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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What are different characteristics of white box testing?

White-box testing or clear box testing, transparent box testing, glass box testing, structural testing as it is also known can be defined as a method for testing software applications or programs.

White box testing includes techniques that are used to test the program or algorithmic structures and working of that particular software application in opposition to its functionalities or the results of its black box tests. White-box testing includes designing of test cases and an internal perspective of the software system.

Expert programming skills are needed to design test cases and internal structure of the program i.e., in short to perform white box testing. The tester or the person who is performing white box tests inputs some certain specified data to the code and checks for the output whether it is as expected or not. There are certain levels only at which white box testing can be applied.

The levels have been given below in the list:
- Unit level
- Integration level and
- System level
- Acceptance level
- Regression level
- Beta level

Even though there’s no problem in applying white box testing at all the 6 levels, it is usually performed at the unit level which is the basic level of software testing.

White box testing is required to test paths through a source codes, between systems and sub systems and also between different units during the integration of the software application.

White box testing can effectively show up hidden errors and grave problems.But, it is incapable of detecting the missing requirements and unimplemented parts of the given specifications. White box testing includes basically four kinds of basic and important testings. These have been listed below:

- Data flow testing
- Control flow testing
- Path testing and
- Branch testing

In the field of penetration testing, white box testing can be defined as a methodology in which a hacker has the total knowledge of the hacked system. So we can say that the white box testing is based on the idea of “how the system works?” it analyzes flow of data, flow of information, flow of control, coding practices and handling of errors and exceptions in the software system.

White box testing is done to ensure that whether the system is working as intended or not and it also validates the implemented source code for its control flow and design, security functionalities and to check for the vulnerable parts of the program.

White box testing cannot be performed without accessing the source code of the software system. It is recommended that the white boxing is performed at the unit level testing phase.

White box testing requires the knowledge of insecurities and vulnerabilities and strengths of a program.

- The first step in white box testing includes analyzing and comprehensing the software documentation, software artifacts and the source code.
- The second step of white box testing requires the tester to think like an attacker i.e., in what ways he/ she can exploit and damage the software system.
He/ she needs to think of ways to exploit the system of the software.
- The third step of white boxing testing techniques are implemented.

These three steps need to be carried out in harmony with each other. Other wise, the white box testing would not be successful.

White box testing is used to verify the source code. For carrying out white box testing one requires full knowledge of the logic and structure of the code of the system software. Using white box testing one can develop test cases that implement logical decisions, paths through a unit, operate loops as specified and ensure validity of the internal structure of the software system.

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