The Ruby Gem Challenge

Posted on February 20, 2011 - Subscribe - Home

I am working on a gem ranking website. One of the metrics is test results. Getting test result for a random project can be a very difficult task. I've cloned 3,081 different gems onto my computer. I've written a simple bash script to execute this loop:

for repo in ~/repos/* ; do
  cd ${repo}
  rvm use 1.8.7@${repo}

Nothing fancy going on there. However, the results are appalling. Very few gems work out of the box on a clean machine. I think this a huge failure for gem developers. If you don't have a rake task that can execute tests in a clean environment then you have a problem! I thought to myself, surely this cannot be the case. I tested well known gems like devise. No dice. I tested cancan. That didn't work as well. I tried to test some of gem's I've used. Not much luck there. I have the script running in a console right now. AASM just worked with 100% passing. I've tweeted some gems that work as well. Mail and HTTParty worked out of the box. HTTParty even had cucumber features passing! I think the gem authors (myself included) should rise to the occasion and make it easier for other people to test our gems! I think this would speak very highly of the ruby community. Everyone should try the Ruby Gem challenge out on their favorite gem:

  1. Clone repo into fresh directory
  2. Create empty gemset and bundle
  3. Bundle (If the gem does not use bunder, fail right there)
  4. Execute rake
  5. Report results

After running this test through many many gems, I have a new found respect for the authors of the gems that passed my tests. Try it out and let me and the authors know your results! Tweet me at @Adman65 and tweet the authors know too! They should get on that :D

PS. It will also be nearly impossible to get above an 80% ranking on whatgem when I implement this scheme. That will really sort out the good from the bad.

— Adam Hawkins