Created: 2008-11-20 10:14
Updated: 2016-05-08 17:27



Specjure is a software specification library for the Clojure programming language. Specjure shares many similarities with RSpec, but is differnet in ways that make it more suitable for a functional programming language, and Clojure specifically.


Checkout Specjure using Git:

 git clone git://github.com/larrytheliquid/specjure.git

Then, build the latest jar:

ant jar

Make sure to add the generated clojure.jar to your classpath.


If you already have the Git repository and jar file but want the latest version:

git pull
ant clean
ant jar

Basic Spec Definition

To get top-level access to all Specjure functions, use Specjure in your namespace:

(ns specjure.example (:use specjure))

Now you are ready to specify some behavior using plain English (or your language of choice):

(spec "specjure.example/greet without arguments greets generally")

If you are spec'ing a specific function, you can optionally use its var:

(spec greet "without arguments greets generally")

Now specify what you mean in Clojure:

(spec greet "without arguments greets generally"
  (ie = "Greetings!" (greet))

The ie macro is similar to clojure.core/apply, but the last argument is not a list, and you can pass it macros. ie closes its environment in a function for later verification (it checks for logical true or logical false), so let's do that. Note that it stands for the Latin "id est", more frequenlty seen in English as "i.e."

Checking Specs

Go into the Clojure REPL of your choice and:

(require 'specjure)

At this point you can load your file, and use:


Or, if your file is in a separate file:

(specjure/check-file "/path/to/file.clj"

If you give check-file a directory, it will check all files ending in _spec.clj in that directory and subdirectories.

You should have received an error like:

java.lang.Exception: Unable to resolve symbol: greet in this context (my-examp.clj:4)
  [Thrown class clojure.lang.Compiler$CompilerException]

So let's define our function (make sure to define it before the spec.)

(defn greet [])

Now if you check the spec again it will run and fail. The failure currently includes the spec description, and will include more detailed failure information soon.

Let's get our function to pass:

(defn greet [] "Greetings!")

More Spec'ing

Now we can add more specifications:

(spec greet "with a single argument greets the individual"
  (ie = "Greetings Larry!" (greet "Larry"))
  (ie = "Greetings Frank!" (greet "Frank")))

Notice that we can group several Clojure language examples in one natural language specification.

Although Specjure focuses on simplicity, it can also be used for more complex specification. You can run code before example by passing it to before inside of spec. All the instances of code inside before or after will run before or after each ie.

For example, you could load some databaes records and clean them up in in before and after. You can also store values from before in a thread local paramaters hash. Set items in the hash using ($assoc! :key val), and retrieve them with ($get :key).

spec support arbitray nesting, where each nest will inherit parent descriptions, befores, and afters. You may want to share specs with (share-spec "specs in this scenario" [my-var]) and use them in spec like this: (use-spec "specs in a certain scenario" {:data-for "my-var"})

All of these features are in the stack example. Look for the comment at the top of this file to see the equivalent RSpec.

Specjure separates the steps of collecting new specs, and checking them. This means you can do metaprogramming things like mapping over a collection to generate a bunch of specifications. Any code inside of ie is not executed until check time (as it is stored in a function.) The same applies to before and after.

After specs are collected into functions, they can be retrieved lazily. Each before, after, and local parameter bindings (what you access with $get) is specific to its ie. This was done intentionally to prevent troublesome bugs to track down when doing stuff with Clojure references, and other side-effect code. The API is not decided on for this yet, but later the user will be able to access the lazy list of specs and run them however they please. A concurrent pcheck will also be available.

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