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Book Review: BDD in Action

If you have at least some professional software engineering experience you probably have heard of BDD and probability is high that you just think of Gherkin and GIVEN-WHEN-THEN when you think of BDD. But actually BDD is much, much more as this book illustrates:

Book: BDD in Action

BDD in Action

The book starts with a quick tour on what BDD is really about and already there it gets clear that BDD is much more than just writing tests with GIVEN-WHEN-THEN phrases. The rest of the book is divided into four parts.

The first part is all about the business. It explains how to define the business goals (the “why”) and the capabilities (the “how”) of the system to be built. It continues explaining how to come up with features (the “what”) and how those can be broken down into stories and illustrated by concrete examples. The emphasis is thereby always on communication and collaboration between business/domain experts and the team. In essence, it is all about “building the right system”.

The second part describes how features and examples are turned into acceptance criteria and how those are turned into “executable specification”. The key message is: “Don’t write tests, write executable specifications”. To achieve this, this part gives an overview on Gherkin and how to write good BDD scenarios.

The third part focuses on how to automate the scenarios written in Gherkin. It explains design aspects as well as how to use different automation frameworks in different programming languages. If finally shows that the idea of “executable specifications” is not limited to automating (business) acceptance criteria but that it can also be beneficial when being used for describing and verifying lower level technical aspects.

The last part of the book shows how BDD can even support project management to track the progress of the project and how it can be integrated into any CI/CD pipeline.

In summary, BDD is not just about writing tests using GIVEN-WHEN-THEN. Instead, it is what the name already indicates: a complete software development approach.

If you want to get the maximum benefit out of BDD for your project, this book is worth reading, even if you have some practical experience with Gherkin and BDD tools already.

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