I think for many years the gold standard for RSpec best practices has been Better Specs. Eventually the original site was abandoned and Better Specs found a new home at Lelylan. Further down the line it was superseded by an RSpec style guide maintained by ReachLocal.1 Unfortunately at some point the new style guide stagnated as well… I guess you sense where this story is going, right? Fast forward to the happy end…

I’m delighted to announce that ReachLocal were kind enough to contribute the RSpec style guide to the RuboCop HeadQuarters organization, where it joins the ranks of the popular and widely adopted Ruby and Rails community style guides.2 RuboCop HQ is becoming a focal point for all sort of initiatives related to promoting and refining Ruby-related best programming practices and that certainly pleases me, as this was the single most important idea behind the creation of RuboCop HQ.

Filipp Pirozkov has assumed the editor-in-chief duties for the RSpec guide and he updated it carefully to match the structure of the Ruby and Rails guides, and recent RSpec developments. The team behind rubocop-rspec is also involved in the ongoing support of the guide. All in all - I’m reasonably certain that RuboCop HQ is going to be its home for many years to come. It’s nice to break a vicious cycle, isn’t it?

If you’re into RSpec I encourage you to check out the updated guide. I’m confident that it’s going to be a very useful resource for most RSpec users. We’re also really eager to get feedback and suggestions for improvements from all of you! After all it’s called a “community” guide for a reason - it doesn’t reflect the preferences of any single individual, but the collective knowledge and experience of many members of our fine community.

That’s all great, but for me the real point of the story is something completely different - all of this happened with almost no involvement from me. That’s the biggest testament to the fact that RuboCop HQ is much bigger than me or any individual for that matter. Today there are many style guide editors and many maintainers of the various RuboCop projects. That’s just another manifestation of that beautiful idea that the Ruby community can achieve everything, when they set their mind to it. No single points of failure, endless enthusiasm, lots of hard work and a constant drive to do better. Seems that the community is really big on solid coding standards and tools to enforce them these days, and I’m happy that I played a small part in the early days of that movement. I’m also super excited to see what the future holds for us!

Keep hacking! And keep writing beautiful specs!

Update (2019-04-28) The article sparkled an interesting conversation on Reddit. Unfortunately, there was a lot of bitterness and negativity in some of the comments, so I’ll take a moment to address those.

Both the new RSpec style guide and rubocop-rspec are projects that could really benefit from your feedback and your help. There’s no status quo, there’s nothing set in stone, and we truly value collaboration and seek broad consensus. Unfortunately achieving broad consensus on every topic is close to impossible, so people should also understand that some compromises have to be made. Adopting a hard stance against any efforts to standardize and promote good stylistic practices doesn’t help anyone. You can be part of the problem or part of the solution - the choice is yours!

I also encourage everyone to check out Filipp’s comments, as they are quite insightful.3 The struggles that Better Specs experienced with their custom publishing pipeline are a good reinforcement of the decision we made to keep things as simple as possible going forward - and nothing is simpler than publishing the guide as a single text file. This approache served well the community Ruby and Rails style guides, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to work well for the RSpec guide as well. Is the end of the day I think it’s much better to have great content than beautiful visuals, right?4

  1. Frankly, I’m not quite certain about how things went down between Better Specs and ReachLocal’s style guide. Please, forgive any inaccuraries in the background story. 

  2. Technically speaking all of this happened about a year ago, but I completely forgot to do a proper announcement back then. 

  3. Especially the one on the history of Better Specs, and how we ended up where we are today. 

  4. Although having them both would be ideal for sure.