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Boundary Value Analysis: The Ultimate Tool for Robust Input Validation in Software Testing

16 Feb
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5 Minutes
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Software Testing

Table of content

    Boundary Value Analysis is a popular technique for black box testing. It is used to identify defects and errors in software by testing input values on the boundaries of the allowable ranges.

    The goal of boundary value analysis is to find any issues which may arise due to incorrect assumptions about the system behavior. Testing these boundary values ensures that the software functions correctly.

    Every partition for boundary analysis has its minimum and maximum values. Let’s look at the following points to understand BVA in software testing in brief. For every variable, testers check the following.

    • Nominal value
    • Minimum value
    • Above minimum value
    • Below the minimum value
    • Maximum value
    • Boundary value for an invalid partition is called invalid boundary value
    • Boundary value for valid partition is called boundary value
    Table of Content
    1. Importance of Boundary Value Analysis for Effective Software Testing
    2. Benefits of BVA for Input Validation
    3. Test Scenarios and Test Cases for Implementing BVA in Input Validation
    4. Boundary Value Analysis Test Cases Example
    5. Real-World Examples of Input Validation Using BVA for Different Data Types
    6. Common Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing BVA in Software Testing
    7. Best Practices for Considering Boundary Conditions in Testing
    8. Tools for implementing BVA in test automation
    9. Optimize Your Testing Strategy by QAble’s Tailored Techniques for BVA
    10. FAQs

    Importance of Boundary Value Analysis for Effective Software Testing

    In simple words, boundary testing is a particular process to test extreme ends among the partitions of input values. These are the below points that will help you understand why it is important.

    • It finds defects in the boundaries of input values as they are error-prone areas of software.
    • BVA testing helps achieve top quality and makes it reliable by testing under extreme scenarios. This helps in preventing crashes and errors.
    • It plays a significant role in reducing overall effort and time by empowering testers to test a numerous range of input values with limited test cases.
    • BVA in software testing also improves the accuracy in testing the system limit. This in turn helps in enhancing customer satisfaction by delivering high-quality software.
    • Along with that, boundary value analysis is cost-effective as it cuts down the number of test cases.
    • It ensures that the development and QA team effectively what complies with the industry guidelines for software testing

    Therefore, BVA is highly important for comprehensive test coverage, improving the reliability of the software, early detection of defects, and many more.

    Benefits of BVA for Input Validation

    Boundary value analysis eliminates the time-consuming process of testing every input value. It comprises comprehensive tests which also minimize the resources and time required. In this context, the benefits of BVA for input validation have become apparent. Let’s have a look at these notable benefits.

    #1- Improved Test Coverage with Boundary Value Testing

    The number of defects at the boundary value is often higher than any other location of the software. So, the process of removing defects becomes seamless with the help of boundary value testing.

    For example, if a system is designed to handle input values between 0 and 100. It means that the boundary value analysis involves testing the input values of 0,1, 99, and 100 as they are most likely to cause an error.

    Thus, testing these boundary values will ensure that the system can easily handle the full range of input values.

    #2- Detection of Defects and Vulnerabilities Using BVA

    Boundary Value Analysis is a powerful technique to detect defects in software applications. The task involves testing and identifying input variables to determine how the software behaves on the boundary limits.

    Hence, boundary value testing reveals those defects which might not be caught by other testing methods.

    For example, you set a minimum age requirement of 18 and a maximum of 65. You need to provide input values at the upper and lower limits along with the values which are just inside or outside of the limit.

    Testing the inputs like 17, 18, 19, 64, 66, testers can determine if the application is handling the boundary values correctly. So, if there is any defect present they are exposed instantly which makes it easier to fix them. As a result, BVA in software testing completely enhances the overall experience and reliability of the software.

    Therefore, this approach uncovers those edges which may get overlooked during other testing methods.

    #3- Increased Accuracy and Efficiency with Boundary Value Analysis

    BVA in software testing plays a significant role in increasing accuracy and efficiency in various ways. Testers are relieved as they can identify defects at the early stages which reduces the likelihood of defects reaching the production stage.

    Secondly, it improves the accuracy of the test cases as it ensures that everything is covered under all possible input combinations of the boundary values.

    It also highlights unexpected behavior or the edge cases that get missed out on traditional testing techniques. You can also optimize your testing efforts by focusing on those areas which can lead to defects.

    This approach increases testing efficiency as the number of test cases reduces to achieve adequate coverage.

    #4- Enhanced Software Quality and User Satisfaction with BVA

    Improved accuracy is one of the best benefits of boundary value analysis. It reduces the pressure on the developers as the software can accurately handle critical input ranges.

