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Provides a simple, readable API to express expected outcomes of a code example

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RSpec::Expectations lets you express expected outcomes on an object in an example.

expect(account.balance).to eq(, :USD))


If you want to use rspec-expectations with rspec, just install the rspec gem and RubyGems will also install rspec-expectations for you (along with rspec-core and rspec-mocks):

gem install rspec

If you want to use rspec-expectations with another tool, like Test::Unit, Minitest, or Cucumber, you can install it directly:

gem install rspec-expectations

Basic usage

Here's an example using rspec-core:

describe Order do
  it "sums the prices of the items in its line items" do
    order =
    order.add_entry( =>
      :price =>, :USD)
    order.add_entry( =>
      :price =>, :USD),
      :quantity => 2
    expect( eq(, :USD))

The describe and it methods come from rspec-core. The Order, LineItem, Item and Money classes would be from your code. The last line of the example expresses an expected outcome. If ==, :USD), then the example passes. If not, it fails with a message like:

expected: #<Money @value=5.55 @currency=:USD>
     got: #<Money @value=1.11 @currency=:USD>

Built-in matchers


expect(actual).to eq(expected)  # passes if actual == expected
expect(actual).to eql(expected) # passes if actual.eql?(expected)

Note: The new expect syntax no longer supports == matcher.


expect(actual).to be(expected)    # passes if actual.equal?(expected)
expect(actual).to equal(expected) # passes if actual.equal?(expected)


expect(actual).to be >  expected
expect(actual).to be >= expected
expect(actual).to be <= expected
expect(actual).to be <  expected
expect(actual).to be_within(delta).of(expected)

Regular expressions

expect(actual).to match(/expression/)

Note: The new expect syntax no longer supports =~ matcher.


expect(actual).to be_an_instance_of(expected)
expect(actual).to be_a_kind_of(expected)


expect(actual).to be_true  # passes if actual is truthy (not nil or false)
expect(actual).to be_false # passes if actual is falsy (nil or false)
expect(actual).to be_nil   # passes if actual is nil

Expecting errors

expect { ... }.to raise_error
expect { ... }.to raise_error(ErrorClass)
expect { ... }.to raise_error("message")
expect { ... }.to raise_error(ErrorClass, "message")

Expecting throws

expect { ... }.to throw_symbol
expect { ... }.to throw_symbol(:symbol)
expect { ... }.to throw_symbol(:symbol, 'value')


expect { |b| 5.tap(&b) }.to yield_control # passes regardless of yielded args

expect { |b| yield_if_true(true, &b) }.to yield_with_no_args # passes only if no args are yielded

expect { |b| 5.tap(&b) }.to yield_with_args(5)
expect { |b| 5.tap(&b) }.to yield_with_args(Fixnum)
expect { |b| "a string".tap(&b) }.to yield_with_args(/str/)

expect { |b| [1, 2, 3].each(&b) }.to yield_successive_args(1, 2, 3)
expect { |b| { :a => 1, :b => 2 }.each(&b) }.to yield_successive_args([:a, 1], [:b, 2])

Predicate matchers

expect(actual).to be_xxx         # passes if
expect(actual).to have_xxx(:arg) # passes if actual.has_xxx?(:arg)

Ranges (Ruby >= 1.9 only)

expect(1..10).to cover(3)

Collection membership

expect(actual).to include(expected)
expect(actual).to start_with(expected)
expect(actual).to end_with(expected)


expect([1,2,3]).to include(1)
expect([1,2,3]).to include(1, 2)
expect([1,2,3]).to start_with(1)
expect([1,2,3]).to start_with(1,2)
expect([1,2,3]).to end_with(3)
expect([1,2,3]).to end_with(2,3)
expect({:a => 'b'}).to include(:a => 'b')
expect("this string").to include("is str")
expect("this string").to start_with("this")
expect("this string").to end_with("ring")

should syntax

In addition to the expect syntax, rspec-expectations continues to support the should syntax:

actual.should eq expected
actual).should be > 3
[1, 2, 3].should_not include 4

Motivation for expect

We added the expect syntax to resolve some edge case issues, most notably that objects whose definitions wipe out all but a few methods were throwing should and should_not away. expect solves that by not monkey patching those methods onto Kernel (or any global object).

See for a detailed explanation.

Using either expect or should or both

If you want your project to only use one of these syntaxes, you can configure it:

RSpec.configure do |config|
  config.expect_with :rspec do |c|
    c.syntax = :expect             # disables `should`
    # or
    c.syntax = :should             # disables `expect`
    # or
    c.syntax = [:should, :expect]  # enables both `should` and `expect`

See RSpec::Expectations::Syntax#expect for more information.


The one-liner syntax supported by rspec-core uses should even when config.syntax = :expect. It reads better than the alternative, and does not require a global monkey patch:

describe User do
  it { should validate_presence_of :email }

Also see

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