[rspec-users] Do people write specs for the code in their steps? How?

Mischa Fierer f.mischa at gmail.com
Tue Dec 30 03:30:59 EST 2008

Hi Erik --

Interesting ideas.

We're using cucumber for a medium-sized application (total steps run is
about 550), but I hadn't really considered testing the step definitions.

I have not yet noticed bugs originating from not testing step definitions.

I think the following issues drive this / me being OK with it:


Our step definitions are short, and we do not have that many.
When you think about it, there are not a whole lot of things you can do to a
webpage, compared to the things you can do in Ruby.

Webrat, email-spec and a few other steps cover most of the things that I
need to do / check on a webpage. Therefore, many of my step definitions end
up only involving  a) setup, b) a bunch of webrat steps all at once.

a) Setup: Since we use Machinist, there is very little setup to do. Most of
these steps just go something like User.make, and then do a login or

b) Most other steps are just things like "When i fill in the new user form"
with a bunch of fill_in steps.

W/r/t your example, I might write something like:

Given "I have a "(.*)" dollar balance" do |dough|
  # User.balance.should == dough

Where set_balance! is whatever method you would use.

Since the defn above is so simple, I wouldn't worry about not testing it.
You could  even add a .should into the step itself, as I have above, however
imo step defns above 3 lines (that are not all just fill_in) are candidates
for refactoring.

Your unit test for set_balance! would then cover that step, basically.



On Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 8:17 PM, Erik Pukinskis <erikpukinskis at gmail.com>wrote:

> > The approach I like to take is to follow the guidance of the system
> > (cucumber + rspec) every step of the way. Right now there are no
> > passing steps, so I'd write the code for the 1st pending step, run the
> > features and find the first thing that is missing or failing.
> This is one thing I don't get.  I just started implementing steps, but
> I feel like THAT code is all completely untested.  I don't know if my
> regular expression is correct, I don't know if it does what I think it
> should do.  What I really want to do is write something like this:
> describe "steps for withdrawing money"
>  describe "Given user has a balance"
>    before :each
>      cucumber "Given user has $50 dollars"
>    end
>    it "should match a particular step"
>    it "should create an account"
>    it "should set the account balance to $50"
>  end
> end
> But is there such a "cucumber" method?  And how do you check that your
> regular expressions are going to the right place?
> Maybe the best thing to do is write your cucumber steps like this:
>  user_has_a_balance = /user has $(.*) dollars/
>  Given user_has_a_balance do |balance|
>    ...
>  end
> And then in your spec you can do:
>  user_has_a_balance.match("user has $20 dollars").should_not == nil
> How do people write specs for their cucumber steps?  And if you don't
> write specs, how do you live with the uncertainty?
> Erik
> _______________________________________________
> rspec-users mailing list
> rspec-users at rubyforge.org
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