Gherkin vs Cucumber | 10 Top Key Differences

May 18, 2024Aaron Thomas
Gherkin vs Cucumber 10 Top Key Differences

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Gherkin and Cucumber are integral components of Behavior-Driven Development (BDD), each playing a distinct role in the testing ecosystem. While Cucumber is a testing tool, Gherkin serves as a language for writing acceptance criteria. Understanding their fundamental differences is essential for teams adopting BDD methodologies.

Gherkin VS Cucumber – Overview

What is Cucumber?

Cucumber is an open-source testing tool that allows you to execute automated tests written in the Gherkin language. For example, let’s say you’re developing a website, and you want to ensure that users can create an account successfully. You could write a Gherkin scenario that describes the steps the user takes, and Cucumber will execute those steps and report any issues it finds.

What is Gherkin Language?

Gherkin is a language that uses a structured format to define application behavior. For example, let’s say you’re developing a feature that allows users to reset their passwords. You could write a Gherkin scenario that describes the steps the user takes to reset their password, such as entering their email address and clicking a “reset password” button. The scenario could also include expected outcomes, such as the user receiving an email with instructions on how to reset their password. This format makes it easy for non-technical stakeholders to understand and collaborate on test cases with developers.

Basics of Cucumber and Gherkin

Cucumber and Gherkin are integral components of BDD that streamline testing efforts and enhance collaboration among stakeholders. 

Gherkin’s structured syntax enables testers to describe application behavior in a human-readable format. Cucumber interprets Gherkin scenarios and executes them as automated tests. This synergy between Gherkin and Cucumber bridges the gap between business requirements and technical implementation that promotes effective communication and early defect detection.For testers, it is necessary to also know the difference between Cucumber and Gherkin. They should grasp Gherkin’s Given-When-Then format, write clear and concise scenarios, and learn to implement step definitions in programming languages supported by Cucumber.

Behaviour-Driven Development (BDD) With Cucumber vs Gherkin

In the dynamic landscape of Behavior-Driven Development (BDD), the collaboration between Cucumber and Gherkin unfolds a narrative of effective communication. With its human-readable syntax, Gherkin becomes the language of choice for articulating behavior in plain text. It is a collaborative tool that fosters understanding between non-technical stakeholders and developers. On the execution side, Cucumber steps in, interpreting and running the scenarios penned in Gherkin. This collaboration between Gherkin’s expressive language and Cucumber’s execution prowess ensures that end-users expectations are understood and translated into robust, executable tests. To delve deeper into this symbiotic relationship, explore our comprehensive blog here, providing insights into how these tools synergize to elevate BDD practices to new heights.

Cucumber and Gherkin in the Cloud

Cucumber and Gherkin have proven their adaptability in the era of cloud computing, where testing environments are becoming more agile and scalable. They seamlessly integrate with cloud-based testing infrastructure, ensuring teams can adhere to Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) practices regardless of their chosen infrastructure. This flexibility allows for efficient collaboration and communication among team members, enabling them to create and execute tests in a cloud environment. The combination of Cucumber and Gherkin transcends traditional testing boundaries. It embraces the possibilities and advantages of the cloud, making BDD practices more accessible and influential in the modern testing landscape.

Cucumber vs Gherkin – Web Testing

In web testing, the collaboration between Cucumber and Gherkin brings a powerful synergy. Cucumber acts as the executor, interpreting and executing test scripts written in Gherkin. With its human-readable syntax, Gherkin provides a clear and expressive language for articulating behavior, making it an ideal choice for collaboration between non-technical and technical stakeholders. This collaboration ensures that the testing process remains effective, transparent, and easy to understand. While Cucumber excels in the execution of Gherkin scripts, Gherkin remains focused on providing a language that is not only readable but also collaborative. Together, they empower teams to conduct web testing efficiently, balancing technical precision and human-centric communication.

