We’d like you to try Subplot, our new tool for documenting and verifying acceptance criteria. See announcement on the Subplot website.

In 2013 Daniel and I came up with what we thought was an interesting approach to verifying acceptance criteria, based on writing a document (using Markdown) and embedded Gherkin-like given/when/then scenarios in it, for automatically verifying specific, detailed acceptance criteria. We implemented a quick prototype and have used and improved that over the years. It proved to be a fairly OK tool, though not great.

A couple of years ago, having been bitten by a crustacean, we started talking about making a good version of our tool. We’d learned a fair bit from the old tool, and wanted to chance to rethink everything from scratch. So we did. It’s turned into a nice, leisurely, fun hobby project that we work on when we have time from other commitments.

The general shape of the new tool is the same: it still reads Markdown with embedded scenarios. There are some major differences, though: we now explicitly make typeset output a first class requirement, so the tool can produce self-standing HTML pages and PDF files. We also generate test programs from the scenarios, rather than interpret scenarios as the tool is run. The test program, which can be written in Python, Rust, or Bash, executes the scenarios, when it’s run.

Today’s release is the first version we’re asking others to try. If you ever ask “does this program do what it’s meant to do”, then please give Subplot a look.

Subplot—When all stakeholders really need to understand acceptance criteria