February 22, 2022
What Exactly Is Cucumber? Is It the Right Tool For Me?
Cucumber is an open-source testing tool that supports Behavior Driven Development (BDD) testing. It explains an application’s behavioral aspects in Gherkin syntax.
The tool uses regular impressions to match these behavioral aspects to Cucumber’s steps, and some implementations include Ruby, Java, JRuby, .NET, .PHP, HTML, Python, C++, JSON, and Groovy.
It is one of the most-widely used automation testing tools due to the following reasons:
- Open-source and free
- Supports multiple languages
- Integrates seamlessly with Selenium, Ruby on Rails, and other web-based testing tools
- Requires less technical skills to create tests as opposed to many other automation tools
- Allows other team members (in theory) to be able to read automation tests once written
In this article, we will review the Cucumber testing framework and why it is not an effective approach. We will also unfold why testRigor automation is better.
What is BDD?
Behavior-driven development is a clarification and synthesis of software engineering practices that enable development teams to deliver premium quality software faster. A BDD framework follows the following steps:
- Writes a scenario
- Runs the scenarios that fails
- Writes test that corresponds to the specifications of the scenario
- Develops simple code to pass the test
Originally written in Ruby programming language, the Cucumber framework was used primarily for Ruby testing. Although it’s rigorous testing technique, it does come with drawbacks:
- Gherkin syntax, albeit originally developed to be as close to plain English as possible, is still not as intuitive and easy to read and comprehend.
- Test suites built with Cucumber quickly become a nightmare to maintain once the number of tests grows.
- Cucumber tests are relatively more difficult to deal with than unit tests.
- Testers find it difficult to debug a number of IDEs altogether.
BDD with the Cucumber Testing Framework
Behavioral Driven Development is an extensive software development method that has evolved from the Test Driven Development (TDD) approach. In the TDD framework, the developers write fresh code only after an automated test case fails to serve its purpose.
The benefits of BDD with the Cucumber testing framework are:
- It focuses more on defining application behavior rather than the tests.
- The use of non-technical language enhances communication across cross-functional product teams, from analysts to managers to stakeholders.
- Cucumber allows developers to subdivide text into prerequisites that are then transformed into actions to deliver expected results.
But even though Cucumber is a useful testing tool, the Cucumber-Gherkin association adds complexities to the testing environment. Every time a new feature is tested, the developers need to check all test steps to determine if they can be reused.
That’s where testRigor comes into the picture.
testRigor is a powerful cloud-based system that allows manual testers to automate tests without any code knowledge, using only plain English. It also has a Chrome extension to record and playback tests, and the built-in AI engine simplifies test maintenance to the maximum.
The automation tool lets you focus on the product itself, not on the underlying code. testRigor efficiently reduces QA overhead to a great extent and accelerates time to market.
Automation Testing with Cucumber and Its Limitations
Gherkin language is a set of grammar rules that structures plain text to make it easier for Cucumber to understand. Simply put, Cucumber BDD uses a language parser called Gherkin for writing tests and defining test cases.
The intent is to make programming less technical and easy to understand for humans while reducing dependency on developers. The language aims to promote BDD practices across development teams as well as to simplify documentation of the code under test.
But automation testing with Cucumber fails to represent the way the users communicate with the system under test. The testing method maps individual steps while executing the acceptance test scenarios. It uses regular expressions for mapping steps, and testers or developers are responsible for maintenance.
testRigor is much more advanced and you don’t need to follow crooked Gherkin syntax. Another benefit is that you don’t need QA engineers to help debug as test maintenance is a lot more streamlined. One of testRigor’s customers who has previously used Cucumber said that testRigor’s tests are like “Cucumber on steroids”. You’ll notice the test design being a lot cleaner, and truly focusing on the end-user’s perspective.
The self-contained unit for any project is referred to as a feature. Every individual feature has scenarios that are tested using Selenium Webdriver, which integrates Cucumber.
The file that contains details about features and their description, along with the scenarios that need to be tested, is known as a Feature File.
The Feature File contains code written in Gherkin. The limitation with Cucumber is that each time you need to test a feature, you will have to check all previous steps for reusability.
Step Definition File
For any given scenario, code has to be run in parallel. And for this, Step Definitions come into play.
The Step Definition File contains the actual test code written by the development team. It contains the mapping data between information about every single step of a scenario mentioned in the Cucumber Feature File, along with the code to be executed.
Cucumber was developed to drive BDD to empower customers to describe their specific requirements in easy-to-understand language as a series of test examples, called scenarios, using the Given-When-Then format.
While other testing solutions, like Cucumber or Selenium, require about two weeks to set up the automation, setting up a new project with testRigor takes less than an hour.
Test Automation through testRigor
testRigor utilizes a powerful AI engine to bring test automation to a completely new level. It offers more test coverage, increases stability, and minimizes hours of test maintenance time.
testRigor allows anyone inside and outside the development team to build, maintain, and execute tests created in plain English. It provides accessibility for business analysts to take the testing challenge without having to juggle different software.
Integration of the Chrome Plugin testing tool allows you and your team to start creating automated tests without any prior automation experience. Once recorded, you will be able to re-run them at any time – and see automatic screenshots for each test step.
Compared to record and playback features from other widely adopted tools such as UFT or Selenium with Cucumber, Chrome extension for testRigor takes up to 20X less time to create tests while meeting the set compliance standards.
Test Scripting For Anyone
Software testing has never been easier. Normally, you’re required to learn and understand a number of programming languages to do it. But testRigor is an exception, as it allows anyone from business analysts to product managers to build tests using no code, XPaths or CSS Selectors.
Level Up Your BDD Testing with testRigor
testRigor is a next generation automation tool that combines ease of use with a powerful AI engine behind the scenes. You don’t need an extra layer of automation engineers who process test cases previously created by manual testers. Instead, your manual QA team can own the whole process making it very efficient – since testRigor is no-code, and complex tests are written in plain English. Another great benefit you’ll realize is that test maintenance will take you 200x less time, which will become more and more significant with increased test coverage.
Let’s see how the process with Cucumber typically looks like:
- Business analysts write BDD specifications with Gherkin syntax
- Engineers write code
- QA writes automated tests with Cucumber
testRigor eliminates a step and makes this a lot more streamlined:
- Business analysts + QA write executable specifications in plain English
- Engineers code to these specifications which can be executed right away
What’s more, you can run your tests in parallel and get a detailed report that gives you an in-depth overview of where you need to fix the bugs. Enable your QA team to focus on exploratory testing and increasing the test coverage rather than tedious test maintenance.
Sign up today to get access to free open source automation tools and execute unlimited test cases!