[rspec-users] [Cucumber:4066] Cucumber vs, RSpec

Matt Wynne matt at mattwynne.net
Wed Apr 21 02:59:55 EDT 2010

Here's an idea relevant to this discussion that came up last week when  
I did a talk on Cucumber to ScotRUG.

Paul Wilson was describing how he used to use Fit, back in the day,  
for testing at different levels in the stack rather than just for end- 
to-end tests. The idea was to surface the tests at the same customer- 
facing level, but steer them at the *appropriate* level in the stack,  
depending on what was being tested.

So for example in the canonical problem of roles with different access  
rights to a system, you could write the nice readable tabulated test  
in Cucumber, but instead of running that cuke against the whole stack,  
stepping through the login form etc, you could just run it against  
whatever class is responsible for managing roles.

In order for this to work, you'd need to write the Cukes in a  
declarative style, avoiding too much detail about exactly how you'd  
carry out the step. This allows the same step to be run against the  
whole stack or a focussed piece of the system instead. I tend to think  
now that this is just good practice anyway.

This isn't something I've tried myself, but I imagine it means you'd  
still get the benefit of customer-readable tests that validate the  
behaviour of the system, but running potentially much faster than if  
they were end-to-end tests. I can see a disadvantage that it could  
make the test code more complex and confusing. You'd obviously still  
need a few end-to-end tests in order to make sure the whole thing  
still wired up together.

On a team with good customer-developer trust, I'd probably just use  
RSpec for these kind of tests, but it's interesting to try thinking  
about cucumber as The Place where business rules are surfaced.

Anyone tried doing anything like this?

On 20 Apr 2010, at 19:33, Ed Howland wrote:

> Please forgive the x-post.
> I just got back from the Great Lakes Ruby Bash. They had several good
> presentations, two specific to BDD and Cucumber. I also talked to
> several CEOs and devs afterwards, and the overall takeaway I gathered
> was a shift to less RSpec and more Cucumber. Some people even claimed
> a 90/10 split (cukes/specs) on current projects.
> This was surorising to me and not at all how I worked up to this
> point. I was more 20/80. I usually cuked a feature, then spec'ed the
> code to make the cuke work. Each release had some new features and
> specs for all the underlying code. Apparently, the feeling is that you
> should do all your main thrusts with Cucumber and use RSpec for edge
> cases. The theory is that you can change out all the underlying code
> and the cukes still pass.
> What is the communities consensus on this?
> Cheers,
> Ed
> Ed Howland
> http://greenprogrammer.wordpress.com
> http://twitter.com/ed_howland
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