Illustration of BDD testing framework
January 17, 2024

BDD Testing & Frameworks to Consider

Continuous Testing

This blog was published July 27, 2021, and has since been updated with new information.

If you have been looking for a way to make your software testing accessible to all team members, you have probably come across BDD testing frameworks. BDD, or behavior-driven development, is continuing to gain traction in the software testing industry. This growth is fueled by the increasing awareness of the benefits associated with BDD testing, which are numerous. Some of these benefits include increased collaboration, improved requirement understanding, and early detection of potential defects. 

BDD implementation is continuing to grow year over year, with the market size of BDD testing tools expected to reach into the multi-millions by the end of the decade. This increase reflects the growing demand for BDD.

BDD frameworks are not only practical, but they are a reliable way for organizations to ensure software quality while meeting the needs of a diverse array of customers.   

There are a variety of BDD frameworks available on the market that work with different programming languages. This article will give an overview of BDD testing, as well as some of the more popular frameworks for your team to consider.   

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What Is BDD Testing? 

BDD (Behavior Driven Development) testing is an agile software development process where testers write test cases in simple language so those with little to know technical expertise can understand them. BDD utilizes business or user-focused language to describe application behavior, making collaboration easier across teams.

BDD can be used for automated acceptance during your continuous testing cycle. Making BDD part of your continuous testing process will help your team give stakeholders fast and easy-to-understand feedback about how your application is functioning — bridging the gap and increasing collaboration between the technical and business sides of an organization.  

Related Reading: How to Achieve Advanced BDD Test Automation With Perfecto & Quantum >>

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Advantages of BDD Testing

A team that incorporates BDD testing into their testing strategy can:

  • Develop use cases to define acceptance criteria for specific application features.
  • Reduce risk.
  • Leverage a common language for stakeholders and developers to communicate about user needs and app quality solutions.
  • Unlock faster delivery due to rapid creation of automated tests that are agreed upon by all parties.
  • Shrink the learning curve and eliminate technical jargon.
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Disadvantages of BDD Testing

Like with any testing capability, there can be detractions. Limitations of BDD testing include:

  • Creates the possibility of a longer process of decision-making when including all key stakeholders.
  • Not an efficient process for small development teams.
  • Requires thoroughly prepared application requirements for Gherkin scripts to accurately meet business needs, thereby potentially hindering the fast-paced approach of Agile teams using exact specifications.
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What Is Gherkin? 

Most BDD tests are written in a business-readable programming language called Gherkin, which describes business behavior without going into detail of how it is implemented. Those frameworks that do not use Gherkin use non-Gherkin domain-specific languages (DSLs) that have BDD-like features. 

Gherkin is broken down into a Given-When-Then language construct: 

  • Given: Context, such as signing up for a free trial. 
  • When: An action that happens due to the previously given context, such as filling out a ‘Free Trial’ form. 
  • Then: The outcome, such as a prompt to set up a ‘Trial’ account.   

By using this breakdown, Gherkin scripts connect the human concept of cause and effect to the input/process/output concept found in software development and testing. In addition to mirroring natural business and user processes, Gherkin is also based on TreeTop Grammar, which exists in over 35 languages. Therefore, users can write Gherkin test scenarios in plain English.

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Stages of BDD Testing

#1 — Discovery

This stage centers around detailed and structured conversations where all stakeholders participate. You can call them brainstorming sessions. These are meant to determine and reach a mutual agreement on goals. Typically, these are framed in use cases and what specifically is required in the use case; who is the user? What do we want them to use? Why would they benefit from it?

Once the user is defined, identifying desired user behavior comes next. Create specific scenarios in which the application will be used. This will help create a shared understanding of use case requirements and the scenarios that will affect them.

#2 — Formulation

Once the predicted user behavior is determined, the development team formulates actionable specifications using Gherkin. These are written in simple language that all stakeholders can understand and validate, which establishes a foundation for developing automated tests. The Formulation Stage sees teams writing scenarios, defining features files, and determining steps needed for implementation of each scenario.

