What is Gray Box Testing?
Gray Box Testing is also known as a Transparent Box. Gray Box Testing, as the name says, is a mix of both white box and black-box testing that covers the testing process of the application software with less or limited familiarity with the code with which the application is built. It is a type of functional testing used to verify the code to some extent by keeping the expected internal functional behavior in mind. As it involves a combination of code and functionality testing, it is typically executed in more than one stage of the Testing Life Cycle.
Understanding Gray Box Testing
Gray box testing is a product of Black Box Testing and White-box Testing. Black Box Testing means the tester has no knowledge of how the software works inside. This type of testing is done at the user level. So the tester checks whether the end result is obtained and doesn’t know whether the code is working correctly at the loops and the breaks inside. So, the Software Testers are the ones who generally are responsible for Black Box Testing. Exactly opposite is White Box Testing. This type of testing is done mostly by the Software Developers as they check whether a particular result is being obtained at a particular break. In white-box testing, the testers (generally developers) have the knowledge of how the software is internally working.
As told earlier, in Transparent Box, for testing purposes, the tester enters some dummy values to check the correct flow of the output. So for using Transparent Box, the tester needs to have knowledge of both software development and testing so as to check the correct flow.
As we know by now, that only a partial part of the logic is known to the tester in Transparent Box; it becomes a middle way in which the user can test the logic or software. The best example to explain the same would be; in certain software, the user needs to use some third-party application. This application, when it is being used, only a part of it is exposed to the developer. So, now this can only be checked using the input data and some of the part which has been exposed. This is a perfect example of how Transparent Box works.
Another example would be the working of HTML links. The tester checks for the links. Some of the links he may click may or may not open the correct page. When the link does not go to the expected page, the tester can change the link address from the partially exposed code and correct it.
One more example of Transparent Box is the validations that are used while inputting data. Most of us have experienced this while entering details online; we get errors if we input some wrong data, for example, “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Now, we will see this wrong input and get the error message. The tester will rectify this at their end by disabling the code.
Gray Box Testing Techniques
Some of the techniques are as listed below:
- Matrix Testing: Developers define the entire variable that might be used during the execution of the software. Each of these variables has a technical and business risk associated with it. The risks are tested under the matrix testing phase.
- Pattern Testing: An analysis is done on the previous failures of the software. Why and how the software has failed is taken into account and logged for future references. This helps in designing test cases in the future, which will not let the software fail.
- Orthogonal Testing: Usually used when the amount of data is less but the complexity is more. So, all the possible permutations and combinations are used to assess.
- Regression Testing: When certain changes are done in the software to get the desired output, regression testing is done to check whether the current logic is not affecting the output and working with the software and desired result is still being derived.
Below are some following advantages mentioned:
- As it is a derivative of Black Box and White Box Testing methods, it adds more of both the testing techniques advantages.
- Testing is done from more of a user perspective than of a developers perspective.
- The testers need not have access to all of the code/logic.
- Instant fixes can be done, as a partial code is available.
- The flow of the data is managed and maintained correctly.
- A fair review of the software is done, and no conflicts arise between developers and testers.
Below are some following disadvantages mentioned:
- As only limited access to code/logic is available, complete fixes cannot be done sometimes, which means, sometimes the software can remain as it is.
- Other white box testing types like algorithm testing cannot be done, as complete logic is not available.
- Difficult to perform this type of testing on distributed architected software systems.
Why should we use Gray Box Testing?
As of now, we all know that it is very effective with not only web applications but with business applications too, so it’ll rectify most of the software solutions. As the name goes, sometimes it is also known as a transparent box; the tester need not have a full understanding of the system. This testing method certainly penetrates through the application and gets to the core of the problem, and without knowledge of the whole code, it can be fixed.
With so many usage advantages, one will necessarily require Gray Box Testing. And as specified earlier, a combination of both testing methods is certainly an effective technique to find out the errors in the software system.
This has been a guide to Gray Box Testing. Here we discussed how Gray Box Testing is performed with the help of examples and different Black Box Testing Techniques. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more–