a cursory glance on the software. Sanity testing does not go into the internal workings of the system also so it might be difficult for software developers to know the real cause of the error. If you find any errors while you are conducting sanity test, you may need to use other tests like white box test to find serious errors.
In the end, just remember that each test has its own purposes and objectives. Likewise, even sanity test has its own goals to perform. It has its limitations as well. Furthermore, each test has its own way of finding out if the software has the ability to function without any problems. Therefore, you may need to run sanity testing along with other testing methods to make the software better and smarter.