Testing Frameworks for Ruby on Rails

As an open source and full stack framework, Ruby on Rails (RoR) is used widely by developers to rapidly create a variety of web applications. RoR supports some of the widely used software engineering patterns and principles. So it becomes easier to easily accomplish several tasks. The web application development framework is further designed with integrated testing support.

The developers can easily write test by using the skeleton test code produced by RoR. Along with ensuring that the code adheres to the predefined functionality after major modifications, Rails also allow developers to test the application’s response by simulating browser requests. However, the developers can still use testing frameworks for Ruby on Rails to effectuate application testing.

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5 Widely Used Testing Frameworks for Ruby on Rails

1) Cucumber
Despite being written in Ruby, Cucumber can be used effectively to test web applications written in several programming languages like C#, Java, Ruby, Python. So the testing framework can be used by QA engineers without knowing Ruby programming in detail. Cucumber is designed with features that execute plain-text functional descriptions as automated tests. Along with being an efficient testing tool, Cucumber also supports behavior-driven development (BDD). Thus, it becomes easier for both technical and non-technical stakeholders to verify the test code written before the original testing starts. You can use the testing framework after installing and activating the Cucumber gem inside your project.

2) RSpec
Like Cucumber, RSpec is also a testing tool that supports behavior-driven development. So the domain experts and business analyst can analyze the test code according to the features and use of the application. The testing framework for Ruby also comes with a set of features to make test driven development more productive. While testing a Ruby application using RSpec, the testing professional can avail rich command line program, flexible and customizable reporting, extensible expectation language, textual descriptions of examples and groups along with built-in mocking/stubbing framework.

3) Test::Unit
You can always use Test::Unit to test web applications by implementing the xUnit testing framework for Ruby. Once you started writing Ruby code, you will surely come across Test::Unit. Despite being bundled with Ruby, the unit testing framework is not a static part of RoR. The professionals writing new test code are further recommended to use MiniTest instead of Test::Unit.

4) Shoulda
Shoulda was originally designed as a unit testing tool. But it can be used to test Ruby applications by attaching the shoulda gem to the project. Thus, the Shoulda tests need to be added on to the Test::Unit framework. The shoulda gem is a meta gem with two dependencies, i.e., shoulda-context and shoulda-matchers. While testing Ruby applications, testing professionals can use these distinct dependencies to write test cases according to the requirements of the project.

5) Spork
Spork is used widely as a testing server to evaluate the Ruby applications. Each time you run a test, a copy of the server is forked. Thus, you can use RoR to reload your files without uploading them constantly. Further, Spork runs in a solid way, without being corrupted over time. Also, the testing server is compatible with several Ruby testing frameworks including Cucumber, RSpec and Test::Unit. Likewise, it also supports a number of application development frameworks. So it becomes easier for you to test different modules and meta programming.

On the whole, programmers have option to choose from a variety of testing frameworks for Ruby on Rails. Most of these frameworks are designed with features to facilitate a certain type of testing. So the developers must decide the Ruby on Rails testing framework according to the needs and objectives of the project.

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