A little bit of magic for RSpec tests


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RSpecMagic is a set of extensions for writing compact and expressive tests.


💡 It's assumed that you've already set up RSpec in your project.

Add to your project's Gemfile:

gem "rspec_magic"
#gem "rspec_magic", git: "https://github.com/dadooda/rspec_magic"

Add to your RSpec startup file (usually spec/spec_helper.rb):

require "rspec_magic/stable"
require "rspec_magic/unstable"

RSpecMagic::Config.spec_path = File.expand_path(".", __dir__)

The spec_path is used by some of the features, notably, include_dir_context. The computed path should point to spec/ of the project's directory.

See Details.



A matcher to check that a method is an alias of another method.

describe User do
  it { is_expected.to alias_method(:admin?, :is_admin) }


Create a self-descriptive "when …" context with one or more let variables defined. The blocks below are synonymous.

context_when name: "Joe", age: 25 do
  it do
    expect([name, age]).to eq ["Joe", 25]
context "when { name: \"Joe\", age: 25 }" do
  let(:name) { "Joe" }
  let(:age) { 25 }
  it do
    expect([name, age]).to eq ["Joe", 25]

See Details.


Transform described_class into underscored symbols described_sym and me.

describe UserProfile do
  it { expect(described_sym).to eq :user_profile }
  it { expect(me).to eq :user_profile }

Common usage with a factory:

describe UserProfile do
  let(:uprof1) { create described_sym }
  let(:uprof2) { create me }


♒︎ This feature was added recently and may change.

Organize shared contexts (shared_context) in a hierarchy. Import relevant shared contexts into the given test.

Follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that RSpecMagic::Config.spec_path is configured correctly. It must point to project's spec/.

  2. Across the spec directory tree, create the shared context files, each named _context.rb. A typical _context.rb looks like this:

    shared_context __dir__ do
  3. Add to your hypothetical spec_helper.rb:

    # Load the shared contexts hierarchy.
    Dir[File.expand_path("**/_context.rb", __dir__)].each { |fn| require fn }
  4. In the given spec file, add a call to include_dir_context in the body of the outermost describe:

    describe  do
      include_dir_context __dir__

Say, our spec file is spec/app/controllers/api/player_controller_spec.rb.

The main describe will load the contexts from the following files, if any:


See Details.


Define a method to create let variables, which comprise a Hash collection.

describe do
  # Method is `let_a`. Collection is `attrs`.
  use_letset :let_a, :attrs

  # Declare `attrs` elements.

  subject { attrs }

  # None of the elements is set yet.
  it { is_expected.to eq({}) }

  # Set `name` and see it in the collection.
  context_when name: "Joe" do
    it { is_expected.to eq(name: "Joe") }

    # Add `age` and see both in the collection.
    context_when age: 25 do
      it { is_expected.to eq(name: "Joe", age: 25) }

When used with a block, let_a behaves like a regular let:

describe do
  use_letset :let_a, :attrs

  let_a(:age) { 25 }
  let_a(:name) { "Joe" }

  it { expect(attrs).to eq(name: "Joe", age: 25) }


Create an automatic let variable containing the method or action name, computed from the description of the parent describe.

describe do
  use_method_discovery :m

  subject { m }

  describe "#first_name" do
    it { is_expected.to eq :first_name }

  describe ".some_stuff" do
    it { is_expected.to eq :some_stuff }

  describe "GET some_action" do
    describe "intermediate context" do
      it { is_expected.to eq :some_action }   # (1)

m finds the nearest usable context, whose description format allows the extraction of the method name. At the line marked (1) above, m ignores the loosely formatted "intermediate context" and grabs the data from "GET some_action".


On setup

  1. stable and unstable are feature sets. Set unstable contains recently added features that may change in the coming versions.

  2. It's possible to include specific features only. Example:

    require "rspec_magic/stable/use_method_discovery"

On context_when

  1. The context can be temporarily excluded by prepending x:

    xcontext_when  do
  2. It's possible to define a custom report line formatter:

    describe "" do
      def self._context_when_formatter(h)
        "when #{h.to_json}"
      context_when  do
  3. context_when works nicely with use_letset, usually to set the attributes of the object being tested.

  4. The values of let belong to the describe level. If you need values computed at the it level, use the traditional let(…) { … } inside the context.

On include_dir_context

There's a cool thing in RSpec — shared_context. The idea is simple: somewhere (in a hypothetical spec_helper.rb) fold something reusable in a shared_context "this and that", and then import that stuff via include_context "this and that" where we need it.

We can put anything in shared_context — reusable tests, let variables, but most importantly — methods, both belonging to the describe level (def self.doit) and the it level (def doit).

Sounds like a library, innit?

There's a pinch of salt though. Existing means of contexts management are very primitive and rely solely on unique global names.

RSpec doesn't let us organize shared contexts in a hierarchy, and import them automatically into groups of spec files, such as: all model tests get context M, all controller tests get context C, and all at once get context A.

In order to maintain minimal order, one has to come up with unique names for shared contexts, and list those contexts in each and every spec file:

describe  do
  include_context "basic"
  include_context "controllers"
  include_context "api_controllers"

If you see anything like this, give your kudos to the author, as this is an advanced level. Most of the time, people don't even do that, but simply dump all of their extensions into some “helper”-like pile of cr%p, justifying it by stating that “there was no time to sort it out”.

What does include_dir_context have to offer?

  1. The means to organize shared contexts in a hierarchy.
  2. The means to automatically import sets of what is needed into where it's needed.

See the main chapter for a step-by-step example.

The product is free software distributed under the terms of the MIT license.

— © 2017-2024 Alex Fortuna