[rspec-users] simple == with prettier error messages + good documentation

r_j_h_box-sf at yahoo.com r_j_h_box-sf at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 29 13:00:40 EST 2009

Hi all,

I've found myself writing a thing I think is less than optimal, looking for suggestions.  The context is, I'm testing a result, and as a part of that test, I might verify two or three things, which are individually relevant but not really discrete results (?). 

Here's my thinking process, using a toy example:

  foo.should == bar (or foo.should_not be_nil)

> expected not to be nil, but was

(hm, not very informative)

  if( foo == nil )
    "failure to setup foo".should == "foo should be set to the thing that will be rendered"

> expected "foo should be set to the thing that will be rendered",
> got "failure to setup foo" (using ==)

I've used this, by example, for a test on a dependency (imagemagick), where if the dependency isn't found, I show a decent message with info the tester can use to resolve it.  And, as I mentioned, I've used it for revealing more details in cases where the it "" + the generic error aren't informative.

I'm satisfied using this method for things like detecting a failure to use a test-helper correctly - works fine, doesn't get in my way as part of the documentation.  Which brings me to the problem I'm concerned about:

With this method, nothing come out in the generated spec-docs to represent the thing I'm conditionally requiring.

I guess I could get more fine-grained with my it()'s, but I've been preferring a more general statement for it(), that gives the sense without the detail.  

Any suggestions?


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