Sanity testing is a type of software testing executed on the stable build of an application with minor code changes. It is also known as surface-level testing. A sanity test is performed to ensure the application works as expected after the bug fixes or changes in the code.
In the Software Development Life Cycle, software testing is an integral part of ensuring the performance of the software application. It is performed to find any bug or error which could lead to the failure of the software application. Such failure could be costly for the organization as it could not provide the expected user experience. Hence, it is suggested to check everything before the release of the software application in the market.
There are many different types or approaches to software testing, each of which values its purpose. Among those, sanity testing is a part that is executed to ensure the quality of software applications in less time. A quick check of the basic functionality of a software build is done to ensure its functionality.
In most test scenarios, sanity tests are run post-software build to validate the application's functionality with minor code changes.
Sanity testing is a technique to determine whether new bugs corresponding to adding new features or functionality in software applications are fixed. It is the basic or surface-level test method to determine if a software application or its specific component functions correctly.
It is regarded as the subset of regression testing. Usually, the sanity test is done after the completion of regression testing to fix the bug and error. Hence, it aims to test a software application component to check whether it works after adding new changes. Unlike regression testing, it only finds any dependent missing software application functionality impacted by code changes.
Some of the key points on the sanity test are as follows:
You may think that if we already perform end-to-end testing or execute other types of tests, which check each functionality of the software application, then why do we need sanity tests to be done? The answer to this is very simple. You should understand that every software testing method is needed as per the requirement. Likewise, sanity testing is important to check the new and crucial functionality of the software application.
Here, we will understand why we should not neglect or avoid doing sanity testing
However, with sanity testing, we can perform quick and superficial checks on the important features of software applications. Thus, testers quickly identify the major issues without checking the entire suite of test cases. Hence, the sanity test is a supplement to the retesting process.
The sanity test quickly evaluates the quality of the software before its release and checks whether there is a need to conduct any further tests. But, a sanity test requires crucial understanding practically, which will help you gain greater insight into its application or use. Let's see this with three different examples:
However, imagine an organization needs the software in a short period; we follow a quick testing method rather than giving a non-tested application. Here, we do a sanity test of the application.
Further, they also check whether changes impacted the other related functionalities. Now, there is a functionality to make payments on the payment login page. Part of the sanity test involves validating the payment login page to ensure its functioning is in place.
From the above-stated example, it can be said that the sanity test only checks for the modified or defective components of the software application. It does not check end-to-end functions.
Sanity tests allow developers and testers to validate their use in the Software Development Life Cycle. In line with this, here are two critical priorities of the sanity test.
Apart from its set priority, the sanity test also has specific goals that the developers and testers must ensure. Some of those goals are as follows:
Now deep dive into more details on the sanity test and understand this with examples.
The sanity test is an essential component of software testing and is regarded as an initial step in the quality assessment of software applications. However, for perfect execution in the software development process, it is crucial to have sound knowledge of its characteristics.
Some of those are as follows:
As part of regression testing, sanity testing is done before a full regression test is performed. It focuses only on the most critical or crucial features after the change is done in the software application. Hence, we can say that the sanity test is a subset of regression testing.
In other words, testers are flexible in validating different components of applications. This means that, as per their knowledge, they check the vital function of the application impacted by recent updates and changes instead of following any predefined script.
To practically implement the features mentioned above, sanity tests are required in various test environments to ensure the software application functions correctly.
The sanity test focuses on one or more important functions in the testing software applications. It needs to be performed in different scenarios. Some of those are as follows:
However, how often should we perform a sanity test in a Software Development Life Cycle? Well, it depends on your requirement and the complexity of the software application. As we have addressed the goal and priority of the sanity test, we will now understand the frequency of performing the sanity test.
The frequency to perform sanity tests is based on the Software Requirement Specification (SRS) and software development stage. Imagine you are in the software development team aiming to develop an application that performs as per user expectations.
However, one of Statista's reports indicates that mobile application revenue will increase and reach $ 613 billion by 2025.
You are aware of the high revenue growth and highly competitive market. This necessitates testing the new software application to ensure its proper functioning and no error on its release. Thus, you should perform sanity tests during the early stages of software development to ensure it works post-new build. This needs to be continued several times as you improve or edit the code or add new features to the software application.
