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BDD Test Automation Helper

Quacks like a duck, must be a salty duck!

This is a helper framework. In my year(s) of working with nodejs test automation I found that setting things up hard. I was drowning in the beautiful flexibility of javascript. Conventions were hard to find. So, after a fair bit of work in setting up thousands of tests for my customers I decided to share some of the basic structures. This made things easy for me and the super QA engineers that I have fun working with.

The goal of this framework is to get you started with test automation on nodejs as quickly as possible, with no special opinions on frameworks, just helpers to make things as easy as possible for you to take off.

The included frameworks cover..

  • Cucumber-js with webdriver.js for WebDriver-style testing (selenium or phantomjs)
  • Mocha with Chakram for API Tests

Coming soon..

  • Cucumber-js with Chakram for API Tests
  • Mocha with webdriver.js for API Tests
  • Mocha for angularjs tests
  • Sql helpers
  • Reporting helpers


Getting Started with a duck

To get a salty-duck going you will need to

  1. Install the package - npm install salty-duck - or see below
  2. Bring the salt - have a settings.yml file in the root folder
  3. Prep your kitchen - create a folder called tests or whatever
  4. Setup your bench - create a spec file as in myTest.spec.js
  5. Add salt - var saltyDuck = require('salty-duck').init()
  6. Add seasoning (to your duck) - choose which framework(s) you need in the helper e.g saltyDuck.addSeasoning('api-driver')
  7. Bake it Run your tests ... - Follow the conventions see duck seasonings

1. Install (or get a duck)

salty-duck.js is available as an npm module.

Install globally with:

$ npm install -g salty-duck

OR in your project with

$ mkdir myproject
cd myproject
$ npm install salty-duck

OR if you like to keep your tests with your existing node.js app, you may also define salty-duck as a development dependency of your application by including it in a package.json file.

``` json
// package.json

{ "devDependencies" : {
    "salty-duck": "latest"

Then install with `npm install --dev` 

2. Adding Salt (or a settings file)

Add a settings.yml (or settings.json) file to your project root. We recommend YAML as its easier for non-javascript ninjas to manipulate, allows commenting and keeps things simple.

The settings.yml has a conventional structure to follow as here. Copy the structure below. All you need initially is the environments, environments > common, environments > development. What is under them is not as per you chosen test frameworks (webdriver.js, chakram, sql, etc.)

``` yaml
# some examples here
  seasonings: #optional, a list of default helpers to be loaded
    - webdriver
    - api
    - db
    - ./my/special/one # to ad your own seasoning
    common: #these settings used on all environments
        user: john
        password: jane
        server: ourDbServer
        database: someDb
        port: 1433
          encrypt: false
          max: 10
          min: 0
          idleTimeoutMillis: 30000
      debug: true #tells salty-duck to show or hide your quacks
        tags: [] #wd
        verbose_logging: false #tells salty-duck to do verbose logging
        mochaTimeout: 999999 #provides a default mocha time out
        driverStartupWaitTime: 5000 #wd uses it to wait for browser to startup 
        implicitWaitTimeout: 10000 #wd
        asyncScriptTimeout: 10000 #wd
        caps: #wd
          browserName: "chrome" #wd
        driverConfig: #wd 
          host: "localhost" #wd points to default wd server
          port: 4444 #wd points to default wd port
        driverOptions: #wd
          timeout: 30000 
          retries: 3
          retryDelay: 2000
          #wd custom for SaltyWebDriver
          testFolder: "/results" #wd reports storage location
          thinkTime: 1  #wd slow the tests down
          waitingForPageSleep: 1 
          baseUrl: "" 
        name: mssqldb01
        dialect: mssql # possible dialects: mssql, mysql, postgres (default), sqlite
        server: #same as host but for mssql
        host: #same as server but for mysql
        port: 1433
          encrypt: false
          max: 10
          min: 0
          idleTimeoutMillis: 30000
      debug: false
        tags: []
        debug: true
        verbose_logging: false
        mochaTimeout: 999999
          browserName: "phantomjs"


You can add the debug : true | false to turn quacking (logging) on/off

3-4. Prep your kitchen and test bench

Now you must..

  • create a folder called tests
  • create an empty spec file e.g. myTest.spec.js (assuming you use mocha bdd here)

5. Adding Salt

To start, you need to add salt to the duck. Salt is your environment configuration. When a saltyDuck is initialised via saltyDuck.init(), it is expected that there is a settings.yml file in the root (see 2.)

 var saltyDuck = require('salty-duck');


 var saltyDuck = require('salty-duck').init(null, 'wd', obj.environments['development']);

6. Duck seasonings

You can season your duck with a variety of small helpers from different types of tests (UI, API, database, etc) Salty-duck has several smaller helper extensions which do all the hard work. These are

  • wd: a webdriver.js helper for use with cucumber.js. This allows loading of page objects from file and attaching behaviours to the browser object for simplified test authoring using promise chaining.
  • mssql: a sql helper for use with Microsoft Sql Server
  • api-driver: a helper for loading api objects like request, response and header templates and binding them with values for use with chakram.
  • world-factory: (WIP) a helper to allows the user to build a cucumber world easily and maintain common test logic in a 'type' of world

Api Testing

The 'api-driver' helper seasoning follows a convention to speed up api test authoring and test case management.

  1. Setting up - Each api must have its own folder eg. Quote.

  2. Add API objects to an api scope file - Within this folder, you must add a javascript file to author your api objects. Name it *.api.js, eg. quote.api.js. We logically call this api scope.

