List of figures
Figure 1: Whitebox testing methods classified 6
Figure 2: Code functional testing process ...8
Software development life cycle contains many processes from the design phase to the implementation phase. The software engineer must ensure the software achieves its objectives at every stage of development. The whitebox testing helps in determining the suitability of the software at every stage by analyzing the internal functionality of the program codes about the program objectives. The test investigates the code structure, internal design flow, and the software program for conformity. The following white paper aims at explaining the functions of the whitebox testing technique, challenges that the testing method overcomes, types of whitebox testing methods, and how these testing methods help solve challenges faced during the program implementation stage.
Software engineers must verify the functionality of a software program code through whitebox testing process. Whitebox testing analyzes the software code by testing the program code’s ability to realize external functions of the software. The main elements accounted for by the analysis include code structure, internal design flow, and the software program code. Incorrect translation of the design and requirements of the program code leads to some defects. Additionally, the programming language and programming errors cause defects to the software functionality (Desikan and Gopalaswany 48). The whitebox testing plays a significant role in preventing these and other problems that arise during the working of the software. Software engineers always experience many challenges from design, testing, and implementation stages of software development. The presence of these challenges delays the software production and development process; hence, slowing down the process that the software is intended to solve. Software engineers are able to identify problems with the software and solve them before developing the final software product with the application of whitebox testing techniques.
One of the major challenges solved by the whitebox testing method is to assist the software engineer determine the logical decision concerning the true and the false side of the code. Most engineering software systems are designed to make logical decisions. The software engineer must ensure the final software product performs its duties efficiently and passes all quality assurance tests.
Second, whitebox testing assists in dealing with the challenge of internal data validity of the software. The software contains certain codes that the user must input to make the software work, or perform its intended duties. Sometimes a software engineer may develop software but it fails to accept its codes upon launching. Observing failures when the software is running is much difficult after integrating the code into the code base. Additionally, the software engineer is responsible for writing and running unit tests and companies experience challenges keeping track of unit failures.
Finally, the software may have some paths that are not correctly operational during the execution process. The buyer of the software expects it to be fully operational and a flaw in any single path causes operational failure. The issue becomes a big challenge to the software engineer and conducting a test before introducing the software to the market helps overcome such problems.
2.0 Testing method
Two main methods are used in whitebox testing technique; static and dynamic (See fig. 1).
Figure 1: Whitebox testing methods classified (Source: Desikan and Gopalaswany)
2.1 Static testing method
The software engineer uses only the source code of the software produced to perform the test. During the static testing method, people are employed to cross-check code. No program is executed on the computer during the static testing process of the whitebox testing technique. Humans help to determine whether the code works according to the functions given, and it has been written according to the design presented earlier during the design phase of the project. Additionally, people conducting the static testing method checks the code for any missing functionality and determines whether the code handles all errors appropriately. Static testing involves three steps. These are desk checking, code walkthrough and code inspection (Desikan and Gopalaswany 48-50).
2.1.1 Desk checking
2.1.2 Code walkthrough
2.1.3 Code inspection
2.2 Structural testing method (dynamic testing)
Unlike the static testing method, the structural testing method is automated and checks functional properties of the code. The main functional behaviors of the software analyzed by the dynamic testing procedure are the overall performance and CPU usage. The main aim of the procedure is to ensure the software function conforms to the requirements of the customer. Since the process is automated, it executes and validates the software output and compares it with the expected outcome. The software engineer must carry out dynamic testing in all software development phases. The structural testing is classified into code functional, code coverage, and code complexity testing methods (Desikan and Gopalaswany 56).
2.2.1 Code functional
Figure 2: Code functional testing process (source: Guru99)
2.2.2 Code coverage testing
The code acts as the key to the functionality of the program. The code coverage test analyzes different parts of the code and determines the percentage of the code covered by the test. It helps in realizing what part of the code has been left out and parts requiring additional input.
2.2.3 Code complexity testing
The procedure determines the complexity of the software program to determine independent paths and the maximum number of tests that can be run on the software to ensure all functional elements are tested. Both complex and independent paths of the software are analyzed during the code complexity testing procedure.
3.0 How the testing method solves the challenge
Whitebox testing methods play a significant role in solving challenges associated with software functionalities. Customers purchase the software hoping it will perform all its duties, but the presence of one or more defects interferes with the normal operation of the software. The test helps in solving the problem associated with logical decision making. The structural testing method employs sophisticated procedures that dig deep into the software program's functionality and ensures every phase of the software is fully functional and achieves the intended goals.
On the other hand, whiteboy testing helps solve the challenge of validating the internal functions of the code. The static testing makes use of human observations and knowledge to test for any defect in the software. Software programs are designed to solve various problems and function without any human intervention. Conducting the whitebox test helps get rid of any element that may introduce an error into the code and cause flaws during the execution phase. Customers are more confident with programs that have passed quality assurance tests because they have limited chances of failure.
Finally, whitebox testing helps in solving the challenge associated with functional software risks. The customer takes a big risk when purchasing software to run a process in the industry. Risks of system failure are very common in most organizations that implement different programs to execute the production process. However, the thoroughly tested software eliminates such risks. The testing procedure helps in determining risks at every phase of software development and providing mitigation measures to ensure the final product is risk-free. Additionally, it analyzes the business impact of the risk regarding cost and production delays. Finally, the test recommends countermeasures to mitigate challenges that arise (Janardhanudu and Wyk).
Whitebox testing is the most efficient solution for software engineers. Many people have complained about malfunctioning of some software, which is a big blow to software engineers. Performing whitebox testing before realizing the software to the market assists in avoiding such problems. The test analyzes the functionality of the software at every stage of the software life cycle and provides solutions to all problems to ensure the final product is free of frauds. Additionally, the test includes both human-guided and automated procedures to ensure all defects and errors in the software are detected and eliminated.
Entrepreneurs invest most of their resources in businesses. The modern business environment is run by technology where most processes are computerized. The entrepreneur aims at purchasing a business solution that offers the most benefits at the lowest cost. Whitebox testing validates design decisions and assumptions made in the program. The entrepreneur no longer needs to get worried about any risks to the business brought about by software failures (Janardhanudu and Wyk).
Desikan, Srinivasan, and Gopalaswany Ramesh. Software Testing: Principles and Practice.
Bangalore, India: Dorling Kindersley. 2006. Print.
Guru99. Static Vs Dynamic testing. 2016. Web. February 3, 2016.
Janardhanudu, Girish, and Wyk, Ken. V. ‘Whitebox testing.” Build Security In. 2013, July 05. <
https://buildsecurityin.us-cert.gov/articles/best-practices/white-box-testing/white-box-testing. Web>. February 3 2016.