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Upgrading from rspec-rails-1.x to rspec-rails-2.

This is a work in progress. Please submit errata, missing steps, or patches to the rspec-rails issue tracker.

Rake tasks

Delete lib/tasks/rspec.rake, if present. Rake tasks now live in the rspec-rails gem.


There were a few changes to the generated spec/spec_helper.rb file. We recommend the following:

  1. set aside a copy of your existing spec/spec_helper.rb file.
  2. run rails generate rspec:install
  3. copy any customizations from your old spec_helper to the new one

If you prefer to make the changes manually in the existing spec_helper, here is what you need to change:

# rspec-1
require 'spec/autorun'

Spec::Runner.configure do |config|

# rspec-2
require 'rspec/rails'

RSpec.configure do |config|

Controller specs

isolation from view templates

By default, controller specs do not render view templates. This keeps controller specs isolated from the content of views and their requirements.

NOTE that the template must exist, but it will not be rendered. This is different from rspec-rails-1.x, in which the template didn't need to exist, but ActionController makes a number of new decisions in Rails 3 based on the existence of the template. To keep the RSpec code free of monkey patches, and to keep the rspec user experience simpler, we decided that this would be a fair trade-off.

response.should render_template

This needs to move from before the action to after. For example:

# rspec-rails-1
controller.should render_template("edit")
get :edit, :id => "37"

# rspec-rails-2
get :edit, :id => "37"
response.should render_template("edit")

rspec-1 had to monkey patch Rails to get render_template to work before the action, and this broke a couple of times with Rails releases (requiring urgent fix releases in RSpec). Part of the philosophy of rspec-rails-2 is to rely on public APIs in Rails as much as possible. In this case, render_template delegates directly to Rails' assert_template, which only works after the action.

View specs

view.should render_template

Rails changed the way it renders partials, so to set an expectation that a partial gets rendered, you need

view.should render_template(:partial => "widget/_row")


Introduced in rspec-rails-2.2, simulates the presence of view templates on the file system. This supports isolation from partials rendered by the vew template that is the subject of a view example:

stub_template "widgets/_widget.html.erb" => "This Content"

No more have_tag or have_text

Before Webrat came along, rspec-rails had its own have_tag and have_text matchers that wrapped Rails' assert_select. Webrat included replacements for these methods, as well as new matchers (have_selector and have_xpath), all of which rely on Nokogiri to do its work, and are far less brittle than RSpec's have_tag.

Capybara has similar matchers, which will soon be available view specs (they are already available in controller specs with render_views).

Given the brittleness of RSpec's have_tag and have_text matchers and the presence of new Webrat and Capybara matchers that do a better job, have_tag and have_text were not included in rspec-rails-2.

Mocks, stubs, doubles


Earlier versions of the view generators generated stub_model with :new_record? => true. That is no longer recognized in rspec-rails-2, so you need to change this:

stub_model(Widget, :new_record? => true)

to this:


Generators in 2.0.0 final release will do the latter.

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