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Selenium vs. Cucumber: A Brief Guide to the Basic Differences

Unit Tests
Cucumber and Selenium are comparable in certain aspects. Both are employed in functional testing and both are Open Source. But what distinguishes the Selenium and Cucumber frameworks? Who makes use of them? And how would you combine them?

What Is the Difference Between Selenium and Cucumber?

There are several significant differences between Selenium and Cucumber. Selenium is a web app automation tool, whereas Cucumber is a behavior-driven development automation tool. Cucumber does acceptability testing whereas Selenium performs UI testing. Cucumber script creation is simpler than Selenium script generation.

More on the fundamental differences between Selenium and Cucumber:

  • Selenium is used for automated user interface testing. Acceptance testing is done with cucumber.
  • Cucumber is not required for Selenium to function. Cucumber relies on Selenium or Appium to implement step-definition testing.
  • Selenium is a tool for automating web browsers. Cucumber is a behavior-driven development tool that works in conjunction with Selenium (or Appium).
  • Technical teams (SDETs/programmers) like Selenium. Non-technical teams often choose cucumber (business stakeholders and testers).

Also when we posted a comparition between Selenium Vs Cypress but also other 6 Selenium alternatives, we found differences like these significant differences between Selenium and Cucumber. Whether you employ one or the other is determined by your individual circumstances, objectives, and ambitions

What Exactly Is Selenium?

Selenium automates browser testing. It is a well-known testing framework and tool set for testing web-based applications.

SDETs prefer it.
Selenium is preferred by software development engineers in test (SDETs) in your team. They may use it to develop test scripts in their preferred programming language, such as Java, Javascript, C#, Ruby, Python, Perl, PHP, and Groovy, and then run those scripts on numerous browsers.

What Exactly Is Cucumber?

Cucumber allows you to write test scenarios in simple English.

It is a behavior-driven development tool (BDD). BDD is a software development approach that promotes cross-functional cooperation, in part by employing a plain-English scripting language known as "gherkin," which anybody, technical or not, can read, write, and comprehend. In a previous post we explained What Is Gherkin and How Do You Write Gherkin Tests?

Cucumber was originally created in the Ruby programming language, but it currently supports a wide range of computer languages, including Java and JavaScript. For acceptance testing, the Cucumber framework is often used.

Business testers prefer it.

If you have business testers on your team, they are likely to choose Cucumber — or another BDD framework, such as Quantum — since it can be used without technical experience (which Selenium requires).

Cucumber writes tests using a "given-when-then" structure. You offer the context (provided), user action (when), and expected outcome after establishing the feature and scenario under test (then).

Cucumber BDD Example 

Scenario: Login
Given: Registered User navigates to testquality.com 
When: User logs in using Username and Password  
Then: Login should be successful 

Is BDD worthwhile?

Cucumber's Java Script behavior-driven development (BDD) library is downloaded over 500,000 times each month. Is BDD, however, worthwhile?

Cucumber in the Selenium Framework

Cucumber is sometimes used within a Selenium framework to provide for reliable test automation that prioritizes simple English. They can accomplish the following by doing so:

  • Create a shared understanding of how software should function.
  • Increase collaboration among testers, developers, and decision-makers.
  • Scalable web testing across browsers.

However, keep in mind that the business side of the firm may not have influence or thoughts on how the application acts in some circumstances. It's also possible, depending on the size of your QA team and who's conducting the automated work, that adding another layer of technology to make tests more human-readable (like with Cucumber) won't bring value. Cucumber may not be required in either situation during the test generation step.

TestQuality and Gherkin

TestQuality's import capabilities also allow you to import requirements, tests, and issues by uploading Gherkin Feature Files easily with an import data option menu even when using a Gherkin based Test results JSON file.

Gherkin feature files can be uploaded via TestQuality REST interface via curl, a popular command line tool.

Once your file has been added, you can optionally choose a Cycle and Milestone that you would like to link to your Test Run result.

Gherkin Feature Files to import Test Cases to TestQuality

Gherkin Feature Files with your tests can be easily imported with TestQuality

TestQuality is designed around a live integration core that allows TQ to communicate directly with GitHub and integrate with Jira in real-time linking issues and requirements with the key tools in your DevOps workflows. 
Join now and Try TestQuality for Free!

TestQuality's integration engine also allows you to connect to pull in automated test results from popular CI/CD, Test Automation, and Unit Testing systems. As we have previously described, TestQuality easily imports Gherkin Feature Files and it has all the test management capabilities you need for creating, maintaining, organizing, and running tests, but TestQuality is different from other test management tools in that it is purpose built for GitHub and Jira workflows and designed to be integrated with virtually all test automation and unit testing tools.

In conclusion

While Selenium and Cucumber have certain similarities (both are open-source and used for functional testing), that is where their similarities end. Cucumber is used for behavior-driven programming, whereas Selenium is used to automate web browsers. Finally, because Selenium demands coding expertise, it is frequently used by SDETs and developers. Cucumber is a popular choice among business testers.