Software Testing

Unlike physical systems, most of the defects in software are design errors. Read about the important purpose of software testing and differentiate between verification and validation and basic software testing terms. Compare and contrast the use of various testing strategies, including black-box, white-box, top-down, and bottom-up.

Test Techniques

One of the aims of testing is to reveal as much potential for failure as possible, and many techniques have been developed to do this, which attempt to "break" the program, by running one or more tests drawn from identified classes of executions deemed equivalent. The leading principle underlying such techniques is to be as systematic as possible in identifying a representative set of program behaviors; for instance, considering subclasses of the input domain, scenarios, states, and dataflow.

It is difficult to find a homogeneous basis for classifying all techniques, and the one used here must be seen as a compromise. The classification is based on how tests are generated from the software engineer's intuition and experience, the specifications, the code structure, the (real or artificial) faults to be discovered, the field usage, or, finally, the nature of the application. Sometimes these techniques are classified as white-box, also called glassbox, if the tests rely on information about how the software has been designed or coded, or as black-box if the test cases rely only on the input/output behavior. One last category deals with combined use of two or more techniques. Obviously, these techniques are not used equally often by all practitioners. Included in the list are those that a software engineer should know.