What is equivalence partitioning?

Equivalence partitioning is a test case design strategy in black box testing. In this method, the input domain data is divided into different equivalence data classes. This method is typically used to reduce the total number of test cases to a finite set of testable test cases, still covering maximum requirements. In short, it is the process of taking all possible test cases and placing them into classes. One test value is picked from each class while testing.

An example:
Consider that you have an input box accepting numbers between 1 and 1000 using equivalence partitioning. The following are the test cases that you should have:
1) One input data class with all valid inputs. Pick a single value from range 1 to 1000 as a valid test case. If you select other values between 1 and 1000 then result is going to be same. So one test case for valid input data should be sufficient.
2) Input data class with all values below lower limit. I.e. any value below 1, as a invalid input data test case.
3) Input data with any value greater than 1000 to represent third invalid input class.

So using equivalence partitioning you have categorized all possible test cases into three classes. Test cases with other values from any class should give you the same result. You can consider using tools such as Microsoft Test Manager and Rational TestManager for test activity management, execution and reporting.

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