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shpec Build Status Gitter

Test your shell scripts!

Screenshot of shpec

Using shpec

This repo itself is using shpec, so feel free to use it as an example. Here is the basic structure that you'll want:

└── shpec

Then to run your tests:

shpec [shpec_files]

If you'd like your tests to run automatically when they change, we recommend the entr utility:

find . -name "*" | entr shpec

Note that there are some shell specificities, you'll find more about them in the Compatibility file.

Structuring your Tests

shpec is similar to other BDD frameworks like RSpec, Jasmine, and mocha.

The two main constructs are describe/end (used to group tests) and it/end (used to describe an individual test and wrap assertions).

Note: Since your test files will be sourced into shpec, you can use any shell command that would normally be available in your session.


shpec's own tests are a great place to start. For more examples, see the wiki page


The general format of an assertion is:

assert matcher arguments

where matcher is one of the following:

Binary Matchers

equal         # equality
unequal       # inequality
gt            # algebraic '>'
lt            # algebraic '<'
glob          # glob match
no_glob       # lack of glob match
grep          # regex match (grep style)
no_grep       # lack of regex match (grep style)
egrep         # regex match (egrep style)
no_egrep      # lack of regex match (egrep style)

Unary Matchers

present       # string presence
blank         # string absence
file_present  # file presence
file_absent   # file absence
symlink       # tests a symlink's target
test          # evaluates a test string

Custom Matchers

Custom matchers are loaded from shpec/matchers/*.sh.

For example, here's how you'd create a still_alive matcher:

# in shpec/matchers/
still_alive() {
  ping -oc1 "$1" > /dev/null 2>&1
  assert equal "$?" 0

Then you can use that matcher like any other:

# in shpec/
describe "my server"
  it "serves responses"
    assert still_alive ""


You can stub commands using stub_command. This function takes the name of the command you wish to stub. If provided, the second argument will be used as the body of the command. (code that would be evaluated) Once you're done, you can delete it with unstub_command.

The best example is the shpec test for this feature.


you can either install with curl

sh -c "`curl -L`"

or with antigen for zsh by putting antigen bundle rylnd/shpec in your .zshrc


Pull requests are always welcome.

If you've got a test or custom matcher you're particularly proud of, please consider adding it to the Examples page!

Style and code conventions

Language: POSIX shell

The core shpec script and function should work the same in any POSIX compliant shell. You can use shpec to test scripts that use non-POSIX features, but you must avoid them when extending shpec or the main tests.


Any variables starting with _shpec_ are reserved for internal use and should not be used in test cases (except perhaps for test cases of shpec itself).