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    Spec Detective

    This is a BDD tool for checking and specking tests against beautiful looking feature files written in MarkDown.

    How it works...

    Rather than this tool driving your tests it is a test output parser which means you can test natively in various programming languages freely. This tool will watch for the test output files or feature file to be saved at which point shows you what specs have and haven't been implemented.

    The Feature File

    You can write feature files in markdown. You can add any information you want in any way to describe your features. However adding the following style of syntax.

    # My Feature
    This can contain explanations and other details about your feature
    ## My Context
    + IT should have a test that passes
    - IT may not have a test that is skipped
    ## My Other Context
    + IT should also have other tests passing in other contexts
        - You can add other ignored meta-data

    Using Javascript Tests

    This tool particularly likes Javascript testing frameworks (Jasmine or Mocha).

    The above specks you can write in a JS test as follows:

    describe("My Feature", function () {
        describe("My Context", function () {
            it("should have a test that passes", function () {
        describe("My Other Context", function () {
            it("should also have other tests passing in other contexts", function () {

    Test output files


    You can get the test output in a format that spec-detective understands by using a custom Karma reporter called karma-spec-json-reporter. This is an NPM package that can be found here.

    Please follow the instructions there to install it.


    Similarly to Karma there is a mocha-spec-json-reporter. This is also an NPM package that can be found here.

    Using JUnit output

    Take the following test written in Java

    import org.junit.Test;
    import org.junit.Ignore;
    import org.junit.runner.RunWith;
    import org.junit.runners.JUnit4;
    import org.junit.Assert.assertTrue;
     * Tests for {@link Foo}.
    public class ContextSubcontextTest {
        public void shouldAlwaysPass() {
            assertTrue("failure - should be true", true);

    This will then output JUnitXML similar to the below:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <testsuite name="" time="0.005" tests="1" errors="0" skipped="0" failures="0">
        <property name="" value="Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment"/>
      <testcase name="shouldAlwaysPass" classname="" time="0"/>

    This we can then line up to a feature file that looks like the following.

    # Context
    ## Subscontext
    + IT should always pass

    So you can also use anything that also outputs similar JUnitXML including PHPUnit and the likes.

    Running Spec-Detective

    When you have output files available you can do a comparison run using the following command

    ./node_modules/spec-detective/bin/spec-detective "path-to-features/*.md" "path-to-json/*.json,path-to-junit/*.xml"

    You will then see some pretty output and a junit-output.xml file that will give you a coverage summary.

    Example app

    If it is easier to a working example please have a look at this sample app.


    npm i spec-detective

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