Testing is an integral part of the software development process. It helps developers identify and fix problems in their code before it becomes a problem for users. By testing your code, you can ensure that it is stable and reliable.
There are many different types of testing, but Cucumber testing is one of the most popular approaches – it is a Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) technique.
What is Cucumber testing?
Cucumber is a software tool written in Ruby and used by testers to develop test cases for testing software’s behavior. Cucumber was designed for promoting collaboration between all members of a team – in other words, to make it easier for developers and testers to work together on BDD projects. It is based on the principle that tests should be written in a language everyone on the team can understand.
Cucumber tool plays a vital role in the development of acceptance test cases for automation testing. It is mainly used to write acceptance tests for web applications as per the behavior of their functionalities.
It is a framework that understands Gherkin and runs automated tests. It sounds like a fairytale: you get your documentation described in Gherkin and tests just run. Actually, it is not that simple: each step of documentation should have an underlying test code that manipulates the application, and should have test conditions. This whole process will be described in detail with code samples below.
In Cucumber testing, the test cases are written in simple English, which anybody can understand without any technical knowledge. This simple text in English is called the Gherkin language. It allows business analysts, developers, testers and others to automate functional verification and validation in an easily readable and understandable format.
Elements of Cucumber testing
Cucumber testing comprises the following elements:
- Features: refers to the specific part of the software being tested, such as
logging into an account, transferring money, or reading a message. The three parts of a feature are the keyword (e.g., feature), the name and an optional description;
- Scenarios: it’s the sequence of steps the developer and customer want to test. You can apply many scenarios to a feature to test for functionality and performance, such as attempting to log in with an incorrect username or password, or changing a profile picture;
- Steps: these are the circumstances of a scenario, written in the Given-When-Then format. “Given” describes the initial condition of a variable, “When” adds the user's actions, and “Then” describes the results;
- Tags: allows users to insert other kinds of tags using the familiar @ prefix to keep the testing process organised.
Which languages are used in Cucumber testing?
The Cucumber tool was originally written in the Ruby programming language. It was exclusively used for testing Ruby as a complement to the RSpec BDD framework.
Best practices for writing effective Cucumber tests
These are best practices to help you write effective Cucumber tests:
- Install the Cucumber command line tool;
- Create a file with a “.feature” extension. This file should contain a description of the feature and the individual scenarios you want to test;
- Write your scenarios in Gherkin syntax. Each scenario should include the Given, When, and Then steps;
- Use tags to organise and run specific scenarios;
- Run your tests using the Cucumber command line tool – it will parse your “.feature” file and execute your scenarios.
Benefits of using Cucumber testing tools
- The focus is the end user experience;
- Improved communication among team members;
- The test case writing is very easy and understandable;
- More flexible and easier to maintain;
Supports various programming languages;
- Code can be reused;
- Simple and quick setup.
Cucumber is a very good BDD tool, as it gives a lot of flexibility and features with a big community supporting it. Cucumber framework makes use of Gherkin (a simple plain text language parser) to describe expected software behaviors in a logical language, which results in better communication and collaboration among technical and non-technical team members.
Cucumber is easy to use and understand, has excellent documentation, and easily integrates with other tools such as Jira and Slack. All in all, Cucumber is an efficient tool for testing.