Black box testing is one of the important methods of software testing. It helps to test the functionality of a software, and check if it is working properly or not. In this process, the functionality of a software is checked based on its specifications. But before talking in detail about black box testing, we will have a look at some of its related concepts.
What is Software Testing?
The software works on many components and interrelated systems. When software is manufactured, it is made with a particular aim in mind. The inventor prepares it keeping some expectations in his mind. The working of software is expected to yield some predetermined results. And the software is considered to be working well if it fulfills the expectations.
However, it is important to check its working. And software testing is important for this matter. Because software testing is the activity that helps us to check if the software is working according to our expectations. The results obtained during the testing should match the expected results. If this happens, then it can be concluded that the software has no defect, and it is working properly.
And if the actual results obtained in software testing differ from the expectations, then the software can be declared as defected. A proper evaluation of the software system takes place during software testing. The components or systems of software are executed and evaluated. If any error, gap, or detects are seen while it is testing, then it is fixed. The improvements are made to ensure that the missing requirements will be fulfilled to match the actual/expected requirements.
Software testing is done either automatically or manually. If it is done automatically, then automated tools are used for testing. Software testing is also known as AUT, or Verification of Application Under Test. The process of software testing is very important as it helps to find out the bugs. These bugs existing in the software can later prove dangerous. Also, they can be too expensive to deal with. So, if they are identified at the initial stages, then the later complications will not be faced.
The importance and types of Software Testing
There are many examples of how defected software can cause heavy losses to its users. if its bugs or problems are not identified before its actual application, it may have an adverse effect. Therefore, software testing becomes very important to avoid many problems. There are mainly three types of software testing. These are – functional testing, non-functional testing (also known as performance testing), and maintenance.
Each and every software testing category has some of its distinct features and involves a detailed process. But these are only the broad classifications of software testing. In reality, there are more than 150 different kinds of software testing methods. These methods were developed by technology experts to check all the necessary details about the working of a software. One can use any of these software testing methods, depending upon the type, nature, and working of the software. The method that you will choose will depend upon the scope and nature of the software.
There are several types of software testing. These types are divided under the three major categories mentioned above. One of the most commonly used types is alpha testing. It is helpful in the identification of all the possible defects in software and fixes it. Alpha testing takes place of the successful development of the software. But it takes place before the beta testing and releasing it into the market.
Other testing methods include unit testing, system testing, interface testing, load testing, recovery testing, install testing, etc. The most formal type of testing is beta testing. It is carried out by customers. Beta testing takes place before the actual release of the software in the market. It helps to identify if there’s any major issue. Another important type of testing is black box testing.
What is Black Box Testing?
Black box testing is one of the most effective and important testing techniques. In this type of testing, the AUT (application under test) is checked for its functionality. And while doing this, the tester does not look at the internal structural code of the software that he is testing. The tester is also not aware of the internal paths and the implementation details of the software. Black box testing is also known as behavioral testing of the software.
So, you may ask if the tester is unaware of such important details, then how does the testing take place? The answer is, the black box testing takes place, based on the requirements and the specifications of the software. The main focus here is just on the inputs and the outputs of the system, on which the software is working.
So, the tester does not need to worry about the knowledge of the internal working systems. And because if this fact, the testing is called as the black box testing. Because the tester is not aware of what is inside that box. He just examines the inputs and outputs of that box or the software system. The knowledge of internal code implementation is not required here.
The method of black box testing is universally applicable to every level of the software. It can be used for the testing of unit, integration, system, and even for the acceptance testing.
Now, let’s have a look at the various techniques involved in the process of black box testing:
- Equivalence class
- Boundary value analysis
- Orthogonal arrays
- Domain tests
- Decision tables
- State models
- Exploratory testing
- All-pairs testing
The black box testing method applicable to many software testing levels. It can be applied to integration, system, and acceptance testing.
Various techniques involved in black box testing method
Let’s talk about some of the various techniques involved in the black box testing:
In this process, the input values are divided into valid and invalid partitions. Representative values are selected from each data portion for analysis.
Boundary value analysis
This process determines the boundaries for input values. And the values that are just inside or outside the boundaries are selected for testing data.
