Software craftsman do not only test their code through unit testing they also have to develop an application that meets the requirements defined by the business. Even a well coded, fully tested software can be worthless if it doesn’t have the functionalities wanted by the end users. So, how do you make sure of that ? You do more tests, Acceptance Tests this time ! You write this type of test to validate a User Story. This way you are able to match the functionalities of your application with the desired features. They are formal requirements documents that specify how the system should behave from the business point of view. The audience is the business and the programmers.
For example you might have acceptance tests to check that the login feature is working correctly for each scenario (no input in form, invalid input, correct input etc…).
As acceptance tests are requirements they have to be very specific and written in a language that is understood by the business and by the developers. To do so there are several format to specify the user stories.
“As a <role>, I want <goal/desire> so that <benefit>”
This is a typical user story format. But sometimes it can be too restricted for a proper acceptance test. In that case you can use the Given-When-Then (GWT) pattern especially with the Gherkin language. This Business Readable Domain Specific Language is easy to understand and can be converted to actual tests for the programmers with a tool called Cucumber. If you are working with the Microsoft .NET framework you can use SpecFlow which brings Gherkin and Cucumber into Visual Studio.
Acceptance tests are not unit tests, they allow you to document your software behavior and to match the business requirements. They are proof that the program works technically and functionally.
See you next time for “Testing Strategies“ !