Created: 2008-10-14 03:06
Updated: 2019-02-22 02:08
License: mit



Build Status

Pickle gives you cucumber steps that create your models easily from factory-girl, machinist, or fabrication. You can also just use ActiveRecord as a factory but it's not as cool. Pickle can make use of different ORMs for finding records. Currently ActiveRecord, DataMapper, MongoID adapters are provided. More adapters welcome!

References to the models are stored in the current world, not necessarily for the purpose of checking the db (although you could use it for that), but for enabling easy reference to urls, and for building complex givens which require a bunch of models collaborating


This is a quickstart guide for rails apps. Firstly, install cucumber-rails, and its dependencies. Then do the following:

Rails 3:

Add the gem to your Gemfile:

gem 'pickle'

Then install with:

bundle install

Discover the options for the generator:

rails g pickle --help

Run the generator, e.g:

rails g pickle --paths --email

For Rails 2:

Add the following to config/environments/cucumber:

config.gem 'pickle'

Install the gem with

rake gems:install RAILS_ENV=cucumber

Run the generator with:

script/generate pickle [paths] [email]


GitHub for code: https://github.com/ianwhite/pickle

RubyGems for the gem: https://rubygems.org/gems/pickle

RubyDoc.info for docs: http://www.rubydoc.info/github/ianwhite/pickle

Google Group for questions: https://groups.google.com/group/pickle-cucumber

Railscast presentation: http://railscasts.com/episodes/186-pickle-with-cucumber

Blog articles: rubyflare: pickle my cucumber

Using Pickle

Now have a look at features/step_definitions/pickle_steps.rb

If you want path steps and email steps then just add the 'paths' and/or 'email' options to the generator. The code/steps will be written to features/env/paths.rb and features/step_definitions/email_steps.rb respectively.

Using with plain ole Active Record, DataMapper or Mongoid

Pickle comes with ORM adapters for Active Record, DataMapper and Mongoid.

If you have a model called 'Post', with required fields 'title', and 'body', then you can now write steps like this

Given a post exists with title: "My Post", body: "My body"

Using with factory-girl or machinist

But you're using Machinist or FactoryBot right?! To leverage all of the factories/blueprints you've written, you can just do stuff like

Given a user exists
And another user exists with role: "admin"

# later
Then a user should exist with name: "Fred"
And that user should be activated # this uses rspec predicate matchers

Machinist: require your blueprints

In your features/support/env.rb add the following lines at the bottom

require "#{Rails.root}/spec/blueprints" # or wherever they live

FactoryBot: make sure factories are loaded

In your config/environments/cucumber.rb file, make sure the factory-girl gem is included (unless it's installed as a plugin).

If that doesn't solve loading issues then require your factories.rb file directly in a file called 'features/support/factory_bot.rb'

# example features/support/factory_bot.rb
require File.dirname(__FILE__) + '/../../spec/factories'

Using with an ORM other than ActiveRecord, DataMapper, or Mongoid

Pickle can be used with any modelling library provided there is an adapter written for it.

Adapters are very simple and exist a module or class with the name "PickleAdapter" available to the class. For example

User.const_get(:PickleAdapter) #=> should return a pickle adapter

The Active Record and DataMapper ones can be found at ActiveRecord::Base::PickleAdapter, DataMapper::Resource::PickleAdapter, Mongoid::Document::PickleAdapter respectively.

See how to implement one by looking at the ones provided in the pickle source in lib/pickle/adapters/*

Configuring Pickle

You can tell pickle to use another factory adapter (see Pickle::Adapter), or create mappings from english expressions to pickle model names. You can also override many of the options on the Pickle::Config object if you so choose.

In: features/support/pickle.rb

require 'pickle/world'

Pickle.configure do |config|
  config.adapters = [:machinist, :active_record, YourOwnAdapterClass]
  config.map 'me', 'myself', 'my', 'I', :to => 'user: "me"'

Out of the box pickle looks for machinist, factory-girl, then uses the ORM(s) that you're using to create models.

If you find that your steps aren't working with your factories, it's probably the case that your factory setup is not being included in your cucumber environment (see comments above regarding machinist and factory-girl).



When you run script/generate pickle you get the following steps

Given steps

"Given a model exists", e.g.

Given a user exists
Given a user: "fred" exists
Given the user exists

"Given a model exists with fields", e.g.

Given a user exists with name: "Fred"
Given a user exists with name: "Fred", activated: false

This last step could be better expressed by using Machinist/FactoryBot to create an activated user. Then you can do

Given an activated user exists with name: "Fred"

You can refer to other models in the fields

Given a user exists
And a post exists with author: the user

Given a person "fred" exists
And a person "ethel" exists
And a fatherhood exists with parent: person "fred", child: person "ethel"

This last step is given by the default pickle steps, but it would be better written as:

And "fred" is the father of "ethel"

It is expected that you'll need to expand upon the default pickle steps to make your features readable. To write the above step, you could do something like:

Given /^"(\w+)" is the father of "(\w+)"$/ do |father, child|
  Fatherhood.create! :father => model!("person: \"#{father}\""), :child => model!("person: \"#{child}\"")

"Given n models exist", e.g.

Given 10 users exist

"Given n models exist with fields", examples:

Given 10 users exist with activated: false

"Given the following models exist:", examples:

Given the following users exist
  | name  | activated |
  | Fred  | false     |
  | Ethel | true      |
Named machinist blueprints

"Given a named model exists with fields"

The latest version of pickle supports named machinist blueprints.

If you had the following blueprints:

User.blueprint do

User.blueprint(:super_admin) do
  role { "admin" }

User.blueprint(:activated) do
  activated { true }

You could create a user with pickle by simply adding the name of the blueprint before the model:

Given a super admin user exists
And an activated user exists with name: "Fred"

This is much nicer than having to set up common configurations in your steps all the time, and far more readable to boot.

