How to Use Ranorex Studio in Your BDD Process

Aug 25, 2021 | Best Practices, Integration

Image showing BDD code example with Ranorex Studio

This article describes how to use the Ranorex Studio IDE and the Ranorex API for test automation in your behavior-driven development (BDD) process. BDD requires a cognitive shift: instead of thinking about testing functions, you are now thinking about behaviors. Following this approach enables seamless collaboration between business stakeholders (such as product management) and the QA or development teams. On the business side, the product management team can define feature specifications in natural language without writing a single line of code. On the technology side, the QA team and the development team add automation steps using recording modules and the repository.

Tool Stack

The diagram below shows a sample tool stack to create a BDD-based testing framework. Ranorex Studio provides the development environment, while the Ranorex test automation framework provides the automation API. To parse the feature files from natural language to written code, we are using SpecFlow as the BDD interpreter. Finally, NUnit is the unit test provider, which manages and executes the tests.

Process Overview

When following the BDD approach in an agile environment, the entire development process of a user story is divided into a business side and a technology side.

On the business side, we create user stories, which are taken and broken down into features stored in feature files. These features are broken down into scenarios. The features are written down in a natural language following the Gherkin syntax. A basic feature written in Gherkin might look something like this:

Feature: Serve coffee
In order to earn money
Customers should be able to
buy coffee at all times

Scenario: Buy last coffee
Given there are 1 coffees left in the machine
And I have deposited 1 dollar
When I press the coffee button
Then I should be served a coffee

On the technology side, we need an interpreter to parse the feature files written in natural language (Gherkin syntax) and call test automation code. These Ranorex API calls or Ranorex recordings do the following:

  • Automate the system under test
  • Verify the expected output
  • Returning a corresponding result

Prepare Ranorex Studio for BDD

The SpecFlow Add-in for Ranorex Studio

The SpecFlow add-in provides file templates for feature files, step definition files and event definition files. It also translates the features from Gherkin syntax to C# code. To install the SpecFlow add-in to Ranorex Studio, follow the instructions below:
Download or clone the SpecFlow repo and open the project “TechTalk.SpecFlow.RanorexIntegration.csproj”

You then need to ensure that the project is targeting the .NET Framework version that your Ranorex solution is using. You will notice that some NuGet packages are missing, as indicated by the yellow warning symbol. Use the context menu and select Manage NuGet Packages, then click restore. Add the NuGet package for NUnit.Runners.3.12.0.

Note: It is important that you use version 3.12.0

The packages will be restored from your online sources, until you are left with only three warning symbols. The following packages will not have been restored and need to be removed, in this example using the context menu.

  • ICSharpCode.Core
  • ICSharpCode.SharpDevelop
  • ICSharpCode.SharpDevelop.Dom

Then replace them using the .dll files found in <Ranorex installation folder>. Click on references and use the context menu to select add reference. You may need to click browse and navigate to the Ranorex installation folder.

Next, build the RanorexIntegration add-in.

A .sdaddin file will then be built in the IdeIntegrations folder. Use an extraction tool such as 7-Zip to extract the file and save it to a new folder named “TechTalk.SpecFlow.RanorexIntegration”.

Copy the extracted folder and paste in the <Ranorex Installation folder>Bin\Addins\Misc.

Make your Ranorex Solution BDD ready

In your Ranorex solution open the “Package management console” (View->Tools->Package management console) and run the following commands:

Install-Package SpecFlow.NUnit -Version 2.3.2

Install-Package NUnit.Runners -Version 3.12.0

You will notice that the references are added to the projects view. To ensure that your BDD solution integrates seamlessly with SpecFlow and NUnit you will need to amend the AssemblyInfo.cs and app.config. Simply double click on each in the projects view.
For the AssemblyInfo.cs add:

[assembly: NUnit.Framework.Apartment(System.Threading.ApartmentState.STA)] 

as seen below:

#region Using directives

using System;
using System.Reflection;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;


// General Information about an assembly is controlled through the following 
// set of attributes. Change these attribute values to modify the information
// associated with an assembly.
[assembly: AssemblyTitle("BDDCalc")]
[assembly: AssemblyDescription("")]
[assembly: AssemblyConfiguration("")]
[assembly: AssemblyCompany("")]
[assembly: AssemblyProduct("BDDCalc")]
[assembly: AssemblyCopyright("Copyright 2019")]
[assembly: AssemblyTrademark("")]
[assembly: AssemblyCulture("")]
[assembly: NUnit.Framework.Apartment(System.Threading.ApartmentState.STA)] 

// This sets the default COM visibility of types in the assembly to invisible.
// If you need to expose a type to COM, use [ComVisible(true)] on that type.
[assembly: ComVisible(false)]

