Stop autotest continuously re-running your Rails tests

Thoughts from the team
By    | September 16, 2011 | Tips & Tricks,

I’ve been getting up to speed with writing unit tests for Rails applications today.  My setup currently consists of RSpec tests being automatically run by autotest when I save a file.  This is a really nice workflow as you get instant feedback on failing tests.  Couple that with the autotest-growl gem to receive Growl notifications on failure and you’ve got a pretty funky setup.

However, autotest decided it wanted to re-run my tests over and over again, even if I hand’t saved a file in my project.  This had me very confused for quite a while until some Googling led me to ‘autotest -v’ which shows you which files had changed.  The culprit: test.log.

Excluding log files from autotest

The workaround for this is pretty simple.  In your project root directory create a .autotest file.  Inside, put

Autotest.add_hook :initialize do |autotest|
  %w{.git .svn .hg .DS_Store ._* vendor tmp log doc}.each do |exception|
    autotest.add_exception(exception)
  end
end

require "autotest/growl"
require "autotest/fsevent"

That little snippet will exclude a bunch of files that you don’t want autotest to care about. The two requires at the bottom are needed for the awesome Growl integration :)

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