[rspec-users] it "should [action] ..." vs it with an active voice

Brian Takita brian.takita at gmail.com
Mon Nov 12 12:39:23 EST 2007

I'd like to start gathering information/debating on the
advantages/disadvantages of using it "should ..." vs other techniques.

Dan North explained why we should use should:

I used to use it "should ..." for the projects I was on, until I was
challenged by a fellow developer who started using it with an active
For example instead of:
it "should go to the park"
An active voice would be:
it "goes to the park"

After a few days of reluctance (or stubbornly hanging on to the rspec
"convention"), I eventually adopted and grown to love using the active

Here are the main reasons that I prefer an active voice because:
* using it "should ..." over and over renders should meaningless (I
have grown this barely conscience aversion to the word 'should')
* less less words are needed
* the differentiating information of the 'it' statement is in the
front, rather than hidden behind should (space to the left is at a
* it describes what the software will do and what it does (both from
the Test Driven Design and Regression verification lifecycles of the
* you still have a good "sentence template" that "should" provides
(you have to make a coherent sentence)

So here it my initial stab. Lets discuss :)


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