What the f** eature ?

Unless you are used to Cucumber nomenclature, you may be wondering about the terms that surround Lettuce concepts.

If this is your case, this introduction will guide you through the very basic keywords that cover Lettuce.

Features

Since Lettuce is used to test the behavior of a project, the behavior is broken up in to features of the system.

After enumerating features, you need to create scenarios which will describe those feature. Thus, scenarios are components of a feature.

Let’s learn by example: suppose we want to create a system to manage an address book.

OK, one of the very basic features of an address book is adding contacts, which will include their name and phone numbers.

This is how Lettuce allows you to describe such feature:

Feature: Add people to address book
  In order to organize phone numbers of friends
  As a wise person
  I want to add a people to my address book

  Scenario: Add a person with name and phone number
    Given I fill the field "name" with "John"
    And fill the field "phone" with "2233-4455"
    When I save the data
    Then I see that my contact book has the persons:
      | name | phone     |
      | John | 2233-4455 |

  Scenario: Avoiding a invalid phone number
    Given I fill the field "name" with "John"
    And fill the field "phone" with "000"
    When I save the data
    Then I get the error: "000 is a invalid phone number"

In the feature above we can notice a few elements, for instance:

  • The feature name:
Feature: Add people to contact book
  • Feature headline:
In order to organize phone numbers of friends
As a wise person
I want to add a people to my address book
  • Scenarios:
Scenario: Add a person with name and phone
  Given I fill the field "name" with "John"
  And fill the field "phone" with "2233-4455"
  When I save the data
  Then I see that my contact book has the persons:
    | name | phone     |
    | John | 2233-4455 |

Scenario: Avoiding a invalid phone number
  Given I fill the field "name" with "John"
  And fill the field "phone" with "000"
  When I save the data
  Then I get the error: "000 is a invalid phone number"

Scenarios

One or more scenarios compose a feature. There are two kinds of scenarios:

Simple

The simple scenarios are composed by steps, no matter if they are simple or tabulated steps.

The feature above is composed by two simple scenarios.

Outlined

Outlined scenarios are very handy because they help you to avoid repetition.

Suppose that we need to fill the same form many times, each time with a different data set. This is how it could be done using scenario outlines:

Let’s see how it could be done with scenario outlines:

Feature: Apply all my friends to attend a conference
  In order to apply all my friends to the next PyCon_
  As a lazy person
  I want to fill the same form many times

  Scenario Outline: Apply my friends
    Go to the conference website
    Access the link "I will attend"
    Fill the field "name" with "<friend_name>"
    Fill the field "email" with "<friend_email>"
    Fill the field "birthday" with "<friend_birthdate>"
    Click on "confirm attendance" button

  Examples:
    | friend_name | friend_email         | friend_birthdate |
    | Mary        | mary@domain.com      | 1988/02/10       |
    | Lincoln     | lincoln@provider.net | 1987/09/10       |
    | Marcus      | marcus@other.org     | 1990/10/05       |

In a nutshell, the scenario above is equivalent to write the huge code bellow

Feature: Apply all my friends to attend a conference
  In order to apply all my friends to the next PyCon_
  As a lazy person
  I want to fill the same form many times

  Scenario: Apply Mary
    Go to the conference website
    Access the link "I will attend"
    Fill the field "name" with "Mary"
    Fill the field "email" with "mary@domain.com"
    Fill the field "birthday" with "1988/02/10"
    Click on "confirm attendance" button

  Scenario: Apply Lincoln
    Go to the conference website
    Access the link "I will attend"
    Fill the field "name" with "Lincoln"
    Fill the field "email" with "lincoln@provider.net"
    Fill the field "birthday" with "1987/09/10"
    Click on "confirm attendance" button

  Scenario: Apply Marcus
    Go to the conference website
    Access the link "I will attend"
    Fill the field "name" with "Marcus"
    Fill the field "email" with "marcus@other.org"
    Fill the field "birthday" with "1990/10/05"
    Click on "confirm attendance" button

As you can notice, scenario outlines are very useful and help you on avoiding text and code repetition

Steps and its definitions

Comparable with Scenarios, Steps comes in two kinds:

Simple steps

Simple steps are actually simple and they are related to the step definitions inside the scenarios.

Lettuce considers each line of a scenario as a simple step. The only exception is if the first non-blank character of the line is a pipe |. In this case, Lettuce will consider the step as a tabular step.

For instance, a simple step may look like this:

Given I go to the conference website

Tabular steps

Analog to Outlined Scenarios, the tabular steps are very useful, and avoid repetition of text.

Tabular steps are specially useful to set up some data set in a scenario, or to compare a set of data to the expected results in the end of the scenario.

However, feel free to use this whenever you find it useful.

Example:

Given I have the following contacts in my database
  | name  | phone      |
  | John  | 2233-4455  |
  | Smith | 9988-7766  |