How To Set Up Tests For Ruby on Rails Applications

As Ruby designers, the possibility of testing a code sent shudders down the spine. Not only did I have no idea about software testing (IE the regulations etc), but I’d never used RSpec before, but from here you will know how to set up tests for Ruby on Rails Applications

Fortunately, when I did start learning how to set up tests for Ruby on Rails Applications, also using the system, things became much simpler.

RSpec is a testing framework for Ruby and Rails.

The framework is to a great degree flexible and intended to give a straightforward structure to testing different highlights inside applications or modules.

The framework fills in as naturally as it could be allowed, implying that each “test” is intended to convey a normal outcome enabling the developer to make a viable review of the different bits of the usefulness of a framework, and also enabling to expand the extension as required.

I will explain how to set up tests for Ruby on Rails Applications works in this post…

What Is RSpec?

RSpec is a free open source “gem” for Ruby, maintained by the core Ruby group.

The gem is accessible on Github, alongside many others – most prominently the “rspec-rails” gem.

The developers basically make use of this gem which provides a structure that can be called via the “rspec” command. This allows for integration with CI suites such as TravisCI and CoverAlls.

The point of having the likes of RSpec is to facilitate the creation of “unit tests” and “integration tests” – both of which being a staple of the traditional software development pipeline.

Having the ability to thoroughly, and extensively, test a Ruby application – with a framework which is ubiquitous and extensible as the language itself – is one of the reasons why the Ruby ecosystem is held in such high regard.

For the first time, without the need for expensive software or large IDE integration – teams of developers can create software which works across platforms and technology-sets.

Thus, when considering developing in Ruby, the underlying value of RSpec cannot be overstated.

How It Works

You Have initialized RSpec within a plugin/application.

It typically lives in the “spec” directory – but this can also be “test”.

To initialize RSpec – like most things in Ruby, it’s best to follow the guidelines of what’s already been developed – by using the “rspec –init” CLI command.

Initializing the framework populates the /spec folder with a “spec_helper.rb” file and populates it with a base amount of configuration options.

The “spec_helper.rb” file sits at the core of all RSpec functionality and is thus extremely important.

Within the file, all of the configuration settings for an application are stored. This is where you are meant to include the various files required to get the test suite integrated into your script/application.

If you’re able to run the “rspec –init” command (after adding “rspec” to your script’s Gemfile), you’ll be set to start the next step.

Setting It Up

The next stage is to set up the different components of the integration suite called after the “spec helper” is set up.

This is a somewhat manual process, and – particularly if using Rails – can involve some steps outside the “traditional” rulebook.

Theframework for Ruby and Rails is the most important step in this case.

I won’t go into too much detail, but it’s required if you’re creating a Rails gem (for example), and not something that can be done directly through rspec itself.

To do this, you need to basically create a fake “engine” from which you’re able to extract the dummy Rails app:

cd some_path_where_your_engine_IS_NOT

rails plugin new YOUR_ENGINE_NAME –mountable –dummy-path=spec/dummy –skip-test-unit

mv YOUR_ENGINE_NAME/spec/dummy /real/path/to/YOUR_ENGINE_NAME/spec


This creates a /spec folder with a dummy Rails app, spec_helper.rb and another file which isn’t important.

Doing the above ensures that RSpec is set up correctly for Rails.

Again, without having the details on your specific application – if you need further information, you’re welcome to email me (email in profile).

Performing Tests

To enable you to sort out the tests, you need to have rspec set up

This is a relatively simple process – it just takes some time to figure out the various methods through which you’re able to ascertain particular results.

The most important thing to state is that there are a number of different types of test:

  • Routing tests
  • Controller tests
  • Model tests
  • Feature tests
  • View tests
  • Mailer tests

There are two ways to make sure these work – either by creating folders within your main /spec folder (/spec/models or /spec/features etc) OR to simply use the “type:: feature” option when declaring tests.

The way this works becomes clearer when you consider how tests actually work.


Wrap Every “test” in RSpec needs in a “describe” block. Each file needs to pull from the RSpec class proper (RSpec.describe ___), but all the others can just be “describe”:

# spec/models/model_spec.rb

RSpec.describe Model do

describe “has email method” do

it { ___ }



your tests are created with the “it” method – this describes how the performance of each feature intends to perform.

Within the “it” block, you’re able to use a number of different methods, ranging from “expect” to “should” – to provide the system with the ability to determine the particular results required from the script/application.

From here, you’re able to then create in-context placeholders, using such methods as “let” to provide context for each test.

To compose more tests, most importantly, this gives you a solid diagram with respect to what is required to get things to work. After this, you just need to be able to write as many tests as required and set up tests for Ruby on Rails Applications.

Source by Richard Peck

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