Skip to content
A set of shared spec helpers specific to Puppetlabs projects
Find file
Latest commit 75f6680 @DavidS DavidS Merge pull request #125 from HelenCampbell/checkRakeTasks
Addition of check tasks and some formatting


Puppet Labs Spec Helper

The Short Version

This repository is meant to provide a single source of truth for how to initialize different Puppet versions for spec testing.

The common use case is a module such as stdlib that works with many versions of Puppet. The stdlib module should require the spec helper in this repository, which will in turn automatically figure out the version of Puppet being tested against and perform version specific initialization.

Other "customers" that should use this module are:


When developing or testing modules, simply clone this repository and install the gem it contains.

$ git clone git://
$ cd puppetlabs_spec_helper
$ rake package:gem
$ gem install pkg/puppetlabs_spec_helper-*.gem

Add this to your project's spec_helper.rb:

require 'puppetlabs_spec_helper/module_spec_helper'

Add this to your project's Rakefile:

require 'puppetlabs_spec_helper/rake_tasks'

And run the spec tests:

$ cd $modulename
$ rake spec


Please file issues against this project at the Puppet Labs Issue Tracker

The Long Version

Purpose of this Project

This project is intended to serve two purposes:

  1. To serve as a bridge between external projects and multiple versions of puppet; in other words, if your project has a dependency on puppet, you shouldn't need to need to worry about the details of how to initialize puppet's state for testing, no matter what version of puppet you are testing against.
  2. To provide some convenience classes / methods for doing things like creating tempfiles, common rspec matchers, etc. These classes are in the puppetlabs_spec directory.
  3. To provide a common set of Rake tasks so that the procedure for testing modules is unified.

To Use this Project

The most common usage scenario is that you will check out the 'master' branch of this project from github, and install it as a rubygem. There should be few or no cases where you would want to have any other branch of this project besides master/HEAD.

Initializing Puppet for Testing

In most cases, your project should be able to define a spec_helper.rb that includes just this one simple line:

require 'puppetlabs_spec_helper/puppet_spec_helper'

Then, as long as the gem is installed, you should be all set.

If you are using rspec-puppet for module testing, you will want to include a different library:

require 'puppetlabs_spec_helper/module_spec_helper'

NOTE that this is specifically for initializing Puppet's core. If your project does not have any dependencies on puppet and you just want to use the utility classes, see the next section.

A number of the Puppet parser features, controlled via configuration during a normal puppet run, can be controlled by exporting specific environment variables for the spec run. These are:

  • FUTURE_PARSER - set to "yes" to enable the future parser, the equivalent of setting parser=future in puppet.conf.
  • STRICT_VARIABLES - set to "yes" to enable strict variable checking, the equivalent of setting strict_variables=true in puppet.conf.
  • ORDERING - set to the desired ordering method ("title-hash", "manifest", or "random") to set the order of unrelated resources when applying a catalog. Leave unset for the default behavior, currently "random". This is equivalent to setting ordering in puppet.conf.
  • STRINGIFY_FACTS - set to "no" to enable structured facts, otherwise leave unset to retain the current default behavior. This is equivalent to setting stringify_facts=false in puppet.conf.
  • TRUSTED_NODE_DATA - set to "yes" to enable the $facts hash and trusted node data, which enabled $facts and $trusted hashes. This is equivalent to setting trusted_node_data=true in puppet.conf.

As an example, to run spec tests with the future parser, strict variable checking, and manifest ordering, you would:


Using Utility Classes

If you'd like to use the Utility classes (PuppetlabsSpec::Files, PuppetlabsSpec::Fixtures), you just need to add this to your project's spec_helper.rb:

require 'puppetlabs_spec_helper/puppetlabs_spec_helper'

NOTE that the above line happens automatically if you've required 'puppetlabs_spec_helper/puppet_spec_helper', so you don't need to do both.

In either case, you'll have all of the functionality of Puppetlabs::Files, Puppetlabs::Fixtures, etc., mixed-in to your rspec context.

Using Fixtures

puppetlabs_spec_helper has the ability to populate the spec/fixtures/modules directory with dependent modules when rake spec or rake spec_prep is run. To do so, all required modules should be listed in a file named .fixtures.yml in the root of the project.

When specifying the repo source of the fixture you have a few options as to which revision of the codebase you wish to use.

  • repo - the url to the repo
  • scm - options include git or hg. This is an optional step as the helper code will figure out which scm is used. yaml scm: git scm: hg
  • target - the directory name to clone the repo into ie. target: mymodule defaults to the repo name (Optional)
  • ref - used to specify the tag name like version hash of commit (Optional) yaml ref: 1.0.0 ref: 880fca52c
  • branch - used to specify the branch name you want to use ie. branch: development
  • flags - additional flags passed to the module installer (both puppet and scm)

    flags: --verbose

    Note: ref and branch can be used together to get a specific revision on a specific branch

Fixtures Examples

Basic fixtures that will symlink spec/fixtures/modules/my_modules to the project root:

    my_module: "#{source_dir}"

Add firewall and stdlib as required module fixtures:

    firewall: "git://"
    stdlib: "git://"
    my_module: "#{source_dir}"

Specify that the git tag 2.4.2 of `stdlib' should be checked out:

    firewall: "git://"
      repo: "git://"
      ref: "2.6.0"
    my_module: "#{source_dir}"

Install modules from Puppet Forge:

        firewall: "puppetlabs/firewall"
            repo: "puppetlabs/stdlib"
            ref: "2.6.0"

Pass additional flags to module installation:

            repo: "puppetlabs/stdlib"
            ref: "2.6.0"
            flags: "--module_repository"
            repo: "git://"
            ref: "2.6.0"
            flags: "--verbose"

Testing Parser Functions

This library provides a consistent way to create a Puppet::Parser::Scope object suitable for use in a testing harness with the intent of testing the expected behavior of parser functions distributed in modules.

Previously, modules would do something like this:

describe "split()" do
  let(:scope) { }
  it "should split 'one;two' on ';' into [ 'one', 'two' ]" do
    scope.function_split(['one;two', ';']).should == [ 'one', 'two' ]

This will not work beyond Puppet 2.7 as we have changed the behavior of the scope initializer in Puppet 3.0. Modules should instead initialize scope instances in a manner decoupled from the internal behavior of Puppet:

require 'puppetlabs_spec_helper/puppetlabs_spec/puppet_internals'
describe "split()" do
  let(:scope) { PuppetlabsSpec::PuppetInternals.scope }
  it "should split 'one;two' on ';' into [ 'one', 'two' ]" do
    scope.function_split(['one;two', ';']).should == [ 'one', 'two' ]

Some Notes for Windows Users

A windows users may need to do one of two things to execute 'rake spec'.

Although things may appear to work, the init.pp may not transfer to the fixtures folder as needed or may transfer as an empty file.

This is related to a registry security setting requiring elevated privileges to create symbolic links.

Currently, there are two known approaches to get around this problem.

  • run your windows shell (cmd) as an Administrator
  • modify the registry entry settings to allow symbolic links to be created.

The following links may give you some insight into why...

Server Fault Post

Stack Overflow Post

Microsoft TechNet


Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.