RSpec Rails Controller Test

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Originally published on kolosek.com.

Rails is a web development framework, where modelview and controller are important aspects of your application. Controllers, just like models and viewers, need to be tested with Ruby communities favorite tool, RSpec.

Controllers in Rails accept HTTP requests as their input and deliver back and HTTP response as an output.

Organizing tests

Describe and context blocks are crucial for keeping tests organized into a clean hierarchy, based on a controller's actions and the context we're testing. Betterspecs.org provides the basics about writing your tests, it will help you make your tests much more expressive.

The purpose of 'describe' is to wrap a set of tests against one functionality while 'context' is to wrap a set of tests against one functionality under the same state. Describe vs. Context in RSpec by Ming Liu

 

You want to create a context for each meaningful input and wrap it into a describe block.

We will express each HTTP session in different describe blocks for: stories_controller_spec.rb.

describe "Stories" do
  describe "GET stories#index" do
    context "when the user is an admin" do
      it "should list titles of all stories"
    end
    
    context "when the user is not an admin" do
      it "should list titles of users own stories" do
    end

When you want to control the authorization access you can create a new context for each user role. In the same way, you can manage the authentication access, by creating a new context for logged in and logged out users.

    context "when the user is logged in" do
      it "should render stories#index"
    end
    
    context "when the user is logged out" do
      it "should redirect to the login page"
    end
  end

By default, RSpec-Rails configuration disables rendering of templates for controller specs. You can enable it by adding render_views:

  1. Globally, by adding it to RSpec.configure block in rails_helper.rb file
  2. Per individual group
  describe "GET stories#show" do
    it "should render stories#show template" do
    end
  end

  describe "GET stories#new" do
    it "should render stories#new template" do
    end
  end

It is very common to check if you are using valid or invalid attributes before saving them to the database.

  describe "POST stories#create" do
    context "with valid attributes" do
      it "should save the new story in the database"
      it "should redirect to the stories#index page"
    end
    
    context "with invalid attributes" do
      it "should not save the new story in the database"
      it "should render stories#new template"
    end
  end
end

How to get your data ready?

We use factories to get the data ready for our controller specs. The way factories work can be improved with a FactoryGirl gem.

With the following factory we will generate multiple stories by using a sequence of different titles and contents:

FactoryGirl.define do
  factory :story do
    user
    sequence(:title) { |n| "Title#{n}" }
    sequence(:content) { |n| "Content#{n}" }
  end
end

Let's test this out!

The time has come to create our own controller tests. The tests are written using RSpec and Capybara. We will cover stories_controller.rb with tests for each of these methods:

#index

First, we want to take a look at our controller stories_controller.rb. The index action authorizes access to stories depending if the current user is an admin:

def index
  @stories = Story.view_premissions(current_user).
end

And in model story.rb we check if the current user is an admin:

def self.view_premissions(current_user)
  current_user.role.admin? ? Story.all : current_user.stories
end

With the info we just gathered, we can create the following GET stories#index test:

describe "GET stories#index" do
  context "when the user is an admin" do
    it "should list titles of all stories" do
      admin = create(:admin)
      stories = create_list(:story, 10, user: admin)
      login_as(admin, scope: :user)
      visit stories_path

      stories.each do |story|
        page.should have_content(story.title)
      end
    end
  end

  context "when the user is not an admin" do
    it "should list titles of users own stories" do
      user = create(:user)
      stories = create_list(:story, 10, user: user)
      login_as(user, scope: :user)
      visit stories_path

      stories.each do |story|
        page.should have_content(story.title)
      end
    end
  end
end

As you can see, we created two different contexts for each user role (admin and not admin). The admin user will be able to see all the story titles, on the other hand, standard users can only see their own.

Using options create(:user) and create_list(:story, 10, user: user) you can create users and ten different stories for that user. The newly created user will login login_as(user, scope: :user) and visit the stories_path page, where he can see all the story titles depending on his current role page.should have_content(story.title).

