What is Behavior Driven Development

What is BDD

Behavior Driven Development in Software Projects

Whether you’re new to software development and software testing, or you’ve been in the field for a while already, chances are that you’ve already heard of Behavior Driven Development (BDD). However, while many teams may have a general impression of Behavior Driven Development, the details of the process and how it works can often be overlooked when discussing software testing strategies.

To help your team make sure everyone is on the same page and discussing the same concepts, our experts have put together this simple summary to Behavior Driven Development.

Behavior Driven Development: A Shared Foundation

Behavior Driven Development (BDD) is a form of software testing that involves creating human-readable descriptions of user requirements to define software tests.

Behavior Driven Development is a branch of Test Driven Development (TDD), and similar to Domain Driven Design (DDD) in that a shared vocabulary across stakeholders, developers and domain experts must be established early on, so that entities, events and outputs relevant to users are defined and named to facilitate consistent collaboration across team members.

From this foundational shared vocabulary, a domain-specific language (DSL) is then derived to encode system tests like User Acceptance Tests (UAT). The resulting domain-specific language is then considered shared among stakeholders, and is used to write each user story which forms the basis for each test.

The language formed in this process is entirely focused on the value that a customer or user should get from the software, and should not be focused on prescribing specific user interface designs or how the software should be built to achieve that value. This practice helps ensure the team and customers are working with the same common language and understanding, to avoid confusion and costly rework later on in the project due to miscommunication.

Behavior Driven Development in Action

To provide an example, a user story for a Behavior Driven Development test for software that manages food delivery could be:

Story: Delivery to location As a delivery user
In order to receive food
I want to see delivery progress
Given that I have location in my order
And I have payment method in my order
And I have food in my order
When I send order
Then I should see delivery progress
And I should receive food.

Putting Behavior Driven Development Tests into Action

After writing a generally defined test as in the example above, teams usually either choose to keep going in the direction of BDD, or simply translate the stories directly into automated tests in a general-purpose language like JavaScript.

If you do decide that you want to continue with a BDD-driven process, your team can take the BDD tests and derive or update a functioning domain-specific language that can be used in actual implementation to make the human-readable description actionable as machine-readable code for testing purposes.

Many teams prefer to translate user requirements into functional tests rather than maintain BDD tests for a number of reasons, like the challenges of maintaining a custom domain-specific language that can change over time and the challenges of integrating a BDD framework with modern applications. A lot of teams find that the main value of the BDD tests comes from facilitating communication of high-level requirements across stakeholders. However, rapidly emerging software testing tools like testRigor are now making this process a lot easier, and some teams are finding this to be less and less of a challenge with a service that streamlines test creation from human-usable tests, like testRigor.

For example, using the BDD test sample provided above, “When I send order” would likely need to have a number of specific steps within it, like click “place order”, click “utensils needed”, click “send order”, and so forth. Since all of these aspects likely should be covered by tests, and the general stakeholders usually aren’t concerned with this level of detail, maintaining a domain-specific language for this level of implementation is usually too burdensome for most teams. By implementing a tool like testRigor, this level of complexity and overhead can be reduced greatly for a team by streamlining this process with AI-assisted technology.

As you’re preparing your tests for implementation, you’ll likely want them to be considered black box tests so they perform well in isolation and hold up over time as the project evolves with implementation and requirement changes, code refactoring, and other updates over time. You’ll also want additional coverage like underlying unit tests and communicating with any relevant APIs as needed to confirm the results indicate that everything is working as needed.

Why is Behavior Driven Development helpful?

Behavior Driven Development can be helpful for a number of reasons, even if you don’t want to implement BDD tests to be directly machine-usable in your project.

At a high level, the main value your team can expect to get from BDD practices include:

The Next Evolution: Making BDD Tests Easier to Implement

For software leaders that want to take Behavior Driven Development a step further, a lot of cutting-edge software development teams are using systems like testRigor to streamline BDD tests. Since many teams are not familiar with these emerging technologies, it’s important to take a look at these services that have been around for a long time conceptually but are experiencing particularly rapid adoption in recent years.

For teams using a process that involves Behavior Driven Development, testRigor takes human-usable tests and translates them into actual functional tests, streamlining the entire process after the BDD tests are written. As you can imagine, this can lead to a huge amount of time saved for software development teams that maintain a high level of quality in their software testing process.

If you’re planning to use Behavior Driven Development in your software project, or if you’re already using it, we highly recommend checking out AI-powered services like testRigor to see where your software testing process can be streamlined and improved with as little effort as possible, so your team can spend more time focusing on building value into your software product. If successfully implemented, services like testRigor can provide your team with a significant competitive advantage in your space.