A sanity test is mainly executed to verify whether the added functionality does not give errors in existing features. Further, it also validates that the system is in a “sane” state for moving ahead with future testing.
As the software application becomes stable, the number of times the sanity test should be performed decreases. However, it should be done whenever you need to perform sanity tests. This is only to fulfill the goals mentioned earlier.
In a nutshell, the frequency with which sanity tests are performed is determined by the specific need of the software application, the stage of software development, and the number of time changes made to the application.
You may ask why we need to perform a sanity test for a software application. It is a crucial part of testing software applications and ensuring their quality. However, its significance is not just limited to this.
It is crucial to note that not all software testing types have benefits and importance. It also holds some limitations and drawbacks which are important to consider. Similarly, the sanity test is not an exception. It also has some challenges, which every tester and developer should know while performing. This is because such challenges do not hamper the Software Development Life Cycle.
A sanity test can be a helpful approach to get new functionality checked in less time. However, specific challenges with sanity tests cannot be ignored. Some of those challenges are:
The test's scope is limited to a specific area or feature of the software, and the sanity test is performed in a controlled environment, which may not represent the actual software development environment.
Solutions to overcome the challenges of the sanity test:
To address the above few challenges, you can follow the below-given approach:
However, the sanity test is often used interchangeably with the smoke testing. This can create confusion in understanding the solution to overcome the challenges of the sanity tests. The reason is that without knowing the core difference between the smoke test and the sanity test, you won’t be able to perform it efficiently and address its challenges. So let us learn the core difference between sanity and smoke test from the below section.
Most of the time, we are confused between smoke and sanity tests. Smoke and sanity tests quickly check a software application's core function. They seem similar but differ in scope, objectives, and timing to perform tests within the Software Testing Life Cycle. To address this, let's dive into the clear difference between sanity and smoke tests.
|Component||Smoke testing||Sanity testing|
|Purpose||Smoke test aimed to ensure the accurate function of the software application.||Sanity test aimed to check the new function of the application or the bug fixes.|
|Objective||Smoke test verifies the application's stability to proceed toward the end-to-end test.||Sanity test verifies the rationality of the application to proceed toward the end-to-end test.|
|Who executes?||Developers or testers can do smoke tests.||Sanity tests are mainly done by testers.|
|Documentation||Smoke tests are mainly documented or scripted.||Sanity tests are not documented and are unscripted.|
|Part of which test?||The smoke test is a subset of the acceptance test.||Sanity test is a subset of the regression test.|
|Scope||Involves critical functionalities in the scope.||Has narrow scope.|
|Time in test execution||It usually takes more time in test execution.||It takes less time to be executed.|
|Use||It is used to test the end-to-end functionality of the application.||It is used to test only the defects or modified functions of the application.|
Both sanity and smoke tests are crucial to develop a software application project. Which one should be executed first? Its answer is simple. The smoke test is executed first and then proceeds to the sanity test. However, their position in the Software Development Life Cycle is different.
Sanity testing takes place in the testing phase of the Software Development Life Cycle, which follows a deployment phase. Under the testing phase, it is a part of functional software testing and is executed after minor changes or bug fixes in the software build.
A sanity test is mainly done after unit, integration, and system testing. As the software application passes an initial phase of testing, a sanity test is executed to validate whether changes or fixes made in the application caused any new issues or bugs.
On completion of the sanity test, acceptance testing occurs, where the end-user tests whether it meets the Software Requirement Specification (SRS).
The sanity test is known to test the specific functions of the application. However, other aspects of software applications are tested in sanity testing. Some of those include the following:
To determine the critical functionalities of the software application, a sanity test follows three steps, which are as follows:
In the first step, new functionality and features are identified. Additionally, while fixing bugs, new modifications presented in the code are found. This shows that we are required to determine the scope of the sanity test in terms of changes to be made in the software application.
In the next step, you have to evaluate and modify the new components of the software application to ensure their functioning is in line with the Software Requirements Specification (SRS.)
The final step is testing, where a small part of the newly associated components of the application is tested in-depth.
We have two approaches to practically implement the above steps: manual testing and automation testing. Choosing the type of approach depends on the requirement or specification of the application or the bugs identified.
Sanity tests can be executed with both manual and automated approaches. However, both have their specific advantages and disadvantages. Let's see each of them.