Another great way to create new users is using let or before blocks, those are two different ways to write DRY tests.

#show

You can write the #show method tests in a similar way. The only difference is that you want to access the page that shows the story you want to read.

describe "GET stories#show" do
  it "should render stories#show template" do
    user = create(:user)
    story = create(:story, user: user)

    login_as(user, scope: :user)
    visit story_path(story.id)

    page.should have_content(story.title)
    page.should have_content(story.content)
  end
end

Once again we want to create the user create(:user) and a story create(:story, user: user). The created user will log in and visit the page that contains the story based on the story.id visit story_path(story.id).

#new and #create

Unlike the others, this method creates a new story. Let's check out the following action in stories_controller.rb

# GET stories#new
def new
  @story = Story.new
end

# POST stories#create
def create
  @story = Story.new(story_params)
  if @story.save
    redirect_to story_path(@story), success: "Story is successfully created."
  else
    render action: :new, error: "Error while creating new story"
  end
end

private

def story_params
  params.require(:story).permit(:title, :content)
end

The new action renders a stories#new template, it is a form that you fill out before creating a new story using the create action. On successful creation, the story will be saved in the database.

describe "POST stories#create" do
  it "should create a new story" do
    user = create(:user)
    login_as(user, scope: :user)
    visit new_stories_path

    fill_in "story_title", with: "Ruby on Rails"
    fill_in "story_content", with: "Text about Ruby on Rails"

    expect { click_button "Save" }.to change(Story, :count).by(1)
  end
end

This time a created and logged in user will visit the page where it can create a new story visit new_stories_path. The next step is to fill up the form with title and content fill_in "...", with: "...". Once we click on the save button click_button "Save", the number of total stories will increase by one change(Story, :count).by(1), meaning that the story was successfully created.

#update

Everyone wants to be able to update their stories. This can be easily done in the following way:

def update
  if @story.update(story_params)
    flash[:success] = "Story #{@story.title} is successfully updated."
    redirect_to story_path(@story)
  else
    flash[:error] = "Error while updating story"
    redirect_to story_path(@story)
  end
end

private

def story_params
  params.require(:story).permit(:title, :content)
end

When a new story is created we will be able to update it, by visiting the stories edit page.

describe "PUT stories#update" do
  it "should update an existing story" do
    user = create(:user)
    login_as(user, scope: :user)
    story = create(:story)
    visit edit_story_path(story)
    
    fill_in "story_title", with: "React"
    fill_in "story_content", with: "Text about React"
    
    click_button "Save"
    expect(story.reload.title).to eq "React"
    expect(story.content).to eq "Text about React"
  end
end

Just like in the previous methods, a newly created logged in user will create a story and visit the edit story page edit_story_path(story). Once we update the title and content of the story it is expected to change as we asked expect(story.reload.title).to eq "React".

#delete

At last, we want to be able to delete the stories we disliked.

def destroy
  authorize @story
  if @story.destroy
    flash[:success] = "Story #{@story.title} removed successfully"
    redirect_to stories_path
  else
    flash[:error] = "Error while removing story!"
    redirect_to story_path(@story)
  end 
end

You want to make it sure that only the admin and owner of the story can delete it, by installing gem 'pundit'.

class StoryPolicy < ApplicationPolicy
  def destroy?
    @user.role.admin?
  end
end

Let's test this out as well.

describe "DELETE stories#destroy" do
  it "should delete a story" do
    user = create(:admin)
    story = create(:story, user: user)
    login_as(user, scope: :user)
    visit story_path(story.id)
    page.should have_link("Delete")
    expect { click_link "Delete" }.to change(Story, :count).by(-1)
  end
end

The test is written in a similar way to stories#create, with a major difference. Instead of creating the story, we delete it and such reduce the overall count by one change(Story, :count).by(-1).

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