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Test Unit -> Minitest VS Rspec

(Brent ) #1

So we have a fairly large rails 3 app using Test Unit. We’re wanting to switch to either MiniTest with spec, or Rspec and are doing some research on pros/cons. I would love any of your feedback. A few questions I have:

  • What major items does RSpec have that you would really miss with Minitest (with minitest/spec)?
  • What major differences do you see between them?
  • With Rspec’s wide usage, does the community support grant using it, and/or does anyone see a trajectory for either framework as far as community support goes?. .trends?
  • Moving to minitest we can do right now, but would using both test unit and rspec in an intermediate time be a major pain?
  • I’ve heard a pro for minitest for it’s simplicity/debugging… what are some examples of issues being run into because of Rspec’s complexity?


(Geoff Harcourt) #2

Redoing all your specs is pretty awful, and brings with it some technical risk. Minitest is backwards compatible with TestUnit, so while I like RSpec better, I think you’re better off just moving forward with Minitest if your app is already established and has test coverage.

(Brent ) #3

Yeah, that’s definitely a pro that I had on the Minitest side. We would have to run both until we get them all going, we probably wouldn’t do it all at once.

(Ben Orenstein) #4

I have somewhat of a preference for RSpec, but honestly the difference between the testing libraries you mentioned is fairly small.

If I had a very large app with a Test Unit suite, I would avoid rewriting it in RSpec. That’s lots of boring work for very little gain.

If I were you, I’d probably start converting my T::U tests into MiniTest, but I’d do it slowly. One approach I’ve used with success is to only convert a file of tests when you need to change it otherwise (though make sure it happens in its own commit).

(Brent ) #5

Thanks Ben. Yeah that’s my thought: use Minitest and convert slowly over time. My teammates’ biggest concern is community support. And you don’t see any feature’s you would really miss?

(Ben Orenstein) #6

I’m not super familiar with MiniTest, so I can’t really say.

However, I mostly only use the core features of RSpec, so I don’t think there’d be much for me to miss.

(Luís Ferreira) #7

Actually Test::Unit and Minitest (versions < 5) are virtually the same for recent version of ruby and rails:


That being said, I to prefer RSpec, but mostly for the syntax. In terms of functionality I believe they go hand in hand, so in your case Minitest 4 is probably the best choice.

Hope it helps.

(Brent ) #8

Yeah, I ended up getting our test suite up and running with minitest pretty quick which is awesome.

Just now I’m realizing minitest stubbing class methods are a bit funky since they only support running code within a block, so I think we’d have to use mocha as well.

(rubylove.io) #9

I love minitest, but I also use Mocha. Baker’s mocking library (MiniMock) hasn’t been updated for years!

However, I will caveat mocha with this… if you are using stub_chain or any_instance, then please STOP!