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I'm Jason, a web applications developer in the San Francisco Bay area.

Using Rspec to Test Controllers

Here are some tips that will help you with Controller tests in Rspec.

Common Response Methods

# Get HTTP response code with message. Example: "302 Found"

# Get HTTP response code. Example: 200

# Get response body

# Get location header, used with redirects

Common Matchers

# Check for successful response, same as response.success?.should be_true
response.should be_success

# Check if a specific template was rendered
response.should render_template("edit")

# Test if the controller method redirects to a specific path/url
response.should redirect_to(posts_url)

# Check a global variable assigned in the controller method
assigns(:owner_id).should eq(

Mocking or Stubbing Partials

In this example I’m using Mocha with Rspec v1.3.2. I refer to the controller itself in this Controller test as ‘controller’. The ‘render’ or ‘render_to_string’ methods are part of the controller itself. In this example it’s rendering a partial to a string, and including it in a JSON hash being returned to an AJAX call.

# Controller method uses render_to_string to render a partial to HTML string, includes in JSON response

controller.expects(:render_to_string).with(:partial => 'comment_block', :locals => {:post => post}).returns("comment block content").at_least_once

It’s not advisable that you use a helper directly inside of a controller, and thus you shouldn’t need to stub one from within a controller method spec. Helpers should be used within views, otherwise your “helper” method should exist in a model, or in a utility library in /lib, so it’s available in the controller or elsewhere.

Although this post isn’t on View testing, this article helps explain how to mocking partials and helpers in views.