Cukepatch: rich editing of feature files on Github

I’ve been a strong advocate of using the built in Github web text editor for editing feature files for some time, as it means that non-technical business users don’t need to worry about having git clients installed and pulling/pushing changes.

The benefit of this method over a publishing system such as Relish is that you can send a subject matter expert a URL to a Github feature file, and if they recognize that the specification is incorrect, they can immediately update it, unlike Relish where they need to go to the source code and push a change.

The downside is that the editor is a pretty basic, meaning no syntax highligting, step completion etc. Until now that is…

Aslak Hellesøy and Julien Biezemans recently announced Cukepatch: rich editing of feature files on Github. There’s some detail on the Cukes Google Group about it, but essentially it provides rich editing (syntax highlighting/validation and step completion) using a Google Chrome user script that reads a cucumber file you create in your public cucumber repository.

I did this for both WatirMelonCucumber and EtsyWatirWebDriver, and the results look like this:

This looks very promising indeed. There’s a few caveats at the moment including the requirement for a backend server, only working with public repositories, having to manually install the user script and being Google Chrome only. As these are overcome, I can see this becoming the de facto way for business users to write and edit specifications. Well done guys.