Goodall provides an easy interface for documenting your API while you write your tests.
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Goodall

Goodall provides an easy interface for documenting your API while you write your integration tests.

It is compatible with Rspec, Cucumber and test-unit, as well as others. It currently supports JSON and XML APIs, but modules can be easily written to handler other types.

Goodall is named after researcher Jane Goodall, who has spent her life observing and documenting the behviour of chimpanzees.

Purpose

Goodall is a gemified version of the ideas in outlined a few years ago in this blog post: http://n4k3d.com/blog/2011/08/19/generate-easy-up-to-date-rails-api-docs-with-cucumber/

The basic idea is that you are writing integration tests anyway, you are 90% there. All that was left was to record the requests and responses to a text file. For example, the following cucumber test:

  Feature: /widgets
    Scenario: Get a list of all widgets
      Given the following widget exists:
        | name             | job         |
        | Billy the Widget | Be a widget |
        | Sally the Widget | Be a widget |
      When I GET "/widgets"
      Then I should get a successful response
      And the response should include 2 widgets
      And the response should include the Widget data for "Billy the Widget"
      And the response should include the Widget data for "Sally the Widget"

    Scenario: Create a new widget
      Given I have a JSON request for "widget"
        | name | Bob the Widget |
        | job  | Be a widget    |
      And I POST that JSON to "/widgets.json"
      Then I should get a successful response
      And the response should include the Widget data for "Bob the Widget"

.. would then generate the following documentation:

  ——————————————————————————–
  Feature: /widgets

  Scenario: Get a list of all widgets
  GET /widgets.json
  RESPONSE:
  {
    "widgets" : [
      {
        "name" : "Billy the Widget",
        "job" : "Be a widget"
      },
      {
        "name" : "Sally the Widget",
        "job" : "Be a widget"
      }
    ]
  }

  Scenario: Create a new widget
  POST /widgets.json:
  {
    "widget" : {
      "name" : "Bob the Widget",
      "job" : "Be a widget"
    }
  }
  RESPONSE:
  {
    "widget" : {
      "name" : "Billy the Widget",
      "job" : "Be a widget"
    }
  }

Installation

Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'goodall'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install goodall

Usage

Cucumber

In your env.rv file, require 'goodall/cucumber' and either of the JSON or XML handlers. Or both, if you need them.

  # env.rb
  require 'goodall/cucumber'
  require 'goodall/handler/json' # or/and 'goodall/handler/xml'

In your features, where you want to log a request or response, call either Goodall.document_request or Goodall.document_response.

For cucumber, the best way is to have often-reused methods in each scenario, and then put the Goodall methods call in those. Take this example feature:

  # something.feature
  Given I get "/some/api.json"
  Then the response should be valid json
  And the response should should be successful

  # something_steps.rb

  Given /^I get \"(.+)\"$/ do |path|
    get(path)
    Goodall.document_request(:get, path)
    # If this were a POST, we would so something like this:
    #
    #   Goodall.document_request(:post, path, posted_data)
  end

  Given /^the response should be valid json$/ do
    Goodall.document_response(last_response.body)
    @json_response = MultiJson.load(last_response.body)
  end

  Given /^the response should be successul$/ do
    @last_response['success'].should be_true
  end

The steps "I get (.+)" and "the response should be valid json" are steps I will use in almost every scenario, so it is the perfect place for the Goodall calls. Using Goodall in these frequently used steps is key for ease-of-use.

You can tell Goodall to not document a cucumber scenario by using the @dont-document tag:

  Scenario: this will be documented
    Given some steps

  @dont-document
  Scenario: this will not be documented
    Given some steps

IMPORTANT NOTE: Using the cucumber helpers, Goodall will NOT log unless executed via the rake task "rake cucumber:document". To force Goodall to log, please set the environment variable 'ENABLE_GOODALL' to a non-nil value. For example:

  ENABLE_GOODALL=true cucumber features/

Rspec

In your spec_helper.rb file, require 'goodall/rspec' and either of the JSON or XML handlers. Or both, if you need them.

