I wrote a view spec

November 15, 2013

For almost two years now, I’ve been telling people I never write view specs for my Rails applications. They’re hard to write and harder to manage over time. I don’t even talk about them in Everyday Rails Testing with RSpec–as a general rule, I try to either test view-related matters in my feature specs, or better yet, extract the stuff that needs testing into more testable layers of my application.

So why did I write a view spec the other day?

In this case, I needed to test-drive some inline JavaScript (inline because it injects server-side environment variables into a larger JavaScript library, but not enough to warrant a more thorough solution like gon). It’s kind of difficult to test the end result of doing this in a feature spec, at least without massively slowing down the test suite. View specs to the rescue?

Here’s the general idea:

In this case, the environment variables are loaded into Rails via dotenv. If a developer (or continuous integration tool) doesn’t have these variables set, the test will fail. It also served as a guide as I wrote the actual code to make it pass. All this in a spec that took about two minutes to write, and runs in an instant.

I’m still not advocating trying to cover every view with a view spec. All the same, they can serve a purpose and belong in your RSpec toolbox.

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