Rutabaga is a thin shim on jnicklas/turnip which allows features to be called from rspec, inverting the control
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Turnip extension to enable running turnip features from inside spec files, rather than outside.

Rutabaga allows you to invert the control of feature files, so that features are called from your _spec.rb files rather than the other way around. Step definitions are then put into the _spec.rb files as well. The steps are then scoped to that particular test.

This means that it is simple to create tests that are described by a class (such as controller tests in rspec-rails).

Build Status Gem Version


Install the gem

gem install rutabaga

Or add it to your Gemfile and run bundle.

group :test do
  gem "rutabaga"

Choose which mode you want to use: Turnip compatibility mode or No Turnip mode.

Turnip compatibility mode

In this mode, you can still have and call classic Turnip features directly, as long as they are situated under the spec/features directory.

Edit the .rspec file in your project directory (create it if doesn't exist), and add the following:

-r rutabaga

Add the following line to the bottom of your spec_helper.rb in order to use Turnip global step definitions:

Dir.glob("spec/features/step_definitions/**/*_steps.rb") { |f| load f, true }

In order to get rake or bundle exec rake to work properly you might need to add this in the file lib/tasks/rspec.rake (at least for rails).

if defined? RSpec # otherwise fails on non-live environments
  desc "Run all specs/features in spec directory" => 'db:test:prepare') do |t|
    t.pattern = './spec/{**/*_spec.rb,features/**/*.feature}'

No Turnip Mode

If you do not want to use Turnip features then you can disable turnip by adding the following to you .rspec file instead of -r rutabaga:

-r rutabaga/no_turnip

Capybara support

Add the following line to the bottom of your spec_helper.rb in order to use Capybara javascript driver (when features are tagged with @javascript):

require 'turnip/capybara'


Running a feature file from a spec file

If you create a file spec/controllers/test_feature_spec.rb and add:

feature "should run feature" do


Rutabaga will run spec/controllers/test_feature.feature.

Features are found either with the same name as the spec file, or as specified by the feature feature "relative_from_root/path/to/feature/file.feature". So, if you have:


Then the feature will be:


Alternatively, if the feature is specified in the feature, that takes precedence:

feature "spec/features/test.feature" do


Path can also be relative to the spec location so:

feature "test.feature" do


Will run spec/controllers/test.feature.

Note Anywhere that a .feature extension can be used, a .rutabaga extension is also valid.

Definining steps

Steps are defined in the same way as in Turnip, however, steps can be defined within the rspec context and are scoped to only be available there.

feature "step will only be in this context" do
  step "action :named" do |named| do
    expect(named).to eq("a name")

feature "step 'action :named' is not available here" do
  # missing step will cause tests to be marked as pending"

Differences from Turnip

Other than these differences, Rutabaga is a tiny shim over Turnip and all features will work as expected.

  • Turnip looks anywhere below the spec directory for .feature files. Rutabaga will only load .feature files from below the spec/features directory in the old way. This avoids conflicts with .feature files that are loaded from _spec.rb files.


  • Allows you to document business rules in Gherkin/Turnip/Cucumber human readable language
  • Test those rules wherever/however appropriate (not just through Capybara/black box)
  • Use the full power of RSpec (being able to describe a class and then test it)

The most important functionality in a system is the business rules. These range from what appears on a page, to complex rules around when emails should be sent to who. For example, we've written Gherkin tests to test premium changes when a customer changes their insurance coverage.

These rules are often implemented in a Model, a lib class, or some other specific class in the system, especially if the application is well modularized.

In any case, business rules are usually implemented somewhere inside a class tested by a unit test. Those business rules should be tested in Cucumber/Turnip without having to go through the whole system, and without having to have duplicate tests, one inside rspec and another inside features.

The goal is to test just the business rule in Rutabaga, and not the login, the html, the steps to get there, etc. That way, when the rule changes, only the feature, the test code and the class in question need to change. The test is not affected by wider ranging changes, and is therefore less brittle. The features run at the unit code level, but are acceptance tests.


  1. Capybara's rspec extension also redefines feature, so rutabaga will block capaybara's feature example groups from working.
  2. In order to call a specific scenario, you can use rspec's filtering. Here is an example: $ rspec spec/test_file_spec.rb -e "Title of my scenario". This will only call the Scenario titled Title of my scenario in file spec/test_file_spec.rb


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Added some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request

For maintainers

Use gem-release to maintain versions

To update the patch version (e.g. 0.0.1 to 0.0.2), after merging the PR to master run:

gem bump --tag --release

if instead you want to bump the minor version (e.g. 0.0.1 to 0.1.0):

gem bump --version minor --tag --release

or major version (e.g. 0.0.1 to 1.0.0):

gem bump --version major --tag --release

Testing alternate versions

Put the following (example in a Gemfile_for_xxx) to test other versions of gems.

# Use global Gemfile and customize
eval('Gemfile'), binding)

gem 'turnip', '2.0.0'


Copyright © 2012-2016 Simply Business. See LICENSE for details.