I know it looks better on tester resumes to emphasize one’s White Box Testing abilities and brag about how many bugs you caught before they manifested on the UI. It also serves for far more condescending trash talk amongst testers. But since the majority of the testing I do is manual Black Box Testing, I often feel depressed, wondering if I am inferior to my testing peers and fellow bloggers.

The other day something occurred to me… Black Box testing is actually more challenging than White Box Testing. That is, if it is good Black Box testing.

I’m testing a winform app, that at any given time, may have about 6 different panes or zones displaying. The bulk of the user paths require drag/drop between various zones into grids. The possible inputs are nightmarish compared to those of the underlying services. Determining bug repro steps takes creativity, patience, and lots of coffee. Communicating those repro steps to others takes solid writing skills or in-person demos. And predicting what a user may do is far more challenging than predicting how one service may call another service.

I’m not suggesting apps should be or can be tested entirely using a Black Box approach. But the fact is, no matter how much white box testing one does, the UI still needs to be tested from the user’s perspective.

So if you’re feeling threatened by all those smarty pants testers writing unit tests and looking down on the black box testers, don’t. Effective Black Box Testing is a highly skilled job and you should be proud of your testing abilities!


  1. Anonymous said...

    "... I often feel depressed wondering if I am inferior to my testing peers and fellow bloggers."

    I share your sentiments on this although I don't really get depressed, I just feel bad and then shake it off. Given how long I've been in the business, I still feel quite amateurish esp when I stumble upon blogs such as yours, and the blogs of the big guns of testing. Moreso, since much of the testing work that I do just makes use of black box methods (it's only gray box at most). Thanks for the boost :)

  2. angela said...

    Thanks DUDE! I feel better after reading this post of yours ;p

  3. Pankaj Bhambhani said...

    I think its really bad on our part to separate the two types of testing - both types of testing by themselves are futile - no matter how much skills or effort you put into them. A good approach would be to combine both types of testing into one single approach.

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