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The Difference Between White Box and Black Box Testing


White box testing and black box testing are both technologies used in the field of software testing. More specifically, the testing techniques looks at defects and the level of quality occurring in a specific product.

Each testing techniques requires a certain level of insight and knowledge by the testing party. White box testing being more complex and time consuming, and black box testing being more generalized and taking significantly less time to successfully execute.

Although they are both used in software testing, these types of testing differ rather significantly in terms of uses too. This article will take a deeper look into what the various aspects between these techniques are.


Black Box Testing

Black box testing is a method of testing that looks at the outside structure and behavior of a product. In other words, it tests external (or outwards) behaviors without knowing what is happening in the inside functioning. It looks at inputs received, and outputs given, but nothing more intricate than that.

White Box Testing

White box testing is a type of software testing that focuses on the internal coding and structural elements of a product. Based on the product’s structure, the testing method makes knowledgeable decisions when performing a test. This method is complex and requires the tester to have a deeper understanding of the technology relating to the development of a program.

Specific Uses

Black Box Testing

Black box testing is primarily carried out by testers. These testers identify outwards behaviors of a software and are used for System Testing (testing the software from the user’s perspective) and/or Acceptance Testing (testing software as a form of validation and function) within a software development life cycle.

White Box Testing

White box testing is done specifically by knowledgeable software developers. Software developers go on to test the deeper internal systems of a product. This testing method is used for Unit Testing (testing a smaller type of code to determine whether the greater system coding functions as anticipated) and/or Integration Testing (a verification test done between two integrating units or software modules, to check for successful functioning) within a software development life cycle.

Benefits and Constraints

Black Box Testing

Black box testing is the type of testing that takes much less time to carry out. It is not suitable to test algorithms and is often referred to as a type of data-driven testing, or closed box testing.

White Box Testing

White box testing is known to be considerably time consuming, taking a much longer period to carry out in depth tests. This type of testing is well-suited to test algorithms and is often referred to as code-based testing, or clear box testing.

Summary of Key Differences Between White Box and Black Box Testing


In conclusion, it becomes clear that black box testing and white box testing differ quite significantly.

Black box testing is quicker, only looks at outside functionalities, and can be performed by general software testers. White box testing is much more time consuming. It looks deeper into the internal software and systems of a product and can only be performed by software developers.

Black box testing is commonly known as closed box testing or data driven testing too. White box testing is often referred to as clear box testing or code-based testing.

While the two differ quite considerably, they both form important aspects when it comes to testing software. One being for outside testing and the other for inside testing.


What is the difference between white box, black box and gray box testing?

White box testing looks at the internal coding and structural elements or aspects of a product. Black box testing focuses on the outwards structure and behavior of a product. Gray box testing is known to be a combination of the two. More specifically, the internal coding and structural elements are known (only in part) and testing can be done by a general tester from the perspective of a user.

What is the difference between functional and non-functional testing?

Functional testing includes the testing of a system function. It looks at the behavior of a software and includes smoke testing, sanity testing, integration tests, regression tests, localization testing, and user acceptance tests.

Non-functional testing refers to testing to check the quality of a product’s software. More specifically, it tests whether the product runs smoothly enough to meet client expectations. This type of testing includes performance tests, usability testing, and security tests.

What is white testing with an example?

White box testing is a type of software testing that focuses on the internal coding and structural elements of a product. It can be used for path testing, such as checking that each pathway in a program is carried out at least once. For example, to follow the path of registering a new user on a site or allowing a user to log in with existing login details on a site.

What is the difference between black box and white box explainability techniques?

A white box model does not require explainability techniques, as it is explainable by the actual design in itself.

However, black box models are not explainable by design and techniques are needed to make it explaible.

These techniques include model properties (where parts are shown or predicted by their sensitivity to change or their components which give a deciding move), global logic (where the inner logic is presented as a whole), or local logic (where inner logic in presented by a singular move or prediction).

Model properties is the least explainable technique, local logic is better, and global logic provides the highest level of explainability.

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References :

[0]PractiTest. Black Box Vs White Box Testing. https://www.practitest.com/qa-learningcenter/resources/black-box-vs-white-box-testing/#:~:text=The%20Black%20Box%20Test%20is,is%20carried%20out%20by%20testers.

[1]Software Testing Help. Grey Box Testing Tutorial With Examples, Tools And Techniques. 2022. https://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/grey-box-testing-tutorial/

[2]Software Testing Help. Functional Testing Vs Non-Functional Testing. 2022. https://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/functional-testing-vs-non-functional-testing/

[3]Yalcin, Orhan. Black-box and White-box Models towards Explainable AI. Towards Data Science. 2021. https://towardsdatascience.com/black-box-and-white-box-models-towards-explainable-ai-172d45bfc512

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