When it comes to testing your software, it’s important to have as many options as possible. Using just one type of testing can make it difficult to identify every potential problem with your new software.
This is why many software companies use multiple different types of testing for each piece of software they release.
Testing your software in all different ways makes it more likely that you catch any issues before the general public has access to it. Each type of test is designed to find a specific issue in your software or website.
But there are so many different types of testing that you can use them in combination with other types of testing if you want even more coverage than is provided by just one type of test. This blog post will explore some common types of testing and explain why grey box testing stands out among them as being particularly useful for most developers and businesses creating new software.
What Is Grey Box Testing?
In simple terms, grey box testing is a form of black box testing. What this means is that grey box tests start from the inside of the software and work their way outwards, just like black box testing.
But grey box testing still allows the tester to have partial knowledge of the software they are testing. So, what does partial knowledge look like? Let’s say that you’re working on a new eCommerce site and you want to test the checkout process.
One tester would be given a different version of the checkout process that only lets them know that they can check out as a guest, while another tester would be given a completely empty checkout process where they have to enter all of their payment and address details.
Why Is Grey Box Testing Important?
Often, the most important issues in software are the ones that are the most difficult to identify. Since grey box testing allows testers to have some knowledge about the inner workings of the software, they can often tap into their knowledge to see where there might be issues.
When testing using a black box method, testers may miss issues that they would have otherwise seen if they were testing with partial knowledge of the inner workings of the software. Grey box testing helps testers to identify issues that might have otherwise been missed by only using black box testing.
How to Perform a Grey Box Test
A grey box test will typically begin with a black box test, ensuring that testers don’t get any inside knowledge about the software before they begin their testing. Then, the testers will use their knowledge of the software’s inner workings to test the software and check for issues.
For example, if you’re creating a new eCommerce site, you can conduct a black box test by having your testers navigate through the site and purchase something with a “guest checkout” option. After the testers complete their test, you can ask them if there were any issues during their testing.
Next, you can have the same testers conduct a grey box test. This time, you ask them to log into their account and purchase something using their preferred payment method. This way, the testers still get the same experience that they would from the guest checkout option, but they also have access to their account’s information.
Why Grey Box Testing Excels in Quality Assurance
As you’ve seen, grey box testing excels in quality assurance because it allows testers to use their knowledge of the software’s inner workings to see where issues might be, even if those issues aren’t present in the guest checkout experience.
This makes it a particularly useful tool for finding bugs and other issues that are difficult to identify. For example, let’s say that you’re creating an eCommerce site that will feature a recommendation engine.
If the tester only logs into the guest checkout experience and doesn’t have any knowledge of the recommendation engine being created, they probably won’t notice if the recommendations aren’t being properly generated.
But if the tester logs into their account and sees that recommendations aren’t being generated properly, they can report the issue during their grey box test.
When Should You Use Grey Box Testing?
Grey box testing is useful for most types of software testing, but it is particularly helpful for testing software that uses algorithms.
Algorithms are complex, intricate series of equations that are difficult to test without some knowledge of their inner workings. Algorithms often power recommendation engines, fraud detection systems, and other parts of software that you want to be working properly.
So, grey box testing is a great way to ensure that these algorithms are operating as you intend them to.
Final Words: Don’t Forget to Mix Up Your Testers!
It’s important to remember that the more types of testing you use, the more thorough your testing will be. So, if you’re only using one type of testing, you could be missing out on critical issues with your software.
If you’re only using black box testing, you aren’t getting the full picture of what your software is like in real-world situations.
The same is true for grey box testing. Mixing up your testing types will give you more realistic results that can help you to identify issues with your software before your customers have access to it.