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Gray Box Testing – Software Testing

Last Updated : 22 Dec, 2023
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Prerequisite – Software Testing | Basics 

The Gray Box Testing is a combination of Black Box and White Box Testing. This article focuses on discussing the Gray Box Testing in detail.

What is Gray Box Testing?

Gray Box Testing is a software testing technique that is a combination of the Black Box Testing technique and the White Box Testing technique.

  1. In the Black Box Testing technique, the tester is unaware of the internal structure of the item being tested and in White Box Testing the internal structure is known to the tester.
  2. The internal structure is partially known in Gray Box Testing.
  3. This includes access to internal data structures and algorithms to design the test cases. 
  4. Gray Box Testing is named so because the software program is like a semitransparent or gray box inside which the tester can partially see.
  5. It commonly focuses on context-specific errors related to web systems.
  6. It is based on requirement test case generation because it has all the conditions presented before the program is tested.

Gray Box Testing

Objectives of Gray Box Testing

  1. To provide combined advantages of both black box testing and white box testing.
  2. To combine the input of developers as well as testers.
  3. To improve overall product quality.
  4. To reduce the overhead of long process of functional and non-functional testings.
  5. To provide enough free time to developers to fix defects.
  6. To test from the user point of view rather than a designer point of view.

Gray Box Testing Techniques

1. Matrix Testing

In matrix testing technique, business and technical risks which are defined by the developers in software programs are examined. Developers define all the variables that exist in the program. Each of the variables has an inherent technical and business risk and can be used with varied frequencies during its life cycle.

2. Pattern Testing

To perform the testing, previous defects are analyzed. It determines the cause of the failure by looking into the code. Analysis template includes reasons for the defect. This helps test cases designed as they are proactive in finding other failures before hitting production.

3. Orthogonal Array Testing

It is mainly a black box testing technique. In orthogonal array testing, test data have n numbers of permutations and combinations. Orthogonal array testing is preferred when maximum coverage is required when there are very few test cases and test data is large. This is very helpful in testing complex applications.

4. Regression Testing

Regression testing is testing the software after every change in the software to make sure that the changes or the new functionalities are not affecting the existing functioning of the system. Regression testing is also carried out to ensure that fixing any defect has not impacted other functionality of the software.

5. State transition Testing

State transition testing is frequently applied to systems that display various states while they are being operated. Testers who have just a limited understanding of the internal states create test cases with the intention of making sure that state transitions are handled correctly.

6. Testing Decision Tables

Decision tables are a useful tool for organizing and condensing complicated business rules and reasoning. Decision tables are used by testers with limited understanding to generate test cases covering multiple combinations of input conditions and expected results.

7. Testing APIs

Even though the main code is not entirely known, gray box testing, also known as API (Application Programming Interface) testing, focuses on testing the system’s exposed interfaces. The main goal of testing is to make sure the API accepts various input formats and operates as intended.

8. Data Flow Testing

Analyzing the flow of data through the system forms the basis of data flow testing. Partial knowledge testers create test cases that examine the data’s pathways throughout the application, assisting in the identification of possible problems with handling and processing the data.

Advantages of Gray Box Testing

  1. Clarity of goals: Users and developers have clear goals while doing testing.
  2. Done from user perspective: Gray box testing is mostly done by the user perspective.
  3. High programming skills not required: Testers are not required to have high programming skills for this testing.
  4. Non-intrusive: Gray box testing is non-intrusive.
  5. Improved product quality: Overall quality of the product is improved.
  6. Defect fixing: In gray box testing, developers have more time for defect fixing.
  7. Benefits of black box and white box testing: By doing gray box testing, benefits of both black box and white box testing is obtained.
  8. Unbiased: Gray box testing is unbiased. It avoids conflicts between a tester and a developer.
  9. Effective testing: Gray box testing is much more effective in integration testing.

Disadvantages of Gray Box Testing

  1. Difficulty in defect association: Defect association is difficult when gray testing is performed for distributed systems.
  2. Limited access to internal structure: Limited access to internal structure leads to limited access for code path traversal.
  3. Source code not accessible: Because source code cannot be accessed, doing complete white box testing is not possible.
  4. Not suitable for algorithm testing: Gray box testing is not suitable for algorithm testing.
  5. Test cases difficult to design: Most of the test cases are difficult to design.

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