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Project: RSpec Core 2.3



autotest integration

Add a .rspec file to the project's root directory to tell RSpec to tell
Autotest to use RSpec's specialized Autotest class.

NOTE that rspec-core-2.0, 2.1, and 2.2 required an autotest/discover.rb file in
the project's root directory. This worked with some, but not all versions of
autotest and/or the autotest command that ships with ZenTest. This new approach
will work regardless of which version of autotest/ZenTest you are using.


Use this to configure RSpec to use rspec/expectations (default),
test/unit/assertions, or both:

RSpec.configure do |config|
  config.expect_with :rspec          # => rspec/expectations
  config.expect_with :stdlib         # => test/unit/assertions
  config.expect_with :rspec, :stdlib # => both



Made several small optimizations that all add up to a considerable improvement
in performance. Using a simple benchmark:

generate 5000 example groups,
each with one example,
each with one passing expectation

Run using ruby-1.9.2 on Mac OS X w/ 3.06 G

  • rspec-2.1
    • loaded in 0.85 on avg
    • ran in 2.61 on avg
  • rspec-2.2
    • loaded in 0.73 on avg (~15% improvement)
    • ran in 0.94 on avg (~64% improvement**)

** this does not mean your suite will be 64% faster, but it does mean that
the overhead incurred by RSpec in your suite should be roughly 64% less.

Command line

--debug/-d is now deprecated

This command line option is now has no effect (other than a deprecation
warning). To use the debugger, just add a debugger statement anywhere in your
code. As long as you have ruby-debug installed, it will just work. If you
don't, then you'll get a friendly warning telling you what's going on, but
execution will continue.


Command line


Now you can tag groups and examples using metadata and access those tags from
the command line. So if you have a group with :foo => true:

describe "something", :foo => true do
  it "does something" do
    # ...

... now you can run just that group like this:

rspec spec --tags foo


Add this flag to the command line to tell rspec to clean up and exit after the
first failure:

rspec spec --fail-fast


:if and :unless keys

Use :if and :unless keys to conditionally run examples with simple boolean

describe "something" do
  it "does something", :if => RUBY_VERSION == 1.8.6 do
    # ...
  it "does something", :unless => RUBY_VERSION == 1.8.6 do
    # ...

Conditionally 'pending' examples

Make examples pending based on a condition. This is most useful when you
have an example that runs in multiple contexts and fails in one of those due to
a bug in a third-party dependency that you expect to be fixed in the future.

describe "something" do
  it "does something that doesn't yet work right on JRuby" do
    pending("waiting for the JRuby team to fix issue XYZ", :if => RUBY_PLATFORM == 'java') do
      # the content of your spec

This example would run normally on all ruby interpretters except JRuby. On JRuby,
it uses the block form of pending, which causes the example to still be run and
will remain pending as long as it fails. In the future, if you upgraded your
JRuby installation to a newer release that allows the example to pass, RSpec
will report it as a failure (Expected pending '...' to fail. No Error was raised.),
so that know that you can remove the call to pending.

New features in rspec-core-2.0


The new runner for rspec-2 comes from Micronaut.


In rspec-2, every example and example group comes with metadata information
like the file and line number on which it was declared, the arguments passed to
describe and it, etc. This metadata can be appended to through a hash
argument passed to describe or it, allowing us to pre and post-process
each example in a variety of ways.


The most obvious use is for filtering the run. For example:

# in spec/spec_helper.rb
RSpec.configure do |c|
  c.filter_run :focus => true

# in any spec file
describe "something" do
  it "does something", :focus => true do
    # ....

When you run the rspec command, rspec will run only the examples that have
:focus => true in the hash.

You can also add run_all_when_everything_filtered to the config:

RSpec.configure do |c|
  c.filter_run :focus => true
  c.run_all_when_everything_filtered = true

Now if there are no examples tagged with :focus => true, all examples
will be run. This makes it really easy to focus on one example for a
while, but then go back to running all of the examples by removing that
argument from it. Works with describe too, in which case it runs
all of the examples in that group.

The configuration will accept a lambda, which provides a lot of flexibility
in filtering examples. Say, for example, you have a spec for functionality that
behaves slightly differently in Ruby 1.8 and Ruby 1.9. We have that in
rspec-core, and here's how we're getting the right stuff to run under the
right version:

# in spec/spec_helper.rb
RSpec.configure do |c|
  c.exclusion_filter = { :ruby => lambda {|version|
    !(RUBY_VERSION.to_s =~ /^#{version.to_s}/)

# in any spec file
describe "something" do
  it "does something", :ruby => 1.8 do
    # ....

  it "does something", :ruby => 1.9 do
    # ....

