Web app integration testing plugin for Nagios with Cucumber + Webrat + Mechanize
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cucumber-nagios allows you to write high-level behavioural tests of web application, and plug the results into Nagios.

As Bradley Taylor put it:

“Instead of writing boring monitoring plugins from scratch, 
you can now do behavior driven ops!

Transform from a grumpy, misanthropic sysadmin to a hipster, 
agile developer instantly.”


  1. gem sources -a http://gems.github.com
  2. gem install auxesis-cucumber-nagios
  3. cucumber-nagios-gen project bunch-o-tests
  4. cd bunch-o-tests
  5. rake deps
  6. bin/cucumber-nagios-gen feature ebay.com.au bidding
  7. bin/cucumber-nagios features/ebay.com.au/bidding.feature

Setting up a project

To set up a standalone cucumber-nagios project, run:

cucumber-nagios-gen project <project-name>

This will spit out a bunch of files in the directory specified as <project-name>.

Check the README within this directory for specific instructions for managing the project.


Freezing your dependencies into your project allows you to drop your cucumber-nagios project to any machine and have it run. Its only requirement is Ruby and Rake.

To freeze your project, within your project directory run:

$ rake deps


Once you've copied your project around, Just run the freezer again:

$ rake deps

Writing features

Once you've set up a project, you can use the bin/cucumber-nagios-gen command to generate new features. It takes two arguments: the site you're testing, and feature you're testing:

bin/cucumber-nagios-gen feature gnome.org navigation

This will spit out two files:


As for writing features, you'll want to have a read of the Cucumber documentation, however your tests will look something like this:

Feature: google.com.au
  It should be up
  And I should be able to search for things

  Scenario: Searching for things
    Given I visit "http://www.google.com"
    When I fill in "q" with "wikipedia"
    And I press "Google Search"
    Then I should see "www.wikipedia.org"

There's a collection of steps that will cover most of the things you'll be testing for in features/steps/webrat_steps.rb.

You can write custom steps for testing specific output and behaviour, e.g. in features/smh.com.au/smh.feature:

Feature: smh.com.au
  It should be up
  And provide links to content

  Scenario: Visiting home page
    When I go to http://smh.com.au/
    Then I should see site navigation
    And there should be a section named "Opinion"

There aren't steps for "Then I should see site navigation", so you have to write one yourself. :-) In features/smh.com.au/steps/smh_steps.rb:

Then /^I should see site navigation$/ do                                                                    
  doc = Nokogiri::HTML(response.body.to_s)                                                                  
  doc.css("ul#nav li a").size.should > 5                                                                    

You can use Nokogiri for testing responses with XPath matchers and CSS selectors.

I suggest you use bin/cucumber directly so you can get better feedback when writing your tests:

bin/cucumber --require bin/common.rb \
             --require features/ 

This will output using the default 'pretty' formatter.


Invoke the Cucumber feature with the cucumber-nagios script:

bin/cucumber-nagios features/smh.com.au/smh.feature

cucumber-nagios can be run from anywhere:

/path/to/bin/cucumber-nagios /path/to/features/smh/smh.feature

It should return a standard Nagios-formatted response string:

Critical: 0, Warning: 0, 2 okay | passed=2, failed=0, total=2

Steps that fail will show up in the "Critical" total, and steps that pass show up in the "okay" total.

The value printed at the end is in Nagios's Performance Data format, so it can be graphed and the like.

Quirks & Caveats

Multiple scenarios

You may want to think about keeping to one scenario to a file, otherwise you'll get multiple lines of output for a test:

Critical: 1, Warning: 0, 2 okay | passed=2, failed=1, total=3
Critical: 1, Warning: 0, 4 okay | passed=4, failed=1, total=5

That said, Nagios should only read the last line, so this might be an ok behaviour when you want to test for an aggregate of failures across a site.

Failure is an option (exceptions are good)

Exceptions raised within your tests will appear in the failed totals, so you don't need to worry about trying to catch them in your own custom steps.

i.e. if you try fetching a page on a server that is down, or the page returns a 404, the exception raised by Mechanize just gets treated by Cucumber as a test failure.

Version control

I highly recommend storing your cucumber-nagios projects in a version control system!

To get up and running with git:

$ git init
$ git add .
$ git commit -m 'created cucumber-nagios project'

To get up and running with bzr:

$ bzr init
$ bzr add
$ bzr commit -m 'created cucumber-nagios project'

.bzrignore and .gitignores are created when you generate a project.