Today at the Alt.Net conference we discussed Behavior Driven Design. The debate was heated and there were varying opinions on “What is BDD?” and how to implement it. What I am worried about is that I think we did more harm than good with this session in bringing awareness to the .Net community regarding BDD.
The discussion on BDD utilized a Fish Bowl style forum. The issue that I saw from the onset is the bowl was too small for the amount of people that wanted to jump in.
What I wanted to get out of the meeting was consensus on what does BDD mean to the .Net community. I think one of my mistakes in this discussion was to introduce NBehave at the beginning of the discussion and not focus on what BDD is and why you should use it over TDD.
The NBehave framework introduces a Narrator assembly that exposes a Story type for the collection of Agile stories. The contention point is should you do this? Don’t get me wrong debate is a wonderful medium to bring change and churn new ideas but it comes at a cost. The cost in this scenario was focus. I feel that a majority of the participants in this forum left confused and well frankly unimpressed, I can’t blame them.
NBehave brings about a radical evolution of TDD and blurs the line between Acceptance Testing and traditional TDD. The inclusion of the Story Narrative was looked at as a high contention point and not applicable to all development contexts. This was the cultivating reason why we decided to break up the project into these 3 discrete assemblies.
- NBehave.Spec <This contains the specification assertion framework a.k.a. NSpec>
- NBehave.Narrator <This contains the fluent Story type constructs >
- NBehave.Runner <One console runner to run them all>
So if the Story types aren’t applicable to your given development context don’t use them. Use the NBehave.Spec instead. But it doesn’t have to stop there. You can apply a BDD mindset to your current test fixtures now as I have explained here.
My passion for BDD isn’t gone it is simply bruised. I think given the right facilitation, that the ideas and constructs of BDD can make a huge impact in the .Net community. And for those that attended the Alt.Net conference I apologize for the lack of clarity on the subject.
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