  # spec_helper.rb
  require 'goodall/rspec'
  require 'goodall/handler/json' # or/and 'goodall/handler/xml'

For controller specs, re-use can be acheived by making a delegation method for the get/post/put/delete/patch verbs:

  # spec_helper.rb

  def documented_get(*args)
    
    Goodall.document_request(:get, args[0])
    # If this were a POST, we would so something like this:
    #
    #   Goodall.document_request(:post, args[0], posted_data)

    get_response = get(args)

    Goodall.document_response(response.body)

    get_response
  end

  # some_controller_spec.rb
  describe SomeController do
    describe "GET foo" do
      it "should return a body containing 'blah'" do

        documented_get(:foo) # replaces get(:foo)
        expect(response.body).to include?('blah')

      end
    end
  end

IMPORTANT NOTE: Using the rspec helpers, Goodall will NOT log unless executed via the rake task "rake rspec:document". To force Goodall to log, please set the environment variable 'ENABLE_GOODALL' to a non-nil value. For example:

  ENABLE_GOODALL=true rspec spec/

Test Unit and derivatives, and others

If you are not using any of the convenience wrappers for rspec or cucumber, there is more work to be done when using Goodall.

First, like others, require the files:

  require 'goodall'
  require 'goodall/handler/json' # or/and 'goodall/handler/xml'

You will also need to set the path of the file for output. If you choose not the set this, the default will be used which is "./api_docs.txt". You can override this by:

  Goodall.output_path = "./some/path/file.txt"

Enabing the logging process involves setting the enabled property. It is disabled by default, which means that Goodall will not document unless explicity told to do so. You can enable logging with

  Goodall.enabled = true

Rake task

To automate the creation of documentation, a rake task can be added that automatically set the output file and triggers the tests.

  # Rakefile
  require 'goodall/rake_task' if %w[development test].include? Rails.env

This unlocks the following rake commands:

  rake cucumber:document   # Run cucumber and write Goodall documentation
  rake spec:document       # Run rspec tests and write Goodall documentation
  rake goodall:output_path # Show current Goodall documentation output path

By default, the output path will be 'doc/api_docs.txt' when run with this rake task.

Handlers

By default, Goodall includes handlers for XML and JSON. This means that the logged output can be parsed from these formats and pretty-printed correctly to the documention file.

If only one handler is required in your config, Goodall assumes you want to use that one all the time. For example:

  require 'goodall'
  require 'goodall/handler/json'

  Goodall.document_reponse(response.body)

..will assume response.body is JSON and will parse it as such. If you were to swap "goodall/handler/json" with "goodall/handler/xml" then the response would be assumed to be XML.

If you need to use both formats at the same time, you can include both handlers and set the actuve handler by name.

  require 'goodall'
  require 'goodall/handler/json'
  require 'goodall/handler/xml'

  Goodall.set_handler(:json)
  Goodall.document_response(response.body) # json response

  Goodall.set_handler(:xml)
  Goodall.document_response(response.body) # xml response

In the above case, the default handler would be XML since it was required last.

Writing new handlers

Please see lib/goodall/handler/json.rb for a good example. A handler will need to do two things:

Implement #parse_payload: accepts a data structure and is expected to return a pretty-printed string representing that data.

Register itself as a handler: This is done by calling:

  Goodall.register_handler(:handler_name, self)

..where :handler_name is a symbol for what type of data is being handled, and self is the class of the handler.

Methods

These are the method you will use most with Goodall.

Goodall.document_request(method, path, payload=nil)

Document a request.

  • :method - a symbol of the verb: :get, :post, :put, :delete, :patch
  • :path - a string of the path (URL/URI) of the request
  • :payload - the parameters sent, e.g. post body. Usually a hash. For things with no payload, like a GET, it can be nil.

Goodalldocument_response(payload, status=nil)

Document a response.

  • :payload - the data returned from the request, e.g. response.body. "payload" will be run through the current handler and be pretty-printed to the output file.
  • :status - the http status of the response. Can be a string, symbol or integer. (e.g. 404, 500, :ok, "success", etc)

Contributing

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

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