    In this way, fewer errors occur with accurate results which enhances user satisfaction. Optimized user satisfaction means better user experience. Developers can ensure that the software accurately handles critical data input ranges. It delivers precise results and fewer errors which leads to better user satisfaction.

    Catching issues at the earlier stages in the SDLC reduces the development time and cost. Thus, boundary value analysis improves the software quality immensely for better user satisfaction.

    Test Scenarios and Test Cases for Implementing BVA in Input Validation

    Defining test scenarios and test cases are essential to cover input ranges and boundaries. Let’s know how to identify valid and invalid values of BVA in input validation.Invalid Values are calculated through the following method.

    • Minimum Value-1
    • Maximum Value +1

    Valid Values consist of the following.

    • Minimum Value
    • Minimum Value+1
    • Maximum Value
    • Maximum Value -1

    Boundary Value Analysis Test Cases Example

    Let’s take the age value from 20 to 66Invalid Values- 19, 67Valid Values- 20, 21, 66, 65

    Test Case Scenarios

    1. Input: enter the age value as 20 (21+1)Output: Valid

    2. Input: enter the age value as 19 (20-1)Output- Invalid

    3. Input: enter the age value as 67 (66+1)Output: Invalid

    4. Input: enter the age value as 65 (66-1)Output: Valid

    Real-World Examples of Input Validation Using BVA for Different Data Types

    We have listed some of the real-world boundary value analysis examples for different data types. Let’s have a look.

    Date Input Data- Programs that consider input data such as booking systems are used for BVA for input validation. For example, the program is designed to accept dates between 5th August 2023 and 30 September 2023, then the boundary value will be 5 August 2023 and 30 September 2023. To test the program through BVA, then you need to use the dates 4 August 2023, 5 August 2023, 30 September 2023, and 1 October 2023.

    Numerical Input Data- Various programs accept numerical input data such as stock analysis, gaming, calculator, and others. If you are designing a program to handle number values between 1 and 100, then the boundary values should be 1 and 100. To complete the BVA test analysis successfully, you need to test with the boundary values of 0, 1, 2, 99, 100, and 101.

    Also Read: What to Keep in Mind While Testing a Game Like PUBG?

    Boolean Input Data- The voting system is a prime example that accepts boolean input data. Therefore, if you design a program to accept true or false values, then the boundary values would be true and false. You need to use false and true values for this program.

    String Input Data- Text editors, logging systems, data entry stems, web browsers, etc. use string input data. For example, if you are designing a program to accept strings between 5 to 20 characters long, then the boundary values will be 5 and 20. To test this program for boundary value analysis, you should use strings that are 4, 5, 6, 19, and 20 characters long.

    Common Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing BVA in Software Testing

    Errors can arise even after conducting robust scrutiny. Understanding the common mistakes will reduce the chances of errors to implement BVA in software testing. Here are some of them.

    Ignoring internal boundaries- Focusing only on external boundaries is one of the common mistakes. Thus, apart from external boundaries, you should also consider internal boundaries for a comprehensive approach. It helps in identifying invalid and valid outputs for effective boundary value analysis.

    Considering every boundary value equally important- It is essential to prioritize those values which are likely to cause errors. Considering every value as important will lead you to spend too much time and effort on those values which may not cause errors.

    Lack of proper understanding of input domain boundaries- For every QA professional, it is essential to clearly understand the input domain along with the boundaries connected to it. Doing this helps in identifying invalid and valid inputs which boosts the effectiveness of boundary value analysis.

    Not considering the impact of boundary values on other parts- It is crucial to calculate the impact of the values on other sections of the system. Otherwise, it will cause you to miss out on the errors which occur due to interaction between different parts of the software.By avoiding the above mistakes, you can easily implement BVA in software testing and identify critical errors in the system.

    Best Practices for Considering Boundary Conditions in Testing

    These are some of the best practices for considering boundary conditions for testing.

    Verify system behavior- Always verify that the system behaves as expected when the boundary conditions are met. Check that the system doesn’t display error messages, show unexpected behavior, or get crashed.

    Always test with realistic data- Realistic data for testing reflects the actual usage of the system. Doing this ensures that the system can proficiently handle different types of input values for real-world scenarios.

    Equivalence Partitioning- Using equivalence partitioning to determine the test cases representing different input values is highly beneficial. Using this method, you can easily cover all possible input values.

