Bonus Recipe: Cucumber + Codeship for Continuous Integration

In Recipe 10 of the book, we show you how to set up your own Jenkins continuous integration server to run Cucumber every time you push your latest code changes. Jenkins is of course not the only CI option out there. The CruiseControl family, just to name one, can do a lot of the same things.

You also have the option of using a hosted service such as Travis CI or Codeship, where the vendor takes care of maintaining the server for you. These are a nice, low-hassle way to get started with CI.

In this recipe, we’re going to show you how to get started with Cucumber on the Codeship hosted Continuous Integration service.

The App

We’ll use a toy time-tracking app called Out the Door as the guinea pig for this experiment. OTD is a simple web service that helps you track your punctuality on the Beeminder goal-tracking website.

Here’s how the app works: when you leave the house in the morning, you ping OTD from your smartphone (preferably automatically), and OTD in turn notifies Beeminder how many minutes early or late you are. If you start to miss your target repeatedly, Beeminder’s incentives kick in.

The Feature

With such a simple app, the Cucumber test practically writes itself. In your project directory, create a file called features/otd.feature with the following contents:

Feature: Time logging

  Scenario: Leaving
    Given I want to leave at 8:00
    When I leave at 8:17
    Then I am 17 minutes late

Eventually, we’ll test this app through its web interface. But just for the purposes of getting started with Codeship, let’s start with simple math on the departure times.

The Step Definitions

Create features/step_definitions/otd_steps.rb, and add the following step definitions to it:

require 'time'

Given(/^I want to leave at (\d+:\d+)$/) do |time|
  @desired = Time.parse time

When(/^I leave at (\d+:\d+)$/) do |time|
  @achieved = Time.parse time

Then(/^I am (\d+) minutes late$/) do |minutes|
  late = (@achieved - @desired) / 60.0
  late.should be_within(0.001).of(minutes.to_f)

This code is Ruby-agnostic, but we’ll be giving the examples here using JRuby. Install Cucumber and make sure the feature passes:

$ jruby -S gem install cucumber rspec-expectations
$ jruby -S cucumber
1 scenario (1 passed)
3 steps (3 passed)

Once that’s working, it’s time to create your project on Codeship.

Getting Started with Codeship

You can create an account on Codeship with your existing GitHub or Bitbucket credentials, or with an e-mail address and password. Once you’ve done so, they’ll lead you to the new project page:

New project

Codeship needs to know where to get the source code for your app. Head over to GitHub or Bitbucket and create a blank repository. Then, click the corresponding button on the Codeship new project page and choose the repo you just created.

Once you’ve created your project, you need to tell Codeship how to test it. Codeship uses the familiar Ruby Version Manager to choose Ruby implementations, so all you need to do is tell their server to make sure JRuby is installed.

In the Test tab of the user interface, leave the default technology stack set to “I want to create my own custom commands.” Then, enter the following text into the Setup Commands window:

rvm install jruby-1.7.8
rvm use jruby-1.7.8
jruby -S gem install cucumber rspec-expectations

Further down the page, in the Test Commands, window, type:

jruby -S cucumber

Now, when you save your project, Codeship will prompt you to complete the setup by adding a hook to your project:


Follow the on-screen instructions to configure Github or Bitbucket to use the Codeship hook.

On your local machine, commit your project to Git and push it up to the server, so that Codeship can see it:

git init
git add features
git commit -m "Initial commit"
git remote add origin git@...:username/otd.git

As soon as you push the project, Codeship will grab the latest version and run your Cucumber features:

New build

Congratulations! You’ve created your first passing Codeship integration.

What’s Next?

Now that we have a running project, what do we do? There are several ways we could improve this project:

  • Switch to Bundler for managing our gems
  • Add the actual app code to the project
  • Replace the pure-math step definitions with real ones that drive our app over HTTP
  • Use Heroku to deploy the app

In a future post, we’ll tackle a few of these tasks.

Published: November 24 2013