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Black and White Boxes

Now that we have studied the anatomy of single test methods, we will focus our attention on the test suite as a whole. But first, it appears useful to know a little about test nomenclature. The literature [Binder99] distinguishes between black-box tests and white-box tests:

The differentiation between black-box and white-box takes place on any level of focus. Seen from the outside, any testing of internal components is white-box testing. From a developer's point of view, however, the component itself can be tested with a black-box or a white-box mindset.

Adequate testing requires a combination of both approaches. All test cases we have developed so far were specification-based tests, because we concentrated solely on the desired behavior of an object. However, unit tests cannot be uniquely assigned to either of the two categories. Although we will continue trying to limit ourselves to the use of "external" properties of an object in our test cases, the choice of tests we make will be influenced by what we know about the implementation. [4]Knowledge about the implementation can also be used to identify superfluous black-box tests.


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