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BDD Testing
20th May 2022

What is BDD testing, and how does it stack up against the alternatives?

What is BDD?

Behavior-driven development, or BDD, describes a comprehensive approach to software development devoted to agility. In software engineering, agility is an attempt to alleviate some of the risks involved in developing software. It's all about finding ways to improve the process of building software so that developers can deliver more reliable systems on time and within budget.

BDD is a different testing paradigm compared to the traditional one. Since behavior-driven development has been gaining traction lately, many people are talking about BDD vs. TDD vs. functional testing.

Features of BDD

There are certain features of BDD that make it an attractive proposition, and they are as follows:

1. It encourages collaboration – One of the key benefits of BDD is that it fosters communication and collaboration between different members of the software development team. This is because all members need to be on the same page regarding the application's behavior, and the development process is based on specifying the behavior before writing code. By doing this, it eliminates any scope for misunderstanding or disagreement.

2. It avoids analysis paralysis – When you focus on behavior instead of implementation details. This is because you are not getting bogged down by minute details.

3. It helps catch errors early – BDD also helps avoid analysis paralysis, as the team can focus on delivering business value rather than getting bogged down in needless details.

4. Easy to learn and use – BDD is not a complicated framework and can be easily learned by anyone familiar with the basics of software development. Moreover, it can be used with any existing testing framework.

5. It is flexible – BDD is quite flexible and can be tailored to fit the needs of any project. This is because it is not tied to any specific technology or testing methodology.

These are some of the key benefits of BDD that make it an attractive proposition for many software development projects. Consider these points when thinking of using BDD on your next project. It could just be the key to success.

writing tests

The benefits of BDD Testing

BDD Testing can be a great way to ensure that your team is building the right thing, and businesses can benefit from BDD testing in several ways:

  • Improved software quality: The tests written with BDD are automated, which means they run faster and can be executed more often than manual tests. This makes it easier to identify the cause of a defect and fix it before the customer notices it.
  • Improved collaboration between teams: Because BDD tests are shared between the business and development teams, developers can see how the system should work and what they should build next. This helps business analysts make better design decisions, which leads to better code.
  • Reduced costs and time-to-market: Test automation means spending less time on manual testing and more time building features for your customers. They also give you a safety net when something goes wrong — if one test code fails, you know there's a problem with your software, not just a flaky test case or an isolated bug elsewhere in your user story.

Overall, BDD testing can help improve the quality of your software while reducing costs and time-to-market. If you're not already using BDD, it's worth considering for your next project.

web app testing

BDD vs. TDD

In the world of software development, there are two main approaches to writing code: behavior-driven development (BDD) and test-driven development (TDD). Both approaches have their adherents, and there is a lively debate about which one is superior.

Here's a look at the key differences between BDD and TDD:

BDD focuses on describing the behavior of an application, while TDD focuses on writing tests. BDD tests are typically written in natural language, while TDD tests are written in code.

BDD is focused on collaboration between developers, while TDD is focused on the individual programmer.

In addition, BDD emphasizes customer needs, while TDD emphasizes technical details.

There is no right or wrong choice when choosing between BDD and TDD. The best approach for your project will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

However, both approaches can be used effectively, and many developers find that a combination of both is often the most effective approach.

BDD Testing Process

The Behavior-Driven Development testing process is a set of best practices for software development that help teams deliver high-quality, stable software products.

Though the BDD process was originally developed for use with object-oriented programming languages, it has since been adapted to work with various other languages and frameworks.

At its core, BDD is a way of thinking about software development that focuses on delivering business value rather than technical implementation details. As such, it helps to ensure that the final product meets the needs of the customer or user.

To achieve this, BDD adopts a "test-first" approach in which test cases are written before any code is written. These test cases serve as a guide for development, helping to ensure that the code meets the desired specifications.

In addition, BDD emphasizes collaboration between developers, testers, and business stakeholders throughout the software development process. This helps ensure that all team members have a shared understanding of the product's requirements and that everyone is working towards the same goal.

Ultimately, by following the BDD process, teams can deliver high-quality software products that meet the needs of their customers or users.

software development

Examples of BDD testing frameworks

Choosing a BDD framework depends on individual business needs. Nevertheless, the BDD Framework is widely available to support a particular application or how your team functions.

Here are a few BDD Testing framework examples:

Jasmine

1. Jasmine

Jasmine is a Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) testing framework for JavaScript. It does not depend on any other libraries and can be used to test any JavaScript application.

