Top Cucumber Framework Cons to Know About

Octavia Drexler
Octavia Drexler
Published: 20.09.2022

We're moving to a world where the "deeply technical" is starting to be increasingly accessible for the non-tech people too – and the Cucumber testing framework is part of this movement. Undoubtedly beneficial, however, there are Cucumber framework cons you need to know before you adopt it. If you are curious to learn more about why, despite its contribution to the future of development, the Cucumber framework might not always be the best choice: read on.

Understanding Testing Frameworks

Before we dive into the ins and outs of the Cucumber framework, you should first know that there are six main types of testing frameworks. Understanding them is important because it will help you see the Cucumber framework's place within the larger context of software testing. Here are the six types of testing frameworks:

Data-driven Testing Framework

A data-driven testing framework is all about driving test cases from external data sources. In other words, the test data is not hard-coded into the test scripts.

Keyword-driven Testing Framework

A keyword-driven testing framework will divide the test case into four different parts: test steps, objects of test steps, actions on test steps, and data for test objects. This type of framework is more commonly used for small projects and applications.

Hybrid Testing Framework

This testing framework is a combination between data-driven and keyword-driven frameworks. In this type of framework, both the keywords and the test data are externalized.

Linear Automation Framework

This type of testing framework is executed in a linear sequence. That is, each test case is executed one after the other in a straight line (which is why this framework is sometimes called the "record and playback" method.)

Modular Testing Framework

A modular testing framework will divide the test script into small modules. Each of these modules can be executed independently from the other.

Behavioral Driven Development (BDD) frameworks

BDD frameworks are focused on the behavior of an application for the end-user. This type of framework aims to verify how the system behaves in various scenarios.

A female engineer is writing feedback on whiteboard.

What Is the Cucumber Framework?

The Cucumber framework is a testing framework that follows the BDD approach. This framework is used to write tests that are understandable by both technical and non-technical people. Tests in the Cucumber framework are written using a language called "Gherkin", which is a business-readable domain-specific language used for behavior descriptions.

A Cucumber testing tool is written in Ruby, and its main goal is that of making testing cases readable by non-technical people too (e.g. business analysts, for example.) This makes it a very attractive proposition, particularly for businesses/ products where both tech and non-tech team members have to be involved in the development process.

Advantages of Using the Cucumber Framework

The Cucumber framework has grown in popularity for very good reasons. Some of its main advantages include:

No Need for In-Depth Programming Knowledge for Testers

Because the Cucumber framework uses the Gherkin language, which, as mentioned before, is business-readable, testers don’t need to have in-depth programming knowledge. This means that you can get started with Cucumber testing without needing to invest too much time and resources into training your team members.

The Code Can Be Reused

Unlike other testing frameworks (such as the data-driven testing framework, for example), the Cucumber framework allows you to reuse the code. This can save you a lot of time and effort, particularly if you're working on a large project with a lot of different test cases.

It's Flexible

The Cucumber framework is also very flexible and can be easily integrated with other frameworks (such as Selenium, for example, which is used to test software across different browsers). This makes it possible to customize the tests according to your specific needs and requirements. Furthermore, the Cucumber framework supports other languages, not just Ruby. For instance, the Cucumber framework can do well with Java, Scala, or Groovy.

It's Easy and Quick to Set It Up

You won't need to spend a lot of time setting up the Cucumber framework - it's quick and easy to just get it going for your business. Plus, unlike some of the alternatives, the Cucumber software is free.

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Cucumber Framework Cons You Should Know

As shown, the Cucumber framework has plenty of advantages to make it an interesting option for pretty much anyone who wants to simplify the way they test programs. Nothing is ever perfect, though – and this framework is no exception. Here are some of the most common Cucumber framework cons you should consider:

Gherkin Can Induce Complexity

The Gherkin syntax used in developing Cucumber testing tools can become quite complex. On the surface, they are easy to use and understand. However, below the surface, they can be quite intricate and challenging to work with. This is something that you should consider if you're planning on using Cucumber testing in your business.

The Given-When-Then Framework Can Be too Verbose

The Given-When-Then framework can make Cucumber tests quite verbose. This means that the tests can end up being quite long and detailed, which can be difficult to work with (particularly if you're not used to working with this kind of testing framework).

Can Tempt You to Skip Important Conversations

Skipping important pre-programing and pre-testing conversations is another commonly touted Cucumber framework con. Because the entire framework aims to make it easy to build a testing system, it can make it very tempting to skip the conversation regarding how that system should actually work.

Can Be Slow

Cucumber tests can take a while to run, which can be frustrating for those who are used to faster testing frameworks. While the actual time difference might not be that significant, it can still impact the efficiency of your testing process, particularly if you're working on a large project with a lot of different test cases. Regarding this Cucumber framework con, it is important to note that it's not always slow and that how fast it moves can depend on a variety of factors (such as the size and type of project, for example.)

Conclusion: Is the Cucumber Framework Right for You?

The Cucumber framework is a great tool that can simplify the process of testing programs. However, it's not right for everyone. It's important to weigh the pros and cons of using Cucumber testing in your business before making a decision. If you're looking for a quick and easy way to test programs with little overhead, then the Cucumber framework might be a good option for you. Furthermore, if other functions of business want to have a say in how the end product will work, using the Cucumber framework will make communication and collaboration easier.


This framework can also help you build the kind of product that’s created with valuable input from various areas of expertise (outside of development). In doing this, it (almost) taps into the no-code movement shaping the future of software.


On the other hand, if you're working on a large project with a lot of different test cases, you might want to consider using a different testing framework. The same goes if you're not comfortable working with the given-when-then framework, as it can make tests quite verbose.


At the end of the day, only you can decide if the Cucumber framework cons are a deal-breaker for you -- or something completely surmountable and minor in the grand scheme of things.


FAQs:

Q1: Is Cucumber better than Selenium?

There is no simple answer to this question as it depends on a variety of factors, such as the size and type of project you're working on. That said, Cucumber can be a great tool to use in conjunction with Selenium or as a standalone testing framework. However, Cucumber testing can be less reliable than Selenium.

Q2: What are the challenges in BDD?

Some of the main challenges in BDD include :

  • Ensuring that all stakeholders are on the same page in terms of what is being built
  • Creating test cases that accurately reflect user behavior
  • Getting buy-in from everyone involved in the project (including developers, testers, product managers, etc.)
  • Making sure that the tests are comprehensive

Q3: When should you not use BDD?

You should not use BDD if you are not comfortable with the Given-When-Then framework, as it can make tests quite verbose. Furthermore, if you have legacy silos in the team, you might want to avoid BDD.


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