Development methodologies and cultures evolve continuously to support the stakeholders in a better way and deliver a high-quality product. From DevOps practices to Test Driven Development (TDD), companies do their best to adopt a development environment that reduces their cost and efforts while increasing product quality. Behavior Driven Development (BDD) was introduced in 2006 by Dan North to drive efficient collaboration between all the parties involved in the software development life cycle – Developers, QA, Product Managers, Business Analysts, etc. BDD focuses on a comprehensive and shared understanding of software behavior with the help of domain-specific language and examples to decide on new features. BDD, coupled with effective performance testing, yield a product with high-quality code and robust functionality.
What is Behavior Driven Development?
BDD incorporates a clear understanding of individual functionalities and overall behavior of a software application done through a discussion between all the stakeholders involved in the development, promotion, and usage of the application. A consistent and formal vocabulary is developed, and functionality is defined in the human-understandable language. Test cases for the application are also written in natural languages so that non-programmers can also read and understand what is expected from the application.
BDD is an agile development process that follows the Given/When/Then structure for describing a user flow. For example, If you are developing a banking application then following is a formal user flow description:
- Functionality: Making a transfer
- Given the User-A has $100 in his account and User-B has $200 in his account.
- When the User-A transfers $50 to User-B.
- Then User-A should have $50 in his account and User-B should have $250 in his account.
BDD drives application development from a business value perspective instead of getting into defining the user interface. After all the features and functionalities are described in the above structure, these are used to design and develop the application.
BDD is driven by business value and centered around the user’s point of view of the application. Following are some key benefits that make a case for the importance of BDD:
- All design and development work is directly related to business objectives.
- Your application is developed from a user point of view resulting in better user experience.
- The business-focused approach prioritizes delivering business-critical features first.
- All stakeholders share the same information and evaluate the application on common ground.
- A shared language and vocabulary for functionalities description enable efficient communication between teams.
- Excellent code quality is maintained from day one, as there is no confusion about the end result and user flow.
Advantages Of BDD Approach
BDD offers numerous advantages for an agile development process. By delivering business-critical features first and prioritizing user experience, BDD drives product success through efficient collaboration and communication.
Improved Development Efficiency
Concrete definition of expected application functionalities makes the development easy to follow for technical and non-technical parties. Less rework and modifications result in reduced maintenance costs.
Positive Feedback Loop
As all teams have a shared understanding of the application, developers get faster feedback to enhance the application and be on track.
Having well-defined functionalities makes it possible to easily create test cases and validate them efficiently. Functional and non-functional test cases can be automated easily with a better understanding of what is expected and when. This brings down the cost of application testing.
Defining functionalities from the user perspective enables designers and developers to think from an end user perspective rather than an application perspective to solve user challenges. This creates intrinsic business value and enhanced customer experience.
Building from well-defined individual functionality helps writing code that is loosely coupled with highly cohesive architecture from day one. It significantly improves the stability, scalability, and testability.
BDD tools usually support automation of technical documentation and user manuals using BDD specifications with clear and concise language.
Disadvantages of BDD Approach
BDD was introduced to solve issues faced in the TDD approach. It is a conceptual process that doesn’t mainly rely on specific tools and programming languages. This makes it hard to employ with less-experienced programmers, especially if they don’t have TDD experience.
BDD requires having a dedicated team of developers that can effectively communicate with the client or end users to document their expectations and feedback. It can result in an additional overhead based-on how the development company approaches the communication process.
BDD Tools & Frameworks
BDD has gained significant adoption among developer communities, and various tools have evolved to support this approach. The following are some widely used tools for BDD approach:
It is used for defining executable specifications of application functionalities in plain text with Gherkin syntax. It provides cohesiveness between Requirements, Test cases, and Documentation using domain-specific business language.
It is an open-source tool for the .NET platform and uses Gherkin syntax.
It is built on top of Cucumber and very simple to use. It is used for Python-based applications.
It is another open-source tool for the Java framework and automates BDD specifications. It can also be used for python, C#, and Ruby.
It is also an open-source tool and very similar to cucumber. It has its own JBehave syntax and supports Gherkin syntax.
Load Testing Code Quality & Functionality
Performance testing is crucial for the success of the BDD approach. BDD focuses on developing an application from an end user perspective; it makes the user experience a top priority. Performance testing also focuses on user experience in real-world scenarios. Another good reason for performance testing in BDD is that most of the tools used in BDD support automating documentation, either technical or user manual. For an effective BDD, you would want to automate your functional and non-functional testing.
Performance testing, especially load testing, is vital for maintaining code-quality and robust functionality to ensure your application doesn’t break under peak conditions. Your feature specifications in BDD might work well, but you need to test them for load conditions. All applications behave differently under a variety of load conditions and real-world scenarios. It is advised to incorporate load testing for BDD in the development environment and the production environment. You can also couple the load testing with performance monitoring solutions in your production environment to ensure the accessibility, availability, and proactive identification and resolution of bottlenecks.
LoadView for Load Testing in BDD
LoadView is a cloud-based performance testing tool for testing the expected user load and finding breaking points in your website or mobile application when peak traffic conditions arise. LoadView emulates users with real browsers and devices with simple scripts to automate the load test for your applications with BDD best practices. LoadView also helps you test your website or native mobile applications from different geo-locations, creating the most realistic environment to measure end users’ performance.
LoadView doesn’t require any coding knowledge to write test cases that make it perfect for a BDD approach, as all stakeholders can use it with the same efficiency. It’s EveryStep Web Recorder enables point and click scripting for business-critical user transactions with ease.
LoadView is built for the following:
- Web page load testing
- Native mobile application load testing
- API load testing
- Web page load testing
- Load/stress testing for mobile applications
Conclusion: Behavior Driven Development (BDD) and Performance Testing
BDD is driven by providing business value to end users as early as possible by developing and releasing business-critical features first. BDD tools focus on user-experience and automate the documentation process. Performance testing can be effectively automated in the BDD approach to drive further benefits from BDD.
Load testing is critical in BDD to ensure code quality and functionality of the website and mobile applications. Load testing requires creating the most realistic end user scenario. Using a tool like LoadView for Load testing in the BDD approach will make sure the user experience doesn’t go down under peak traffic conditions.