So I was hanging out with a bunch of geeks in Switzerland, having one of those late night conversations, and an idea sort of emerged, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. And then I was thinking that a) I’m useless at following through on ideas and b) I would love someone to take this forwards. So here it is. Our premise was that the value of automated testing is in its repeatability and low investment (in terms of human effort).
At a recent software architecture workshop, I was discussing the ideas behind BDD with a great group of people (more about that soon). One theme that kept coming up was the fact that I needed to write much more about BDD as an entire methodology, and to address the current perception that it is just a repackaging of test-driven development (which, to be fair, is where it started). As I was describing the workings of BDD, I discovered that I had made the assumption that everyone knew what a Story was, in the agile sense of defining a requirement.
At the beginning of this year I wrote a feature article for Better Software magazine, which was published as “Behavior Modification” back in March. The article is now available on my site. It gives an overview of behaviour-driven development, from its origins as a coaching aid for TDD through to its current form as a proven, comprehensive development approach.
Behaviour-driven development started life as an NLP exercise to stem the abuse of the word “test” in “test-driven development”. Since then it has grown into a respectable and proven agile methodology (with a small “m” of course). Dave Astels, the award-winning author, was an early adopter of BDD and has been instrumental in raising its profile. He presented it at Canada on Rails and is taking it to JAOO and SD Best Practices.
So, it’s taken me two years to finally get round to writing down what behaviour-driven development is all about, but I’m pleased with the result. The article has just been published in the March edition of Better Software as “Behavior ((I didn’t quite get away with the UK spelling)) Modification”. I started talking about BDD as an evolution of TDD at the back end of 2003, and played with the idea of a BDD framework, in the form of JBehave, during 2004.
Charles Simonyi introduced himself at a recent workshop with the words: “I was at Xerox PARC in the 70s, Microsoft in the 80s, and working on intentional software in the 90s”. He wasn’t showing off, he was just there. He pioneered WYSIWYG, created Microsoft Word, Excel and Access (as a data visualization tool), championed OO and invented metaprogramming. What this tells me is that when Charles Simonyi thinks he is on to something, it’s probably worth listening.