#3 — Automation

Here, the team moves into implementing the behavior determined in the Formulation Stage for each use case within the automated tests. The actionable specifications agreed upon prior informs implementation.

Map each step to the corresponding code and confirm that the automated tests correctly reflect desired user behavior. Automated testing enables efficient and repeatable test execution.

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Examples of BDD Testing Frameworks 

Just like any other instance when you are looking to invest in a new tool, choosing the best BDD framework depends most on your organization’s specific requirements. Yet, there are many BDD frameworks out that can best support your application or how your team operates, such as Cucumber or Quantum. 

Here are some of the most popular BDD testing frameworks that should be on your radar.  


Cucumber is one of the most popular BDD testing frameworks on the market. Originally written in the Ruby programming language, Cucumber now supports a variety of different programming languages, including Java and JavaScript. Cucumber is still particularly popular within the Ruby developer community since many are already familiar with the framework and do not need to learn a new tool for BDD. 

Some organizations implement Cucumber within a Selenium framework to allow for reliable test automation that emphasizes plain language. This allows for:  

  • A shared understanding of how software should perform.  
  • Improved collaboration between testers, coders, and decision-makers.  
  • Automated web testing across browsers at scale.   


Quantum is an open-source, Java-based BDD testing framework designed by Perfecto. For organizations looking to expand their automation efforts, Perfecto’s built-in Quantum integration is a great BDD option for both developers and test engineers.  

Quantum BDD automated tests are executed in the Perfecto cloud, keeping these executions stable on clean and secured Android/iOS devices and desktop browsers. Users can also enjoy all the common features of Cucumber BDD, such as data tables, scenario outlines, examples, and backgrounds. 


SpecFlow is of the most in-demand .NET BDD frameworks. There are two versions of SpecFlow: open-source and premium, known as SpecFlow+. The free and open-source version requires a separate unit test runner, such as MSTest or Unit, to execute test scenarios, while SpecFlow+ comes with a runner suitable for BDD testing included. The premium version of SpecFlow also includes other features, such as Microsoft Excel integrations, living documentation, and premium support.  


JBehave is a leading BDD framework for Java and other JVM languages, such as Groovy, Kotlin, and Scala. Also known as one of the original BDD frameworks, JBehave is especially well-known among developers and test engineers alike.  

While it offers some very useful features such as composite steps and the parameter injections for parameterizing tests, it is also important to note that JBehave does not offer some common Gherkin features. Teams looking for a Java or JVM-language BDD framework that is fully compliant often add Cucumber-JVM to their list of considerations. 


Codecpetion is a popular framework for PHP. While inspired by BDD, Codeception is a full-stack testing framework that also does unit testing, API testing, and functional testing, in addition to BDD testing.  

Teams looking for a more flexible type of developer-focused testing framework are typically more attracted to Codeception over other frameworks. 

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Drive BDD Testing With Perfecto 

Take advantage of all the benefits of behavior-driven development (BDD) with Perfecto. Improve speed and quality at scale with a solution that lets teams quickly translate BDD requirements written in Gherkin into functional test steps for anyone to understand, automate, and troubleshoot. 

Additional benefits of BDD testing with Perfecto include:

  • Hit the ground automating with no-code creation.
  • Enable shift left testing for less rework.
  • Democratize quality across your organization.

For simplicity that doesn't cut corners, be sure to conduct your BDD testing with Perfecto. 

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Bottom Line 

BDD testing is a great way to shift your testing left, and provide greater transparency across your organization, from team members to stakeholders. Regardless of which programming language your developers or test engineers prefer, there is BDD framework for you. 

Perfecto supports a wide range of BDD frameworks, enabling teams to improve speed and quality at scale. Combined with other integrations across the entire DevOps toolchain, Perfecto makes application testing a swift and streamlined process while offering the following benefits:

  • Simple English for streamlined testing.
  • Single, efficient framework for web and mobile devices (iOS and Android).
  • Full test platform complete with flexible test creation and scalable execution and reporting.

See how Perfecto boosts quality and velocity with BDD. Sign up for a free 14-day trial today.

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