Smoke testing is non-exhaustive software testing, ascertaining that the most crucial functions of a program work, but not bothering with finer details. The term comes to software testing from a similarly basic type of hardware testing, in which the device passed the test if it didn't catch fire the first time it was turned on. A daily build and smoke test is among industry best practices advocated by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).
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The original version of smoke testing predates both hardware and software testing and is still used to test the integrity of a variety of systems by placing a smoke bomb inside some kind of a chamber to see if there are any leaks for the smoke to escape through.