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Pytest BDD vs Behave: Pick the Best Python BDD Framework

Choose the Best Python BDD Framework for your needs with the help of our in-depth Pytest BDD vs Behave comparison.

Pytest BDD vs Behave Pick the Best Python BDD Framework - Blogs
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Similar to all popular programming languages, Python also has numerous BDD frameworks that we can choose from. Out of the lot, Pytest BDD and Behave are the most widely used BDD frameworks. Being a leading automation testing company, we have used both Pytest BDD and Behave in our project based on business needs. We believe it is very crucial for every tester to know how to implement a readable and business-friendly automation testing solution. So in this blog, we will be pitting Pytest BDD vs Behave to help you choose the right choice for you by comparing the two based on our real-world usage.

For those who are unfamiliar or new to Python and BDD, let’s have a small introduction for both before we start our Pytest BDD vs Behave comparison. If you are already familiar with them, feel free to head straight to the comparison.


Behavior-Driven Development (or BDD) is an agile software development technique that promotes collaboration not only between developers and testers; but also with non-technical or business stakeholders in a software project. BDD achieves this by following a simple Given, When, and Then format (Gherkin) to write test cases that anybody can understand. Before we head to the Pytest BDD vs Behave comparison, let’s take a look at the list of popular Python BDD frameworks available.

List of Python BDD Frameworks

1. Behave

2. Pytest BDD

3. radish

4. lettuce

5. freshen

Though there are even more Python BDD frameworks, these are the most well-known and widely used options. But it is important to note that not every BDD framework is for everyone. That is why we have picked out Pytest BDD and Behave for our comparison.

Python Behave

If you have prior experience in using a Cucumber BDD framework, you would find Behave to be similar in many ways. But even if you are starting afresh, Behave is quite easy to get started with. The primary reason for that is Behave’s great online documentation and the availability of easy tutorials. We will be covering a direct Pytest BDD vs Behave comparison once we explore the individual pros and cons of both these frameworks.


  • It totally supports the Gherkin programming language.
  • Setup and cleanup are simplified by environmental functions and fixtures.
  • It integrates with Django and Flask.
  • It is widely used by Python BDD practitioners.


  • Behave have the limited community support.
  • It is not possible to run tests in parallel.

Pytest BDD

Pytest BDD implements a subset of the Gherkin language to enable project requirements testing and behavioural-driven development. Pytest fixtures written for unit tests can be reused for feature step setup and actions with dependency injection. This enables true BDD with just the right amount of requirement specifications without having to maintain any context object containing the side effects of Gherkin imperative declarations.

Let’s view the listed pros & cons of Pytest and then proceed to the tabular column where we compare Pytest BDD vs Behave.


  • It works flawlessly with Pytest and all major Pytest plugins.
  • Fixtures are an excellent method for managing context between steps.
  • Filtered tests can be run alongside other Pytest tests.
  • makes it simple to share step definitions and hooks.
  • Tabular data can be handled better for data-driven testing.


  • Feature files must be explicitly declared in step definition modules (via “@scenario” or the “scenarios” function).
  • Scenario outline steps must be parsed differently.
  • Sharing steps between feature files can be a bit of a hassle.

Pytest BDD vs Behave: Key Differences

Description Pytest Bdd Python Behave
Pricing Free and Open Source Free and Open Source
Project Structure [project root directory]
|‐‐ [product code packages]
|– [test directories]
| |– features
| | `– *.feature
| `– step_defs
| |–
| |–
| `– test_*.py
`– [pytest.ini|tox.ini|setup.cfg]
[project root directory]
|‐‐ [product code packages]
|– features
| |–
| |– *.feature
| `– steps
| `– *
`– [behave.ini|.behaverc|tox.ini|setup.cfg]
Step Definition naming Syntax Step definition file name should be Prefixed or Suffixed with the word test File name can be anything with the .py extension
Test directory naming Syntax Test directory should be named as ‘tests’ Test directory should be named as ‘features’
IDE Support Supports only the Professional edition of Pycharm, Visual Studio Code and etc Supports in Pycharm Professional Edition only.
Visual Studio Code and etc
Reports Pytest Bdd Supports
1.HTML Report
2.Allure Report(Installed as a Separate Plugin)
It doesn’t support Extent report.
Behave Supports
1. Allure Report
2. Output JSON Report
3. Junit Report
It doesn’t support both HTML & Extent reports.
Parallel Execution It supports Parallel Execution It doesn’t support Parallel Execution
TestRunner Pytest (Installed as a Separate Plugin) Behave (Inbuilt Test Runner)
Support and Community Good Good
Test Launch Tests are launched by specific step definition files
Eg: pytest -k your file
Tests are launched by specific feature files
Eg: behave features/your feature.feature file
Run by Tag Run the test file by using the keyword -m
Eg: pytest -m @yourTag
Run the test file by using the keyword –tags
Eg: behave –tags @yourTag
Parsers Scenario Outline steps should be parsed separately No need to parse the scenario outline steps
Explicit Declaration Feature file should be explicitly declared on step definition via scenarios function Not needed to explicitly declare the feature file in step definition

Pytest BDD vs Behave: Best Use Cases

Pytest BDD

Parallel Execution – Behave has no in-built features that made it possible to run the tests in parallel. Likewise, the once popular framework behave-parallel, which made it easier to run tests in parallel on Python behave, has been retired. So if parallel test execution is an important factor, Pytest will definitely be the better choice.

Pytest BDD allows for the unification of unit and functional tests. It also reduces the burden of continuous integration server configuration and the reuse of test setups.

HTML Reports – Behave doesn’t support HTML reports, and if that is one of your requirements, then you’ll have to pick Pytest BDD. Pytest BDD also has support for Allure reports which is also another widely used type.


Ease of Use – As seen in the Pytest BDD vs Behave comparison table, the step definition naming is much easier in Behave as Pytest requires a defined prefix or suffix. As additional code is required for declaring scenarios, implementing scenario outlines, and sharing steps in Pytest BDD, Behave in general is easier to use. It is also easier to setup as it has an inbuilt test runner.

The terminal log will be more elaborate in Behave when compared to Pytest. The reason for that is Behave runs the test with feature files that are written in the Given When & Then format. So you can easily identify where the error is.


So it is evident that both Pytest BDD and Behave have their own pros and cons. So based on your automation testing needs, you can use our Pytest BDD vs Behave comparison table and recommendations to make a well-educated decision. Being a test automation service provider, we have predominantly used Pytest BDD in many of our projects. If you could work around Pytest BDD’s complexity, it is a great option. If not, Behave could be a great alternative that you can choose.


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