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Sunday, September 7, 2014

What is the difference between Test Driven development and Acceptance Test Driven development?

Test driven development (TDD) and Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD) are related to each other. TDD is a developer’s best tool for helping in creating properly written code units i.e., modules, classes and functions, that carry out the desired function properly. On the other side, ATDD acts as a tool for communication between the developers, testers and the customers to define requirements. Another difference between TDD and ATDD is that the former requires test automation while ATDD does not. But ATDD might require automated regression testing. The tests written for ATDD can be used for deriving tests for TDD. This is so because a part of the requirement is implemented in the code. It is important that the tests must be readable by the customers, but it is not required for TDD tests.
TDD involves writing the test cases and making them fail before the code is written. Next enough code is written to make the tests pass and then refactor it as per the requirements. The tests must pass after it. The primary focus of TDD is on methods and single classes i.e., the low level functionality. This leads to much flexible code. Now what is the need for ATDD? The reason is that the TDD just tells you that your code is fine but it doesn’t tell you why that piece of code is even required. However, in ATDD, in the early stages of the software development process itself the acceptance criteria are stated. In the succeeding stages of development process this criteria is used for guiding the development. ATDD is more like a collaborative activity engaging everyone from developers and testers to business analysts and product owners. It ensures the implementation process is understood by everyone involved in the development process.
There is a third thing called the BDD or the behaviour driven development. This one is quite similar to TDD except that we call tests as specs. The focus of the BDD is on system’s behaviour rather than its implementation details. It also focuses on the interactions taking place in software development. Developers following this approach make use of two languages i.e., the domain language and their native language. TDD consists of unit tests while ATDD uses acceptance tests. Plus, the focus is on high level. BDD is required for making the product more focussed on customer. BDD allows the collaboration of developers with other stakeholders easy. Using TDD techniques and tools requires technical skills because you have to know the details of the object. Non – technical stakeholders would be lost while following the unit tests of TDD. BDD provides a clearer view of the purpose of the system. TDD provides this view to the developers.
The result of the methodology of ATDD is entirely based up on the communication that takes place between the developers, testers and their customers. A number of practices are involved in ATDD such as Behavior driven testing, specification by example, story test – driven development, example – driven development and so on. With these processes, the developers are able to understand the needs of the customers before the actual implementation. The difference between TDD and ATDD arises because of the latter’s emphasis on the collaboration between the three i.e., developers, testers and customers. The acceptance testing is encompassed in ATDD but in one way it is similar to TDD i.e., it insists on writing the tests before coding can be started. These tests provide an external view of the system from the point of view of a user.

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