In this case, we're using exclusion_filter instead of filter_run or
filter, which indicate inclusion filters. So each of those examples is
excluded if we're not running the version of Ruby they work with.

Shared example groups

Shared example groups are now run in a nested group within the including group
(they used to be run in the same group). Nested groups inherit before, after,
around, and let hooks, as well as any methods that are defined in the parent

This new approach provides better encapsulation, better output, and an
opportunity to add contextual information to the shared group via a block
passed to it_should_behave_like.

See features/example_groups/shared_example_group.feature for more information.

NOTICE: The including example groups no longer have access to any of the
methods, hooks, or state defined inside a shared group. This will break specs
that were using shared example groups to extend the behavior of including
groups in any way besides their intended purpose: to add examples to a group.

Upgrading from rspec-1.x

rspec command

The command to run specs is now rspec instead of spec.

rspec ./spec

Co-habitation of rspec-1 and rspec-2

Early beta versions of RSpec-2 included a spec command, which conflicted with
the RSpec-1 spec command because RSpec-1's was installed by the rspec gem,
while RSpec-2's is installed by the rspec-core gem.

If you installed one of these early versions, the safest bet is to uninstall
rspec-1 and rspec-core-2, and then reinstall both. After you do this, you will
be able to run rspec-2 like this:

rspec ./spec

... and rspec-1 like this:

spec _1.3.1_ ./spec

Rubygems inspects the first argument to any gem executable to see if it's
formatted like a version number surrounded by underscores. If so, it uses that
version (e.g. 1.3.1). If not, it uses the most recent version (e.g.

rake task

A few things changed in the Rake task used to run specs:

  1. The file in which it is defined changed from spec/rake/spectask to

  2. The spec_opts accessor has been deprecated in favor of rspec_opts. Also,
    the rspec command no longer supports the --options command line option
    so the options must be embedded directly in the Rakefile, or stored in the
    .rspec files mentioned above.

  3. In RSpec-1, the rake task would read in rcov options from an rcov.opts
    file. This is ignored by RSpec-2. RCov options are now set directly on the Rake

    RSpec::Core::RakeTask.new(:rcov) do |t|
      t.rcov_opts =  %q[--exclude "spec"]
  4. The spec_files accessor has been replaced by pattern.

    # rspec-1
    require 'spec/rake/spectask'
    Spec::Rake::SpecTask.new do |t|
      t.spec_opts = ['--options', "\"spec/spec.opts\""]
      t.spec_files = FileList['spec/**/*.rb']
    # rspec-2
    require 'rspec/core/rake_task'
    RSpec::Core::RakeTask.new do |t|
      t.rspec_opts = ["-c", "-f progress", "-r ./spec/spec_helper.rb"]
      t.pattern = 'spec/**/*_spec.rb'


RSpec-2 works with autotest as follows:

rspec --configure autotest

This adds ./autotest/discover.rb with:

Autotest.add_discovery { "rspec2" }

Now, on the command line just type:


Or, if you're using bundler:

bundle exec autotest

The autospec command is a thing of the past.

RSpec is the new Spec

The root namespace (top level module) is now RSpec instead of Spec, and
the root directory under lib within all of the rspec gems is rspec instead of spec.


Typically in spec/spec_helper.rb, configuration is now done like this:

RSpec.configure do |c|
  # ....


Command line options can be persisted in a .rspec file in a project. You
can also store a .rspec file in your home directory (~/.rspec) with global
options. Precedence is:

command line

context is no longer a top-level method

We removed context from the main object because it was creating conflicts with
IRB and some users who had Context domain objects. describe is still there,
so if you want to use context at the top level, just alias it:

alias :context :describe

Of course, you can still use context to declare a nested group:

describe "something" do
  context "in some context" do
    it "does something" do
      # ...

$KCODE no longer set implicitly to 'u'

In RSpec-1, the runner set $KCODE to 'u', which impacts, among other
things, the behaviour of Regular Expressions when applied to non-ascii
characters. This is no longer the case in RSpec-2.

Last published over 7 years ago by .