Nithin Bekal

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Rails tests: Setting up Guard with Minitest for quicker feedback

03 Jun 2015

For doing test-driven development effectively, it is important to get instant feedback on your tests. For this, I like to configure my project to run the corresponding tests as soon as I save a file.

Guard is a useful tool that can watch for changes to files. Let’s look at how we can set up guard to run tests on a Rails project using Minitest testing framework.

First we add the guard and guard-minitest gems to our Gemfile.

# Add to gemfile:
group :test do
  gem 'guard'
  gem 'guard-minitest'

Run bundle install. Now we need to generate a Guardfile which will define what to do when a file gets changed. To generate the Guardfile, run this command:

guard init minitest

This will generate a Guardfile configured to work with Minitest. This will also contain Rails-specific configuration that is commented out. Uncomment the Rails connfiguration and remove the Minitest::Unit configuration. The file should now have something like this:

# Guardfile
guard :minitest do
  watch(%r{^app/(.+)\.rb$})                               { |m| "test/#{m[1]}_test.rb" }
  watch(%r{^app/controllers/application_controller\.rb$}) { 'test/controllers' }
  watch(%r{^app/controllers/(.+)_controller\.rb$})        { |m| "test/integration/#{m[1]}_test.rb" }
  watch(%r{^app/views/(.+)_mailer/.+})                    { |m| "test/mailers/#{m[1]}_mailer_test.rb" }
  watch(%r{^lib/(.+)\.rb$})                               { |m| "test/lib/#{m[1]}_test.rb" }
  watch(%r{^test/test_helper\.rb$}) { 'test' }

Now you can run guard in the terminal and every time you change a file, the corresponding test file will be run.


Hi, I’m Nithin Bekal, a software craftsman with over 7 years of experience in shipping web applications. I mostly use Ruby, but lately have also been exploring Elixir. Co-founder of, and helping organize Rubyconf India. Tweet to me at @nithinbekal.