Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Boundary Value Analysis

Boundary value analysis is a software testing design technique to determine test cases covering off-by-one errors. The boundaries of software component input ranges are areas of frequent problems.

Boundary value analysis is a methodology for designing test cases that concentrates software testing effort on cases near the limits of valid ranges Boundary value analysis is a method which refines equivalence partitioning. Boundary value analysis generates test cases that highlight errors better than equivalence partitioning.

The trick is to concentrate software testing efforts at the extreme ends of the equivalence classes. At those points when input values change from valid to invalid errors are most likely to occur. As well, boundary value analysis broadens the portions of the business requirement document used to generate tests. Unlike equivalence partitioning, it takes into account the output specifications when deriving test cases.

Applying boundary value analysis you have to select now a test case at each side of the boundary between two partitions. In the above example this would be 0 and 1 for the lower boundary as well as 12 and 13 for the upper boundary. Each of these pairs consists of a "clean" and a "dirty" test case. A "clean" test case should give you a valid operation result of your program. A "dirty" test case should lead to a correct and specified input error treatment such as the limiting of values, the usage of a substitute value, or in case of a program with a user interface, it has to lead to warning and request to enter correct data. The boundary value analysis can have 6 testcases.n, n-1,n+1 for the upper limit and n, n-1,n+1 for the lower limit.

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