Gáspár Nagy on software

coach, trainer and bdd addict, creator of SpecFlow

Testing manually vs. SpecFlow

by Gáspár on May 6, 2011

No, I cannot answer this general question. Just had a nice story in our team and since I’m sure that Mátyás and Viktor will never blog this, I do it now on behalf of them.

We are working on a small project, where we have to implement a smaller module for an existing system. Interesting project, but not BDD at all. Especially there are no automated tests.

Since the project is really small and it has to fit into this bigger existing system, we decided not to introduce SpecFlow there (was a hard decision, you can imagine :).

We are near to finish the first sprint (well, we have introduced Scrum and user stories to the project still), so we started to think about the demo and that we should some manual testing. But how?

The majority of Sprint 1 was a background job that had to process some data depending on some complex rules. So we sat down after the daily standup yesterday and brainstormed the different cases we want to test. “Surprisingly” the cases were pretty much look like acceptance criteria illustrated with examples. As there were too many cases (11) for manual testing, we have selected the 5 most important to be tested.

We had two choices: either we try to find matching data in our test database and test the cases with them or we create test data for our own (with SQL scripts?).

Finally we have chosen the third option: decided to create our own test data, but through Gherkin & SpecFlow. It was a risky decision (budget, deadline, etc.), so we decided for a 1 dev, 1 day time-boxed spike to do it. This was at 9:30am.

To make the story short, at 17:11, the Gherkin files were created and bound for all 11 tests… and they were green (like Cucumber).

And the funniest thing is, that we’ve found a bug… a very tricky one that would not have shown up in the manual tests most probably!

This was very convincing! To be honest, I did not expect to be finished in one day. I was asking Mátyás today morning in the standup carefully, what happened. He said: “Yeah, I’m sitting next to Viktor and doing some pair programming”. I was asking back (trying to hold back my excitement): “And what happened with the SpecFlow tests?” He said very calmly (he is a cool guy): “Ah, yeah the SpecFlow tests are done already. They are all green”.

Not even mentioning the extra benefit, that we can show the automated tests to the customer so they can also create new test variants quickly.

So, thanks for the good job, guys!

P.S.: Just to improve your C# skills, I also share buggy code (without comment):

a ?? 0 + b ?? 0

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