Matt Connolly's Blog

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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Testing with cucumber – session state

I was recently at the Brisbane Ruby on Rails meetup where one discussion was about the speed of testing. I’ve also read in many places that rails apps are terribly slow at testing.

In a recent rails app I’m working on, I wrote several features describing how I want the user sign up sign in and sign out to function. However following this, my next features about a user’s data also required me to repeat the user sign in step in every scenario. While it’s not too hard for each scenario to start with “given I am signed in (as a role)”, or put that step in. “Background:” section, it does mean that the capybara steps are repeated for every single scenario.

So, I started to explore how a scenario can skip the sign in web steps, and it appears it cannot be done (easily). This stack overflow discussion is very relevant:

I do find it very odd that cucumber steps can access and modify the rails database (eg load fixtures / create objects with factories and save them) but cannot access the session state. The same applies to rspec request specs.

I guess that’s just the way it is, but in the interest of speeding things up, I’d like to know if there’s any special reasons for this limitation that prevents us from speeding up these tests.

Using RVM with Jenkins

I’ve recently set up RVM running with Jenkins, and finally have it all working just the way I want.

I’m running on OpenIndiana and have Jenkins running as its own user. I ssh in as that user and install rvm for that user and verified that I can run ruby tests with rvm from the terminal.

There’s a “RVM plugin” (version 0.1) for Jenkins which has great promise – I like the idea of running all build steps with RVM setup. However, I couldn’t get it to find my rvm installation no matter how much stuffing around with environment variables I did. So I’m not using it for now.

The trick was to use a “Execute shell” build step and use a script like so:

#!/bin/bash -e
export TERM=xterm
[[ -s "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm" ]] && source "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm"
# Use the correct ruby
rvm use 1.9.2@gemset --create
# Do any setup
# e.g. possibly do 'rake db:migrate db:test:prepare' here
bundle install
# Finally, run your tests
rake test
# and build the gem
rake build
# and install the gem locally
rake install

This was for a ruby gem project which installs that gem in the named rvm gemset. Other projects can use this gem simply by using that same gemset.

Note also the line: “export TERM=xterm” – rvm is designed to run in a terminal where the TERM environment variable is set. Apparently there was a change to gracefully ignore its absence or be able to use TERM=dumb for no colour, (github issue 698), but that doesn’t appear to be working for me in rvm 1.10.2.

Good luck.