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Describe what is meant by White Box Testing.

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 17928 Views // 1 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Systems Analysis, Testing & Quality Assurance (QA)


White Box Testing is a form of software testing that focuses not only on what the system should do but more specifically HOW the software will internally accomplish it. The tester carefully chooses inputs that will exercise specific paths through the code in order to produce the expected output.

White box testing can be used during unit, integration, and systems testing, though it is most common during unit testing.  
  • Unit Testing - internal code paths are tested within the unit
  • Integration Testing - internal code paths are tested which cross between units
  • System Testing - internal code paths are tested which cross between subsystems.
Because white box testing requires a knowledge of the internal structures of the code, business analysts typically do not participate in this type of testing.   
Other names for white box testing include transparent box testing, glass box testing, clear box testing, and structural testing.



Robin Goldsmith posted on Saturday, November 17, 2012 2:26 PM
You are right that most people think of white box (structural) testing only with respect to code. While tests indeed should address what the system should do, that is the focus of black box (functional) testing. White box testing instead is mainly a method to more systematically confirm that what has been written has been exercised.

Because white box testing of code requires knowledge of the code, it generally is considered to be outside the realm of independent testers and thus the sole province of developers. However, although most developers’ testing is based on exercising the code they have written, few developers know of white box testing’s methods for systematically exercising the code, let alone how to do it.

Unfortunately, few testers and analysts recognize that they also can use white box testing techniques, which are especially useful for testing use cases, menu structures, workflows, and business logic.
Robin Goldsmith
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