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Automation Testing By Integrating Cucumber and Selenium

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

A testing tool that enables Behavior Driven Development (BDD) is called Cucumber. It provides a means to write tests that everyone, regardless of technical ability, can comprehend. Before developers create their code in BDD, users (business analysts, product owners) first write scenarios or acceptance tests that describe the behavior of the system from the perspective of the customer.

Automation Testing By Integrating Cucumber and Selenium

These scenarios and acceptance tests are then reviewed and approved by the product owners. Cucumber was initially implemented in Ruby and then extended to the Java framework. Both tools support native JUnit.

What is BDD?

The Behavior Driven Development (BDD) framework is a software development methodology that enables the tester or business analyst to write test cases in plain text (English).

Even non-technical team members may understand the scenarios' straightforward language and how it applies to the software project. As a result, communication between technical and non-technical teams, managers, and stakeholders is facilitated and improved.

Gherkin language

Cucumber defines application behavior using simple English text, defined by a language called Gherkin, when using Cucumber, test scenarios written in the Gherkin language are converted into executable code. The testing program is then used to execute the code, and the results are given. The framework is used by developers who prefer different programming languages because it supports a variety of them, including Java, Ruby, and JavaScript.

It serves as the foundation for defining the behavior of software systems and is designed to be understandable by both technical and non-technical stakeholders. Gherkin uses a set of keywords to structure and describe the behavior of the software.

Here are some of the key Gherkin keywords and their typical usage:

  • Feature: Describes the high-level functionality or feature that is being tested. A feature file typically starts with the keyword Feature, followed by a brief description of the feature.

  • Scenario: Represents a specific test case or scenario that is part of the feature. Each scenario begins with the "Scenario" keyword and provides a descriptive name of the scenario.

  • Given: Describe the initial state or preconditions for a scenario. It sets up the context for the scenario and is often used to define the starting point for the test.

  • When: Represents the action or event that triggers a specific behavior. It describes what the user does or what happens next in the scenario.

  • Then: Define the expected outcomes or results of a scenario after the "When" step is executed. It specifies what the system should do or display in response to the action.

  • And: Allows you to add additional conditions or steps to a scenario without introducing a new keyword. It is often used to make scenarios more readable and to add more context.

  • Scenario Outline: Allows you to create a template for scenarios with placeholders that can be replaced with different values for multiple test cases. It's often used for data-driven testing.

Image Simple Feature file with all the specified keywords
Figure 1. Simple Feature file with all the specified keywords

How Cucumber Works

The Cucumber framework operates in a cyclical manner, emphasizing behavior-driven development. It starts by describing behavior using feature files, followed by defining step definitions in code, running the tests, and addressing any failures. To achieve a passing result, you adjust the step definitions to align with the expected behavior.

First, you describe the desired behavior in a feature file, employing keywords like "Feature," "Scenario," "Given," "When," and "Then" to outline the test scenario. After that, you write corresponding step definitions in your chosen programming language, linking each step in the feature file to the actual test code.

When you execute the tests, they may initially fail, indicating a misalignment between expected and actual outcomes. At this point, you go back to the step definitions and modify them to implement the intended behavior accurately. This often involves interacting with your application's codebase to simulate user actions and verify expected results.

Image- How cucumber works
Figure 2. How cucumber works

Once the step definitions have been adjusted to match the expected behavior, you rerun the tests. This time, with the correct implementation in place, the tests should pass, validating that the system behaves as intended based on the described behavior in the feature file. This iterative process of writing, running, failing, adjusting, and passing tests ensures that the software aligns with the specified behavior and meets the requirements of your project.


Want to integrate Cucumber with Selenium in Eclipse? We've got you covered with our easy-to-follow guide in our next article. Stay tuned to learn more!


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