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Testing Comamnd-Line Applications with Aruba

·1035 words·5 mins
ruby cli test

In the last couple of weeks, I have been working on a project of my own. I always love Command Line Tools; I don’t know what they have, but using them makes me feel more like a Hacker or someone that knows what he is doing.

So I decided to build one with the help of a gem called Thor.

Codewars provided an excellent service by letting us, the programmer improve our coding skills; I decided to build a CLI to interact with it.

I will probably write a post about creating a CLI, but for now, I want to focus on tests.

My project is called Codewars_Cli. If anyone is interested, I’m open to suggestions and pull requests.

Testing #

I’m going to use Cucumber

Cucumber focus on Behavior Driven Development.

Aruba #

Aruba is an excellent extension for Cucumber that makes testing command-line tools meaningful, easy and fun. It makes it easy to manipulate the file system and the process environment, automatically resetting the state of the file system.

Configuration #

First, inside the features/support folder, create an env.rb to load aruba and your_application.

require 'your_library_under_test'
require 'aruba/cucumber

Now we are ready to start testing our application.

By default, Aruba will create a folder tmp/Aruba where it will perform its operations; you can change that in the env.rbwith some hooks thatAruba` provide.

Before do
  @dirs = ['tmp/my_work']

For a list of all the available configurations README

I’m going to focus on testing my config commands. Usually, this command will involve manipulating a config file stored in your HOME folder.

If we want to keep our test from modifying that file, Aruba can also mock our config file.

Example cucumber test:

Feature: Ability to store configuration settings
    Given a mocked home directory
  Scenario: Setup the apikey
    Given the config file do not exist
    When I run `codewars config api_key test_api`
    Then the output should contain "Updating config file with api_key: test_api."
    And the config file contains:
      :api_key: test_api
      :language: ''
      :folder: ''

As you can see, it is straightforward with aruba to achieve that.

Also, I have declared some step_definitions:

Given(/^the config file with:$/) do |string|
  step 'a file "~/.codewars.rc.yml" with:', string

Given(/^the config file do not exists$/) do
  step 'a file "~/.codewars.rc.yml" does not exist'

Then(/^the config file contain:$/) do |string|
  step 'the file "~/.codewars.rc.yml" should contain:', string

There are many more methods that aruba provides us, like cd, create files, delete them etc.

Here is another excellent resource for learning about the different Aruba methods: Aruba Getting Started

Stubbing External Services #

My application depends on an external service, so I don’t want my test to actually make any real request that would result in a slower test suite.

I usually use webmock or VCR to stub my requests.

Aruba executes the command under test in a new child process, making mock components slower and more complicated. But there is a way to make the test run in the same process.

First, we must wrap up our application and execute the wrapper instead.

Here is the code of the executable before introducing the wrapper class:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby -U

lib = File.expand_path('../../lib', __FILE__)
$LOAD_PATH.unshift(lib) unless $LOAD_PATH.include?(lib)

require 'codewars_cli'


Here is the code of the executable after introducing the wrapper class::

#!/usr/bin/env ruby -U

lib = File.expand_path('../../lib', __FILE__)
$LOAD_PATH.unshift(lib) unless $LOAD_PATH.include?(lib)

require 'codewars_cli/runner'!

CodewarsCli::Runner The wrapper class has to respond to execute!

We must modify the env.rb inside our features/support folder.

require 'codewars_cli/runner'
require 'aruba/cucumber
require 'aruba/in_process'

Aruba.configure do |config|
  config.command_launcher = :in_process
  config.main_class = CodewarsCli::Runner

We have added aruba/in_process and passed some configuration to tell aruba to run the test in the same process.

Now to create our wrapper CodewarsCli::Runner

require 'codewars_cli/cli'

module CodewarsCli
  class Runner
    # Allow everything to be injected from the outside while defaulting to normal implementations.
    def initialize(argv, stdin = STDIN, stdout = STDOUT, stderr = STDERR, kernel = Kernel)
      @argv, @stdin, @stdout, @stderr, @kernel = argv, stdin, stdout, stderr, kernel

    def execute!
      exit_code = begin
        # Thor accesses these streams directly rather than letting them be injected, so we replace them...
        $stderr = @stderr
        $stdin = @stdin
        $stdout = @stdout

        # Run our normal Thor app the way we know and love.

        # Thor::Base#start does not have a return value; assume success if no exception is raised.
      rescue StandardError => e
        # The ruby-interpreter would pipe this to STDERR and exit 1 in the case of an unhandled exception
        b = e.backtrace
        @stderr.puts("#{b.shift}: #{e.message} (#{e.class})")
        @stderr.puts({|s| "\tfrom #{s}"}.join("\n"))
      rescue SystemExit => e
        # TODO: reset your app here, free up resources, etc.
        # Examples:
        # MyApp.logger.flush
        # MyApp.logger.close
        # MyApp.logger = nil
        # MyApp.reset_singleton_instance_variables

        # ...then we put the streams back.
        $stderr = STDERR
        $stdin = STDIN
        $stdout = STDOUT

      # Proxy our exit code back to the injected kernel.

Now we can use VCR to mock our external services.

We can do that with hooks example.

I have created a features/support/web mock.rb file where I will store all my hooks.

require 'webmock/cucumber'

CODEWARS_API = '/api/v1'

Before('@stub_user_response') do
  api_key = 'fake_api'
      headers: { Authorization: api_key }
    ).to_return(json_response 'user.json')

def stub_get(URL)
  stub_request(:get, "#{CODEWARS_BASE}#{CODEWARS_API}#{url}")

def json_response(file, status=200)
    body: fixture(file),
    status: status,
    headers: { content_type: 'application/json; charset=utf-8' }

def fixture(file),file))

def fixture_path
  File.expand_path('../../fixtures', __FILE__)

And inside the features test, we can use this hook.

Feature: Display the user information in the terminal
    Given a mocked home directory
    Given the config file with the following:
      :api_key: 'fake_api'
      :language: ''
      :folder: ''

  Scenario: Passing a valid username prints a correct message
    When I run `codewars user GustavoCaso`
    Then the output should contain "Displaying information about GustavoCaso."

That is all I had to learn about Aruba for testing your applications; it is a great tool that removes us from the pain of creating too many step_definitions and lets us focus on testing our application.

I know there is too much to learn about Aruba and testing in general, and if you have any questions or comments about the subject, I’ll be happy to answer them