Jasmine is a behavior-driven development framework that eases the task of testing JavaScript code. It can be run in Node.js or the browser. Installation of Jasmine is very easy, and it has the following features:

Easy to learn - Jasmine has a syntax familiar to anyone who has done unit testing with other frameworks.

Fast - Jasmine runs on Node.js and browsers, so tests run as fast as you'd expect them to!

Portable - Jasmine runs across all modern browsers and on iOS and Android devices via KarmaJS.

Extensible - You can write custom matches to enhance your tests' readability and make them more expressive by using the expect() function.

Jasmine is a great tool for JavaScript development and has been used by companies such as Twitter, Pivotal, and eBay to test their web applications.

Cucumber

2. Cucumber

Cucumber is a software testing tool that supports BDD. It allows developers to define test cases in plain language and then run them against their software code. Cucumber is written in the Ruby programming language.

Cucumber tests are typically written using the Gherkin syntax. This syntax allows for tests to be written in a human-readable format, making it easier for developers and testers to understand what each test is doing.

It can test web applications, desktop applications, and even mobile apps. In addition, Cucumber can be integrated with several different testing frameworks, such as JUnit and TestNG.

Developers can easily integrate Cucumber with their existing testing infrastructure. As a result, Cucumber has become a popular tool for software development teams that practice BDD.

Rspec

3. RSpec

RSpec is a popular BDD testing framework for Ruby. It is frequently used in test-driven development and helps developers automate tests and verify that the code meets the tests' expectations.

It is different from other testing frameworks in that it focuses on specifying the behavior of an application rather than its implementation. As a result, RSpec tests tend to be more human-readable, and they can be used to generate documentation for an application.

In addition, RSpec comes with some features that make it well-suited for testing Ruby applications, such as:

Built-in support for mocking and stubbing allows developers to easily test how an application responds to different input without modifying the code.

Flexible syntax: RSpec's syntax is highly flexible, allowing developers to write tests in a way that makes sense for their specific project.

Extensibility: RSpec can be extended with several different plugins and gems. This allows developers to tailor the framework to their specific needs.

Overall, RSpec is a powerful tool that can help developers ensure that their code meets the tests' requirements.

JBehave

4. JBehave

JBehave is a popular open-source BDD testing framework that can be used to test Java applications. The framework defines a set of rules that must be followed to write tests, and these rules are used to generate test cases.

JBehave can then execute these test cases to verify the application's functionality.JBehave has been designed to be easy to use, and it is possible to get started with the framework without prior experience with BDD.

However, it is important to note that JBehave is not a substitute for writing unit tests; instead, it should be used in addition to unit tests to provide comprehensive coverage of an application's functionality.

5. Concordion

Using Concordion, you can create and manage automated acceptance tests in Java-based projects. It integrates directly with the JUnit framework, making it ready to be used with popular JAVA-based IDEs such as Eclipse, Netbeans, and IntelliJ IDEA. Concordion can help improve the quality of your software projects by providing a clear, concise way to define and automate acceptance criteria.

Key Features

Concordion is a tool that can be used to write specifications that are also usable as documentation. In addition, the specifications are written in HTML, making them easy to hyperlink.

Its' specification helps maintain separation between implementation and required behavior of the system. Moreover, it provides flexibility that implementation can be changed later on.

Concordion specifications include working examples of behavior that are executed against the system. Keeping documentation up-to-date becomes easier.

It is simple to learn, with few commands and examples that are automated using JUnit tests. Concordion is also easy to integrate into existing projects.

6. Quantum

Quantum is an open-source BDD test framework that can be used with various programming languages. It's designed to make it easy to write expressive and readable tests. Quantum also has some built-in assertion methods, so you don't need to write your assertions for each test. 

One of the benefits of using Quantum is that it can help you catch regression bugs early on. Regression bugs are bugs that reappear after they've been fixed. Code changes often cause them without properly considering the impact on other parts of the codebase.

By writing BDD tests, you can ensure that your code changes haven't introduced any new bugs. 

In short, Quantum is just one example of a BDD test framework. But it's a powerful tool that can help you catch bugs and ensure that your code is high quality.

Specflow

7. SpecFlow

SpecFlow allows developers to define tests in a human-readable language, which can then be executed against the code. Doing so makes it easy to create and maintain complex test suites and helps to ensure that tests are always up-to-date with the latest code changes. 

SpecFlow also integrates well with some popular development tools, making it ideal for teams that use a variety of technologies. In addition, SpecFlow is free and open-source, making it a great option for projects on a limited budget. 

Whether you're just getting started with BDD or looking for a framework that can scale with your needs, SpecFlow is worth considering.

