The Devver Blog

A Boulder startup improving the way developers work.

Learning RSpec and Merb

WARNING: This is basically completely out of date Merb changed very fast before 1.0. please see for current information!

We have been trying to work with some different Ruby technologies lately. We are moving to RSpec from Test::Unit, because we believe it has several advantages. It also seems all the cool projects are moving to RSpec: Rubinius, Typo, Mephisto, and of course Merb.

In learning these two technologies together, I have found a few resources that I found to be really useful. I thought it would be good to share the information for anyone looking to write specs for their Merb projects.

If you are first learning Merb and want to create a basic project and learn to test with Rspec along with development, I can’t recommend enough that you follow the Merb Slapp tutorial. This is a great source for Merb basics that is very up to date, and gives good examples of RSpec tests.

If you are new to Merb, the newest documentation will be your friend. I also recommend checking out the Merb Wiki. For RSpec, specifically check out these wiki pages: Merb Controller Specs, Merb Model Specs, and Merb View Specs.

There were some things I had to search and stumble around a bit for, session variables and mock objects. The reason I needed to mock the session was that a user is expected to be logged in verified by a session variable before allowing the action to continue. I needed a mock object of my ProjectWriter, because it normally makes live calls to a web service. These are easy to do, but are both done differently than with Test::Unit with Rails. I found out about RSpec mocking and Merb session mocking at the links provided.

Here is some code that demonstrates mocking both sessions and model objects.

#create a mock object named ProjectWriter
project_writer = mock("ProjectWriter")
#mock expects this call
@controller = dispatch_to(Project, :index) do |controller|
  #mock the session hash
  controller.stub!(:session).and_return({:logged_in => true})
  #return my mocked object
  #we aren't testing the view don't render it
  controller.stub!(:render) # don't render this action

@controller.should respond_successfully

Written by DanM

July 24, 2008 at 2:22 pm

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