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Aastha Sinha
MarCom Executive
Aastha, a MarCom Executive at Nitor Infotech is passionate about writing. She loves to explore different spaces and believe in the notion of le... Read More

Picture constructing a house with full involvement from the architect, engineers, and homeowner. They have a clear picture of what the final product should be. This is the essence of Behavior-Driven Development (BDD).

BDD (Behavior Driven Development) is an agile software development method. It focuses on the behavior a user expects from the software. Instead of technical specifications, BDD uses scenarios written in a collaborative way. This helps in ensuring everyone involved understands the desired functionalities.

Let us dive into the basics of BDD and understand how it speeds up the software development process. Before this, let me help you discover the difference between TDD and BDD.

TDD vs BDD

TDD and BDD, both agile practices, prioritize testing but diverge in focus. TDD begins with developers writing unit tests to define small code segment behavior. The code is then written to pass these tests.

BDD focuses on the bigger picture. Stakeholders collaborate to write scenarios describing user interactions and desired system behavior. These scenarios guide development and testing, ensuring software delivers expected functionalities.

So, TDD focuses on developer-centric low-level code functionality. While BDD fosters collaboration and validates the user experience.

After attaining a clear knowledge of TDD and BDD, let’s look at the reason behind naming the concept as BDD.

Why is it called BDD?

Dan North, a tech consultant, introduced the concept of BDD. It united key stakeholders: the business, development, and QA teams.

The name “Behavior-Driven Development” reflects the core principle of the method. It drives development by focusing on desired software behaviors. It prioritizes user experience and aligns software development with specific user needs.

With clear communication, BDD aids teams in building software that is:

  • More user-centric
  • Less prone to errors
  • Delivered faster

Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) is gaining serious traction. Market analysts predict a high CAGR for BDD tools between 2022 and 2029. Analysts project the market to soar, reaching millions of USD by 2029. This shows the escalating demand for BDD solutions in the industry.

With this, we have now come to a part where we’ll learn about BDD frameworks and principles.

BDD Principles

The three core principles of Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) are:

BDD Principles

1. Focus on desired behavior or outcomes: BDD emphasizes desired outcomes over technical intricacies. It prioritizes what the software should do from the user’s viewpoint.

2. Collaboration across teams: BDD relies on clear communication among all stakeholders in development. It helps ensure alignment and prevent misunderstandings.

3. Use of a common language: BDD expresses scenarios in natural and human-readable language. It enables everyone to grasp the intended software behavior, irrespective of technical expertise.

BDD Frameworks

BDD frameworks offer structure and aid in implementing BDD practices in software development. Here are some popular BDD frameworks –

1. Cucumber:

Cucumber

It is an open-source framework written in Ruby. It supports various programming languages like Java, JavaScript, Python, and more. Cucumber’s simplicity, flexibility, and extensive documentation are well-known.


2. SpecFlow:

Specflow

It is an open-source BDD framework designed for .NET development. It integrates with popular .NET testing tools like NUnit and Microsoft Test Runner.

While not a framework, Gherkin serves as a popular syntax used by many BDD frameworks. Users write Gherkin scenarios in a natural language format. It uses keywords like given, “when”, “then” , “and”, “but”. It makes them easy to understand for everyone involved in the development process.

Let’s explore how employing BDD can help speed up the software development process.

How do BDD frameworks boost software development?

BDD boosts development speed through clear communication, defined requirements, and smooth testing. Here’s how:

  • Shared Understanding: BDD uses scenarios and examples written in a collaborative way. It ensures that everyone involved has a clear idea of the desired software behavior. This reduces ambiguity and misinterpretations that can lead to rework and delays.
  • Focus on Functionality: BDD emphasizes the “what” rather than the “how.” The scenarios define what the system should do. This allows the development team to determine the most efficient approach. This keeps the focus on delivering the core functionalities faster.
  • Early & Continuous Testing: BDD ensures continuous testing. This early detection catches bugs early to avoid bigger issues later. Automated BDD tests deliver feedback, enabling quicker course correction.
  • Improved Quality & Reduced Rework: BDD ensures early defect detection which minimizes the need for later rework. This translates to faster delivery of higher quality software.

BDD promotes a collaborative and iterative approach to software development. This results in faster development cycles and more efficient resource usage.

Let’s continue exploring the business benefits and best practices of BDD.

Advantages of BDD

The key advantages of BDD include:

Advantages of BDD

1. Improved communication: BDD utilizes a shared language (e.g., Gherkin) to write scenarios. It promotes clear communication and collaboration across teams. This reduces ambiguity and misinterpretations, leading to fewer rework cycles and faster development.

2. Clearer requirements: BDD scenarios outline the system’s expected user behavior. It ensures alignment and minimizes the risk of incorrect features or functionalities.

3. Enhanced test coverage & quality: BDD combines with TDD, where tests precede coding. This enables early defect detection for higher quality software with fewer bugs. Additionally, teams automate BDD scenarios for continuous testing. This offers ongoing feedback and ensures quality across development stages.

4. Faster development cycles: BDD promotes a focus on essential functionalities and user needs. Prioritizing essentials allows development teams to skip unnecessary features and iterate. It will lead to quicker delivery of valuable software.

5. Increased agility & adaptability: BDD scenarios are adaptable documents, updated as requirements evolve. This agility allows teams to adapt to changing needs.

6. Reduced costs: By enhancing communication and early defect detection, BDD reduces rework costs. It prevents unnecessary feature development, thereby cutting development expenses.

Let us explore the best practices to make the best of BDD.

Best Practices for BDD

Consider these best practices to make the most out of BDD:

  • Early scenario writing: Don’t wait for coding to begin. Start writing system behavior scenarios early in the development cycle. This clarifies requirements, identifies potential issues, and gets everyone on the same page.
  • Focus on features and scenarios: BDD breaks features into specific scenarios. Maintain clear feature definitions and focus scenarios on single behaviors. It helps improve readability and maintainability.
  • Background steps: When many scenarios share a similar setup, use background steps. This reduces redundancy and keeps your scenarios clean and concise.
  • Reusable steps: For repeated actions across scenarios, consider crafting reusable step definitions. This promotes code maintainability and reduces the effort required to write new scenarios.
  • Data tables & scenario outlines: Use data tables and scenario outlines for testing datasets. They help establish a unified scenario template with diverse data. This enhances efficiency and readability.
  • Tags & mapping: Organize scenarios with tags for easy filtering based on specific functionalities. Map scenarios back to requirements for traceability and easier impact analysis.
  • Declarative vs. Imperative language: Write scenarios in a declarative way. Focus on the expected outcome rather than dictating how the system should achieve it. This keeps the scenarios user-centric and avoids technical jargon.
  • Collaboration & communication: BDD thrives on collaboration. It involves all stakeholders (developers, testers, business analysts) in writing and reviewing scenarios. This ensures clear communication and a shared understanding of the software’s behavior.
  • Simple & focused scenarios: Aim for short, clear, and well-defined scenarios. Avoid complex logic or technical details within the scenarios. Focus on describing the user’s interaction and the expected outcome.

These best practices facilitate seamless integration of BDD into your software development process. This will ensure enhanced communication, accelerated development cycles, and superior software quality.

Explore behavior driven development process and top advantages experienced by BDD users.

Reach out to us at Nitor Infotech to learn more about product engineering services.

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