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Upstream Agile GmbH

Culerity = Full Stack Rails Testing with Cucumber and Celerity

January 28, 2009 by alex

Since the day we started upstream testing was our obsession. When we began all we had was the Rails built-in unit, functional and integration tests. When we learned about RSpec the world became a brighter place. When the RSpec team released their StoryRunner we were thrilled. We started writing stories in English and were able to run them. Whoa. It soon turned out the first version had some serious issues with staying DRY. More versions were released, we rewrote our stories, step by step StoryRunner got better and we got better, too.

Then Cucumber came out and it was a huge leap ahead again. With the integration of Webrat we could write much shorter stories, but more importantly we could test that our links and forms were working as well. Everything was working perfectly and the world was a happy place - as long as we didn’t use any JavaScript/AJAX…

Welcome to Culerity. Culerity is a small gem that integrates Cucumber with Celerity, a wrapper around HtmlUnit which in turn is a Java library that parses HTML and runs the embedded JavaScript code. And unlike Watir or Selenium this all happens in headless mode: without hijacking your browser.

The problem with Celerity has been that it only works in a JRuby environment, which means you either had to run your application in JRuby as well (which might not even work with certain libraries and plugins) or somehow work your way around it by running your tests in JRuby and your application in whatever Ruby you wanted to use and somehow glue it together. Culerity now fills this gap. After installing it you run your Cucumber features as usual. Celerity now spawns a Java process in the background, sends all the Celerity calls to this process and evaluates the results back in the original Ruby environment — everything works (almost) as if you were running just in your single Ruby process. For an easier start Culerity comes with the same set of Cucumber step definitions that are provided by a default Cucumber/Webrat installation. This means you can reuse your step definitions written for Webrat.

To get started you can either clone the GitHub repository or simply install the gem (langalex-culerity). Then follow the instructions in the README. If you find something is not working for you or could be improved please feel free to fork the source code and show it some love. The codebase is really small right now and fully spec’d.

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