STARWEST 2023 Concurrent Session : It’s Only “Gherkin” if It’s From the Cucumber Region of BDD; Otherwise It’s Just “Sparkling Behavior Specs”


Thursday, October 6, 2022 - 11:15am to 12:15pm

It’s Only “Gherkin” if It’s From the Cucumber Region of BDD; Otherwise It’s Just “Sparkling Behavior Specs”

Given I am a tester
When I write Gherkin scenarios
Then software development and testing go much more smoothly

Gherkin has become a quintessential part of BDD. Love it or hate it, Gherkin's simple "Given-When-Then" syntax makes it easy to frame behaviors and, by extension, test cases. What most folks don't realize, however, is that writing "good" Gherkin is more about semantics than syntax. We could argue over how many lines a scenario should be or how granular steps should be, but that misses the bigger picture: developing readable, runnable behavior definitions.In this talk, we'll see how Gherkin is just a formal framing for the Arrange-Act-Assert pattern. Together, we'll follow a process of describing, then dissecting, and finally defining behavior in plain language. Following that structure will supercharge our functional test case development, whether or not we ultimately automate those tests with a Cucumber-like framework. By the end of this talk, you'll have a fresh perspective on Gherkin, and you'll know how to leverage it appropriately.

Andrew Knight

Andrew Knight is the Automation Panda and a Developer Advocate at Applitools. He strives to help others in solving problems in software development, testing, and quality. Over the past decade, he has designed and built robust test automation projects from the ground up that can run thousands of tests continuously. He is the author of the upcoming book The Way To Test Software from Manning Publications, and he is also the lead developer for Boa Constrictor, the .NET Screenplay Pattern. Read his tech blog at and follow him on Twitter.