Cucumber Testing

Several software development testing frameworks have been introduced. Such frameworks help boost the efficiency and productivity of software application testing procedures.

Cucumber is one of these frameworks; it has gained substantial traction as an open-source tool specifically designed for behavior-driven development (BDD). Its main reason for success is its ability to remove the communication barrier between the business and technical teams. This is done by allowing teams to write tests in plain language. Joint test suites encourage collaboration and ensure that developers’ implementations produce the desired business results.

This article discusses BDD, how it can help you build better software, and how to write Cucumber test cases. We’ll also investigate some alternative frameworks for BDD testing.

What is BDD?

BDD is a software development methodology that extends conventional test-driven development (TDD) by including business requirements and specifications. Having a common understanding of the desired application behavior among team members is the main objective of BDD.

The core of BDD is the structured, easily understandable writing of scenarios that describe the application’s behavior. These situations outline how the system is expected to interact with users, covering both ideal scenarios and edge cases. BDD also helps maximize your project’s return on investment (ROI).

The Cucumber Testing Framework

The executable specifications created in plain text using the Gherkin language serve as the foundation for the Cucumber testing framework. The expected behavior of the application under test is described in these specifications. The framework includes several components:

  • Gherkin: A simple, human-readable language used to define scenarios and steps.
  • Step definitions: Code snippets that map Gherkin steps to application actions.
  • Test runner: Runs scenarios against the application and reports the results.

Cucumber supports various programming languages, including Java, Ruby, .NET, and JavaScript-based web applications, and it works seamlessly with UI testing tools such as Selenium.

Let’s look at how to create and run a Cucumber.js test in a Node.js environment. Let’s say you wanted to test a GET request endpoint of the project.

First, install Cucumber.js as a development dependency in your project by running:

npm install --save-dev @cucumber/cucumber

Next, make a features directory at the root of your project. Make a file called get_endpoint.feature inside features. The BDD scenario written in Gherkin for testing the GET endpoint will be included in this file.

Feature: Get Root Endpoint

  Scenario: Accessing the root endpoint
    When I send a GET request to the root endpoint
    Then I should receive a response with status code 200
    And the response body should contain "Hello World!"

Then, make a directory named step_definitions and add the getEndpointSteps.js file to it. This file’s JavaScript code is intended to execute the tasks specified in the feature file.

const { When, Then } = require('@cucumber/cucumber');
const assert = require('assert');
const axios = require('axios');
let response;

When('I send a GET request to the root endpoint', async function () {
  response = await axios.get('url');

Then('I should receive a response with status code 200', function () {
  assert.equal(response.status, 200);

Then('the response body should contain {string}', function (bodyText) {
  assert.equal(, bodyText);

Finally, to run the tests,  you can use the following command in your terminal:

npx cucumber-js

That’s it; running Cucumber testing on your project is that simple.

Advantages of the Cucumber Testing Tool

Cucumber offers numerous benefits that make it a preferred choice for BDD:

  • Better communication: Helps developers, testers, and business stakeholders communicate more effectively by providing a common language.
  • Automated acceptance testing: Enables the automation of acceptance tests, ensuring that the application meets the specified requirements.
  • Targeted testing: Tags allow the management and running of specific test cases.
  • Reusability: Step definitions can be applied to multiple scenarios, which minimizes maintenance work and duplication.
  • Support for multiple languages: Cucumber is adaptable to a variety of project requirements because it supports a large number of programming languages.
  • 3rd-party tool integration: It can be integrated with other testing frameworks and tools, such as Selenium, Jira, and Slack, to expand its capabilities and flexibility.

Alternatives to Cucumber Testing

While Cucumber is widely used, there are alternative tools and frameworks available for BDD and automated testing:

  • SpecFlow: Similar to Cucumber but designed specifically for .NET environments. It offers a solid platform for defining, managing, and running BDD tests and an extensive collection of automation project examples.
  • Behave: A Python-based tool that applies the BDD methodology. Behave is known for its simplicity and ease of use, making it an excellent option for Python projects.
  • JBehave: A Java-based BDD framework that enables writing stories in a narrative style. JBehave is suitable for complex enterprise applications where detailed scenario descriptions are required.
  • Robot framework: Another open-source automation framework that allows keyword-based testing. Although it’s not strictly a BDD tool, you can use it for that style of testing nevertheless.

Make sure to choose the right testing tool for your project based on its requirements and available resources.

To Wrap Up

Cucumber is a reliable tool for implementing BDD in software development projects. Its support for automated acceptance testing and ability to improve team communication makes it a valuable tool in modern software development workflows. With the Cucumber framework, writing tests is also a straightforward process. Nonetheless, the tool should always be under the team’s experience and the project’s requirements. Depending on the unique requirements and preferences of the development team, exploring alternatives may offer more options.

Thank you for reading!