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What is BDD? A Beginner’s Guide

What is BDD?-ACCELQ
Posted On: 7 January 2024

Behavior Driven Development (BDD) is revolutionizing software development, with over 30% of teams adopting it for its alignment with business and user needs. This methodology, blending clear communication and collaboration, goes beyond traditional programming to deliver solutions deeply connected to their purpose. As we explore BDD, we see its growing impact in making software development more efficient, user-centric, and successful.

What is BDD?

When we talk about Behavior-Driven Development, or simply BDD, where software is crafted with a keen focus on what users and businesses actually need. It is an evolution from the Test-Driven Development (TDD) approach. It is about shaping software that fits perfectly with business objectives, almost like tailoring a suit to fit just right.

BDD has a unique approach to using a tailored language for the project’s domain. The goal is to craft scenarios that mirror the business objectives rather than restricting to error free code. This method ensures the software behaves according to the requirements.

What is BDD Testing?

When we talk about BDD testing, It is all about crafting tests that clearly show how the software is supposed to act. The cool part? These tests are written in Gherkin – a super straightforward language. It's not just for the technical teams, anyone on the team can understand the tests. The beauty of BDD testing is in its straightforward format:

  • Start with a Condition: Describe the starting scenario or ‘Given’ state.
  • Describe the Action: Explain what happens next, or the ‘When’ part.
  • Define the Outcome: Finally, specify what should result from the action, the ‘Then’ part.

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Why Is BDD Important?

Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) streamlines software development by focusing on application behavior to meet business needs. It addresses unclear requirements by fostering collaboration among key stakeholders:

  • Collaboration: Unites Business, Development, and QA teams.
  • Plain Language: Ensures mutual understanding using tests in simple English.
  • User Centric: Aligns development with user expectations and business objectives.
  • Clear Communication: Uses a common language for all team members.
  • Outcome-Focused: Drives development towards specific behavioral outcomes.

BDD is about creating the right product through clear, collaborative, and focused practices.

The Many Benefits of BDD

As we’ve seen above, BDD is the ideal solution for addressing the challenges associated with transitioning to and running an agile development model. To that end, the benefits of BDD include:

Benefits of BDD- ACCELQ

Waste Reduction

Because BDD is a user-centric process, it automatically leads to a reduction in the waste associated with traditional methodologies.

BDD allows developers to focus their efforts on critical areas of the system, such as:

  • Guidance and User Experience
  • Performance and Security
  • UI and UX Design
  • Dependability and Reliability
  • Coding Standards and Quality Assurance

Faster Product Delivery

BDD is a collaborative model that focuses on user insights — i.e., what the user wants to achieve, and how they will achieve it. Besides, the value proposition of BDD lies in filling the gap between technology and business stakeholders.

Such clarity and concreteness in direction, alongside frequent conversations, product demos, and review sessions, help encourage the early detection and resolution of issues at an early stage of development. As a result, the development team is able to deliver a platform/application with the desired behavior within the stipulated time frame and budget.

Changes in the Workflow and Process

With the introduction of BDD test, the entire workflow and process of a project are remastered. More specifically, there is a shift in responsibility amongst all members. The business analysts, developers, and testers share the same stage throughout the development process.

As such, teams can quickly address feedback and manage changes, saving time in the long run. Moreover, stakeholders can now focus on developing working software instead of spending time writing comprehensive documentation.

Automated Test Case Management and Completeness

Given that BDD focuses on writing automated tests, the overall completeness of applied tests is significantly higher than other development models.

With increased test coverage, there is a reduction in the number of defects as well as the rework required to fix them. Further, the automated tests are sources of feedback ideal for continuous improvement of the quality of software being shipped.

Challenges of BDD

Since we’re talking about keeping the entire system behavior in check — i.e., how it acts in various contexts and scenarios — there is always a requirement for utmost engagement across the team. In that light, the commitment and involvement of every stakeholder is a significant challenge for BDD.

Another set of challenges:

  • Clear Language but Ambiguous Understanding: Even though BDD emphasizes the use of natural language to describe expected behavior, there can still be misinterpretations. One person’s understanding of a phrase or scenario might differ from another’s.
  • Overhead and Complexity: Introducing BDD can add complexity to the development process, especially if the team is unfamiliar with the methodology. Writing and maintaining behavior specifications can be time-consuming.
  • Tooling: BDD often relies on specific open-source tools to define and run behavior specifications. Learning and integrating these tools can be challenging and might sometimes lead to technical issues.

How Does BDD Work?

Behavior-driven development is a methodology in Agile software development that focuses on delivering what users expect from an application. This user-centric approach steers development teams to prioritize essential behaviors, effectively minimizing unnecessary complexity in the software.

Example of BDD Feature: Product Search

Feature: Product Search

In this BDD feature, each scenario represents a different aspect of the product search functionality.

Objective: Allow users to search for products using keywords.

Scenario 1: Successful Product Search

  • Given the user is on the homepage
  • When the user enters ‘sneakers’ in the search bar
  • And clicks the ‘Search’ button
  • Then the user should see a list of products related to ‘sneakers’

Scenario 2: No Results Found

  • Given the user is on the homepage
  • When the user enters ‘xyz123’ in the search bar
  • And clicks the ‘Search’ button
  • Then the user should see a message ‘No products found’

Scenario 3: Search Suggestion

  • Given the user is on the homepage
  • When the user starts typing ‘snea’ in the search bar
  • And clicks the ‘Search’ button
  • Then the user should see suggestions like ‘sneakers’, ‘sneaker socks’, ‘sneaker cleaner’

BDD Best Practices

Write Scenarios Early

Begin writing test scenarios as early as possible to define software behavior and understand potential issues.

One Behavior per Scenario

Each scenario should cover exactly one behavior for clarity and ease of automation.

Use Background Wisely

Place steps repeated in every scenario in the Background to avoid redundancy.

Reuse Step Definitions

Frequently used step definitions should be reused across various scenarios.

Data Tables and Scenario Outlines

For large data sets, employ Data Tables and Scenario Outlines for efficient handling.

Tags for Organization

Tags help organize and run specific scenario groups.

Write in a Declarative Way

Scenarios should be written from the user’s perspective, focusing on behavior rather than technical details.

BDD Tools and Frameworks

Behavior Driven Development tools stand out for their effectiveness and ease of integration. These tools cater to different aspects of BDD implementation and complement to various project needs.

Cucumber

A versatile BDD tool known for using Gherkin, a user-friendly language. Ideal for various programming environments, Cucumber simplifies collaboration between technical and non-technical team members.

SpecFlow

Tailored for .NET projects, SpecFlow operates like Cucumber but is optimized for the .NET framework. It's perfect for integrating BDD into complex .NET applications converting business requirements into testable code.

In a Nutshell

In conclusion, Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) is not just another buzzword in the software development industry. It represents a significant shift towards a more collaborative and user-focused approach to building software. Through BDD, teams can enhance productivity and ensure the consistent delivery of high-value features.

Interested in taking your BDD strategy to the next level? Discover how ACCELQ can revolutionize your approach to software development with its cutting-edge automation and BDD solutions. Embrace the future of development with ACCELQ – where innovation meets efficiency. Explore ACCELQ Today.

Geosley Andrades

Director, Product Evangelist at ACCELQ

Geosley is a Test Automation Evangelist and Community builder at ACCELQ. Being passionate about continuous learning, Geosley helps ACCELQ with innovative solutions to transform test automation to be simpler, more reliable, and sustainable for the real world.

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