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The Role of Cucumber in BDD - Learn How Cucumber Facilitates BDD by Bridging the Communication Between Technical and Non-Technical Teams

Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) is a methodology that prioritizes communication and collaboration among all stakeholders in software development. This includes both technical and non-technical team members. At the core of BDD lies the role of Cucumber, which is the defacto tool used in making this collaborative approach both practical and effective.

In this blog post, we will explore how Cucumber supports BDD, turning business scenarios into code ready for automation. We'll delve into the integration of the entire process with Jira using AssertThat's BDD, Cucumber, and Test Management plugin for Jira, thereby creating a robust environment for the development of high-quality software.

A Closer Look at Cucumber's role in BDD

Cucumber stands as a bridge between the conceptual and executable aspects of BDD. It interprets specifications written in plain language and checks if the software acts as specified. These specifications are made up of various scenarios that map the expected software behavior under different conditions. For example, consider the scenario:

Scenario: As a tester, manage the mode of BDD Scenarios from automated to manual in Jira
Given a user story is linked to BDD scenarios
When I change the status of an BDD scenario to automated
Then the mode is updated for the scenario against the user story
And the feature and scenario can be programatically downloaded for automation

This scenario, articulated in Gherkin, guides Cucumber to validate the software's behavior, aiding in automated testing and acting as living documentation and a singular source of truth for the system's functionality.

Diagram of a triangle representing the Cucumber ecosystem in BDD, with the Cucumber logo at the center. Each triangle side is labeled: one side for 'Executable Specification,' another for 'Automated Testing,' and the third for 'Living Documentation,' illustrating how Cucumber connects these core aspects of BDD.
The Cucumber Ecosystem: Facilitating BDD through Executable Specification, Automated Testing, and Living Documentation

The Role of Gherkin

Gherkin is crucial for writing executable specifications that Cucumber can interpret. The syntax enables team members of all technical levels to write and comprehend the required software behavior. Following best practices in BDD scenario writing is crucial to avoiding common pitfalls. When executed well, Gherkin enhances clear communication and forms a strong foundation between technical and non-technical team members.

Step Definitions: Connecting Gherkin to Code

Step definitions provides the link between Gherkin's specifications and the actual code, mapping each step in a scenario to code that executes the described action. This connection ensures that the specifications are not just documentation but a part of the automated testing framework.

When("I change the status of an acceptance test to automated from manual", function() {
  // Code to change the status and extract feature and scenario

These definitions can be authored in various programming languages, allowing for flexible integration with different development environments.

Integrating Cucumber with Jira Through AssertThat

Integrating Cucumber with Atlassian Jira is streamlined by AssertThat’s BDD, Cucumber, and Test Management plugin. The plugin enables teams to collaborate on BDD scenarios native to Jira.

AssertThat’s plugin acts as a conduit, linking Jira with test automation frameworks. This 2 way integration ensure teams can collaborate on BDD scenarios, and test results are automatically updated in Jira. This ensures teams can make informed decisions based on up-to-date results, empowering teams to quickly adapt to changes.


In summary, Cucumber's role in BDD underscores its ability to democratize the software development process, inviting contributions from team members across the spectrum of technical know-how. It champions clear communication and teamwork, seamlessly connecting those with varying levels of technical expertise. The use of AssertThat’s plugin to integrate Cucumber with Atlassian Jira notably streamlines both development and testing workflows, thereby enhancing efficiency and collaboration.

Integrating Cucumber into your BDD practices, especially when complemented by tools like AssertThat, provides a solid foundation for building high-quality software. It's not just about adopting new tools but about fostering a culture of shared understanding and cooperation. This approach is crucial for adapting to the pace and complexities of software development, ensuring teams can deliver impactful and user-aligned solutions.

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