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Tag Archives: blackbox testing
There’s a piece of North American folklore about John Henry, who was a manual laborer during the expansion of the railroads in our country. His job was being replaced by steam-driven heavy equipment, as the railroad industry applied technology to become more efficient. The same dynamics are happening today with manual testers. We need to make sure that manual testers avoid John Henry’s fate – read on to see why.
A detailed (15-page) article by Scott Sehlhorst showing how to incorporate test automation for complex software has been published at developer.*. This article shows the math, benefits, and weaknesses of traditional approaches to automating functional tests. The article also proposes improvements to the process, rethinking the problem to provide innovative solutions. This post discusses the background for the article and provides an overview, as well as links to related content.
Functional Testing, also referred to as System Testing of software is the practice of testing the completed software to confirm that it meets the requirements defined for the software. A functional test is typically a test of user interactions, but can also involve communication with external systems. We contrast functional testing with unit testing. We also show how functional testing provides different benefits than unit testing.
We can reach the next step in our software process evolution by automating much of our process. Flying squirrels evolved a technique* to quickly move from one tree to another without all the tedious climbing and dangerous running. Software teams that automate their processes achieve similar benefits. Automation allows us to increase efficiency while improving quality. And we spend less time on tedious and mundane tasks.
Very large and complex systems can be very difficult and expensive to test. Often, we inherit legacy systems with multiple man-years of development effort already in place, in the field and of unknown quality. With these systems, there are frequently huge gaps in the requirements documentation. Pairwise testing provides a way to test these large, existing systems. And on many projects, we’re called in because there is a quality problem.
Should I use black box testing or white box testing for my software?
You will hear three answers to this question – black, white, and gray. We recently published a foundation series post on black box and white box testing – which serves as a good background document. We also mention greybox (or gray box) testing as a layered approach to combining both disciplines.
Given those definitions, let’s look at the pros and cons of each style of testing.