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Robot Framework vs Cucumber – Which is Better?

There are different types of test automation frameworks. Behavior Driven Framework, Data Driven Framework, and Keyword Driven Framework are a few popular variations to name.

In BDD testing, the test cases are documented considering the user behaviors, and these test cases are written in the simple English language using the Gherkin structure. Cucumber is the most popular tool for BDD automation testing. The Robot Framework is another tool that can support BDD Testing. 

Keyword Driven Frameworks are built with a similar approach, but they use high-level keywords to write the automation test cases. One of the major advantages of a keyword-driven framework is testers need not be worried about the implementation of these keywords. Robot Framework is one such popular keyword-driven testing framework. 

Both Cucumber and Robot Framework help to reduce the technical resource and skill set requirements. Both help to accelerate the automation speed and increase the test automation coverage. Evaluating the Robot Framework vs Cucumber can help to choose the best fit for your organization.

What is Cucumber?

cucumber
cucumber

Cucumber is an open-source test automation tool that supports BDD test automation. Cucumber is managed by the SmartBear corporation. Cucumber comes in different flavors based on the programming language. 

What is the BDD Test Automation Framework?

Behavior Driven Development or BDD is an agile development approach that helps close the gap between business people and technology people by encouraging collaboration, increased feedback, and user experience-based development. 

BDD Testing is a testing approach that helps to test the application by writing behavior-based test cases in plain English format. BDD testing follows the Gherkin structure, which helps non-technical people understand and interpret the test results.  Keep in mind that tools like Cucumber, Specflow, and JBehave can only aid in building the BDD framework and cannot execute the test independently without automation tools. 

What is Gherkin in BDD Testing?

Gherkin is a language used in the BDD testing approach. This consists of a set of keywords that clearly define the initial context, action, and expected outcome hence reducing the ambiguity.  Given-When-Then keywords are used in the Gherkin language. “Given” describes the initial context of the system. “When” describes an event or action. “Then” describes the outcome.

Example of Cucumber BDD Test Case

 Scenario: Breaker joins a game

    Given the Maker has started a game with the word “silky”

    When the Breaker joins the Maker’s game

    Then the Breaker must guess a word with 5 characters

Pros of Cucumber

  • Easy to learn and start testing
  • The high degree of reusability
  • Supports data-driven testing
  • Easy to parameterize the test cases
  • Lots of helper libraries and integrations
  • Supports different languages
  • Supports API testing

Cons of Cucumber

  • Setting up a Cucumber framework is complicated
  • Handling multiple window scenarios is difficult
  • Slower test execution compared to the TDD framework
  • Relies heavily on clear, well-defined requirements
  • Writing and maintaining Cucumber scenarios can be time-consuming

What is Robot Framework?

robot-framework

Robot Framework is a general-purpose automation framework that supports both functional test automation and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Robot Framework is an open-source framework supported by the Robot Framework Foundation. It is a Python-based framework and it can be extendable to Java or any other programming languages. It uses the Selenium library for functional testing and many open-source RPA tools to support process automation. As Robot Framework is highly customizable, it is capable of supporting both keyword-driven testing and behavior-driven testing.

What is a keyword-driven Framework?

Keyword-driven framework is based on a set of keywords. These keywords are derived from either functionality or actions. The test cases are written using these keywords. Testers need not be bothered about the implementation of these keywords. Keyword-driven framework helps to reduce the technical skills required for testers. Furthermore, it helps to increase the automation coverage. Setting up keyword-driven is complicated and it requires a lot of time and effort. However, there are ready frameworks like Robot Framework, that can reduce the effort required to set up.

