Appalling Farrago

A blog about stuff

Apprentice.IO - Week 10
17 Aug 2014

First things first.

This week I was made an offer to work at thoughtbot which I accepted. The company has always done more then I expect and everyone here is a pleasure to work with. I can’t imagine going anywhere else after the apprenticeship. I’m taking a week off before starting so my official start date is the 15th of September.

I spent some more time working on the test suite have rewritten all the tests. The next big hurdle was moving from selenium to a headless browser for the integration tests. As it’s maintained by thoughtbotters, capybara-webkit is a popular choice. However, all our specs broke with the following error:

Failure/Error: click_on 'All'
    Failed to click element /html/body/div/div[1]/div/ul/li[1]/a because of overlapping element /html/body/div/div[1]/div/ul/li[4]/a at position 305, 848;
    A screenshot of the page at the time of the failure has been written to /var/folders/2j/ky7q20tj15g_01ny2ftfcrwr0000gn/T/click_failed_rc1818.png

Looking at the screen shot showed that all of our links on the dashboard were being rendered on top of one another. Now another apprentice, Justin, had Joël as a mentor last month and had looked into this problem himself. He told me it was a particular css rule that gave the links a position of absolute. This rule is required so that the links fill the parent <li> elements. However, in capybara-webkit, these <li> elements were not rendering with any padding and so all appeared on top of one another. Without the position: absolute;, the links would somehow now act as blocks and not be on top of one another so the tests would pass.

This seems a issue with webkit as in chrome and firefox everything renders correctly. I think it has something to do with the elements having 0 height but I’m not entirely sure what is happening here. The css rule only applies to screens large then an iPhone’s, so my eventual solution was to run the tests at that resolution. While I’m not particularly happy with the solution, it does get the tests to pass without changing any code and I can justify it as the application has been developed mobile first. Here is what I needed to add to have rspec run all integration tests on a small screen:

# spec/support/screen_size.rb
RSpec.configure do |config|
  config.before(:each, :js => true) do
    page.driver.resize_window(320, 568)

It does raise a question of testing responsive design. Should we be running our integration specs as many times as screen sizes we account for? The answer seems obvious when the interaction is different at different resolutions (e.g. hamburger menus on small screens vs sidebars for large) but what about the rest of the time? I don’t have a good answer for this and most developers seem to only test at whatever is the default.

There was also the Boston ruby meetup and ember meetup this week. Both were great and I managed to talk to one of the core team members for ember, Robert Jackson. This was awesome and I’m still getting used to meeting these contributors to open source. The community we have in this industry is magical and I’m looking forward to getting more involved.