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RSpec Development

This repository is for anyone interested in contributing to rspec or rspec-rails.



sqlite3 # for rspec-rails


The safest bet is to use rvm with an rvm installed ruby (not system ruby) and a clean gemset dedicated to rspec-dev:

rvm 2.6@rspec-dev --create # or whatever version of Ruby you prefer

rbenv is also supported.

Windows users can use uru.

If you use a different Ruby version manager (or none at all), the important thing is that you have a sandboxed gem environment that does not require you to use sudo to install gems, and has no rspec libraries installed.


Bundler is required for dependency management. Install it first:

gem install bundler


Once all of the pre-reqs above are taken care of, run these steps to get bootstrapped:

git clone git://
cd rspec-dev
bundle install --binstubs
bin/rake setup
bin/rake # runs tests in every repository

If all goes well, you'll end up seeing a lot of passing cucumber features and rspec code examples. You'll also have a directory structure that looks like this:

    rspec-core         # rspec runner, describe, it, etc
    rspec-expectations # should, should_not + matchers
    rspec-mocks        # doubles, mocks, stubs, fakes, etc
    rspec-rails        # rspec 2 for rails 3
        aruba          # gets generated when running rspec-rails' cukes
        example_app    # gets generated when running rspec-rails' specs 
    rspec              # meta-gem that depends on core, expectations, and mocks

After the initial clone you can run rake git:pull from the rspec-dev directory to update all of the rspec repos (in repos).

Run rake -T to see the available tasks for dev mode.


Once you've set up the environment, you'll need to cd into the working directory of whichever repo you want to work in. From there you can run the specs and cucumber features, and make patches.

NOTE: You do not need to use rspec-dev to work on a specific RSpec repo. You can treat each RSpec repo as an independent project.


Please submit a pull request or a github issue to one of the issue trackers listed below. If you submit an issue, please include a link to either of:

  • a gist (or equivalent) of the patch
  • a branch or commit in your github fork of the repo


Troubleshooting the environment

Load path and rubygems

Not everybody uses rubygems as their package management system. If this sounds odd to you, read

In light of this fact, these repositories are "require 'rubygems'" free. The included Rakefiles use Bundler, which effectively manages all of this for you.

If you're using any of these repos in isolation and without Bundler, however, you may need to do one of the following:

export RUBYOPT=rubygems
set RUBYOPT=rubygems

For those of you who prefer not to add this to your primary environment, there are plenty of solutions available to your managing multiple ruby environments.

no such file to load -- spec_helper (LoadError)

Rspec adds ./lib and ./spec to the load path, so you have to run the rspec command from the root of the repository you're working on. i.e. if you're working on rspec-core, cd to the rspec-core directory. Don't try to run specs from the rspec-dev directory, or you'll see LoadErrors.

Errors in Windows setup

If you get a SSL error in Windows, you can follow the instructions on this link to fix it.

If you get this error Gem::InstallError: The redcarpet native gem requires installed build tools, download the development kit from You can follow the installation instructions here.

Different problem?

If you run into a problem not documented here, please check the rspec-dev issues tracker to see if someone else has already reported it. If not, please add one.

Solution to a problem not documented here?

If you solve a problem that is not documented here, please share the love by submitting a patch to this README.

Also see

Other gems

These gems were extracted from past versions of RSpec in order to maintain compatibility for older spec suites upgrading to new versions, in particular rspec-its adds back the its(:thing) style of spec, rspec-collection_matchers adds back have(n).items style matchers, rspec-legacy_formatters enables old formatters to operate with RSpec 3+. These gems are in general not officially maintained by the RSpec team but may receive support and maintenance as needs require.


RSpec development environment



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