Quality Assurance Company: Structural Testing Against Functional Testing
There are two main types of testing: functional and structural ones. During functional testing, the program code is regarded as a “big black box” to the tester, who cannot see the inside of the box. This process involves analyzing the product’s behavior to determine whether or not it is in conformity with the external specification. In this case, test coverage criterion is based on application of all possible input values, which is not technically feasible. Main focus is made on functionality of the system as a whole. Since complete functional testing cannot be executed even by professionals of quality assurance company, this may refer to development of the methods that allow elaborate and deliberate selection of the tests that are most likely to detect defects in the program.
Every function of the program is tested with all possible input-output combinations and the actual results are compared with the expected ones. In most cases, the internal structure of the program is not taken into consideration.
With structural testing, a software program is considered as a “white box” as the inside of this box can be seen by the tester. It is also called a glass or open box test design technique. The main idea is to choose the right program path to be tested.
This process involves analyzing the program logic. In such a case, complete testing is the one verification method which helps to examine all possible paths in control flow graph of the program. If we restrict ourselves to analysis of linearly independent paths only, then, in this case, a complete structural testing is almost impossible to execute, because it is unclear how to select tests that can cover all such paths.
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Consequently, in structural testing it is necessary to use its other coverage criteria which, if they are met, make it possible for the tester to know about this fact, but meeting these criteria does not absolutely guarantee that the program will undergo exhaustive testing. But even if we assume that complete structural testing of a program is performed successfully, nevertheless, the software item may contain errors after the testing is completed, because:
- the program may not meet its external specification, and this, in particular, can cause its control graph to lack some important paths.
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