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Testing console for Rails. Helps out with test performance and also makes it easier to run specific tests

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tconsole is a testing console for Rails. It allows you to issue commands concerning what tests to run, and see their test output. It's also got a helpful reload command for when your Rails environment needs to be restarted.

tconsole has only been tested with Rails 3 with Ruby 1.9.3 with MiniTest as the testing framework (the Rails default) on a Mac, but in theory it should work with pretty much any Unixy operating system (tconsole uses fork a good bit).

Why use tconsole?

  • A large amount of time is wasted loading the Rails environment each time you run the Rails testing rake tasks. tconsole loads the environment when you start the console and whenever you reload the environment, but doesn't have to reload the environment for each test execution.
  • The Rails rake task syntax bundle exec rake test:units TEST=test/unit/user_test.rb can be pretty verbose when you're running specific tests. Yeah, there are tricks you can use to shorten things up, but still, that's crazy long. tconsole lets you just type test/unit/user_test.rb to get that specific test file to run. I'm working on fuzzy matching, too, so that you can just type 'user' and get the user test to run.

What about Spork?

Spork's really cool, and it was my primary motivation behind writing tconsole, but I've always felt like having an extra console open for my spork server and another to run my commands is a bit heavy for what I want to do. Beyond that, I couldn't ever figure out how to get Spork to work with test/unit, and since me and DHH are the only two people who still use test/unit I figured it was up to me to come up with something that worked great. If Spork's your cup of tea, though, stop reading this and use what you like.

What about rspec?

I'm not sure if tconsole will ever support rspec or not. I love the idea of adding support for rspec, but I also don't use rspec all that often, so it likely wouldn't be very well tested. If enough people fuss at me, or if someone were willing to add and maintain rspec support I'd definitely be willing to merge it in, though.

Installing tconsole

gem install tconsole

How to use tconsole

In your shell of choice, cd into your Rails project's directory and then run bundle exec tconsole to fire up the console. You should see something like this:

bundle exec tconsole

Loading your Rails environment...
Environment loaded in 7.160264s.


Now that you're in the console, let's test out the all command! Running all from the console runs all of your unit, functional, and integration tests:

> all
Running tests...

Run options: 

# Running tests:


Finished tests in 6.054574s, 6.4999 tests/s, 10.5822 assertions/s.

39 tests, 45 assertions, 0 failures, 0 errors, 0 skips

Test time (including load): 82.806741s


If you want to focus in on a particular subset of your tests, like units, functionals, or integration, just enter that keyword:

> units

> functionals

> integration

If you'd like to just run the tests that are related to recent changes you've made:


Or if you'd like to run the tests for changes you've made since your last commit:


You can also focus in on just the tests in a given filename by entering a test file name into tconsole:

> test/unit/user_test.rb

You can go one bit deeper and just run a particular test in that file with an extra argument:

> test/unit/user_test.rb test_that_user_is_healthy

That command will load up the user_test.rb file and then only run the test named test_that_user_is_healthy. You can add a specific test name argument to any tconsole command that runs tests.

If you update your environment, maybe by editing your Gemfile or changing one of your application's configuration files, you can use the reload command to reload the entire environment:

> reload

And then finally, you can run the exit command to quit:

> exit

Reporting Issues and Contributing

Feel free to report issues in the issue tracker at Be sure to include the versions of Ruby, Rails, and your operating system. For bonus points, fork the project and send me a pull request with the fix for the issue you're seeing.

tconsole is just a quick idea I had that I wanted to spike out, so there aren't any tests yet. Hopefully that will change in the near future!

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