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Showing posts from August, 2018

Why I like Cucumber (beyond BDD)

There is a sentiment in software development that if you do not have a working BDD practice then Cucumber is just unnecessary overhead. I understand this position, but I disagree, based on my own experience and my own practice. I find Cucumber is particularly valuable in automated browser tests.

I've been using Cucumber for automated browser tests at work just about every day for the last six years or so. At the same time, I have never worked with a full-on BDD team. Beyond BDD, here are three aspects of Cucumber I find particularly valuable:

Cucumber creates a low barrier to entry for anyone at any time to contribute and understand the project.Cucumber's Given/When/Then syntax provides a design guide particularly well suited for browser tests, especially using "When" in a particular way.When a test fails, Cucumber provides a plain-English description of what the test does that may not be immediately apparent from the code or the nature of the failure.
I tend to write b…

Watir: the first five years

Some of the Watir community has been discussing the history of the project. Here I try to set down some notable things that I remember about that time.

We have to start the story of Watir with Ruby. The first English documentation for Ruby was published in 2000, and it garnered a lot of interest, particularly as it was so amenable to creating Domain Specific Languages (DSLs), which caught the attention of a number of people working in testing, and in the Agile world. Python 2.0 also came out in 2000, and the dominant scripting language at the time was Perl.

Of all the browsers available at that time, only Internet Explorer exposed an API for automating browser actions, via a COM interface. In 2001, Chris Morris published a Ruby library that exploited IE's COM interface called WTR, for Web Testing in Ruby.

At that time, Open Source software was often seen as inferior or even downright suspicious, and was poorly understood by most businesses. Test automation products were exclusively …