Testing an array of objects with RSpec have_attributes

Ben Pickles
Nov 5, 2018 · 1 min read

After recently discovering RSpec’s --next-failure option I’ve just happened upon the have_attributes matcher which can help turn many expectations into a single, more readable statement.

In the past when checking an array of objects I’ve manually written out each expectation, something like this:

expect(items[0].id).to eql(1)
expect(items[0].name).to eql('One')
expect(items[1].id).to eql(2)
expect(items[1].name).to eql('Two')

But have_attributes lets you check an object’s properties against a hash, so the above can be re-written as:

expect(items[0]).to have_attributes(id: 1, name: 'One')
expect(items[1]).to have_attributes(id: 2, name: 'Two')

Even better, have_attributes can be combined with match_array to get this:

expect(items).to match_array([
have_attributes(id: 1, name: 'One'),
have_attributes(id: 2, name: 'Two'),

In one particular case I also wanted to check that the correct class was being returned, which is simple as it’s just another method call:

expect(items).to match_array([
have_attributes(class: Foo, id: 1, name: 'One'),
have_attributes(class: Bar, id: 2, name: 'Two'),

The next thing I tried felt quite natural though I didn’t expect it to work:

expect(items).to match_array([
class: Foo,
id: 1,
name: 'One',
price: have_attributes(
cents: 123,
currency: 'GBP',
class: Bar,
id: 2,
name: 'Two',
price: have_attributes(
cents: 456,
currency: 'USD',

It turns out this almost exactly matches the examples from the docs — I guess I wasn’t paying much attention all those years ago when RSpec announced composable matchers.

Originally published at www.benpickles.com

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