[rspec-devel] Wider context for RSpec: GUI testing?

David Chelimsky dchelimsky at gmail.com
Mon Oct 30 21:58:47 EST 2006

On 10/30/06, Ian Dees <undees at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi, all.
> I love RSpec's ease of expressing an author's desired behavior for
> software.  That got me thinking about a little wider context (pun
> unintended) for the meaning of "behavior."  It seems like the sweet
> spot for RSpec is unit testing of Ruby classes (perhaps including
> Rails models and controllers).

That may be its sweet spot, but BDD can be top to bottom proposition,
and we'd like to support that in the long run.

>But here in the office, we're also
> beginning to find it useful for specifying GUI behavior.


> Of course, now that we're outside the original BDD roots of RSpec,

We really need to talk about this!

> there are some philosophical questions, many of which boil down to,
> "What's the best way of selectively enabling/disabling certain tests?"
> where "best" means, "most RSpec-like?"

Now you're talking!

> Let me give you two examples:
> 1) For localized applications, some tests might be written cleverly
> enough to work in _any_ language build of the software, while other
> tests might be language-specific (maybe they depend on a GUI element
> having a certain caption, and its identity can't be deduced by any
> other method).
> 2) Some GUI tests might require at least partial manual intervention;
> it would be nice to skip these tests when running an overnight,
> batch-mode test.
> I can imagine a few different approaches in RSpec:
> 1) I could separate the tests into different files by my selection
> criteria: put the English-only tests in their own file, or put the
> partially manual tests in their own file.  The main downside here is
> that sometimes the most logical way to group tests isn't necessarily
> by language or degree of automation.
> 2) I could extend RSpec (thanks, Ruby!) to allow me to specify
> optional criteria for a context, something like:
> context "The Borfin", :interactive => :true do
>   specify "should not go shlump after Mr. Bix un-shlumps it" do
>     # drive the GUI and maybe prompt the tester to do physical stuff
>   end
> end
> 3) Like #2 above, but for individual specifications instead of contexts.
> I lean toward #2, but I wanted to bounce my question off the RSpec
> devels, since the list archives reveal that you have been thinking a
> great deal about the semantics of tests.
> What I _don't_ want to do is pollute RSpec with a bunch of GUI testing
> cruft.  It would be nice to use RSpec in this new domain without
> compromising its simplicity in its primary domain.  Again, though,
> that's where Ruby's open classes sure come in handy.

How about this? We add a spec command option that allows you to set a
series of one or more key/value pairs:

-i or --include

spec -i":lingua => 'português', :lingua => 'français'"

That would run only specs or contexts set up like so:

context "blah in portuguese", :lingua => 'português' do

context "..." do
  specify "blah in french", :lingua => 'français' do

This could be used for all sorts of suite organization, and can be
automated through rake tasks.

Sound like a good approach?


> Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
> Sincerely,
> Ian Dees
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