    Negative Testing- You must test the system with invalid input values as well. These values consist of beyond input boundaries to identify defects. Thus, the above practices for boundary value analysis will ensure that your system works seamlessly. Ultimately, it will lead you to build a reliable and robust system.

    Tools for implementing BVA in test automation

    These are some of the essential tools for implementing BVA in test automation.

    TestNG- The TestNG tool is a testing framework that supports unit and web application testing, UI/UX testing, usability testing and accessibility testing. . Its main feature is to specify test data with expected results to make it suitable for boundary testing.

    Selenium- It is one of the most popular open-source automation tools used for web application testing. It is used to test boundary values by specifying minimum and maximum input values and verifying system response.

    Apache JMeter- The popular load testing tool called Apache JMeter is essentially used for functional testing. Various features such as data-driven testing, pre and post-processors, assertions, and boundary conditions for implementing BVA.

    HP UFT- The HP UFT is a commercial test automation tool that is a great asset for boundary analysis. It supports multiple programming languages which you can use for a wide range of applications.

    Rational Functional Tester- It is an automated testing tool that supports non-graphical and non-graphical user interfaces. Furthermore, it has built-in support that empowers boundary testing.Hence, incorporating the above tools can have a significant impact on accelerating the BVA process. But, it is important to understand that the effectiveness of any tool depends on how it is used as well as the professional.

    Optimize Your Testing Strategy by QAble’s Tailored Techniques for BVA

    Our Able Army is always ready to explore the latest technologies and incorporate them into our methodologies to deliver an unmatchable experience. The technique for boundary value analysis involves testing the input values which are at the edges of the input domain.

    These are some of the techniques that can help you with that.

    • Identifying Input Domain- The first task is to identify the input domain for the test cases. For this, it is essential to determine the maximum and minimum value that the input domain should consider.
    • Determining Boundary Values- Testers need to identify the boundary values of the input domain. For example, if the input domain lies between 1 and 10, then the boundary values would be 1, 10, and any other value in between.
    • Testing Boundary Values- After determining the boundary values, it is essential to test them to ensure that the software behaves correctly. Thus, testing the application at maximum and minimum values.
    • Testing Values Outside the Boundary- Testing those values which fall outside the input domain is equally crucial. For this, you need to test values that are one unit above and below the minimum and maximum values.

    Henceforth, the above steps for boundary value analysis are essential to building a robust and reliable software product. At QAble, we understand the importance of thorough and effective software testing.

    Our team of experienced testers uses a variety of techniques including boundary value analysis to ensure that your product meets the highest standards of reliability and quality.

    Whether you need performance testing, functional testing, or any other type, QAble has the expertise to deliver the best results. So, let’s work together to develop user-friendly and efficient software.

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    FAQs

    Can we use boundary value analysis for all types of software?

    Yes, you can use boundary value analysis for any type of software which accepts input parameters with predefined boundaries.

    What are the different types of errors boundary value analysis helps identify?

    BVA technique helps identify errors like processing, input validation, calculation rounding errors, integer overflow.

    How is equivalence partitioning different from boundary value analysis?

    Equivalence partitioning requires dividing the input values into equivalence classes based on their expected behavior. On the other hand, boundary value analysis focuses specifically on boundary values.

    Can you automate boundary value analysis?

    Yes, boundary value analysis can be automated using various software testing tools such as NUnit or JUnit, etc.

    What is an example of a boundary value in software testing?

    In software testing, boundary values are like gatekeepers at the edge of allowed inputs. Imagine an age verification form: 13 (minimum) and 99 (maximum) are boundary values. We test these, plus values just above/below, to see if the software behaves correctly at the limits, catching errors like accepting ages below 13 or not handling ages above 99. Testing these edge cases helps ensure the software functions smoothly within its intended boundaries.

    What is 3 point boundary value analysis in software testing?

    3-point boundary value analysis goes beyond the basics. Instead of just checking the boundary itself and an invalid value, it tests three values: right on the edge, just inside, and just outside. This extra level of scrutiny helps uncover errors that might hide near the limits of valid input, ensuring your software functions smoothly even at the fringes.

    What is Boundary Value Analysis in Black Box Testing?

    In black-box testing, Boundary Value Analysis (BVA) acts like a gatekeeper, grilling inputs at the edge of allowed values. Imagine a password form: BVA tests the minimum/maximum lengths, right on the limits and just beyond, to ensure the software handles both valid (20-char password) and invalid (empty password) inputs correctly. This helps catch errors early, preventing user headaches and boosting software quality.

    Saving time and resources by catching bugs early, before they cause costly delays

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