Empirical Studies of Software Black Box Testing Techniques : Evaluation and Comparison

University dissertation from Karlskrona : Blekinge Institute of Technology

Abstract: Software is today used in more and different ways than ever before. From refrigerators and cars to space shuttles and smart cards. As such, most software, usually need to adhere to a specification. Normally, a software engineer goes through a certain process to establish that the software follows a given specification. This process, verification and validation (V & V), ensures that the software conforms to its specification and that the customers ultimately receives what they ordered. Software testing is one of the techniques to use in V & V. Software testing has evolved during the last decades since e.g. programming languages, software and requirement specification designs all have evolved likewise. Nevertheless, when we examine how software testing is used today, particularly in small- and medium-sized enterprises with their limited resources and in some cases limited knowledge, there is clearly room for improvements. Not seldom, software testing is the first thing being disregarded when deadlines creep closer. To be able to use resources in a better way, computers should be able to help out in the art of software testing much more, than is currently the case today. Unfortunately, the automatization benefits with respect to software testing have not been clearly visable, even though some progress have been made. In this thesis we initially look at the current state of practice when it comes to software testing by presenting the results of a survey. Next, we evaluate what the findings would mean for software engineers, by performing an exploratory study whereas we examine the reliability aspects of the survey. Finally, we examine the usage of different black-box methodologies and their potential use in automatization aspects. In addition, theories improving quality estimations while using one black-box technique, is presented and evaluated. We argue that there is a potential interest and advantage in using different blackbox methodologies, formalizing and improving them even more while finally adding them to the field of automatization, hence in the end saving both time and money for companies.

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