[rspec-users] Testing a rails controller *outside* of spec/controllers

Nicolás Sanguinetti godfoca at gmail.com
Thu Mar 11 05:04:12 EST 2010

On Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 5:10 AM, Scott Taylor <scott at railsnewbie.com> wrote:
> On Mar 11, 2010, at 1:26 AM, Nicolás Sanguinetti wrote:
>> We have an app that has "extensions" that are built as rails engines.
>> Each engine needs some code in the controllers, which we solved as
>> "include this module, call a method". In order to test it, though, we
>> don't want to "copy" the test for how that works into each engine, so
>> the idea is to write the tests once, in 'spec/lib/extensions_spec.rb',
>> where we are testing the other stuff that's common for all the
>> extensions (which are defined on lib/extensions.rb, thus the spec's
>> location)
>> In order to do it, I'm declaring a 'sample' controller in the specs
>> (just include the module, call the method), and then writing a couple
>> specs for what we are doing. Problem is, I can't get rspec to
>> understand that that example group is a controller example groups.
>> I have
>>    class MyExampleController < ApplicationController
>>      include Extensions::ControllerHelpers
>>      call_awesome_method # this, among other things, defines an
>> instance method on the controller that I want to test
>>    end
>> inside my spec, and after that I tried:
>> 1) describe("controller helpers", :type => :controller) {
>> controller_name "my_example"; ... }
>> It complains about controller_name not being a method of this dynamic
>> subclass of ActiveSupport::TestCase.
> That seems like a really strange error.  What is the actual stack trace?

./spec/lib/extensions_spec.rb:20: undefined method `controller_name'
for ActiveSupport::TestCase::Subclass_1:Class (NoMethodError)
	from $gem_path/rspec-1.3.0/lib/spec/example/example_group_methods.rb:183:in
	from $gem_path/rspec-1.3.0/lib/spec/example/example_group_methods.rb:183:in
	from $gem_path/rspec-1.3.0/lib/spec/example/example_group_methods.rb:55:in
	from $gem_path/rspec-1.3.0/lib/spec/example/example_group_factory.rb:31:in
	from $gem_path/rspec-1.3.0/lib/spec/dsl/main.rb:28:in `describe'
	from ./spec/lib/extensions_spec.rb:19
	from $gem_path/activesupport-2.3.5/lib/active_support/dependencies.rb:147:in
	from $gem_path/activesupport-2.3.5/lib/active_support/dependencies.rb:147:in
	from $gem_path/rspec-1.3.0/lib/spec/runner/example_group_runner.rb:15:in
	from $gem_path/rspec-1.3.0/lib/spec/runner/example_group_runner.rb:14:in `each'
	from $gem_path/rspec-1.3.0/lib/spec/runner/example_group_runner.rb:14:in
	from $gem_path/rspec-1.3.0/lib/spec/runner/options.rb:133:in `run_examples'
	from $gem_path/rspec-1.3.0/lib/spec/runner/command_line.rb:9:in `run'
	from script/spec:10

(sanitized it a bit)

> What versions of the test-unit gem do you have installed?  What version of rails?  rspec?  If you uninstall the test-unit gem, will it work with the :type => :controller hash given to describe?

This is using rails 2.3.5, rspec 1.3.0, and rspec-rails 1.3.2. I do
not have test-unit on this system, I have mocha 0.9.8 (though it
shouldn't be required in the environment by anyone here)

> (I've noticed *very* strange things with the test-unit gem installed in the past - such as a test suite which was 100% green, using a hybrid of mocha + rspec mocks/stubs.  When the gem was uninstalled, half the test suite failed!)
>> After some time reading the source I figured that :type => :controller
>> pretty much just works for config.include/config.extend. So on to the
>> next thing:
> Have you taken a look at Spec::Example::ExampleGroupFactory?

Ah, darn, I hadn't gotten that far into rspec's rabbit hole, and
missed the reference in rspec-rails. That's what you get for trying to
debug stuff at 4am :) So, :type => :controller should be enough, then.

Still, doing:

describe MyExampleController, :type => :controller do
  it "should do stuff" do

Fails with 'undefined local variable or method `controller' for

And replacing controller with @controller gives me 'undefined method
`bar' for nil:NilClass'. Which is pretty much the same results I got a
few hours ago before going to sleep :(

…So :type => :controller is apparently not enough for rspec to pick up on this.

> Not sure if this will help, but here's a patch that brynary and I banged out way back in rspec 1.1.9 to support spec/unit & spec/integration: (the usual disclaimer applies - all the good parts are his, all the bad parts are mine)
> http://gist.github.com/328919

Thanks :)

> That piece of the code might at least take you to a place where you can debug what's going on.
> Best,
> Scott
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