Test Driven Development in Ruby On Rails (WIth RSpec & Cucumber)
Karan Vyas ROR Developer
Last Updated on March 27, 2023 | Written By: Paridhi Wadhwani
Easy to learn, developer-friendly, reliable, secure, fast development, cost-convenient, etc. are just a few of the reasons that make Ruby on Rails the best web development framework. However, in this blog post, we will dig in-detail about how to implement test driven development with Rails to build a successful web application using Ruby on Rails.
Table of Contents
Being an Agile full-stack Ruby on Rails development company, we would recommend every other developer, entrepreneur, and start-up enthusiast to consider RoR for your upcoming project. We are renowned for our love affair with RoR. You sure want to know about our love affair with RoR. Across the globe, 754,624 websites are using Ruby on Rails, and the credit of such massive popularity goes to RoR’s convention over configuration approach.
In the process of building a successful web application using RoR, if you want to work on the short feedback loop, I would like to suggest you apply test driven development in Ruby on Rails while working and exploring on every new feature. TDD in Ruby on Rails is a key practice in which the developer writes code first before writing the actual code to maintain the overall code quality.
Test Driven Development in Ruby on Rails
Ruby is a permissive language that enables you to build a quick proof of concept; however, it can be anything but perfect if gone wrong. To overcome the troubles, the Ruby on Rails programming test is the right thing to do.
The RoR community has built the famous Test Driven Development ruby approach, which encourages developers to write tests before writing the program code. Say, for example, you surely want your application to last forever, I mean yes, with constant updates and maintenance. To achieve such targets, you must ensure that your application has proven all the tests right.
Check out this fantastic video by Agile Academy that would give you an insight into the TDD Ruby on Rails.
However, Ruby on Rails developers does not always stick to the Test Driven Development (TDD) and give trials on the code first and see if they can find an optimal solution. As we begin testing Ruby on Rails TDD applications, let me tell you that there are two types of tests, all tests can classify beneath.
Types of Tests
Ardently, small units of the program, in the form of independent functions, come together to become the parts of one application. The integration test is to verify whether all these separate parts of our RoR application can go smoothly without any trouble.
The unit test justifies if small codes of functions do their duties rightly to work out perfectly on their own. Because when such units of code combine, they form the entire application.
Difference between Unit Testing & Integration Testing
It takes place independently, not bound in any sequence.
It takes place after Unit testing and before System testing.
There are no abbreviations.
It is abbreviated as I&T, sometimes known as Integration & Testing.
There are no further divisions of Unit Testing
It is divided into Top-Down and Bottom-Up Integrations.
Unit testing does not cover system-wide issues and errors.
It covers any kind of errors that arise when you combine all the modules with building the system.
The goal is to isolate parts of the program and test if they are working fine.
The goal is to combine all the parts together and check if the system works fine.
It tests the visibility of the code in detail.
It tests the visibility of the integration structure.
It is a kind of white-box testing.
It is kind of both white-box and black-box testing.
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The Problem with Test Driven Development
Though the Test Driven Development with ruby is very popular, it is not the sanest. Some problems come with this approach. Developers fail to test the actual functionality of your application; instead, they have confined just the ruby on rails programming test cases. By this strategy, the final product deviates from what you had thought to be because it confines the test cases, not the result.
To solve this issue, another concept that comes along with the TDD is Behavior Driven Development (BDD) and Behavior Driven Tests (BDT).
What is Behavior Driven Development BDD?
This method is like an extension of the Test Driven Development, and it works in short loops of feedback after applying TDD to each feature added. So just like TDD ruby on rails, applying BDD to Ruby on Rails web application is also a test-first approach where developers write the Behavior Driven Tests (BDT) in simple English language or domain-specific language.
All the stakeholders verify the BDT before executing the development of the project, which, in our case, is the Ruby on Rails project.
BDD in Rails
Rails was the first-ever framework that integrated with a testing framework. By default, as you create a new Rails application, it opens with the testing unit scene. There are some remarkable frameworks for implementing testing in your Ruby on Rails application, and we will discuss two important ones in this post: Rspec and Cucumber.
Rspec is a unit testing framework for Ruby on Rails that focuses on the application’s behavior instead of its functioning. The tests that programmers write in rails application on the Rspec framework are known as specs and are easy to understand.
Installation of Rspec
The above commands will install a new ‘spec’ directory to your Ruby on Rails project. Next, you can execute your rspec test by the command:
bundle exec rspec
The Cucumber framework has a format where it reads plain-test scenarios and automates interactions with code development.
Tests written in cucumber are divided into features that are further sub-divided into sequential steps (scenarios). As we have the basics of Rspec and Cucumber, you might be pondering how to build and test your Ruby on Rails project using the BDD.
The BDD Cycle in Rails
Now it is time for us to learn about how to apply Behavior Driven Development to Ruby on Rails web applications. BDD is an Outside-In testing approach. The programmers write the views first and then move ahead towards modules.
Steps to Undertake Behavior Driven Tests (Using Rspec & Cucumber)
Here is the step-by-step process for you.
Step 1: As you have a great project idea, first start with writing a Cucumber scenario. You should not think much about how you will implement the idea, just understand the problem first and think about the user interface.
Step 2: Run your cucumber test and analyze how it fails. Initially, you might not define all the steps and keep them pending.
Step 3: Define your first pending spec and run the test. It will fail, but you should relax because it’s going the right way.
Step 4: Use the Rspec red-green-refactor cycle and test-drive the Rails view. At this stage, you will realize how many instance variables, controllers, and controller-actions, you are going to need in your project.
Step 5: Take care of your instance variables and actions assigned while you test the controller through the Rspec cycle. Here you will get to know what your custom objects should be like while developing your Rails project.
Step 6: Repeat the above test for your objects, and this way, you get to find your models. In case of a new feature, you may create a new model along with the corresponding database migration.
Step 7: Finally, as you have tested all your objects and methods through the Rspec red-green-refactor, and all your specs have passed the tests, you are ready to run the Cucumber scenario.
Here was the cycle for your first scenario. You have to repeat the cycle for all your scenarios, and see if anything remains left to refactor once you are sure that you have completed the process, set back for reviews.
If you work in a team, take reviews from your fellow mates, or consider feedback from the product manager or the client.
In this blog, we have discussed in detail how to set up a Rails app for Test-Driven- and Behavior-Driven Development with Rspec and Cucumber to overcome the barriers of the prior one; we should understand that both have pros and cons. TDD ruby on rails will support the quality of your written code, whereas BDD supports your system’s behavior. To find a balance between both these methods, hire Ruby on Rails developer from the top ruby on rails development company. Build top-of-the-line solutions adopting agile web development with Rails.