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What is Cucumber Framework-ACCELQ
Posted On: 27 May 2022

Back in 2015, Gartner claimed that behavior-driven development (BDD) drove “agility” and increased “collaboration.” Fast forward to today, and we’re seeing a surge of frameworks and tools that employ BDD to make development and testing more coherent than ever. The Cucumber testing tool is one such framework whose goal is to help unify the development, testing, and documentation of feature specifications for engineers, testers, and analysts alike. In this post, we’ll look at Cucumber Framework and how it can help you and your team build better products.

What is Cucumber Framework?

Customarily, BDD is targeted at involving all the major stakeholders of a project in the development and testing process. More so, it’s focused on developing test scripts that address technical (developer) and business (customer) needs.

Although BDD has originally sourced from test-driven development (TDD) that tests each component in isolation, it appears to be a more encompassing way to move development forward. That’s because it focuses on the system’s behavior in its entirety and facilitates efficient communication about the same.

To help implement BDD, one of the most popular open-source tools is Cucumber. It allows for creating higher-level specifications or scenarios that can be run and tested using Gherkin—a natural language programming platform. At their core, these scenarios are written in a human-readable format called Given-When-Then. Here’s how:

Given:A customer wants to buy a specific product.

When:Customer enters the required parameters: Product name, the quantity of product, customer location to deliver the product

Then:The customer will see the preview of the product with its price and a button to buy it.

The good thing about the Cucumber testing framework is that it breaks down feature design and implementation into small, manageable steps. It helps identify the best solution for an issue, and if there’s no solution, the test is simply broken.

This is how a project becomes less ambiguous and more reliable over time. Besides, the test can be scaled per the needs and understanding exhibited by cross-functional teams.

Advantages of Cucumber Framework

Cucumber automation tool is definitely an efficient testing tool. Cucumber is an exceptionally comprehensive framework that supports BDD in the best way possible. Following are some of its main benefits.

Intuitive Way to Express Requirements in Human-Readable Form

As elucidated above, Cucumber uses Gherkin to test the interaction of business features that help drive your product, such as the scope of an app or web page. Because Gherkin is straightforward to comprehend, you don’t have to worry about coding syntax and can focus on translating your requirements into clear, concise sentences.

Essentially, this means that Gherkin (plain English text language) helps construct a standard, understandable test script. It is then viable for catering to different stakeholders (product owners, testers, developers, and business analysts.) These stakeholders can effortlessly maintain and review the script to keep track of project progress and have their perspectives reflected in the results.

The keywords “Given-When-Then” are examples of Gherkin. Other keywords such as And, But, Background, Examples, etc., are also the other examples.

Translating Business Requirements into Testable Scenarios

After translating your business needs into clear, concise sentences, you can go through the files of test scenarios and see what the product owners need. They, in turn, will be able to make modifications and enhancements. This means that the business analysts can take the scenarios and turn them into testable requirements.

Such a practice can help resolve a wide range of questions for every business, such as:

  • How do you plan to monetize this product?
  • What happens when a user presses the Buy button?
  • What happens after the user makes the payment?
  • How about the delivery of the product?

All in all, a bridge between your business requirement and the technical product is realized, and it helps confirm a solution before it goes live.

Multi-language Support

Unlike other frameworks that support a single language, Cucumber supports multiple languages, including Ruby, Java, JavaScript, Scala, Perl, etc. Originally, Cucumber was built on Ruby. However, now it supports different languages and helps developers write clear, concise tests for variable implementations.

In that light, it overpowers the usability of other tools. You can write tests in a language of your choice without worrying about the tools and platforms you will be using.

The Role of Cucumber in Agile Projects

Agile teams can use Cucumber to ramp up their application development projects (to the next level) since it helps them automate the testing and documentation processes. This is possible due to its ability to accommodate a wide range of stakeholders and create acceptance test cases most intuitively.

Cucumber is also known as one of the best tools for agile development because it helps product managers and business analysts adjust the testable scenarios and the product accordingly. In that light, Cucumber helps reduce ambiguity in scope and design and enhance product quality before the final release.

The Facility of Code Reusability

Cucumber is known for its ability to provide code reuse. This is possible because of the way it generates the Given-When-Then scenarios and how it handles the test case execution. In addition to that, its easy-to-use interface helps reduce the technical barriers to entry.

Reduced development time, increased productivity, and more straightforward maintenance are all the positive outcomes of this. This is precisely what also makes it an end-to-end testing option, especially for complex projects. It can be used not just for the user interface but also for the non-UI parts of your project.

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Disadvantages of Cucumber Framework

While Cucumber is excellent in many ways, some limitations do exist.

Disadvantages of cucumber framework-ACCELQ

Gherkin-induced Complexity

No doubt, Gherkin is the cornerstone of Cucumber. But, it can increase complexity by working against succinctly conveying what needs to be conveyed. For something very specific, the generic Gherkin language can be cumbersome and superfluous. Additionally, it accrues technical disadvantages when working with text editors because they don’t read its syntax as a regular language.

The Given-When-Then Framework Can be Wasteful

Although the framework is a good way to implement test scenarios, it can be overly verbose, causing redundancy. The fact that such elaboration inside the step definitions is hardly catered to stakeholders renders it utterly wasteful. If only the developers are required to read through them, why not make them precise and fit for purpose?

The Bottom Line

Given the market inclination towards stakeholder inclusion and adherence to software-as-a-service initiatives, Cucumber can help companies improve their products, cut down on implementation time and resources, and scale swiftly. However, Gherkin, which is the cornerstone of Cucumber, can be difficult to use. Text editors cannot read its syntax as a regular language.

If you want an easy-to-use, low-code test automation tool, look at ACCELQ. It is your tool for BDD – it empowers business users by allowing them to write action logic in natural English. See it in action now!


Director, Product Evangelist at ACCELQ.


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