Then steps

Asserting existence of models

"Then a model should exist", e.g.

Then a user should exist

"Then a model should exist with fields", e.g.

Then a user: "fred" should exist with name: "Fred" # we can label the found user for later use

You can use other models, booleans, numerics, and strings as fields

Then a person should exist with child: person "ethel"
Then a user should exist with activated: false
Then a user should exist with activated: true, email: "fred@gmail.com"

"Then n models should exist", e.g.

Then 10 events should exist

"Then n models should exist with fields", e.g.

Then 2 people should exist with father: person "fred"

"Then the following models exist". This allows the creation of multiple models using a table syntax. Using a column with the singularized name of the model creates a referenceable model. E.g.

Then the following users exist:
  | name   | activated |
  | Freddy | false     |

Then the following users exist:
  | user | name   | activated |
  | Fred | Freddy | false     |
Asserting associations

One-to-one assocs: "Then a model should be other model's association", e.g.

Then the person: "fred" should be person: "ethel"'s father

Many-to-one assocs: "Then a model should be [in|one of] other model's association", e.g.

Then the person: "ethel" should be one of person: "fred"'s children
Then the comment should be in the post's comments
Asserting predicate methods

"Then a model should [be|have] [a|an] predicate", e.g.

Then the user should have a status # => user.status.should be_present
Then the user should have a stale password # => user.should have_stale_password
Then the car: "batmobile" should be fast # => car.should be_fast

"Then a model should not [be|have] [a|an] predicate", e.g.

Then person: "fred" should not be childless # => fred.should_not be_childless

Regexps for use in your own steps

By default you get some regexps available in the main namespace for use in creating your own steps: capture_model, capture_fields, and others (see lib/pickle.rb)

(You can use any of the regexps that Pickle uses by using the Pickle.parser namespace, see Pickle::Parser::Matchers for the methods available)


Given /^#{capture_model} exists$/ do |model_name|
  model(model_name).should_not == nil

Then /^I should be at the (.*?) page$/ |page|
  if page =~ /#{capture_model}'s/
    # ...

Then /^#{capture_model} should be one of #{capture_model}'s posts$/ do |post, forum|
  post = model!(post)
  forum = model!(forum)
  forum.posts.should include(post)


This is useful for setting attributes, and knows about pickle model names so that you can build up composite objects with ease

Given /^#{capture_model} exists with #{capture_fields}$/ do |model_name, fields|
  create_model(model_name, fields)

# example of use
Given a user exists
And a post exists with author: the user # this step will assign the above user as :author on the post

Email Steps

When you run rails g pickle --email you get steps for handling email.

The general pattern of use is to clear the email queue (if necessary), have your app perform something that sends emails, assert that emails have been delivered, then assert those emails have particular properties.

For example:

  Given a user has signed up
  And all emails have been delivered
  And the user has signed in

Scenario: User buys a fork
  Given I am on the fork page
  And I press "Buy Fork!"
  Then 1 email should be delivered to the user
  And the email should contain "You can haz Fork!"
  When I follow the "my account" link in the email
  Then I should be on the account page

  And 1 email should be delivered to "sales@example.com"
  And the email should contain the user's page
  And the email should contain "User can haz Fork!"

You can refer to emails that were found in the Then *n* emails should be delivered in the following ways:

the email (refers to last email)
the 1st email
the last email
email to: "joe@example.com"
email subject: "some subject"
email to: "joe@example.com", subject: "some subject"

Map expressions to email addresses

By default a step like

Then 2 emails should be delivered to the user "Ethel"

Will look for the email attribute on the found model. This is configurable in much the same way as page names for url paths. Have a look at features/support/email.rb to add your own custom mappings.

For example:

# in features/support/email.rb
when /^#{capture_model} sales team$/

# in a feature
  Given a site exists
  And someone buys something form the site
  Then 1 email should be delivered to the site sales team

More detail on the emails steps follows:

Given steps

Clear the email queue, e.g.

Given all email has been delivered
Given all emails have been delivered

When steps

When [I|they] follow [text_or_regex|the first link] the email, e.g.

When I click the first link in the email
When I follow "http://example.com/pickle" in the email
When I follow "some link text" in the email

Then steps

Then n email(s) should be delivered to address, e.g.

Then 1 email should be delivered to joe@example.com

Then n email(s) should be delivered with fields, e.g.

Then 2 emails should be delivered with subject: "Welcome to pickle"
Then 2 email should be delivered with to: "joe@example.com", from: "pickle@example.com"

Then fields should be delivered to address, e.g.

Then subject: "Welcome to pickle" should be delivered to joe@example.com

Then fields should be not delivered to address, e.g.

Then subject: "Welcome to pickle" should not be delivered to pickle@example.com

Then email should have fields, e.g.

Then the email should have subject: "Welcome to pickle", from: "pickle@example.com"

Then email should contain "text", e.g.

Then the email should contain "Thank you for choosing pickle"

Then email should not contain "text", e.g.

Then the email should not contain "v1@gr@"

Then email should link to "href", e.g.

Then the email should link to http://example.com/pickle

Then show me the email(s), will open the email(s) in your browser (depends on OS X)

Then show me the email(s)

Run the tests

To run the specs and features, you can start from the last known good set of gem dependencies in Gemfile.lock.development:

git clone http://github.com/ianwhite/pickle
cd pickle
cp Gemfile.lock.development Gemfile.lock

To run the specs & features do:

bundle exec rake spec
bundle exec rake cucumber


The following people have made Pickle better:

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