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A Beginners Guide to White Box Testing

A Beginners Guide to White Box Testing

White box testing is one of the essential components of application development that all developers have experienced at least at one point in their careers. However, with the rising trend of Agile development, White box testing is fighting for its existence. However, the developers must realize the adoption of Agile development doesn’t mean that they must forgo other important modes of testing. White box testing is one of the most important forms as it shows the main drawbacks of the application. However, the developers try to cut expenses by adopting an agile-driven method.

Using white box testing, the developers can inspect the internal code and structure of software. Some common names for white box testing are Structural testing and clear glass box testing. The developers have to completely analyze the internal structure of the application to perform this form of testing. This process helps them to understand that all the internal processes of the application are carried out as they are expected. It also helps analyze that all the elements of the application are being utilized to their complete potential.  In this article, we are going to discuss everything that you need to know about white box testing.

 The Meaning of  White Box Testing

White box testing is a process of verifying the application code and internal structure of software. It helps to ensure that all the internal processes of an application are carried out according to the individual specifications with a known internal structure. This form of testing also verifies that all the components of the application are according to the Framework that was laid down during the development process. To perform white box testing, a tester must have a definite knowledge of the application and also have access to the source code.  During the testing, the testers have to create test cases that can cover all the different scenarios and obstacles that the application might face in real-world scenarios.

Reasons to Conduct White Box Testing

Let us take a brief look at some of the major reasons that justify the importance of white box testing:

  • This form of testing helps the developers to focus on every detail during the testing process. So, it is suitable for mission-critical systems and vital component testing.
  • Software that is related to essential functions like organization resources and government functionality must be completely bug-free. The developers cannot afford to implement downtime on these systems as they provide critical resources around the clock. Therefore, white box testing helps to ensure that these systems are working as intended.
  • Certain IT software like E-Commerce and health applications consists of essential and emergency resources like money transfer and storing sensitive user data. A faulty infrastructure in these apps can prove to be an ultimate nightmare. So, it is essential to implement white box testing here.

The Advantages of White Box testing

Some of the major advantages of white box testing are as follows:

  • The simple principles of white box testing help the developers to easily determine whether the testing process is complete. It also helps to reduce the learning curve for developers who are new to this industry.
  • The application developing companies have to hire fewer developers and bear fewer expenses because it is very simple to automate white box testing.
  • White box testing helps to highlight all the bottlenecks that are present in the application. This helps the developers to further optimize the performance of the application for better results.
  • While using white box testing, the testing team can begin the testing process without having to wait for the developing team to complete the project.
  • Many experts believe that code-centric testing is more precise as it checks all the possible routes of testing.
  • With white box testing, the developers can also sort out and remove unnecessary sections of the code. These code structures are not critical for operating the application.

The Disadvantages of White Box Testing

Everything in this world has its downsides. Some of the disadvantages of white box testing are as follows:

  • Since white box testing involves testing the available Code, it can leave out certain additional functionalities that will be added later.
  • The process of conducting white box testing is often very tedious. So, there is a possibility that it can discourage many developers.
  • It is a time-consuming process to redesign and rewrite the test cases. This process has to be repeated every time there is any change in the application.
  • Unlike Black box testing, the developers require time and technical skills to perform white box testing. It is important for white box testing to analyze the type of application. Additionally, the developer should also possess proper programming skills.

The Test Coverage

Let us now discuss all the areas that the developers can cover with the help of white box testing:

  • It helps to identify all the major issues that are present in the software or the application.
  • White box testing help to fix all the logical errors that might be frequently appearing in the application. It also helps to implement certain features like conditions, controls and functions that are not present in the application.
  • Using white box testing, the developers can easily tackle design errors due to a mismatch between the application’s logical flow and implementation. These errors can also arise due to typographical correction and Syntax checking.

Things to Check During White Box Testing

White box testing helps the developers to verify the following parts of the application:

  • The security gaps that may be present in the application.
  • Certain paths in the coding process may need to be better organized or broken.
  • The sets of input that are sent through the code.
  • The expected results and performance of the application.
  • The real-world capabilities of the conditional loops.
  • Perform independent testing of every object, function and statement present in the application

Different Approaches of White Box Testing

While performing white box testing, the developers can take two following approaches:

  • Have an understanding of the Source Code: In this approach, the tester has to study and analyze the source code of the application. You should also have a comprehensive understanding of programming skills as white box testing analyses the internal working of the software. Another essential process is to have proper knowledge of secure coding techniques. This will help the developer to identify critical flaws in the security of the application and save it from possible third-party attacks. Secure coding also checks whether the software is capable of storing sensitive end-user data.
  • Create and Execute Test Cases: The next step in white box testing is to examine the source code and find out the critical flaws present in it. One common approach is to write extra code to test the proper functioning of the application source code. In simple terms, the developer has to create a simple test for each process present in the application. This is one of the most critical steps in the application development process. It is because this step is completely dependent on the developer’s understanding of the source code.

Types of White Box Testing

It is impossible to understand the proper functioning of a test case without understanding all of its types. So, let us take a detailed look at some of the major types of white box testing:

  1. Unit Testing: This is usually the first step of the application testing process. Unit testing involves breaking all the components of an application into smaller segments for ease of testing. It is also one of the best areas, to begin automation testing.
  1. Memory Leak testing: It is a common process that slow applications often suffer from memory leak problems. So, the developers must perform testing to ensure that this problem is resolved.
  1. White Box Break-Through testing: It is one of the most important processes to check the security and safety of an application. The primary goal of this testing process is to attack the source code in different ways including comprehensive network, IP address and server data.
  1. White Box Evolution testing: It is a continuous process that must be involved throughout the application development life cycle. The objective of this process is to look for the best coding solutions to improve the efficiency of the application and the development process as a whole.
  1. Basic Path Testing: This method determines the total number of independent pathways that are present in the cyclomatic complexity or the control flow graph. The cyclomatic complexity helps the developers to analyze how many independent test cases can be generated for every control flow graph.
  1. Loop Testing: Loop is one of the most frequently used programming tools during the application development process. So, it is common for developers to have a loop-dedicated testing method. Loop is also the building block for many other algorithms. The three main types of loops are nested, concatenated and straightforward.

Best Tools for White Box Testing

Tools are very important to improve the efficiency of the testing process. For example, LambdaTest is a continuous testing platform that helps to improve the efficiency of automated cross-browser testing. LambdaTest’s cloud platform can also help testers to access 3000+ multiple browsers, devices and OS combinations for white box testing without an in-house test lab.

Some of the best tools for implementing white box testing are as follows:

  1. It is an open-source testing tool that is based on the JavaScript programming language. One of the major benefits of this tool is that it is based on JNU public license 2.0. So, the developers do not have to pay any form of licensing fee for using this tool.
  1. CppUnit: CppUnit is also a component of JUnit just like JSUnit. According to the requirements of the development project, this tool can output the result in both plain text and XML format. It can also use its classes to construct unit test cases.
  1. Veracode: Veracode uses multiple programming languages like Java, C++, .NET and many others to create several interactive testing tools. The developers can use these tools for testing multiple applications which include mobile, desktop and online apps.

The Conclusion

The testing process is one of the most essential components of an application development life cycle. White box testing is in turn an important component of the testing process. White box testing is indeed time and resource-consuming. However, it is the only way to verify that the developers check every part of the code. So, it is justified to say that white box testing plays an indirect role in improving the quality of the final application. Developers should also remember that it is critical to perform white box testing after every significant update to the application.


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