What is the difference between:

  • TDD (Test Driven Development);
  • BDD (Behavior Driven Development), and;
  • ATDD (Acceptance Test Driven Development)?

In which layer(s) do they lie? And what are the associated tools?

Unit Testing Quadrant

  • As I understand TDD : Unit Testing layer : junit, jasmine
  • BDD : Cucumber tool : Which layer? It should be Integration
  • BDD : Cucumber tool + Selenium tool : Which layer? It should be E2E (End To End)
  • ATDD : ?
  • 1
    @MarkC.Wallace , I have updated it , hope it is fine now. Let me know if you still feel any issues.
    – Roop
    Nov 2 '15 at 13:52


Test driven development is a particular approach to writing code where the tests are written at the same time as the code and involves constant refactoring. Because of its association with XP, TDD is historically associated with the unit test level. However, it is possible to apply it at other levels of testing (such as functional E2E level testing).

TDD tools are traditionally unit testing and mocking tools such as JUnit and JMock.


Behaviour Driven Development can be seen as an extension of TDD. The key enhancement with BDD is the introduction of a domain specific language that is very accesible to business users. BDD will typically be more at the functional test level as that is natural outcome of working with a business focused language.

The most commonly used BDD tool by far is Cucumber.


With acceptance test driven development the focus is verifying work is done by passing acceptance tests. As it is dealing with acceptance tests it will usually be at the functional test level. ATDD is close in concept to BDD, but with a stronger focus on the testing aspect as validation. It would be perfectly possible to do BDD in a way that was compliant with ATDD or to do ATDD in a way that was compliant with BDD.

ATDD tools would include Cucumber and Fitnesse.

  • Can you please reply this : BDD : Cucumber : which Quadrant? It Should be integration AND Bdd : Cucumber+selenium : Which Quadrant? It should be E2E(End To End) AND ATDD : Which Quadrant?
    – Roop
    Nov 1 '15 at 14:58
  • BDD is written in business language so it will usually be focused on end-to-end functional testing (E2E in your diagram). Whether Selenium is involved or not is irrelevant. With ATDD it depends how the acceptance tests are written, but usually it would be E2E. Nov 1 '15 at 15:47
  • TDD (Test Driven Development): when we write the test case first and implementation later. It is more than writing JUnit test cases, it is a software development method: first I write "what" I want, second "how" I want it. It also has a refactoring step to improve code quality.

  • BDD (Behaviour Driven Development): when the PO/PM sits down with the customer and write meaningful sentences about how the whole system should work, usually in gherkin.

  • ATDD (Acceptance Test Driven Development): when we write the acceptance tests first. It is more technical than BDD, but covers more than a JUnit test case.

  • ADD (Asshole Driven Development): Any team where the biggest jerk makes all the big decisions is asshole driven development. More by Scott Berkun.

In other words, TDD is a way of writing software, a method. The term is usually means to write unit tests first and ATDD to write acceptance tests first. BDD is a different method, where the customer draws up what she wants in steps, however the steps can be implemented and run in a TDD fashion.

This tutorial shows how BDD can be connected with TDD.

  • Can you please reply this : BDD : Cucumber : which Quadrant? It Should be integration AND Bdd : Cucumber+selenium : Which Quadrant? It should be E2E(End To End) AND ATDD : Which Quadrant?
    – Roop
    Nov 1 '15 at 14:57
  • E2E: BDD, ATDD; Integration, Unit: TDD / however, like I said, TDD is a method, it appears on each level.
    – Zsolt
    Nov 1 '15 at 16:56
  • I read more about ATDD . I just want to know if ATDD is popular practice? It seems to me that it is very time consuming if we write acceptance TDD for every story so I want to know if this is actually used?
    – Roop
    Nov 4 '15 at 7:09

There is no direct relationship between the two categories of things you have mentioned. You could very easily write an end-to-end test while doing TDD for example. Typically TDD is in the unit level, ATDD and BDD are in the integration layer, and BDD alone lives in the E2E layer.

However, this is not a hard and fast rule. As pointed out in other responses, TDD, ATDD, and BDD are methods of creating tests, whereas the triangle you presented is a representation of the areas of code under test.

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