January 7, 2014 | Software Consultancy
Cucumber Pro from a technical point of view
As more of a technical user of Cucumber, there isn’t much that’s new or ground-breaking for me – almost every feature is already available through your preferred IDE combined with a few plugins.
It does however start to address one of the major limitations of using Cucumber as a BDD tool: involving non technical stakeholders. When I am discussing options with clients and relating the pros and cons of various offerings one thing that always comes up with Cucumber is the difficulty of engaging the business in order to actually create the specifications.
In theory plain text feature files mean that anyone can work with them easily. In practice the required understanding of Gherkin syntax and use of version control means that it’s rarely feasible to write the features without using an IDE such as IntelliJ Idea to gain syntax highlighting, auto-completion and GUI based source control. This invariably puts off anyone without some development experience.
Putting all of this capability into a simplified web front-end will very likely increase the chance of getting real business engagement in the requirements capture process.
Cucumber Pro promises future functionality including publishing reports which will help a lot with exposing the results of test runs. At present the reports often languish unseen as CI build artefacts, losing much of their value for non-technical team members.
Something not explicitly mentioned on the post but visible in the example videos is the “add extra description” link. Another of the problems with Cucumber is the difficulty of capturing extra detail – something that competitors like Concordion excel at – particularly non textual information. If this functionality evolves to allow attachment of graphical content it could really round off Cucumber as a tool.
Everything so far looks well thought out and well executed so it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on the progress of this offering over the coming months.