Concordion, an alternative to FIT

Concordion, a tool that was presented at CITCON Brussels a week ago, is finally out.

The approach is interesting and can be compared to FIT or FitNesse. Where FIT and FitNesse let analysts/testers give examples in the specifications documents as a series of inputs and outputs (in Word documents for FIT, and wiki pages for FitNesse), Concordion lets you write the examples in HTML, expecting tags to mark which value is for what purpose.

Example:
<p>
The greeting for user <span concordion:set="#firstName">Bob</span>will be:
<span concordion:assertEquals="greetingFor(#firstName)">Hello Bob!</span>
</p>

If you feel that this is making life hard for a large amount of values, fear not: there is a way to use HTML tables as well.

I think that the approach is interesting. It certainly helps making natural speech useful for integration tests. That said,  I cannot really imagine analysts or testers writing HTML pages with tags. Word documents (or HTML documents edited with Word) or wiki pages seem much more plausible. Another thing is that the tooling for adding the appropriate tags seems limited. Can we really expect these people to add HTML tags (that is, they cannot easily use a wysiwyg tool for that), and give them values with such constraints? We’ll see with time, I guess.

Other differences between Fit/FitNesse and Concordion are discussed here.

About Eric Lefevre-Ardant

Independent technical consultant.
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6 Responses to Concordion, an alternative to FIT

  1. David Peterson says:

    Eric, thanks for the post.

    I know what you mean about HTML, but once you have a template for the page (I’ve provided one in the tutorial) you don’t have to use many tags; is probably all you need.

    Concordion worked well on my last project where authorship of the documents was a collaborative effort (developer + tester + analyst) rather than something that analysts or testers did on their own.

    The advantage of HTML over Word docs is that it’s easier to link between pages and it’s a more open format.

    I shied away from a Wiki because it involves much more set-up (basically you need a server) and version control tends to be hard to manage.

    But I hear what you’re saying, and improved tool support is definitely on my list of priorities!

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  3. Isa Goksu says:

    Hi Eric,

    I aggree that approach is interesting. As in alternatives. However, these are all interesting ideas for developers :P I think FIT/Fitnesse is going to die soon. All these approaches are really nice, but I really don’t think all those business users to create an HTML tables as in FIT or using WIKI syntax as in Fitnesse, or things like this :) They can hardly use any simple tool like Word/Excel. Anyway, I think as you said, we’ll see.

    My guess is we need a simple DSL syntax which has two face, one for developers, the other face for Business users :)

    Cheers,
    Isa

  4. @Isa after a study at my current client, it was decided that Concordion was not a good tool for them, because they were already using a wiki to write specifications. However, they are definitely looking at a wiki-based tool (GreenPepper in their case).

    I disagree that Fitnesse is going to die. Fit could be considered dead, but Fitnesse is striving (though it is probably used mostly by advanced crowd).

    However, it is true that it is still hard to get business types to write examples. Projects that manage to do that have great success, but many fail to use such a tool properly.

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  6. Isa Goksu says:

    Hi Eric,

    I’ve been trying Concordion for a while and I started to like it. Other than tabular data testing and verifying it’s quite good. It satisfy my business needs so far.

    I still think that DSL idea, but I couldn’t find anything useful so far. Easyb is very good too. But all these tools are missing business connection.

    Anyways, Concordion is my favorite so far :) Thanks for the article!

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