Auto RSpec

Posted by Nick Sieger Wed, 13 Sep 2006 20:35:00 GMT

Update: (2 months later) If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in my Rails plugin for this instead.

Hot off the presses, after a few hours of hacking and tweaking, may I present Auto+RSpec, otherwise known as The Mashup of RSpec on Rails and autotest. This is not an official release of any sort, but “may work for you.” It’s not a clean hack, as it exposes some areas for autotest to grow if the maintainers decide to open it up to alternatives to Test::Unit. After spending a little time looking at the autotest code, I think it would be nice to allow hooks for autotest plugins to define project conventions (i.e., @exceptions and the #tests_for_file method) as well as a result parsing API.

For now, if you’re an RSpec on Rails user, you can try this out as follows:

  • Install ZenTest if you haven’t already: sudo gem install ZenTest.
  • Download rspec_autotest.rb and put in your vendor/plugins/rspec/lib directory (you did say you’re using RSpec on Rails didn’t you?)
  • Download rspec_autotest.rake and put in your lib/tasks directory
  • Start autotest with rake by typing rake spec:autotest
  • Note: if you’re using RSpec 0.6, you might have better success with the files located here.

Next steps for this will be to work out whether this code should live in RSpec on Rails or autotest, or some combination of those.

Now, spec’ers, be off in search of that Red/Green/Refactor rhythm of which sage agilists speak!

Bonus tip: add the following code to your .autotest file to run spec with rcov:

  Autotest.add_hook :initialize do |at|
    # run spec with rcov
    if at.respond_to? :spec_command
      at.spec_command = %{rcov --exclude "lib/spec/.*" -Ilib --rails "/usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/rspec-0.6.0/bin/spec" -- --diff}

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  1. Avatar Josh said about 13 hours later:


  2. Avatar zenspider said 1 day later:

    May I steal this?

  3. Avatar Nick said 1 day later:

    Please do, I was hoping you’d take notice and make autotest more extensible as a result. I realize now that I put it out there w/o a copyright notice, so I’ll relinquish it to you as long as you give me an attribution for it. Thanks!

  4. Avatar meekish said 55 days later:

    I’m getting this error when running rake spec:autotest

    Couldn’t find differ class spec/models/product_spec.rb Make sure the --require option is specified before --diff

    Do you know what would cause it?

  5. Avatar Nick said 55 days later:

    I haven’t seen that error before, could you provide the full command line that autotest is invoking? Also, which versions of RSpec and ZenTest?

  6. Avatar Pius said 60 days later:

    This looks really sweet! I’m having the same issue as meekish though, using ZenTest 3.4.1 and RSpec 0.7.2.

  7. Avatar Nick said 61 days later:

    Can one of you guys file a report of some sort at ?


  8. Avatar Nick said 61 days later:

    Ah, the issue looks like the change of the --diff argument to spec. Can you try the most recent code in svn and let me know if it works for you? Post updated with new links to


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