My new role
I'm the new co-lead of Cucumber Open
Open Source | Posted March 25, 2021

My role at SmartBear is changing.

From 1st April I’ll be shifting my focus from the internal architecture of the commercial side of the Cucumber platform to Cucumber Open, taking the role of co-lead of Cucumber Open together with my long-time friend Aslak Helles√ły, the creator of Cucumber.

Aslak will continue to be involved, but his primary focus will move into a more broad-ranging role to lead the technical architecture of the whole Cucumber platform, with a goal to provide a more coherent experience for BDD practitioners across both our open source and commercial tools. I'll be the one leading the OSS project as my full-time job.

Who is Matt?

I first started contributing to Cucumber’s codebase in October 2008, but I had been active on the community’s mailing list for a while before that. I loved the idea of BDD so much I quit my lucrative .NET contract and took a 50% pay-cut to work at a startup so I could learn Ruby and use Cucumber. As a novice Ruby user I’d realised that, even if I didn’t know how to hack on the code yet, I could still give something back to the open source community.

Answering all those questions on the mailing list paid off, when RSpec creator David Chelimsky recommended me to Pragmatic Programmers to write The Cucumber Book. Ten years have passed since Aslak and I first published the book, and since then we’ve started a company, launched a commercial product, re-written it, re-branded it, been acquired by SmartBear, merged with a team in France, and launched a free online results service.

The open source project has changed a great deal over those years too. Contributors have come and gone, but the project has continued to acquire more and more users, and support running acceptance tests on more and more platforms. From its humble origins as a Ruby gem, we now support Cucumbers running natively on the JVM, Node.js and Go, as well as working closely with the developers of the PHP, .NET and Python flavours of Cucumber too.

It’s a beast these days! And I have to admit to feeling a little bit intimidated. It’s been at least a couple of years since I contributed to Cucumber’s codebase in any meaningful way, but I am really looking forward to getting back amongst this wonderful community.

Oh look another beardy white guy

We have been so lucky to have people contributing to Cucumber from all over the world. These amazing people give their time freely to improve the product for all of us. My aim in this role will be to nurture and grow our contributor funnel by acting mostly as a coach and facilitator, finding and removing barriers and points of friction to enable everyone who wants to, to be able to make their contribution.

I'm well aware of the privelege I've benefitted from throughout my life as a straight white guy whoose dad brough home a computer when he was 10 and didn't mind him taking it to pieces, and I fully intend to use that power to make Cucumber an even more inclusive, vibrant and diverse community than it already is today.

If you're a Cucumber user, especially if you're from an under-represented minority, and you have even the slightest interest in tinkering with and contributing to the project, please get in touch. I'd love to hear from you and figure out how to help you get started.