Rails – Running RSpec with Spork Test Server

I am still continuing the tutorial @ Ruby on Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl

Last time we have integrated the RSpec and Autotest in Rails 3.
Rails – Integrate Autotest and RSpec in Linux

But it seems that it takes quite long for RSpec to complete the tests. This is because RSpec reloads the entire Rails environment for each run. Spork Test Server helps you preloading the Rails environment which greatly reduces the time for running the test suite.

1. Add the spork gem in the Gemfile

source 'http://rubygems.org'

gem 'rails', '3.0.1'
gem 'sqlite3-ruby', '1.3.2',  :require => 'sqlite3'

group :development do
  gem 'rspec-rails', '2.1.0'

group :test do
  gem 'rspec', '2.1.0'
  gem 'webrat', '0.7.2'
  gem 'autotest', '4.4.2'
  gem 'redgreen', '1.2.2'
  gem 'test-unit', '2.1.1'
  gem 'spork', '0.8.4'


2. Re install the dependencies

  • bundle install


3. Bootstrap the Spork configuration file

  • spork –bootstrap


4. Now edit the spec/spec_helper.rb as follow

require 'rubygems'
require 'spork'

Spork.prefork do
  # Loading more in this block will cause your tests to run faster. However, 
  # if you change any configuration or code from libraries loaded here, you'll
  # need to restart spork for it take effect.
  ENV["RAILS_ENV"] ||= 'test'
  require File.expand_path("../../config/environment", __FILE__)
  require 'rspec/rails'

  # Requires supporting ruby files with custom matchers and macros, etc,
  # in spec/support/ and its subdirectories.
  Dir[Rails.root.join("spec/support/**/*.rb")].each {|f| require f}

  RSpec.configure do |config|
    # == Mock Framework
    # If you prefer to use mocha, flexmock or RR, uncomment the appropriate line:
    # config.mock_with :mocha
    # config.mock_with :flexmock
    # config.mock_with :rr
    config.mock_with :rspec

    # Remove this line if you're not using ActiveRecord or ActiveRecord fixtures
    config.fixture_path = "#{::Rails.root}/spec/fixtures"

    # If you're not using ActiveRecord, or you'd prefer not to run each of your
    # examples within a transaction, remove the following line or assign false
    # instead of true.
    config.use_transactional_fixtures = true

    ### Part of a Spork hack. See http://bit.ly/arY19y
    # Emulate initializer set_clear_dependencies_hook in 
    # railties/lib/rails/application/bootstrap.rb

Spork.each_run do
  # This code will be run each time you run your specs.


5. Modify config/application.rb

require File.expand_path('../boot', __FILE__)

require 'rails/all'

# If you have a Gemfile, require the gems listed there, including any gems
# you've limited to :test, :development, or :production.
Bundler.require(:default, Rails.env) if defined?(Bundler)

module SampleApp
  class Application < Rails::Application
    # Settings in config/environments/* take precedence over those specified here.
    # ...

    # Configure the default encoding used in templates for Ruby 1.9.
    config.encoding = "utf-8"

    # Configure sensitive parameters which will be filtered from the log file.
    config.filter_parameters += [:password]
    ### Part of a Spork hack. See http://bit.ly/arY19y
    if Rails.env.test?
      initializer :after => :initialize_dependency_mechanism do
        # Work around initializer in railties/lib/rails/application/bootstrap.rb
        ActiveSupport::Dependencies.mechanism = :load


6. Start the Spork server by the spork command


7. Open another terminal and check the time spent by RSpec without Spork server using the time command

  • time rspec spec/


8. Test again with Spork server

  • time rspec –drb spec/


9. Add the –drb parameter in .rspec such that it is included in the rspec command by default



10. The Autotest runs much faster now. In case your test cases were failed with some unknown reasons, restart the Spork server might help since the error maybe regards to the Rails environment.

Done =)


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