What is Cucumber Framework? (Benefits of Cucumber Testing)
By Jash Unadkat, Community Contributor - September 5, 2023
Cucumber is an open-source software testing tool written in Ruby. Cucumber enables you to write test cases that anyone can easily understand regardless of their technical knowledge.
Before understanding Cucumber testing, let’s quickly review the various automation testing frameworks.
- Linear Scripting Framework
- Modular Testing Framework
- Data-driven Framework
- Keyword-driven Framework
- Behavior-driven Development Framework (BDD)
What is Cucumber Framework?
Cucumber Framework executes automated acceptance tests written in the “Gherkin” language. Gherkin is a domain-specific language for behavior descriptions. Gherkin is business-readable.
Cucumber test automation makes use of two important files:
- Feature file – Contains code written in Gherkin (plain English text)
- Step definition file – Contains the actual code written by the developer
Cucumber acts as a bridge between the following teams:
- Business Analysts and Software Engineers
- Manual and Automation Testers
- Manual Testers and Developers
Benefits of using Cucumber Testing Tools
Involving stakeholders becomes easier regardless of their programming knowledge.
- Testers can write Test scripts without having in-depth knowledge of programming
- Plugins are faster as compared to Selenium
- Supports various programming languages
- Code can be reused
- Simple and quick setup
- Flexible with different software platforms like Selenium, Ruby on Rails, Watir, Spring framework, and so forth
How does Cucumber work?
Cucumber BDD framework mainly consists of three major parts:
- Feature File: Cucumber tests are written in plain text files called feature files stored with the extension – “.feature”. A Feature File can be described to make the documentation more legible. These files describe the behavior and functionality of the software using a specific syntax called Gherkin. Gherkin is a structured language that uses keywords like Given, When, and Then to define the steps of a test scenario.
- Step Definitions: Each step in a feature file is associated with a step definition implemented in the code. Step definitions define the actions or operations that must be executed for each step of the test scenario. They map the plain text steps in the feature file to the corresponding code implementation.
- Test Runner File: In Cucumber, the test runner file executes the Cucumber feature files and coordinates the steps defined in those feature files with the corresponding step definitions.
Read More: Cross Browser Testing Using Cucumber
Example of Cucumber Test
Here’s an example of the Cucumber Test for checking the Login functionality for an existing user.
Scenario: As an existing user, I want to log in successfully. Given the user is on the Home page When the user navigates to the Login page And the user enters the username and password Then the successful login message is displayed
BDD in Cucumber Automation
Behaviour-driven Development (BDD) is a software development technique that has evolved from TDD (Test Driven Development), which is an approach or programming practice where the developers write new code only when the automated test case fails.
The behavior-driven development’s approach involves the usage of shared language that enhances communication between various tech and non-tech teams. Tests are more user-focused and based on the system’s behavior. In BDD, “Given-When-Then” is the proposed approach for writing test cases.
Consider the example below for a better understanding:
- Given the user has entered invalid credentials
- When the user clicks the submit button
- Then display the proper validation message
Read More: Page Object Model in Cucumber
Benefits of BDD in Cucumber Framework
- Focuses on defining ‘behavior’ rather than defining ‘tests’
- Enhances communication among the members of a cross-functional product team
- Helps reach a wider audience by the usage of non-technical language
- It enables you to understand how the system should perform from the developer’s and customer’s perspective
- The improvement in the quality of code results in reduced costs of maintenance and also minimizes the project’s associated risks.
The below image describes a simple BDD operation –
Lifecycle of BDD
Limitations of Behavior-driven development
- Testers must have prior experience in TDD (Test-driven Development) to work in BDD
- BDD approach may be ineffective if the requirements are not correctly analyzed
- Testers must have sufficient technical skills
Cucumber with Selenium
Many organizations prefer the Selenium framework for cross-browser compatibility testing. These organizations also prefer integrating Cucumber with Selenium as it makes it easier to read and understand the flow of applications among the members of different teams. Gherkin syntax involves simple and plain text, which makes it easier to understand test cases.
Read More: Selenium vs Cucumber: Core Differences
- Running the Cucumber Selenium tests on real browsers and devices is essential.
- BrowserStack cloud testing supports Selenium testing with Cucumber; sign up, choose the required device-browser-OS combination, and start testing websites.
- With BrowserStack Test Management, teams can upload BDD-JSON based report upload using Cucumber. This enables you to sync test case reports on BrowserStack Test Management from your terminal.
- The Cucumber testing tool is a purely business-driven development tool written in Ruby.
- The business-driven development approach is an advancement over the test-driven development approach, which follows the
- ‘Given-When-Then’ steps for writing test cases
- Cucumber framework uses Gherkin ( A simple plain text language parser) to describe expected software behaviors logically, resulting in better communication and collaboration among technical and non-technical team members.
- Cucumber is compatible with popular software platforms like Selenium, Watir, Ruby, and others.
- One must also consider the limitations before deciding on the behavior-driven development approach.