Testing, testing, testing: my coding mentor was successful in driving into my brain the importance of a codebase with proper, passing tests.
My Bloc Web development apprenticeship introduced me to Rspec, and I learned how to write about a dozen or so Rspec tests for a handful of Rails apps.
I quickly learned the joy of running tests and seeing the string of asterisks followed by
A recent interview for an opportunity for consulting work included the invariable question, ‘What can you do for me?’
My immediate response: ‘Let me write tests.’
‘Do you know Cucumber?’ he asked.
‘I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never used it,’ I replied.
The potential client then asked me to add Cucumber tests to an existing Rails app – this would be my coding challenge.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
Cucumber was supposedly developed for non-techies. The idea was that non-developers could literally write their list of user stories right into the codebase.
But then, of course, the developer would have to go ahead and write the tests – presumably adding an extra layer of administrative work because any good developer would have written tests anyway.
(Google searches on Cucumber led me to several blogs and YouTube videos where developers expressed their downright opposition to Cucumber, but I digress.)
Anyhoo, it starts out easy enough. I decided to add Cucumber tests to one of my simpler bootcamp apps, Jake It Off!, a self-deleting To-Do List app.
To start, all I had to do was add this to the Gemfile:
then in the terminal run
which of course produced nothing to speak of
I proceeded to add the
step_definitions folder to the
features folder, and created two new files:
I added this English language to the
Now, when running
cucumber features, I get the output
Wow, so no errors – just scenarios and steps that are undefined. And how nice that they gave me code snippets. But what to do next?
Cucumber tests are not written alone. In fact, Cucumber isn’t a standalone testing package; to my understanding, it’s simply a wrapper and requires Rspec, Capybara, Selenium, and other test applications in order for it be functional.
Thank God, because I was totally lost. What did I do next? I relied on good ole’ Rspec.
It took a few tries – ok, a couple of hours – but my
item_steps.rb file eventually became:
Of course, victory comes in many forms, most notably when there are no failures:
The Logic Was All Wrong
But I was missing the point of writing Cucumber tests.
The idea of Test Driven Development or Behavior Driven Development is to write the tests first and then write the code.
But I was doing it in reverse.
What I was doing was akin to offering to write the outline of a novel after the novel was already written.
But that’s OK. I can always use good practice in writing tests.
What are your thoughts on Cucumber? Leave a comment below or message me – I’m curious to hear your thoughts.