Apart from the above-mentioned techniques, there are many other techniques too. And each of these techniques involves a distinct process. And it also has a distinct cause too. The other techniques are – Orthogonal arrays, Domain tests, Decision tables, State models, Exploratory testing, and All-pairs testing. Of all these techniques, 3 of them are the most prominent ones.
These are – equivalence class testing, boundary value testing, and decision table testing. Equivalence class testing is used for minimizing the possible test cases. The decision table testing puts the causes and the effects of test, in a matrix. A black box is a software that is being tasted. It begins with some basic techniques and goes in detail.
The process of black box testing is very different from the white box testing. White box testing involves the knowledge of internal structure, which is not there in case of black box testing. Also, white box testing uses a variety of programming languages as well as technologies. But the black box testing relies on the system behavior of the software.
Black box testing is important for the testing of communication amongst the modules. But this is not possible in case of white box testing. Thus, these two processes are very different. Now, one may think about the need for black box testing. Though there are many methods available for software testing, the black box testing process is very important.
Importance of Black Box Testing
The black box testing takes place from the point of view of a user. This is because the tester is unaware of its internal structure, and relies on the inputs and outputs from that software. This is just like a user testing the software.
So, whatever suggestions that a black box tester will give, will help to make the software more user-friendly. This is also a good employment opportunity for young software engineers, who have a good knowledge of programming languages.
Because sometimes, the only experience is not sufficient. It requires a fresh, young mind to think according to the needs of changing time. Also, this test is considered more impartial than any other tests, because it can be conducted by an independent body.
This process has a bias-free methodology that helps in more effective software testing. The tester takes up a task and completes it using the software. And during the process, he evaluates and analyses the functionality of the software.
This type of testing is considered the best method to make the software almost completely flawless. Though any software cannot be 100% problem-free, the results achieved by black box testing are more effective in this regard, say 90%. When a failure or a problem is identified, it is solved as soon as possible. And thus, the functionality of the software increases furthermore.
Black box testing is also essential to understand how the software will work in real-world situations, for the users. The testing takes place from the point of view of the user world, the real world, not the developer. So, it can be considered as the beginning of its practical application as well.
To conclude, it can be said that the process of software testing is very important. And from all types of software tests, black box testing is one of the most important ones. It is considered as an impartial, and effective test that will provide honest results. It’s essential to make the software flawless. It will reveal the exact level of functionality of a software. While concluding the topic, let’s talk about some frequently asked questions about software and black box testing.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is software testing?
Software testing, in simple words, is like a technological investigation of the software. Software testing is performed during or after the developing stage of software. And they help to find out the defects or issues in the working of a software. If a software successfully passes all tests, it is considered fit for official release. It is ideally expected that the results acquired during the software testing should match with the expected results. If it happens, the software passes the test.
Why is software testing important?
The software testing helps in the identification of the bugs, defects, or problems in software. These tests are done before the official launch of the software, for the customers. Thus, if the software is tested well at the developer’s stage or the intermediate stages, it will be perfect. And such a perfect software will be flawless, and ready for the launch.
What are some major types of software testing?
There are more than 150 types of software testing, that have been developed according to the nature, scope, and the need for software. But these types are broadly divided into three main categories: functional testing, non-functional or performance testing, and maintenance. Some major or most commonly used software testing methods are – alpha testing, install testing, recovery testing, beta testing, etc.
What is black box testing?
Black box testing is a type of software testing, used to check the functionality of the software. It is done without handling/peering into the internal set-up or structure of the software. The tester who performs black-box testing does not know its internal structure. It is useful to analyze the functionality of the software before it is released officially into the market.
Who performs black-box testing?
Black box testing is performed by software engineers. They do not handle the internal structure of the software while testing it. The tester mostly performs functional testing, but sometimes it is non-functional too.
What are the benefits of black-box testing?
There are many benefits to black-box testing. It is considered to be one of the most in-depth and unbiased functional testings of the software. The tester works independently without any pressure, so he gives better results than other tests. The reliability and functionality of the software is checked well in advance. And if there are any problems in the functionality, they can be solved before moving forward towards the later stages.