Smoke Test

Smoke Test – Non-exhaustive software testing, ascertaining that the most crucial functions of a program work, but not bothering with finer details.

Origin – When testing new hardware; engineers would flip the power on and check to see if there was smoke. If so, it failed the smoke test.

Anecdote:

We write banking software for mini-computers. Our Help Desk got a call from a customer who was new to mini-computer operations. The call went something like this:

Customer: “There is smoke coming from the back of the computer. What should I do?”
Tech Support: “Get out of the computer room and call the fire department.”
Customer: “Should I make a backup first?”
Tech Support: “Get out of the computer room and call the fire department.”
Customer: “Shouldn’t I at least run the shutdown procedure?”
Tech Support: “Get out of the computer room and call the fire department.”

 

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