Where does BDD is used in the test automation pyramid?
Unit tests, integration tests, user interface (UI) tests, and many more are a part of test-driven development. There are many methods for creating and managing these tests, but in recent years, Agile development teams have favoured the idea of a testing pyramid as one of the most effective. Here are the different levels of the test going from top to bottom:
- User Integration or UT Test
- System Integration Test
- Unit Test
- Manual Test
There are several levels in the test automation pyramid, and as Mr. John Ferguson Smart explained – “BDD can be implemented anywhere where a business rule is applied. A BDD scenario is a way of expressing acceptance criteria or a business rule. An example of a Business Rule in a business readable way that you agree with your customer or stakeholder. When you decide on some rules to automate, it is tested on what is called as Lowest Level of Testing, and it could be any level in the automation test pyramid.”
Steps required to implement Behavior-driven development strategy
A five-step, iterative process that includes defining the Behaviors, writing the tests, automating the tests, running the tests, and repeating is required for implementing BDD. These documented examples become assets over time, allowing your team to make rapid system changes confidently. The code reflects the documentation, which reflects everyone’s shared understanding of the problem space in this constantly evolving and shared understanding.
Step 1: Define the Behavior
The real goal here is to obtain useful, operational software for the company. The quickest way to accomplish this is to hold conversations with everyone involved in the software’s conception and delivery.
To that end, the first step is to take a pending system change, known as a user story, and discuss concrete examples of new functionalities to investigate. Use email marketing tools to poll your users and gather their suggestions before making decisions.
Step 2: Write the Tests
The next step is to automate the documentation of those examples. You can then see if there is an agreement. Once a valuable example has been identified during the discovery sessions, each example can be formulated as structured documentation. It allows everyone involved to quickly confirm that they have a common understanding of what needs to be built.
Step 3: Automate the tests
The third step is to put each documented example’s Behavior into action, beginning with the automated test to guide code development. Once the team has created it, an executable specification can be used to guide the development of the implementation. Without the system, each example can now be used as a test. This test is invalid because the described Behavior has yet to be implemented.
Step 4: Run the Tests
You can create a test set and run your project’s tests in the order you want with test items. BDD tests can be included in test items to become a regular part of your project’s test run.
Step 5: Repeat
You can run the BDD scenarios to check the Behavior of your system after defining your scenarios and putting the step definitions into practice. Ideally, the scenarios can be executed manually or automatically using a BDD testing framework.
It is easy to understand the concept of implementing Behavior driven development when we take the following example in the Given-When-Then template:
This example represents a student who has some unfinished classes and wants to request a revised class schedule. For this scenario, the student should be logged into the website. The GIVEN describes the situation, whereas WHEN describes the action which triggers the scenario. THEN describes the outcome: the customized training plan is viewable.
So, the Given-When-Then technique allows non-technical people to describe what they expect from the product or feature perfectly.
Best Practice for Implementing BDD
Here are some BDD best practices that you should follow.
- Avoid Lengthy Descriptions
Only a logical and concise title and description should be used for every feature. Long feature descriptions are frequently tedious to read and frequently turn off stakeholders. Generally, a feature should be a brief sentence summarising its scope and context.
- Choose a Single Format for Your Features
Choosing the formats, you use for writing features is another excellent feature for behavior-driven development. All feature files should adhere to the format you decide on. As a result, anyone new to the project will find it simple to understand the features and context.
- Keep the Background Short
Use a background for shared steps for each scenario in your feature file whenever possible. The background eliminates many repetitive tasks, and you can prevent duplication in feature files with proper usage. Maintain a brief background, ideally no more than four lines.
Benefits of Applying BDD in Software Testing
Acceptance tests are the first step in BDD software design. They offer a strong communication base for the development team and stakeholders. The major advantages offered by BDD in software testing are:
It is less likely that requirements and acceptance criteria will be misunderstood because BDD enables you to communicate requirements.
Each development can be linked to specific business goals using BDD.
When your team adopts BDD, much like TDD, they gain confidence in the form of a test suite.
User needs can be met through software development thanks to the BDD methodology, which makes for happy users who are good for business.
The BDD codes are easy to integrate with all the automation test servers, like cucumber test execution can easily run on Jenkins, an open-source automation server supporting hundreds of plugins for building, deploying, and automating any project.
The most significant benefit of behavior-driven development is improving code quality, which lowers project risk and variable costs like maintenance.
In BDD, interactions between users and developers are used to generate code. By implication, this means that users generate and evaluate examples of software behavior.
Challenges of Applying BDD in Software Testing
The challenges of implementing BDD in software testing can be described as follows:
- BDD has resulted in excessively tightly coupled Behavior due to protracted stakeholder meetings and the need to include all key stakeholders in the BDD process.
- As Mr. John Ferguson Smart is an esteemed international speaker, consultant, author, and trainer with expertise in Agile Test Automation, BDD, and more.
- BDD requires meticulously prepared software for the Gherkin scripts to articulate the business requirements effectively. It can sometimes counter the fast pace of Agile teams working off brief specifications.
- One of the BDD principles assumes that it is difficult to know all of the requirements from the start and that we do not need to define them all in the first phase of a project, but rather that stakeholders’ knowledge will evolve throughout the project.
- BDD will necessitate experience in designing and writing automated acceptance tests for some complex applications.
Behavior Driven Development is a very clever strategy when using agile methodology. BDD offers a platform for working independently with various technologies, so it is always advised to start your development or testing with it.
By encouraging effective stakeholder collaboration, fostering clear communication, and shifting the focus from testing as an isolated activity to a shared understanding of desired behaviors, behavior-driven development (BDD) has the potential to revolutionise software testing.