In manual sanity testing, critical test cases are executed to validate the software’s stability and functionality. Such an approach is helpful in case of limited resources and time for testing, and changes done are minor.
The steps for a manual sanity test are mentioned below:
It should be noted that a manual approach requires highly-skilled testers with good knowledge of software and its functionality.
Automated sanity tests involve using automated testing tools and frameworks to verify the basic function of the application. It includes creating automated test cases that run automatically in the application every time a new build or release is developed.
You can prefer the automation method to perform sanity tests for complex applications, which demands significant testing to ensure its reliability and stability.
It is important to note that sanity tests are more often automated as they are a subset of regression tests. It helps to save time and resources in the testing process, along with maintaining the quality of the software application.
You can follow below given general steps to perform an automated sanity test.
Performing sanity tests using automated test tools lower the working load of the testers and developers. It shortens the release time of software applications through the quick execution of sanity tests. Here are some popular automation testing tools to perform sanity tests:
The list of sanity testing tools above is just a few examples of many other options in automation tools. You should evaluate different options based on the specific needs of the applications.
However, automation tools have some limitations, which can create hurdles in performing sanity tests. For example, automation tools have limited scope as you can only test to which they are programmed. Further, issues of maintenance overhead and huge costs with automation tools demanded alternative options.
It is preferred to run sanity tests in a cloud platform. Cloud-based testing platforms like LambdaTest can offer several advantages for sanity testing in software development, including reliability and scalability. If you want to scale your digital experiences, it is recommended to perform cloud testing. Let us learn this in detail in the below-given section.
Run your Sanity Tests across 3000+ real browsers. Try LambdaTest Now!
Now that you know the different ways to perform sanity tests and their advantages, let us dig into performing sanity testing on the cloud. Sanity tests in the cloud-based environment can lower infrastructure costs, give scalability to run automated tests, enable team collaboration, and provide flexibility in the testing environment.
Cloud-based continuous quality testing platforms like LambdaTest help you perform manual and automated web and mobile app testing on over 3000+ browsers, devices, and OS. With LambdaTest, you can automate your test suites using different frameworks like Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, Appium, Espresso, XCUITest, and more.
Follow the below-given steps to conduct a sanity test using LambdaTest.
You can execute web and mobile application tests through the Real Time Testing feature of LambdaTest. Follow these steps to run real-time testing.
Here is how you perform real-time testing for your website or web application:
A cloud-based machine will be launched running real browsers and operating systems where you can perform sanity tests while leveraging features like one-click bug logging, video recording, capturing screenshots, etc.
Similarly, you can test mobile web and native applications on Android Emulators, iOS Simulators, and real mobile devices.
LambdaTest gives access to 3000+ desktop and mobile browser environments to run automated tests using different automation testing frameworks. To perform an automated sanity test, you can follow these steps.
On a similar note, you also perform app test automation using frameworks like Appium, Espresso, and XCUITest.
Watch the below to learn more about performing app automation using LambdaTest.
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Following the best practices, you can execute effective sanity tests and ensure the function of the software application as expected.
A sanity test is an approach for testing software applications to check whether new functionality, change, or bug fix is implemented successfully or not. Its scope is narrow and focused, which allows ensuring whether your software release meets the requirement for rigorous testing or is too flawed to be tested.
Many testers and developers are confused between smoke and sanity tests. In this learning hub, we have discussed its major difference, which gives an idea of its distinct purpose. However, they both are essential in the development of software applications.
The sanity test saves cost, time, and effort by addressing certain application functionality early in the Software Development Life Cycle. Further, it ensures the stability and reliability of software applications through its quick check on critical features. Overall, sanity testing is important to maintain high-quality software applications and ensure the satisfaction of end-users.
It is part of white box testing. Sanity tests validate software’s basic functionality after major modifications like code refactoring.
No, it only tests certain functions of software applications superficially.
The basic reasons are time constraints, resource constraints, tests of critical functionality only, and lack of clarity on the scope of tests.
Nazneen Ahmad is an experienced technical writer with over five years of experience in the software development and testing field. As a freelancer, she has worked on various projects to create technical documentation, user manuals, training materials, and other SEO-optimized content in various domains, including IT, healthcare, finance, and education. You can also follow her on Twitter.