Codeception

8. Codeception

Codeception is a modern PHP testing framework that supports BDD and test-driven development (TDD). It is designed to be easy for both new and experienced developers.

Codeception integrates with popular PHP frameworks such as Laravel, Yii, and Zend Framework. It also supports headless browser testing with PhantomJS. Codeception can be used to test APIs, web applications, unit tests, and functional tests.

In addition, Codeception has a built-in module for creating fixtures - fake data that can be used to populate a database during testing. This makes it ideal for testing database-driven applications.

Overall, Codeception is a powerful and flexible PHP testing framework that is well worth considering for your next project.

These are just a few examples of BDD testing frameworks; many others are available, each with its strengths and weaknesses. The best way to find the right framework for your project is to experiment with a few different options and see which one works best.

The BDD loops

The BDD loop is the process developers use to create software that conforms to the BDD approach. The loop consists of four steps:

  • Write a failing test.
  • Write code to make the test pass.
  • Refactor the code, and repeat.

The first step is to write a test that describes the desired behavior of the software. The second step is to write code that will make the test pass. The third step is to refactor the code, making it more efficient or easier to understand.

Finally, the fourth step is to repeat the process until all desired behavior has been captured in tests and implemented in code.

The BDD loops help you to:

  • Identify the business need that the software must address
  • Understand what the software should do to address that need.
  • Express the functionality in scenarios or user stories that can be automated with cucumber tests.
  • Write cucumber tests that exercise the functionality and capture requirements as living documentation.
  • Implement the functionality in the code and make the tests pass.
  • Refactor the code to improve its design while ensuring that the tests continue to pass.

This process helps you ensure that the software delivered is fit for purpose and meets the needs of the business. It also helps you create Living Documentation that can be used to ensure that the system continues to meet those needs over time.

Best Practices Of BDD Framework

1. Test first development - To keep everyone informed about how the app should function, it is important to write tests first and then develop the code. It can help you identify the bugs in your application before it reaches users. It also provides a good understanding of your application's needs to be improved.

2. Write automated tests - Automated tests are essential for an effective BDD framework because they help developers identify bugs while writing code and ensure that new features don't cause regressions in existing functionality.

3. Use multiple tools - Several tools are available for building BDD frameworks, including Scriptworks, Cucumber, and SpecFlow. Each tool has its advantages and disadvantages, making it difficult for teams to choose one tool over another. The best option is to use multiple tools so that you can enjoy their benefits while avoiding their drawbacks at the same time

BDD in Development

Development teams often face the challenge of ensuring that the software they develop meets the user's needs. Traditionally, this has been done through requirements gathering, where user needs are gathered and translated into a set of functional requirements.

However, this approach can be problematic, as it can be difficult to capture all the user needs in this way accurately. As a result, development teams have increasingly turned to (BDD) as a more effective way to ensure that their software meets user needs. BDD is an iterative process that starts with understanding the user's desired outcome.

From there, the development team works backward to identify the necessary behaviors and features. A flexible and agile development process is more effective in ensuring that software meets user needs as it allows for a more flexible agile development process. As a result, BDD has become an essential part of many development teams' toolkits.

Is BDD testing a good idea and its popularity and its features? Almost definitely. But, there's still one more question to ask. What if you don't have the resources or know-how to implement BDD testing? There are always other options for adding structure to your tests. Most existing testing frameworks already incorporate many of the practices outlined in this article. The best option is probably going with an established framework that supports BDD testing out of the box.

So, what's the verdict? Is BDD testing worth all of this extra effort? In a word – yes. While it may seem like a lot of work upfront, BDD ultimately provides more accurate and reliable results than either manual or automated testing methods. In addition, it helps you build better software in the first place, which is always a good thing. Have you tried using BDD for your projects? Please share your experience in the comments!

FAQ

What is BDD testing?

BDD is software testing that uses automated acceptance criteria to ensure the software under test matches the business requirements.

What is BDD testing in agile?

BDD testing in agile is a software development technique that uses BDD to write tests.

What are the three practices of BDD?

The three practices of BDD include:
1. Write examples first
2. Define outcomes
3. Automate all the things

What are some examples of BDD frameworks?

Several frameworks help you to get started with BDD. Here are a few:
Jasmin
Cucumber
JBehave
SpecFlow

Is Cucumber a BDD framework?

Yes, Cucumber is an open-source tool that helps with behavior-driven programming.

What is the BDD testing framework?

BDD is a testing framework that helps testers and programmers work together to create quality code.

Is BDD automated testing?

BDD includes automated testing.

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Article written by Duncan Brigginshaw
Co-Founder and Technical Director
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