[rspec-users] Cucumber - Adding a step definition

Ben Mabey ben at benmabey.com
Sun Mar 15 12:52:27 EDT 2009

> I know what you mean, and it would certainly make for nice readable 
> scenarios. My worry is how maintainable the steps would be in the long 
> run. I'm used to seeing steps like this:
> Given /the Policy has a secondary risk/ do
>   Policy.count.should == 1
>   policy = Policy.first
>   policy.secondary_risk = true
>   policy.save
> end
> Which are pretty explicit and leave no room for accidental abuse. What 
> the OP suggested would give you something more like this:
> Given /a Policy/ do
>   @it = Factory(:policy)
> end
> With /a secondary risk/ do
>   @it.secondary_risk = true
>   @it.save
> end
> I dunno actually. Now I type it out it doesn't seem so bad :)

As previously mentioned in the thread another way to phrase this is with 
step tables.  Here is the code I use:

(related blog post: 

I have been using instance variables in my steps (but naming them after 
the model, i.e. @policy) but Matt's DB solution is nice in some 
respects.  Both ways fall apart when you have multiple polices, but in 
that case you should probably be passing in the name or some other 
identifying aspect of the model.  Anyways, it seems like a pattern is 
emerging on how to carry state to other steps when you have to.  I was 
bored so I combined both approaches:

module ObjectLocators

  def the_policy
    if @policy
      case Policy.count
      when 0
        raise "There is no @policy variable defined and no policy in the 
DB! Establish state in previous step or create a new policy."
      when 1
        raise "There are multiple policies in DB and no @policy variable 
set!  Please disambiguate the state in previous step."


World { |world| world.extend(ObjectLocators) }

(this code is here: http://gist.github.com/79470)

Like I said, I was bored and haven't really tried this.  I don't know if 
I even like it, but I thought extracting out the patterns would be 
useful.  You could leverage factories just as I do in my previous gist 
to provide locator (locater?) for all of your models.

Great thread BTW.


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