How do I test for a redirect with RSpec?

I’m following the new version of Rails Tutorial. Chapter 9, exercise 5 asks to ensure that registered users can not access the new and create methods in the users controller:

Signed-in users have no reason to access the new and create actions in the Users controller. Arrange for such users to be redirected to the root url if they do try to hit those pages.

To do this, I added a before filter to the users_controller.rb to check if a user is signed in on new and create:

before_filter :registered_user, only: [:new, :create]

def registered_user

redirect_to user_path(current_user) if signed_in?


The before filter uses the same method (signed_in?) that my authentication system uses to check if the user is signed. In browser testing, the behavior works as expected. I can’t, however, get RSpec to play nice: The second test that checks for a redirect fails:

describe “visiting the sign up page” do

before { visit sign_up_path }

it { should_not have_selector(‘h1’, text: ‘Sign Up’) }

it { should_not have_selector(‘title’, text: full_title(‘Sign Up’)) }


This fails

describe “submitting to the create action” do

before { post users_path(user) }

specify { response.should redirect_to(user_path(user)) }


Giving me the following message:

  1. AuthenticationPages signin with valid information submitting to the create action

Failure/Error: specify { response.should redirect_to(user_path(user)) }

Expected response to be a <:redirect>, but was <200>

./spec/requests/authentication_pages_spec.rb:50:in `block (5 levels) in <top (required)>’

Any idea why this is happening?

Two tips:

  1. You can tail the test log (tail -f log/test/log). This will show you which controller & action is actually being hit by your test – it is likely that this action isn’t getting hit.

  2. Try the debugger! Put “debugger” right after def registered_user, then make sure ‘ruby-debug’ or ‘ruby-debug19’ is in your Gemfile (hint: put it into a :test and :development group so that it doesn’t deploy to production), and when you run spec be sure to use the -d flag. If you can get it to drop into debugger on that line of code you know your app is getting to that action.

I don’t suppose the if signed_in? is the problem? I don’t see any place in your test where you are logging in the user.

Good luck!


Jason, thank you very much. It turned out the test was not signing in the user correctly. Nevertheless, your suggestions are new information to me and they have already proven themselves useful. Many thanks.

One thing that bothers me is the quantity of describe/end blocks, and having to figure out where to insert new blocks… I guess that will come with experience.