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Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

White Box Testing

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Introduction

Software applications play an important role in everyone’s life today. Majority of the tasks we perform make use of some software application. Such widespread use of software applications demands quality and security assurance. Hence, Software applications can not be released into the market without undergoing proper testing. Software Testing can be Manual or Automated. Manual Testing can be divided into three types namely, White Box Testing, Black Box Testing and Grey box Testing. In this blog, we shall mainly focus on White Box Testing.

White Box Testing

White box testing is a type of manual Software Testing that involves analysing the internal structure and design of software to improve its security and usability. This technique is commonly used to test various aspects of software, such as its code and control flow. Unlike black-box testing, which involves testing from an end-user perspective, white-box testing focuses on the internal workings of the software instead of its functionality. In white-box testing, the system's internal structure and design are analysed using a combination of programming skills and internal knowledge. Developers perform White Box Testing. They fix bugs and send the report of the White Box Testing to the testing team.

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What is tested?

White box testing tests the software code for the following:

  • Internal bugs and security holes
     
  • Broken or poorly structured paths 
     
  • The flow of inputs through the code
     
  • Expected output
     
  • The functionality of conditional loops
     
  • Testing of each statement, object, and function individually.
     

The testing can be done at all levels of software development. Whitebox testing helps verify the working flow of an application. It tests a series of predefined inputs against expected outputs so that the task of discovering bugs within the code becomes easier.

Also read about  V Model in Software Engineering

Testing Process

The Testing Process Involves two major steps - Understanding the Source code and creating appropriate test cases for execution. 

Understanding the Source code and the logic behind it is an essential step in testing. Without knowing the logic of the code, developers can not search for loopholes or predict bugs.

After getting a clear understanding of the code, developers can move on to create test cases. The first step is to design all test scenarios and prioritise them accordingly. They must study the code at runtime to examine the resources used and the time taken for execution. Following this, internal subroutines and control statements are thoroughly tested. Lastly, the code is tested for security loopholes and threats.

Types of White Box Testing

Unit Testing

Unit Testing is the first type of testing done on a software application. It is performed on each unit or block of code as it is developed. Unit Testing is performed by the programmer. This process helps identify the majority of bugs in the early stages of the software development lifecycle. Bugs identified in this stage are easy to fix and remove.

Testing for Memory Leaks

Memory leaks are the main reason behind software lagging. Memory leaks can also cause unnecessary utilisation of memory and wastage of space. Experienced testers test the code to locate and detect such leak points. 

White Box Penetration Testing

In this testing, the tester/developer has full information about the application’s source code, its detailed network information and the IP addresses involved in the application. The code is analysed from several angles to expose hidden security threats and vulnerabilities.

White Box Mutation Testing

Mutation Testing helps find weak points in the code which are more likely to have bugs. It uses a fault-based testing strategy where errors are deliberately introduced into the code to observe if the existing test cases can detect the fault or not.

White Box Testing Techniques

Code Coverage analysis is the key technique used in White Box Testing. Code Coverage is a metric used to measure the testing effort applied to a software application.

It inspects the code directly and is, therefore, a form of white-box testing. This analysis can be performed using the following ways.

Statement Coverage

Statement coverage is used to design the test cases in white box testing. It involves the execution of all statements of the source code at least once. This is used to calculate the total number of executed statements in the source code out of the total statements present in the source code.

Branch Coverage

Branch coverage is used to traverse all branches of the control flow graph. It visits all the possible outcomes of each condition at a decision point at least once. This ensures that every branch at all decision points is executed. The number of paths of the executed branches is used to calculate the Branch coverage.

Decision Coverage

The Decision coverage technique gives decision coverage to Boolean values. It reports the true and false outcomes of Boolean expressions in the code. Control flow statements are considered as decision points as there are two outcomes - true or false. This technique covers all the possible outcomes of every Boolean condition in the code with the help of a control flow graph or chart.

Path Testing 

Path testing helps find all the executable paths in the code. This eliminates redundant tests and improves code coverage in less time. Path testing ensures that no problems arise during the execution of processes in a program sequence by verifying them in the source code itself.

Loop Testing

Loop testing focuses on checking the validity of loop constructs in the code. It is a White box testing technique that can fix loop repetition issues and reveal performance bottlenecks. It also helps determine the uninitialized variables in the loop. Simple loops, Nested loops, Concatenated loops and Unstructured loops are tested in this technique.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Code optimization can remove superfluous sections of code and condense the existing code.
     
  • Testing is more thorough and performs complete code coverage. All code paths, loops and decision statements are closely examined.
     
  • White box testing can be done at early stages even without GUI, unlike Black Box testing, which requires an interface.
     
  • White Box testing also involves unit testing that tests small pieces of code. These test cases are simple and easy to automate.

Disadvantages

  • Since tests can be very complex, highly skilled developers are required, with thorough knowledge of the implementation of the code.
     
  • White box testing is quite complex and expensive. It is virtually impossible to test every branch of code in large applications.
     
  • If the code is changed multiple times, it becomes harder to maintain the rapidly changing implementations. Automated test cases would not be of any use in such cases.
     
  • White-box testing is time-consuming. Large programming applications take a lot of time to complete the testing process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different tools used for White Box Testing?

Parasoft Jtest, EclEmma, NUnit, PyUnit, HTMLUnit, and CppUnit are some of the most popular White Box Testing used today.

What is the main difference between White Box Testing and Black Box Testing?

WhiteBox Testing is performed by developers, while Black Box Testing is done by testing engineers. White Box testing involves testing the logic of the code, whereas Black box testing verifies the functionality of the application based on the requirements.

What is the relationship between integrated integration testing and White box testing?

Integration testing looks at how all components of an application interact as a group. White box integration tests specifically look at the interfaces between the components. It tests specific modules that contribute to the application. Integration testing can be white box testing or BlackBox testing.

Conclusion

This article has extensively discussed White Box Testing. We briefly discussed the process of White Box testing and moved on to see the different types and techniques of White Box testing. Lastly, we learned about the advantages and disadvantages of White Box testing.

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Topics covered
1.
Introduction
2.
White Box Testing
3.
What is tested?
4.
Testing Process
5.
Types of White Box Testing
5.1.
Unit Testing
5.2.
Testing for Memory Leaks
5.3.
White Box Penetration Testing
5.4.
White Box Mutation Testing
6.
White Box Testing Techniques
6.1.
Statement Coverage
6.2.
Branch Coverage
6.3.
Decision Coverage
6.4.
Path Testing 
6.5.
Loop Testing
7.
Advantages and Disadvantages
7.1.
Advantages
7.2.
Disadvantages
8.
Frequently Asked Questions
8.1.
What are the different tools used for White Box Testing?
8.2.
What is the main difference between White Box Testing and Black Box Testing?
8.3.
What is the relationship between integrated integration testing and White box testing?
9.
Conclusion