Contract Driven Development

Contract Driven Development is the process of defining the contract changes between two dependencies during design and prior to construction. This allows the provider and consumer to work out how components should interact so that mocks and fakes can be created that allow the components to be developed and delivered asynchronously.

For services, define the expected behavior changes for the affected verbs along with the payload. These should be expressed as contract tests, the unit test of an API, that both provider and consumer can use to validate the integration independently.

For more complicated interaction that require something more than simple canned responses, a common repository that represents a fake of the new service or tools like Mountebank or WireMock can be used to virtualize more complex behavior. It’s important that both components are testing the same behaviors.

Contract tests should follow Postel’s Law: "Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others".


  • For internal services, define the payload and responses in the developer task along with the expected functional test for that change.
  • For external services, use one of the open source tools that allow recording and replaying responses.
  • Always create contract tests before implementation of behavior.

Last modified December 15, 2023: Reorganize (7579932)