The long way through Software Craftsmanship

Open discussion: Behaviour-Driven Development

Feb 15, 2015 - 2 minute read - Comments - bddopen-discussionbehaviour-driven-developmentjbehavetraining

This week we had a great discussion about Behavior Driven Development (BDD). We have explained it as a way of developing software based on requirements, via automatically tested specifications. For more information, see the wikipedia’s article on the subject

I forgot to mention that this is the perfect start to TDD, as this is usually called the double-loop TDD. See a post on it on coding is like cooking

In this double-loop TDD, the first thing is to create a BDD scenario, run it (red-1), create a unit test that reflects this red (red-2), pass it, refactor; go to red-1 as many times as you need, doing TDD cycles. When you think the feature is done, execute the BDD scenarios and go to green (outer layer) and refactor.

(Our) Common setting

Going back to BDD, a common scenario would be the following:

Layers of software:

  • Domain-Specific Language (DSL). See wikipedia’s article
  • Test adapter: an interpreter for this DSL
  • Test software: test fixtures, methods, structures to arrange, act, and assert on the sut
  • Production software (system under test - SUT): thing being tested

A BDD test vs A TDD test

Let’s imagine a BDD test for a linked list:

Given I have an empty list
When I add an element
Then I have an element on the list

now, the same test in TDD [using java, junit 4, hamcrest]

@Test
public void add_an_element_to_an_empty_list(){
	MyLinkedList linkedList = new MyLinkedList();

	linkedList.add("something");

	assertThat(linkedList.size(), is(1));
}

In some aspects, a BDD and a TDD test are similar:

  • the given is the arrange, i.e., the prerequisite
  • the when is the act, i.e., the command
  • the then is the assertion, i.e., the postcondition

(for more information on this, see Hoare’s triple)

But in others, they are not. In BDD you do not specify the APIs, methods, etc. You only care about behavior.

Conclusion

Benefits:

  • everyone might involved in the specification by example workshops (source: ATDD by example)
  • live specifications. managers can now understand the real state
  • regression tests are much cheaper (from automation)

Gotchas:

  • Test only the happy paths
  • This has a cost, do not overdo it
  • Doesn’t remove manual tests
  • How do you manage multiple scenarios
  • How fast should it be?

Implementing BDD at a client The use of power tools

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