Example of Keyword Driven Test Case

Valid Login

    [Tags]    Iteration-3    Smoke

    Open Login Page

    Input Username    ${VALID USERNAME}

    Input Password    ${VALID PASSWORD}

    Submit Credentials

    Welcome Page Should Be Open

 Pros of Robot Framework

  • Easy installation process
  • Keyword-driven syntax speeds up the testing
  • No technical expertise is required to write the basic automation tests
  • Easy to customize and extend
  • Good documentation and community support
  • Supports Robotic Process Automation

Cons of Robot Framework

  • Robot Framework has Python dependency, though it is extensible to other programming languages, it is complicated. Requires good technical knowledge
  • Test reports are not great. Modern automation tools provide a lot of debugging information and execution videos which are not supported in the Robot Framework
  • Robot Framework supports RIDE IDE by default. It is difficult to configure with your favorite industry-standard IDEs.
  • Difficult to achieve parallel execution 
  • Since reporting has only limited information, difficult to debug.

Cucumber VS Robot Framework – What companies use?

Both Robot and Cucumber Frameworks are widely used in the QA industry. However, Cucumber has a major market share due to its greater benefits and programming language support. Robot Framework stands after the Cucumber.

Robot Framework is used by many enterprises such as ABB,  Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of New York Mellon, Altron, Collins Aerospace, IBM, etc. Cucumber is used by Fujitsu Ltd, eBay Inc., Infosys Ltd, Cornell University, etc.

Robot Framework vs Cucumber -What tools to integrate?

Integration is a major part of any automation framework. For customizing the functionality and extending features of the automation framework, third-party tool integration is necessary. Considering Cucumber vs Robot Framework, both support integration however, the Cucumber supports more tools in comparison with Robot Framework.

The Cucumber framework can be integrated with DevOps tools like Jenkins, CircleCI, etc. It also supports BrowserStack and Lamdatest integration for cloud-based testing. Furthermore, Cucumber can be extended to defect and test management tools like Jira, QTest, XRay, etc. Robot Framework can be integrated with DevOps tools like Jenkins, AzureDevOps, CircleCI, etc. and It also supports Jira integration.

Robot Framework vs Cucumber Technologies and Market Share

Robot Framework and Cucumber both use multiple technologies under the hood. Since both of them are open source they utilize the open source technologies to enhance the framework. Due to their open-source nature, they have gained a lot of customer base and market share which are spread across different geographies. Let’s discuss them in detail.

Technologies used for Robot Framework vs Cucumber

Robot Framework is built with the below technologies

  • Python and extensible to other programming languages
  • Selenium Libraries
  • Open-source RPA tools

Cucumber is built with the below technologies

  • Language-specific processors and Unit test framework
  • Java/JavaScript/C# and JUnit, Nunit, Ruby, Python, etc.

Comparing the customer bases of Cucumber and Robot Framework

As per 6th Sense data Cucumber has  4,776 customers and Robot Framework has 4,316 customers, which clearly states that it has fewer customers than Cucumber and stands in 2nd in comparison with Cucumber.

Comparing the market share of Cucumber and Robot Framework

As Cucumber supports almost all popular programming languages, many organizations are using Cucumber hence it has the major market share in the test automation category. Cucumber has approximately 11% market share and the Robot Framework has approximately 10% market share. 

Compare Cucumber vs Robot Framework customers by geography

When it comes to customer geography, Cucumber Framework customers are spread across the world and are majorly located in the United States, United Kingdom, and India. However, as per 6th Sense data Robot Framework customers are limited to the United States.

Robot Framework vs Cucumber – Table Comparison

We have discussed the Robot Framework and Cucumber features and limitations in detail. Comparing Robot Framework vs Cucumber side-by-side helps to choose the best fit for your organization. Furthermore, you can also think of alternative tools if none of them fits. 

Key PointersRobot FrameworkCucumber
What it isRobot Framework is the general-purpose programming language that supports both functional and process automationCucumber is a BDD wrapper to any automation tool. Which helps to build the BDD-based automation framework.
CategoryUser Acceptance Testing User Acceptance Testing
Programming language supportPython  and Extensible to other programming languagesJava, C#, JavaScript, Python, and Ruby
Client Side TestingYesYes
API TestingYes (With additional library integration)Yes
GeneratorsYesYes
LicenseApache License 2.0MIT License 
Tool DependencySelenium library for functional testing and open-source RPA libraries for process automationAutomation framework dependency
ReportingYesYes basic reporting
No-Code Testing SupportYes (Only for basic scenarios)Yes, but the initial setup requires deep-level coding knowledge
Grouping SupportYesYes

Which is better: Robot Framework vs  Cucumber?

