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What is black box testing?

Black box testing is a simple and accessible form of software testing. It focuses primarily on software product input and output processes and doesn’t look at any underlying infrastructure or code. 

Black box testing is in direct comparison with white box testing, which doesn’t deal with input-output functionality but deals with code, design, security, and deeper layers of software. If you are interested in learning more about white box testing, you can check out our own blog on the topic. 

In this blog, we are going to discuss more about black box testing, what it can be used for, what it is good for, and how you might decide what testing you need for your own tech project. 

What is black box testing used for?

Any software system or application can be tested with black box testing. It is simply a process of interacting with a system with the intention of determining how it works in certain scenarios with certain expectations. There are three main types of black box testing, which include:

Functional testing: Software testers conduct this type of black box testing to ensure that a system meets its functional requirements.

Non-functional testing: Non-functional testing examines performance, scalability, and usability requirements rather than functionality.

Regression testing: This testing of the impact of new code on existing code is done after code fixes, upgrades, or any other system maintenance.

In short, black box testing is a simple process that helps us decide whether a piece of software works or not. Particularly so, whether it works in the way our users would want. It isn’t too much more complicated than that and, in fact, you don’t need much software development experience to engage in black box testing. You might even have done it before without realising it.

For any software development company, black box testing will be a continuous process throughout a software development project. There may be in-house testers who deal with the tests, or they may be conducted by people in other roles, including developers, project managers, and business analysts. It should be a process happening throughout an entire project to ensure that the software being built works properly and works with a specific intent for a target user.

The pros and cons of black box testing

As with anything, there are two sides to the coin when it comes to black box testing in software development. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the approach in more detail. 

Pros 

Accessible and easy to learn: Anyone can learn to be a black box tester, and, as such, you may find that different types of people in different roles carry out this testing in a project environment. Sharing the load of testing helps a project move more quickly towards its end goal.

Lower complexity of tests themselves: The tests run in black box testing tend to be more simple than something we would see in White Box Testing. This means they are less expensive and can be carried out more frequently, allowing for more comprehensive testing of a product from start to finish.

Problems can be discovered early: With such frequent and accessible testing, we should find that problems, errors and bugs can be unearthed earlier in a project. Any reduction in wasted development time is a very good thing.

Keeps the user in mind at all times: The most successful tech solution is one which prioritises its potential user. black box testing keeps user functionality at the forefront of each test and this means that the end product is more likely to be what the user wants and/or expects. 

 

Cons 

More difficult to find the root cause of bugs: When we find a problem via black box testing, it may be more difficult to find out what is actually causing this problem as in White Box Testing. Due to the fact that internal workings aren’t typically considered and less technically advanced members of the team may be carrying out the testing, what happens next can be the tricky part. 

Less reliable results: In a similar vein to the above con, due to the broad nature of black box testing, the test results can be less reliable. There can be a lot of different variables contributing to any one result and this can make the process of fixing the problem more vague, causing developers to spend more time trying to solve these issues.  

Difficult or impossible to automate: As opposed to white box testing, black box testing can be difficult or impossible to automate, which means we need to rely on paid man hours to complete the testing. This can cause a strain on both our team and our budget. It also means we are less likely to engage with continuous development models and observe consistent improvement throughout our projects.

 

Wrapping up

Overall, black box testing is a mainstay of software development. It is a simple, no-nonsense process that allows us to test our products and determine whether they are working as they should. The model requires less technical knowledge than other testing models and so can be delegated to different members of a team. A simple process of investigation and input-output analysis is involved. 

Black box testing helps us to focus on our target users and keep the software we build tight to requirements and intent. However, it is also a tricky process to pin down. The results we get might cause us to spend more time working backwards than we would like. 

Is black box testing what you need for your project? Maybe it is time to consult with a team of professionals to find out.

Partner with testing experts 

 

At 6B, we are a software development company that can help you with every aspect of the development cycle. This includes all kinds of testing. Our team of experts always carries out thorough testing and quality assurance procedures before we go live with any new product. 

 

Let us take the reins for your project and we will ensure the best performance possible when the time to go live finally arrives. We’ve got your back. 

 

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