- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Manning Publications; 1 edition (November 4, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1617294101
- ISBN-13: 978-1617294105
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Writing Great Specifications: Using Specification By Example and Gherkin 1st Edition
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About the Author
Kamil Nicieja began his career as an engineer, then moved to product management. He is now running his own startup. Because of Kamil's experience, he knows Specification by Example's benefits, both in development and in business.
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Top customer reviews
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"Writing Great Specifications" describes a much more sane process that uses the "specification by example" (SBE) approach and the Gherkin software package. A related package, Cucumber, can be used with Gherkin for unit tests and end-to-end tests, and with a runner such as Selenium to support tests using web automation.
The author, Kamil Nicieja, describes SBE as "a set of practices that sprang from the agile acceptance-testing tree..." and "a collaborative approach to defining software requirements based on illustrating executable specifications with concrete examples. It aims to reduce the level of abstraction as early in the process as possible, getting everyone on the same page and reducing future rework." Gherkin, meanwhile, is "a business-readable domain-specific language [that] provides a framework for business analysis and acceptance testing. Gherkin helps you understand requirements from the perspective of your customers. By forcing you to think about what a user's workflow will look like, Gherkin facilitates creating precise acceptance criteria." (You work in Gherkin by writing and improving brief story-based scenarios.)
The book is well-written and sufficiently illustrated, and it covers a focused range of topics related to creating software specifications by example. The SBE process also makes use of a person I definitely needed (and didn't have) while writing specifications and other documents a few years back: a minimally qualified reader (MQR). "Knowing the MQR," Nicieja writes, "means understanding what that person already knows, and teaching what that person doesn't yet know [via the documentation]. Defining the reader is an essential part of making good, useful living documentation."
The author emphasizes that "living documentation is documentation that can and should be written by all the team members. The content is different, too. Gherkin scenarios talk about business features, the business domain, and broad-concept examples, which may be new and difficult for the [software] delivery team to understand, regardless of their role and technical skill."
Whether you are a software technical writer, someone trying to break into the field, or a manager of a software technical writing team, I recommend adding this book to your library. It contains approaches and products that I wish had existed when I was chasing down software engineers and trying to convince them to explain and demonstrate what they were working on.
Specification by example and Gherkin software can make for a sane approach to getting a tough job done--and with greater accuracy.
(My thanks to Manning Books for providing an advance reading copy for review.)
The content on its 280+XXVI pages is confusingly divided into the introductory chapter 1 followed by 2 parts subdivided into chapters 2-11, and then an appendix and index. Each chapter represents a topic clearly subdivided into sub-chapters. The topic text incorporates tables, schematics, graphs, examples, tips, listings, etc., boxed, highlighted, marked by indentation, etc. After the initial reading, it can be used for studying just particular techniques, just of specific prior experience applications, or warming up.
The book is in black and white and 3 shades of grey. Its layout is modern, clear, and graphically advanced to emphasize most frequently needed info. The titles of chapters are large, and those for sub-chapters and topics are boldfaced and varied by size. Thus, grasping the pages at 1st glance is easy. Approx. 80 pages of the book are shown by the Amazon's "LOOK INSIDE!" function. What cannot be seen is that the book is well printed on good paper and the soft cover is a little bit prone to catch fingerprints and to easily crease.
Very clearly written, very well organized. I have been doing test automation using SBE for about three years; I have been through Aslak's three-day SBE/Cucumber class, and I am still finding this book helpful.