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behave is behaviour-driven development, Python style

Behavior-driven development (or BDD) is an agile software development technique that encourages collaboration between developers, QA and non-technical or business participants in a software project.

behave uses tests written in a natural language style, backed up by Python code.

First, install *behave*.

Now make a directory called "example". In that directory create a file called "example.feature" containing:

Feature: showing off behave

  Scenario: run a simple test
     Given we have behave installed
      when we implement a test
      then behave will test it for us!

Make a new directory called "example/steps". In that directory create a file called "" containing:

from behave import *

@given('we have behave installed')
def impl(context):

@when('we implement a test')
def impl(context):
    assert True is not False

@then('behave will test it for us!')
def impl(context):
    assert context.failed is False

Run behave:

% behave
Feature: showin off behave # example/example.feature:1

  Scenario: run a simple test        # example/example.feature:3
    Given we have behave installed   # example/steps/
    When we implement a test         # example/steps/
    Then behave will test it for us! # example/steps/

1 feature passed, 0 failed, 0 skipped
1 scenario passed, 0 failed, 0 skipped
3 steps passed, 0 failed, 0 skipped, 0 undefined

Now, continue reading to learn how to the most of behave. To get started, we recommend the tutorial and then the feature testing language and api references.

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Version History

Version 1.2.2 - August 21, 2012

  • Fix for an error when an assertion message contains Unicode characters.
  • Don't repr() the step text in snippets to avoid turning Unicode text into backslash hell.

Version 1.2.1 - August 19, 2012

  • Fixes for JSON output.
  • Move summary reporter and snippet output to stderr.

Version 1.2.0 - August 18, 2012

  • Changed step name provided in snippets to avoid issues with the @step decorator.
  • Use setup to create console scripts.
  • Fixed installation on Windows.
  • Fix ANSI escape sequences for cursor movement and text colourisation.
  • Fixes for various command-line argument issues.
  • Only print snippets once per unique step.
  • Reworked logging capture.
  • Fixes for dry-run mode.
  • General fixes.

Version 1.1.0 - January 23, 2012

  • Context variable now contains current configuration.
  • Context values can now be tested for (name in context) and deleted.
  • __file__ now available inside step definition files.
  • Fixes for various formatting issues.
  • Add support for configuration files.
  • Add finer-grained controls for various things like log capture, coloured output, etc.
  • Fixes for tag handling.
  • Various documentation enhancements, including an example of full-stack testing with Django thanks to David Eyk.
  • Split reports into a set of modules, add junit output.
  • Added work-in-progress ("wip") mode which is useful when developing new code or new tests. See documentation for more details.

Version 1.0.0 - December 5, 2011

  • Initial release
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