rspec-system-puppet is a Puppet plugin for rspec-system. The goal here is to provide a series of helpers for performing proper system tests on Puppet related modules such as:

  • Pure Puppet DSL content, classes and defined resources
  • Ruby based plugins: facts, functions, faces, types and providers

Relation to rspec-puppet

While unit testing using rspec-puppet is extremely useful for testing your content based on comparing input of parameters, facts etc. with the desired catalog output, it doesn't however do a real test. This library is meant to augment the rspec-puppet test suite, and is designed specifically to work with it. In fact I suggest running both these tests in parallel with rspec-puppet, as rspec-puppet is always going to execute basic tests faster - especially tests that don't need a real run like comparing template output with desired output, or fine-detailed items like expected property values and logical blocks.

Quick Start

Recommended to be installed first:

  • Vagrant 1.2.2 or greater
  • VirtualBox 4.2.10 or greater
  • RVM or RBenv (current instructions are based on RVM however)

Create a nodeset file

In your existing Puppet module project, create a .nodeset.yml with the following contents:

default_set: 'centos-64-x64'
        prefab: 'centos-59-x64'
        prefab: 'centos-64-x64'
        prefab: 'fedora-18-x64'
        prefab: 'debian-607-x64'
        prefab: 'debian-70rc1-x64'
        prefab: 'ubuntu-server-10044-x64'
        prefab: 'ubuntu-server-12042-x64'

Install the gem

The intention is that this gem is used within your project as a development library.

You may install rspec-system-puppet manually with:

# gem install rspec-system-puppet

However it is usually recommended to include gem 'rspec-system-puppet' in your Gemfile and let bundler install it. An example Gemfile is shown below. This includes rspec-puppet test content as well:

source ''

group :development, :test do
  gem 'rake'
  gem 'rspec-puppet'
  gem 'puppetlabs_spec_helper', :require => false
  gem 'rspec-system-puppet'
  gem 'puppet-lint'

if puppetversion = ENV['PUPPET_GEM_VERSION']
  gem 'puppet', puppetversion, :require => false
  gem 'puppet', :require => false

Install using Bundler with:

bundle install --path vendor/bundle

If you're using git, add .rspec_system to your project's .gitignore file. This is the default location for files created by rspec-system.

Create rakefile

Create a Rakefile like so:

require 'puppetlabs_spec_helper/rake_tasks'
require 'rspec-system/rake_task'

task :default do
  sh %{rake -T}

Create spec helper

You will need a spec helper for your tests to require. So create the file spec/spec_helper_system.rb:

require 'rspec-system/spec_helper'
require 'rspec-system-puppet/helpers'

include RSpecSystemPuppet::Helpers

RSpec.configure do |c|
  # Project root
  proj_root = File.expand_path(File.join(File.dirname(__FILE__), '..'))

  # Enable colour
  c.tty = true

  c.include RSpecSystemPuppet::Helpers

  # This is where we 'setup' the nodes before running our tests
  c.before :suite do
    # Install puppet

    # Replace mymodule with your module name
    puppet_module_install(:source => proj_root, :module_name => 'mymodule')

Create system spec tests

I advise you to seperate the location of your system and unit tests:

  • spec/system - system tests
  • spec/unit - rspec-puppet and other unit tests

And create your first system tests in say spec/system/basic_spec.rb (make sure it has the _spec.rb suffix!):

require 'spec_helper_system'

describe 'basic tests:' do
  # Using puppet_apply as a subject
  context puppet_apply 'notice("foo")' do
    its(:stdout) { should =~ /foo/ }
    its(:stderr) { should be_empty }
    its(:exit_code) { should be_zero }

  # Using puppet_apply as a helper
  it 'my class should work with no errors' do
    pp = <<-EOS
      class { 'mymodule': }

    # Run it twice and test for idempotency
    puppet_apply(pp) do |r|
      r.exit_code.should_not == 1
      r.exit_code.should be_zero

Run spec tests

Now you should be able to do:

# bundle exec rake spec:system

If you want to test an alternate set, just use the RSPEC_SET environment variable like so:

# RSPEC_SET=debian-70rc1-x64 bundle exec rake spec:system

Consult the .nodeset.yml file for the list of sets.

Further Information

  • API Documentation - this provides the Ruby API docs for the Puppet Helpers. In particular look at the Helpers sub-class.
  • rspec-system docs - This is the main library rspec-system-puppet utilises, and should provide more in-depth instructions on doing more complex stuff than what this gem alone provides.
  • puppetlabs-firewall - If you want to see the library in action this module is the primary guinea pig for rspec-system-puppet and should give you some ideas on writing tests of your own. Look under spec/system for the tests.
  • puppetlabs-puppetdb - Another example of the module in action.

CI Integration

For now consult the documentation for rspec-system for more details.