Easier Debugging with capybara-screenshot

This is one of those Rubygems I wish I’d known about a long time ago: capybara-screenshot.

As the name suggests, when a capybara test fails, the gem will automatically take a screenshot of what the browser rendered. I don’t normally need this level of information, as the error is usually fairly obvious. But a handful of times now, the extra information has helped to work through those times where I’m scratching my head and can’t figure out why a test is failing.

I did change the stock behavior of the gem a bit — I don’t have it automatically take a screenshot. Since I don’t normally need that, I didn’t want it cluttering up my filesystem. Instead, I tag scenarios with a little piece of metadata when I want a screenshot. Here’s how I did that:

First, I updated my spec_helper.rb and told capybara-screenshot not to automatically take screenshots.

Capybara::Screenshot.autosave_on_failure = false

Then I told RSpec to use the scenario’s metadata to decide whether screenshots should be enabled or not.

RSpec.configure do |c|
  c.before(:each, type: :feature) do
    Capybara::Screenshot.autosave_on_failure = example.metadata[:screenshot]

Finally, whenever I need a screenshot, I put a piece of metadata on the scenario. Once I’m done debugging, I remove the metadata.

scenario 'closing the map and looking at it later', screenshot: true do
  # ...

I hope you find this gem as helpful as I have. Thank you to Matthew O’Riordan for the great work.