// The assembly version has following format :
// Major.Minor.Build.Revision
// You can specify all the values or you can use the default the Revision and 
// Build Numbers by using the '*' as shown below:
[assembly: AssemblyVersion("1.0.*")]

For the app.config you will need to add the following section:

<probing privatePath="Runtime"/>

Refer to the example below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <section name="specFlow" type="TechTalk.SpecFlow.Configuration.ConfigurationSectionHandler, TechTalk.SpecFlow" ></section>
  <startup useLegacyV2RuntimeActivationPolicy="true">
    <supportedRuntime version="v4.0" sku=".NETFramework,Version=v4.6.2" ></supportedRuntime>
    <supportedRuntime version="v2.0.50727" ></supportedRuntime>
    <enforceFIPSPolicy enabled="false" ></enforceFIPSPolicy>
	<assemblyBinding xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1">
        <assemblyIdentity name="System.ValueTuple" publicKeyToken="cc7b13ffcd2ddd51" culture="neutral" ></assemblyIdentity>
        <bindingRedirect oldVersion="" newVersion="" ></bindingRedirect>
      <probing privatePath="Runtime"/>
     For additional details on SpecFlow configuration options see 
   For additional details on SpecFlow configuration options see <unitTestProvider name="NUnit" ></unitTestProvider></specFlow></configuration>

Get started with BDD

Now that your Ranorex Solution is BDD-ready, you can begin defining features in SpecFlow and creating automated tests for them in Ranorex.

Define a feature from the business side

In SpecFlow, create a new feature file. To do so, right-click on the project, then choose Add > New Item > Category: SpecFlow > SpecFlow Feature.

Create step and event definitions for the technology side

Create a new step definition file. To do so, right click on the project and choose Add > New Item > Category: SpecFlow > SpecFlow Step Definition.

Now, create methods for all “Given,” “When,” and “Then” actions described in the scenario description. Add “Given”, “When” and “Then” attributes with values matching the scenario steps defined in the feature file. To do so, follow the samples provided by the template from which the new step definition file has been generated.

Feature: Calculator
 In order to avoid silly mistakes
 As a math idiot
 I want to be told the square root of a number

Scenario: Square root of a Number
 Given I click 9 on calculator
 When I press sqrt
 Then the result should be 3 on the screen

Save the file. Ranorex Studio will create a <name>.feature.cs file containing the automatically-generated code that will execute the test scenarios using the configured test provider.

If the code/C# file is not created please refer to the troubleshooting section at the end of this blog. 

public class StepDefinition1
         [Given("I have entered (.*) into the calculator")]
         public void GivenIHaveEnteredSomethingIntoTheCalculator(int number)

         [When("I press add")]
         public void WhenIPressAdd()

         [Then("the result should be (.*) on the screen")]
         public void ThenTheResultShouldBe(int result)

SpecFlow searches for the step definition text in the step definition files that matches the text in the scenario step.

Now you can implement the automated step, either by creating recording modules or by manually implementing the steps using the Ranorex automation API.

Your implementation might look something like this:

     public class sqrt
         [Given("I have entered (.*) into the calculator")]
         public void GivenIHaveEnteredSomethingIntoTheCalculator(int number)
             ClickNumButton.repo.numButton = number.ToString();

         [When("I press the square root button")]
         public void WhenIPressSqrt()

         [Then("the result should be (.*) on the screen")]
         public void ThenTheResultShouldBe(int result)
             ValidateResult.Instance.result = result.ToString();

You can create additional steps to be executed before and after a scenario, such as performing setup and tear down tasks, including starting and closing the system under test.
These steps can be defined in an event definition file and might look something like this:

        public void BeforeScenario()

        public void AfterScenario()

If your assembly cannot be found please see the troubleshooting section at the end of this article for further details. 

Run a BDD test using NUnit

Because this solution uses NUnit as the unit test provider, we use a NUnit Runner to execute our tests.
Your command line call should look something like this: (Use root folder)

..\..\..\packages\NUnit.ConsoleRunner.3.12.0\tools\nunit3-console.exe <solution>.dll


The preparation of Ranorex for BDD is complete. From this point forward, your business team can define user stories in a natural language following the Gherkin syntax, and your development and QA team can implement the automation steps in the step definition files.

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The code/csharp file is not generated

If the code file is not created in Ranorex Studio, you have to set the “Custom tool” in the files properties to “SpecFlowFileGenerator” to make Ranorex Studio create the code file.

Assembly not found

If your assembly was not found you will need to build your project as a library. To do so, open the project properties and set the output type of the project to “class library”. In addition, copy all Ranorex runtime DLLs to the output folder.

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