Gherkin vs Cucumber – Key Differences

NatureLanguage: Describes behavior in plain text.Tool: Executes BDD scenarios in various languages.
UsageWriting: Primarily for creating strategies.Execution: Executes Gherkin scripts.
FocusReadability: Focus on human-readable syntax.Automation: Focus on automated test execution.
RoleCollaboration: Facilitates communication between stakeholders.Implementation: Translates Gherkin into executable code.
FormalityInformal: Designed to be easy for non-developers.Formal: Requires coding for automation.
FlexibilityAgile: Suited for agile and collaborative environments.Versatility: Adaptable to various testing scenarios.
OutputScenarios: Output scenarios for multiple tests.Results: Generates test results and reports.

Understanding these key differences clarifies the distinct roles of Gherkin and Cucumber in BDD, fostering effective collaboration and streamlined testing processes.

Why to Use Testsigma as an Alternative Tool to Cucumber and Gherkin?

Testsigma is a test automation tool that allows test creation in natural language. It enables non-technical team members to create and execute automated tests without the need for coding expertise. 

Testsigma offers a range of features such as scriptless test creation, AI-powered self-healing tests, and test maintenance that make it a popular choice among teams looking to implement automated testing in their SDLC. 

In this context, we’ll compare Gherkin and cucumber with Testsigma to understand their differences and similarities.

Gherkin VS Cucumber VS Testsigma – Key Differences: Which is Better?

1. Nature and Role:

   – Gherkin: Primarily a language for describing behavior in plain text, focusing on readability and collaboration.

   – Cucumber: An execution tool that interprets and runs BDD scenarios written in Gherkin.

   – Testsigma: An end-to-end test automation platform that employs natural language processing, but also provides the platform for execution and reporting eliminating the need for explicit coding in Gherkin.

2. Functionality and Automation:

   – Gherkin: Emphasizes human-readable syntax, mainly for articulating behavior.

   – Cucumber: Focuses on automating test scenarios written in Gherkin, requiring coding for execution.

   – Testsigma: Leverages a no-code approach, allowing users to create and execute automated tests without scripting.

3. Collaboration and Readability:

   – Gherkin Aims for informal, easy-to-understand language, promoting collaboration among non-developers.

   – Cucumber: Integrates Gherkin scenarios into code, ensuring clear communication between technical and non-technical stakeholders.

   – Testsigma: Enhances collaboration by providing a user-friendly, collaborative platform accessible to technical and non-technical users.

4. Versatility and Application:

   – Gherkin: Suited for creating scenarios, emphasizing agile and collaborative environments.

   – Cucumber: Adaptable to various testing scenarios, offering versatility in automated testing.

   – Testsigma: Designed for end-to-end test automation, accommodating testing needs without coding.

5. Execution and Reporting:

   – Gherkin: Outputs scenarios for manual or automated tests without execution capabilities.

   – Cucumber: Executes Gherkin scenarios and generates test results, aiding in comprehensive testing.

   – Testsigma: Executes automated tests seamlessly, providing real-time reporting for efficient test analysis.


In summary, Gherkin, Cucumber, and Testsigma each play distinctive roles in Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) and test automation. While Gherkin acts as a human-readable language, Cucumber translates it into executable code. Testsigma, on the other hand, stands out with its no-code approach, offering a collaborative platform accessible to both technical and non-technical users.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Gherkin and Cucumber automation?

In essence, Gherkin is a language for articulating behavior, emphasizing human readability, while Cucumber is a tool that interprets and executes Gherkin scenarios for automated testing. Gherkin serves as a collaborative, non-technical language, while Cucumber acts as the bridge between Gherkin and automation, requiring coding for implementation.

What is the difference between Cucumber BDD and Selenium?

While Cucumber is a tool that facilitates Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) by interpreting scenarios written in Gherkin, Selenium is a web automation framework. Cucumber focuses on collaboration and readable scenarios, whereas Selenium is designed to automate web applications. The former involves collaboration between non-technical and technical stakeholders, while the latter is a widely used automation tool for web testing.


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