Rocket Fueled Cucumbers

Joseph Wilk (
Location: Ballroom I Level: Novice
Average rating: ****.
(4.07, 44 ratings)

You start a brand new Rails project. You elegantly glide around your application sprinkling it with Acceptance tests using tools like Cucumber. Time passes, test numbers grow and suddenly you find yourself wadding through the thick sludgy swamp of a 1-hour test build. Your ability to deliver code in a timely manner gets difficult. Discipline gets slack “Well I know that fix will turn the build green so lets just deploy it anyway”. Commit code now, find out in an hour if it breaks.

Joseph Wilk will examine ways to battle performance problems with Acceptance tests. Taking from his experience as one of the core Cucumber developers and from working at on a Rails based application which has one of the largest sets of Cucumber features. He will be focusing examples around Cucumber though the ideas and principles apply to many testing frameworks. He will be demonstrating how tools like TestJour can be used to distribute Cucumber features over many machines. The use of external cloud based testing services. Using in-memory browser tools such as Celerity and Harmony to speed up JavaScript testing. Reducing the need to start apps every time with tools like Spork and Snailgun. Demonstrating ways of intelligently selecting the optimal set of tests to run (using tools like Cucover), looking at ways of caching SQL activity based on Cucumber Scenarios (minimising database operations), sharing slow starting services, using combinatorial solutions to reduce large test sets and breaking up large systems upon domain boundaries. Joseph accepts Acceptance tests are not the answer for everyone and he will take a look at the controversy of those in the agile world who have given up on acceptance tests and some of the alternatives they propose.

Photo of Joseph Wilk

Joseph Wilk

Joseph Wilk is a member of the core development team for Cucumber. He has been developing for the web for 10 years in both big and small companies and as an entrepreneur. After stints working with Java and Python he finally found Ruby. He now spends his time in-between eating Cucumbers working at Having more fun than is healthy working as a Software Gardener building web systems and working on open source projects. He suffers from test obsession and has given up hope of any treatment.

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Shirley Bailes
06/14/2010 7:26am EDT

@Nicholas: they are also available for download or viewing on this page.

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Nicholas Henry
06/12/2010 7:36am EDT

They are posted on his blog:

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Nicholas Henry
06/12/2010 7:34am EDT

Excellent content, super well organized and executed. Other presenters could learn from Joseph on how to put together a talk. Would love to see the slides posted for this talk.

Julien Biezemans
06/09/2010 12:52pm EDT

Awesome talk! I’ll end up vegan with all that cucumber goodness at RailsConf.

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