[rspec-users] New article on "Listening to Your Specs" up on Ruby Advent 2008

Ben Mabey ben at benmabey.com
Fri Dec 19 13:09:08 EST 2008

Avdi Grimm wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 12:02 PM, Lenny Marks <lenny at aps.org> wrote:
>> Thanks to you and Dave for your responses. I've commented on the original
>> article with back links to this thread. Hope I didn't overstep by saying "I
>> think there is some consensus that 'Contexts named after methods' is not a
>> smell and can even be a natural result of 'Outside In' coding".
> I'd like to remind folks of something I pointed out at the top of the
> article: the definition of a "code smell" is a pattern that *might*
> indicate something is amiss. It's not a surety.

Of course, I always treat code smells as indicators and not dictators. :)
> I agree that naming description blocks after methods is *less* of a
> smell than naming examples after methods.  I've been known to name
> contexts after methods, especially when spec-ing a) Rails helper
> methods; and b) public library APIs.  I don't feel guilty for this.
> Where a description block named for a method becomes a more probable
> indicator of a design issue is when it's coupled with a block that
> goes on and on for many examples.  This often indicates that the
> method being described is doing too much, and wants to be either
> broken up or factored out into another class.
> I don't pretend to be a canonical source for RSpec best practices.
> Lakshan asked me for an article on RSpec practices and I listed some
> of the guidelines that have served me well.  He said some nice things
> at the top of the article which I'm not sure were wholly warranted.
> Your mileage, as always, may vary.
> Anyway I'm happy to hear that some people got at least a little value
> out of the article, and I appreciate all the feedback.
I definitely got some value out of it!  In fact I have already started 
adopting some of the patterns you shared, so thank you for writing 
it.    My response to Lenny was in no means trying to discount the 
article but rather just stating my view on that particular code smell.  
I apologize if you felt like my reply was trying to discredit the article.


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