Uspec is a shiny little testing framework for your apps!
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Uspec is a shiny little testing framework for your apps!

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Philosophy / Why Uspec?

Uspec is just Ruby!

Unlike other testing frameworks there's no need for special matchers, there can only be one assertion per test, and you never have to worry that your tests lack assertions.

That's because when the spec block is evaluated the return value is used (in a very ruby-like way) to determine the validity of the statement. Standard Ruby comparisons are your friend! No more digging around in your test framework's documentation to figure out what matcher you're supposed to use. This also means no monkey patching core classes!

Uspec's output is in beautiful ansi technicolor, with red for failures, green for successes, and yellow for pending specs. Here's a screenshot:


Uspec is tiny, painless, and easy to use. Download it and give it a shot. :)


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'uspec'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install uspec


  1. Create a spec directory to keep your specs in.
  2. Name your specs ending with _spec.rb.
  3. Write some specs in Ruby using the spec method.
  4. Use the included uspec executable to run your specs.

Hint: A lot of people also put require_relative 'spec_helper' in their tests for global start up code.


$ uspec --help
uspec - minimalistic ruby testing framework
usage: uspec [<file_or_path>...]
  • Without arguments the uspec command will automatially look for spec directories and load any *_spec.rb files inside them.
  • You can also pass in arbitrary files and it will attempt to run them as specs.
  • If you pass in directories uspec will find and run any specs inside them.
  • Uspec will return 0 if all specs pass and 255 if any fail.


Uspec is just Ruby. The DSL is minimal - there's only one method to remember!

Writing a spec is easy:

spec 'AwesomeMcCoolname.generate creates a cool name' do
  AwesomeMcCoolname.generate.include? 'Cool'

That's it!


Examples of Uspec's output below!


If a spec passes:

 -- AwesomeMcCoolname.generate creates a cool name: true


If a spec fails:

 -- AwesomeMcCoolname.generate creates a cool name: false


If the spec throws an error:

 -- AwesomeMcCoolname.generate creates a cool name: Exception

    Encountered an Exception while running spec
    at uspec/awesome_mc_coolname_spec.rb:3: in `<main>'

    RuntimeError < StandardError: 'wtf'

    /Users/Dude/Projects/Awesome/lib/awesome_mc_coolname.rb:18:in `explode'
    uspec/awesome_mc_coolname_spec.rb:4:in `block in <main>'

Non-boolean values

If you create a spec that doesn't return a boolean value (nil doesn't count either!) like this:

spec 'AwesomeMcCoolname.generate creates a cool name' do
  AwesomeMcCoolname.generate =~ /Badass/

Then Uspec will let you know:

 -- AwesomeMcCoolname.generate creates a badass name: Unknown Result

    Spec did not return a boolean value
    at uspec/awesome_mc_coolname_spec.rb:6: in `<main>'

    Integer < Numeric: 5


If you aren't ready to fill out a spec, maybe as a reminder to add functionality later, just leave off the block and it will be marked as pending:

spec 'a feature I have not implemented yet'

When you run the test Uspec will helpfully display:

 -- a feature I have not implemented yet: pending

Tips & Tricks

Because there's no matchers and only one method there's no reference documentation to look at, so here are some ideas to get you going!

String matching

Instead of =~ (which returns either an Integer index or nil) Ruby has the nifty include? method, which returns a boolean:

spec 'AwesomeMcCoolname.generate creates a cool name' do
  AwesomeMcCoolname.generate.include? 'Badass'

Regex matching

If you really need to regex, you can always use Ruby's !! idiom to coerce a boolean out of any result, but its more precise to specify the index if you know it. And you can always toss in an || to drop in more information if a comparison fails too:

spec 'AwesomeMcCoolname.generate creates a cool name' do
  index = AwesomeMcCoolname.generate =~ /Badass/
  index == 0 || index


What if you want to test that an error has occured? Just use Ruby!

spec 'calling AwesomeMcCoolname.awesomeness without specifying the awesomeness level should explode' do
  rescue => error
    error.class == ArgumentError || raise

If there's no error, then Uspec will see the result of the method call (whatever it might be). If the wrong Exception is raised, then because of reraising (by just calling raise without parameters), Ruby will dutifully pass along the error for Uspec to display.

Assertions & Debugging

You can also use uspec to track assertions in an application or any object you want. Every spec block you use will be tracked and recorded. It's really no problem at all to do.

You can load Uspec's features directly into a class and use its DSL:

require 'uspec'

class MyFoo
  extend Uspec::DSL
  def assert
    spec 'foo is valid' do

If there are any specs that fail, your application will exit with a `255``.

$ ruby foo.rb
 -- foo is valid: false
$ echo $?

Uspec is just Ruby

If for some reason you don't want to use the uspec command, you can require 'uspec' and extend Uspec::DSL. From there you can just run the file with ruby: ruby my_test_spec.rb


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request


Anthony M. Cook 2013-2016