  3. Structure and author the API object, as you go, based on what is required to test the behaviours. The purpose of this is to store commonly used requests, response, header and schema templates, so if the api changes, you have a common place to change them. Basic structure is..

    'use strict';
    module.exports = { 
      name: 'Quote Provider API', 
      url: '/apiService',           
      quoteEndpoint: { 
        url: '/sauce'
        requests: {}, 
        responses: {}, 
        headers: {}, 
        misc: {} } 
  4. As you create request objects for GET, POST, PUT within your tests, they can be placed inside the api scope file and parameterized for reuse.

    GET Requests ..

    'use strict';
    module.exports = { 
      name: 'Quote Provider API', 
      url: '/apiService',           
      quoteEndpoint: { 
        url: '/quote'
        requests: {
          //a simple request that can be reused as is by other tests 
          QuoteGetRequestDefault: "q=CarInsurance&type=Caravan",
          //a request template that can be bound with parameters 
          QuoteGetRequestTemplate: "q={{insuranceType}}&type={{vehicleType}}",
        responses: {}, 
        headers: {}, 
        misc: {} } 
  5. To use a behavior-driven approach, set up your api scope file, then start from the test itself and add your api objects into the api scope file.

  6. Given you have a test spec as follows

    GET Requests ..

           ``` javascript - tests/Quote/quote.api.js
           'use strict';
           module.exports = { 
             name: 'Quote Provider API', 
             url: '/apiService',           
             quoteEndpoint: { 
               url: '/quote'
               requests: {
                 //a simple request that can be reused as is by other tests
                 QuoteGetRequestDefault: "q=CarInsurance&type=Caravan",
                 //a request template that can be bound with parameters
                 QuoteGetRequestTemplate: "q={{insuranceType}}&type={{vehicleType}}",
                 //post request, can be used as is, or bound to new parameters
                 QuotePostRequest: {
                   userId: 'someUser',
                   amount: 1234.00,
                   insuranceType: 'car',
                   vehicleType: 'lmv',
                   expires: '2016-10-12'
               responses: {}, 
               headers: {
                     //header template
                     DefaultOptionsHeader: {
                       OurApiKey: 123456,
                       Authorization: 'bearer {{token}}'
               misc: {} 

    You can refer to any api object, or bind them with parameters as below. Note that all objects can be

    • retrieved - using .template()

    • bound - using .bindParams()

    • excepting - schemas as it is expected to be static

    • bonus - endpoint.getUrl() - url will be bound by bubbling up the tree to generate the full url

    • bonus - endpoint.xxxGetRequestxx.getUrl(params) - GetRequest templates can bind and return a full url if params are provided in the getUrl call

        // ARRANGE =========
        var dummyApiScope = saltyDuck.loadApiObjects('/RootRelative/FilePath/to/Quote/quote.api.js');
        var endpoint = dummyApiScope.quoteEndpoint;
        //use chakram to post your request and validate the results
        //1. prep url
        var url = endpoint.getUrl(dummyApiScope.quoteEndpoint.requests.QuoteGetRequestDefault);
        //for get urls, you can also
        //var url = endpoint.requests.QuoteGetRequestDefault.getUrl();
        //or also bind a GET url placeholders to an object
        //var url = endpoint.requests.QuoteGetRequestTemplate.getUrl( { insuranceType:'car', vehicleType: 'bus' });
        //2. prep data (if not a GET request)
        var postdata = endpoint.requests.QuotePostRequest.bindParams( 
            userId: 'differentUser',
            amount: 4567.50,
            insuranceType: 'car',
            vehicleType: 'bus',
            expires: '2017-12-12'
        //3. prep headers
        // bind them as necessary with Auth tokens, content-length, etc
        // ACT =============
        //4. make the request
        var response =, postdata, headers);
        // ASSERT ==========
        //5. get schemas for validation
        //use a JSON schema generator to quickly generate and store schemas
        expect(response) //see chakram assertions for more
        // END =============
        return chakram.wait(); 
        //remember to return from above line or your test will hang

Read the module's documentation for more details.


We love contributions.

salty-duck wouldn't be anything without all the contributors and collaborators who've worked on it. If you'd like to become a collaborator here's how it's done:

  1. fork the repo
  2. git pull
  3. cd salty-duck
  4. npm install
  5. npm test

At this point the tests should pass for you. If they don't pass please open an issue with the output or you can even send me an email directly. My email address is on my github profile and also on every commit I contributed in the repo.

Once the tests are passing, modify as you see fit. Please make sure you write tests to cover your modifications. Once you're ready, commit your changes and submit a pull request.

As long as your pull request doesn't have completely off-the-wall changes and it does have tests we will almost always merge it and push it to npm

If you think your changes are too off-the-wall, open an issue or a pull-request without code so we can discuss them before you begin.

Usually after a few high-quality pull requests and friendly interactions we will gladly share collaboration rights with you.

After all, open source belongs to everyone.

Why the funky name?

I spent a bit of time (over a year) thinking of a suitable name. Then one evening, sitting with a few friends at a Nanjing restaurant, in the Chinese heartland of Burwood, Sydney I received this suggestion. And it stuck.

Also, if you haven't seen my profile, I like cooking. And setting up a test is a bit like that. You need to arrange, act and assert. Or prepare, cook and taste.

Special Thanks

to all the authors and contributors of the open source frameworks I use in salty-duck. Your work gives me and many others I work with a profession they enjoy (and a fair livelihood). On the shoulders of giants as one would say.