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Behat DocumentationΒΆ

Behat is an open source Behavior Driven Development framework for PHP 5.3+. What’s behavior driven development, you ask? It’s a way to develop software through a constant communication with stakeholders in form of examples; examples of how this software should help them, and you, to achieve your goals.

For example, imagine you’re about to create the famous UNIX ls command. Before you begin, you will have a conversation with your stakeholders (UNIX users) and they might say that even though they like UNIX a lot, they need a way to see all the files in the current working directory. You then have a back-and-forth chat with them about how they see this feature working and you come up with your first scenario (an alternative name for example in BDD methodology):

Feature: Listing command
  In order to change the structure of the folder I am currently in
  As a UNIX user
  I need to be able see the currently available files and folders there

  Scenario: Listing two files in a directory
    Given I am in a directory "test"
    And I have a file named "foo"
    And I have a file named "bar"
    When I run "ls"
    Then I should get:

If you are a stakeholder, this is your proof that developers understand exactly how you want this feature to work. If you are a developer, this is your proof that the stakeholder expects you to implement this feature exactly in the way you’re planning to implement it.

So, as a developer your work is done as soon as you’ve made the ls command, and made it behave as described in the “Listing command” scenario.

You’ve probably heard about this modern development practice called TDD, where you write tests for your code before, not after, the code. Well, BDD is like that, except that you don’t need to come up with a test - your scenarios are your tests. That’s exactly what Behat does! As you’ll see, Behat is easy to learn, quick to use, and will put the fun back into your testing.


Behat was heavily inspired by Ruby’s Cucumber project. Since v3.0, Behat is considered an official Cucumber implementation in PHP and is part of one big family of BDD tools.