Both Cucumber and Robot Framework are open-source frameworks, both are highly customizable and widely used by many organizations around the world. As mentioned earlier, each tool comes with pros and cons. When it comes to choosing the better framework for your organization, the decision needs to be taken after evaluating both tools against the organization’s requirements. Furthermore, limitations of the framework should not impact the ROI of your organization. 

Alternatives for the tools – Cucumber and Robot Framework

Testsigma

Cucumber and Robot Framework are popular as low code testing framework categories. However, both of them require a deep level of coding either in the setup stage or extending the framework. This means that the low code can be achieved only after all required setup, integration, and customization. An organization needs to have a team to maintain these core framework features to work flawlessly. This can add a cost overhead to the organization, so if your requirement is low code or no code framework without having a dedicated team to build the framework-level feature, then Testsigma stands on the top. 

Testsigma is a no-code automation tool that:

  • Enables you to start automating in minutes
  • Supports all different types of testing without expecting any coding knowledge. 
  • Supports API Testing, end-to-end testing, functional testing, visual regression testing, mobile testing, and responsive testing.
  • Also offers cross-platform and cross-browser support. 
  • Has a team that manages the testing infrastructure for you, and it further reduces the infrastructure maintenance overhead. 
  • Is a cloud-based tool and is budget-friendly. 
  • Lets organizations share the resources across the project, as no technical knowledge is required to automate. 
  • Provides highly customizable reporting
  • Comes equipped with a great support team, available 24×7

Because of all these modern features and dedicated support, Testsigma has gained a lot of customers within a short period.



Additionally, Cucumber and Robot Frameworks are both good choices for acceptance testing

Cucumber is not an automation framework; rather it aids in building the BDD capability to an automation framework which means that Cucumber independently cannot execute your automation tests. Under the hood, you need to use one of the automation tools such as Selenium, WebdriverIO, Cypress, etc. 

The Robot Framework is an automation framework built with a keyword-driven approach and also supports BDD. The keyword-driven approach makes the framework tester-friendly and reduces the technical knowledge. 

However, from an organization’s perspective, technical resources are required to enhance and maintain both of these frameworks. 

Testsigma is a no-code tool, which supports all major testing types. Unlike Robot Framework or Cucumber, you do not need to build the framework from scratch, as it is a cloud-based tool all the framework-level enhancement and core features are maintained by the Testsigma team, hence your team can only focus on achieving the automation goal.



Frequently Asked Questions

Is Robot Framework better than Selenium?

Robot Framework is a wrapper to Selenium, hence it reduces the complexity involved in the Selenium setup and customization. As features are managed by the Robot Framework team you might not get all the flexibility that exists in Selenium. Robot Framework can help you to automate faster if there are no edge case scenarios involved. Having said that, we cannot conclude which is better unless your organization’s requirements are evaluated and met completely.

Is Cucumber a no-code tool?

Cucumber is a BDD testing tool that helps to write the automation test cases in the BDD format. Cucumber alone cannot execute the test. There should be test automation tools like Selenium, Playwright, Cypress, etc in the background to simulate the user behaviors. Considering this, once the Cucumber is set up and the framework is matured then it requires less technical knowledge to automate the test cases. One of the good no-code tools that doesn’t require coding at any stage of testing is Testsigma.

Does Robot Framework support BDD testing?

The Robot Framework is highly customizable and extendable. As this framework is open-source in nature and has good community contributors many features can be extended. The Robot Framework can be enhanced to support the Gherkin syntax in turn helps to write the BDD test cases. In short, Robot Framework supports BDD testing with customization.


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