[rspec-users] How much detail for error-path scenarios

Nathan Benes lists at ruby-forum.com
Fri Jul 24 01:04:37 EDT 2009


I'm fairly new to cucumber and rspec but so far am falling in love with
both.  I've read up on several different articles concerning these
testing tools including the 'beta' BDD rspec/cucumber book.

I saw this thread here:  http://www.ruby-forum.com/topic/183428

Which concerns how small or detailed specs and scenarios should be - and
the basic gist was to keep scenarios at a higher level and leave the
detailed form
fields etc to rspec specs.

This was all wonderfully insightful but it brings me to another
question.  How detailed (or should they be included in cucumber tests at
all?) should the error path be?  "Happy paths" are great to test, but
it's also necessary to test error paths so that users aren't
encountering rails stack traces, empty feedback, etc.

Should there be one scenario per "empty" field?  Should there be one
scenario per validation check per field?  Should it be condensed to a
single scenario that attempts to encompass all error paths?

I have one specific, seemingly overly complicated scenario that attempts
to go the one scenario per validation check per field route:

  Scenario Outline: Add account with invalid fields
    Given I am logged in as BudgetTest
    And I am on the New Account page
    When I fill in the form for account "<account_name>" with valid data
    And I submit the data "<value1>" for the "<field_type1>" field,
"<field_name1>"
    And I submit the data "<value2>" for the "<field_type2>" field,
"<field_name2>"
    And I press "Add Account"
    Then I should see the rendered template for "the new account page"
    And I should see an error indicating "<field_name>" was "<error>"


I've removed the Scenarios:  blocks because they would wordwrap and look
terrible/undreadable.  Following this is two sets of scenarios:

Scenarios: missing required fields

Scenarios: submitting bad data

Some of the fields compare data with each other to determine validity
which is why there's two data entries in the scenario outline.  If the
second is left blank then the defaults that were set in "When I fill in
the form..." are used for it.  Each "Scenarios" block contains a table
with allll of the fields defined by <> in the outline.  As you can see,
it seems to me to be overly complicated, overly verbose, and perhaps
doing more than it should be.

I think maybe this test goes overboard...but what level of detail is
good for error-path testing?
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