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Tip of the Week 5 - RSpec Testing on existing Puppet code

Many Puppet code bases are pure Puppet code without unit or integration testing.

Most maintainers of such a code base fear the work for adding tests to their code.

But what is it that you as a maintainer would like to achieve? Normally you are happy when you can check whether your Puppet code still compiles on a newer Puppet version.

Just adding this kind of unit tests is easy and depends on your code layout:

  • do you have repository per module
  • do you have one monolithic repository

Let’s go for the first solution:

You need a Gemfile, a Rakefile, a .fixtures.yml and a spec/spec_helper.rb file.

The Gemfile can be short:

# Gemfile
source ''
gem 'puppetlabs_spec_helper'
gem 'puppet', ENV['PUPPET_GEM_VERSION'] || '~> 4'

Yu can even omit the puppet gem and you get the latest version automatically. In our example you have the option to specify other versions via environment variables:

export PUPPET_GEM_VERSION='~> 3'

The Rakefile can be even shorter:

# Rakefile
require 'puppetlabs_spec_helper/rake_tasks'

The .fixtures.yml describes the naming scheme of your module and adds additional required modules for spec testing in a sandbox.

# .fixtures.yml
    stdlib: ""
    put your class name here: "#{source_dir}"

The spec_helper.rb file must be located in the spec Directory and has the following content:

# spec/spec_helper.rb
require 'puppetlabs_spec_helper/module_spec_helper'

Next you want to test your module. We assume that the module has one class only. Put class tests inside the spec/classes directory. The test file must end with _spec.rb to allow rspec-puppet to find the test.

# spec/classes/init_spec.rb
require 'spec_helper'
describe 'put your class name here' do
  describe 'on test osfamily' do
    let(:facts) do
      { :osfamily => 'put the os you want to test here' }
    context 'with default options' do
      it { compile.with_all_deps }

The second approach (one monolithic repository just needs adoption of all symlinks in the .fixtures.yml file.


# .fixtures.yml
    my_ntp:    "#{source_dir}/modules/ntp"
    my_apache: "#{source_dir}/modules/my_apache"
    mysql:     "#{source_dir}/modules/mysql"

Everything else works similar.

Now you need to install the Gemfile extensions. First you want to ensure that you have a corresponding, supported Ruby version installed. In case that the OS vendor does not offer the correct version from repositories you might want to reconcider installing ruby into your home directory by using rvm or rbenv.

Switch into the repository directory where the Gemfile is located and install the extensions using bundler:

bundle install

Extra tip: if you dont like to mess up your ruby installation you can also specify a path where the extensions will be installed:

bundle install --path vendor

Now you can run the rake task:

bundle exec rake spec

Please note that in this simple case you want to run the tests on the same os as your infrastructure. Testing on e.g. a Windows or OS X workstation requires additional fact and Puppet code mocks.

But how to write full tests when no time is given for this task?

Please check the retrospec tool which will parse your Puppet code and generate the tests automagically for you.

Martin Alfke