[rspec-users] Spec'ing via features

James Byrne lists at ruby-forum.com
Wed Nov 26 13:04:33 EST 2008

Tim Walker wrote:
> Question: In Cucumber when you're writing code to satisfy steps and 
> accessing the model objects directly, what support for asserts, 
> responses, etc.
> do people use. (the equivalent of ActionController::TestCase and
> ActiveSupport::TestCase), Fixtures, etc.
> Thanks,
> T

This question prompted a really interesting journey through cucumber for 
me.  I now have a much firmer, if still very limited, grasp of what is 

When one uses "ruby script/generate cucumber" at the rails project root 
then the script generates (among other things) a features/support/env.rb 
file.  This file contains (in part):

require 'cucumber/rails/world'
require 'cucumber/rails/rspec'

The cucumber gem location lib/cucumber/rails/rspec contains


and rspec.rb has this:

require 'spec'
require 'spec/rails'

Next, world.rb makes a conditional reference (almost universally met in 
a Rails project - Do you use ActiveRecord?) to testunit via 
/usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/rails-2.2.2/lib/test_help.rb. Now that file 

require 'test/unit'
require 'active_support/test_case'
require 'active_record/fixtures'
require 'action_controller/test_case'
require 'action_controller/integration'
require 'action_mailer/test_case' if defined?(ActionMailer)

So, it appears that when you generate the cucumber infrastructure via 
the rails generator then you get rspec 'should' 'should_not' and rails 
testunit assert_* support.  As previously discussed in this thread, 
adding other testing harnesses is a fairly straight forward procedure 
best done in the aforementioned support/env.rb.  For example, adding 
watir gem support is done via this:

require 'webrat' if !defined?(Webrat)

I gather from allusions made elsewhere that if watir is installed as a 
plugin within the rail project then it gets picked up automatically and 
the default watir.steps generated by the rails generator work without 
further modification to the env.rb file.

I was unable to discover how to employ fixtures.  I found and read this 
thread: http://www.ruby-forum.com/topic/167716 but the final 
recommendation "Fixtures.create_fixtures("spec/fixtures", "entities")" 
did not work for me.  It did not raise an error but it did not load the 
fixture either.  The TestUnit syntax of "fixtures :model" throws an 
undefined method error which is passing strange given test_help.rb's 
require 'active_record/fixtures'.  Nonetheless, TestUnit syntax like 
assert_something(argument,...argument,message) works fine.

Anyway, a most enlightening code crawl.
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