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Harnessing the Power of Pico Container with Cucumber and Selenium

Welcome to a comprehensive guide on integrating Pico Container into your Cucumber test framework! In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of dependency injection (DI) and how Pico Container can significantly enhance the maintainability and scalability of your automated tests. We'll use a demo project featuring Cucumber, Selenium WebDriver, and a structured test context to illustrate the benefits of using Pico Container.


*Note: Please read through to the end to fully grasp this concept in a easy, straightforward and accessible way!


Understanding Dependency Injection

Dependency Injection is a design pattern that promotes loose coupling and better organization of code by injecting dependencies into objects rather than hard-coding them. This approach improves code reusability, testability, and overall system flexibility.


The Challenge: Managing Test Context and Dependencies

In test automation, managing dependencies like WebDriver instances, page objects, and test data across multiple scenarios can quickly become complex. Without proper organization, tests become brittle and challenging to maintain, especially in large-scale projects.


Enter Pico Container

Pico Container is a lightweight and versatile DI container for Java applications. It simplifies object instantiation and lifecycle management by automatically wiring dependencies based on the defined relationships. Let's dive into why Pico Container is a game-changer.

 

Why Use Pico Container?

·        In Cucumber, step definition classes are instantiated for each scenario, and inheritance between step definition classes is not directly supported.

·        If you want to avoid manually creating objects for dependent classes within step classes and enable easier sharing of state between steps, Pico Container provides a solution through dependency injection.

·        One of the biggest advantages of using Pico Container is the ability to share state (objects) between steps within the same feature file or across multiple feature files.

·        Pico Container identifies dependencies by examining the constructors of registered step definition classes (constructor injection).

·        By specifying dependencies in the constructor of a step definition class, Pico Container can automatically provide these dependencies when instantiating the class for a scenario.


Now let’s create a simple maven project and understand the step by step procedure to implement pico container into our project.


Here is the folder structure for our demonstration project :


 

Step 1: Set Up Dependencies

First things first, let's ensure we have the necessary dependencies set up in our Maven project. Here I’m using cucumber-picocontainer version 7.15.0, ensuring compatibility between Cucumber and Pico Container.


 

Step 2: Implement Test Context

In our demo project, the TestContext class serves as the central hub for managing test dependencies. Pico Container injects this context into our test classes, ensuring that WebDriver instances and page objects are initialized correctly before each scenario.



Step 3: Hooks for Setup and Teardown

Using Pico Container, our Hooks class effortlessly injects the TestContext into our test environment. This ensures that our test context is set up correctly before each scenario and cleaned up afterward, promoting test isolation and reliability.




Step 4: Enhancing Maintainability with Page Object Model (POM)

Our demo project utilizes the Page Object Model (POM) design pattern for organizing web elements and actions into reusable components. Pico Container seamlessly integrates with POM, facilitating cleaner and more modular test scripts.

Below are the three page classes we are using in our demo project.




2.    HomePage.java


 



Step 5: Feature Files

Cucumber feature files provide a clear, human-readable format for defining test scenarios. Pico Container injects our TestContext into step definitions, enabling smooth interactions with page objects and assertions.

Below are the three feature files we are using in our demo project:


1.    dashBoardPage.feature



2.    homePage.feature



3.    loginPage.feature



Step 6: Step Definitions

Step definitions map our Gherkin steps to Java code using Pico Container to inject our TestContext for seamless interaction with our page objects.

Below are the three Step definition classes we are using in our demo project:


1.    DashBoard_SD.java



2.    Home_SD.java



3.    Login_SD.java



Step 7 (Last step): Running the Tests

Now, it's time to execute our tests using the Cucumber runner. The power of Pico Container ensures that our test objects are instantiated and wired up correctly, leading to smooth test execution.

Below is my runner class ‘TestRunner.java’ :


That is it!


Fun analogy to understand why Pico Container Matters:

Let's explore another fun way to explain how Pico Container helps manage dependencies in our project!

Imagine you're a master chef preparing a delicious feast (our demo project) for a grand banquet. You've got a bustling kitchen with various ingredients and specialized tools (similar to our test context and dependencies).


1.    The Cooking Station (WebDriver): This is your main workstation where you prepare all your dishes (interact with web pages). Just like a chef needs a well-equipped cooking station, your tests require a reliable WebDriver to navigate and interact with the digital world.


2.    The Ingredients (Page Objects): These are your key ingredients for different recipes—flour, spices, vegetables, and more (similar to our page objects representing web elements). Each ingredient has a specific role and needs to be used correctly. Similarly, your page objects encapsulate the elements and actions needed for different parts of your test scenarios.


3.    The Recipe Book (TestContext): This is your guidebook containing all the recipes and instructions for each dish (our test scenarios). Your TestContext manages the cooking process, ensuring the right ingredients and tools are available for each recipe (test scenario).


Now, let's introduce Pico Container into the kitchen:


  • The Sous Chef (Pico Container): Pico Container is like your trusty sous chef—an expert assistant who knows exactly which ingredients (dependencies) you need for each dish (test scenario). Instead of you scrambling to gather ingredients and tools, Pico Container automatically provides everything you need, making your cooking (test execution) smoother and more efficient.


  • Ensuring Kitchen Harmony: With Pico Container's assistance, managing your kitchen (test environment) becomes a breeze. It ensures that your cooking station (WebDriver) is clean and ready, your ingredients (page objects) are fresh and accessible, and your recipe book (TestContext) is organized and efficient. This way, you can focus on creating culinary masterpieces (testing your application) without getting bogged down by the details of ingredient management (test setup and dependency handling).


In essence, using Pico Container in our demo project is like having a seasoned sous chef by your side—helping you orchestrate the culinary process seamlessly so you can delight your guests (users) with a flawless banquet (well-tested application). It's all about making testing as smooth and enjoyable as preparing a gourmet meal!


Conclusion: Empowering Your Test Automation


In this blog, we've explored how Pico Container enhances our Cucumber test framework by managing dependencies and test context seamlessly. By leveraging Pico Container, we've achieved cleaner, more modular, and maintainable automation scripts.

Experiment with Pico Container in your own projects and experience firsthand how DI can transform your test automation practices. Embrace the power of Pico Container and elevate your testing to new heights!

Thank you for joining me on this journey through Pico Container and Cucumber. Happy testing!

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Very Informative

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Detailed one, thank you

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Guest
May 16
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Nice explanation

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