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A simple BDD DSL for writing tests. The language is similar to RSpec for Ruby or Mocha for JavaScript. BDD tests read like sentences and it should thus be easier to understand what the specification of a function/component is.


describe(description, code)

it(description, code = NULL)



description of the feature


test code containing the specs


Tests using the describe syntax not only verify the tested code, but also document its intended behaviour. Each describe block specifies a larger component or function and contains a set of specifications. A specification is defined by an it block. Each it block functions as a test and is evaluated in its own environment. You can also have nested describe blocks.

This test syntax helps to test the intended behaviour of your code. For example: you want to write a new function for your package. Try to describe the specification first using describe, before your write any code. After that, you start to implement the tests for each specification (i.e. the it block).

Use describe to verify that you implement the right things and use test_that() to ensure you do the things right.


describe("matrix()", {
  it("can be multiplied by a scalar", {
    m1 <- matrix(1:4, 2, 2)
    m2 <- m1 * 2
    expect_equal(matrix(1:4 * 2, 2, 2), m2)
  it("can have not yet tested specs")
#> Test passed 
#> Test passed 

# Nested specs:
## code
addition <- function(a, b) a + b
division <- function(a, b) a / b

## specs
describe("math library", {
  describe("addition()", {
    it("can add two numbers", {
      expect_equal(1 + 1, addition(1, 1))
  describe("division()", {
    it("can divide two numbers", {
      expect_equal(10 / 2, division(10, 2))
    it("can handle division by 0") #not yet implemented
#> Test passed 
#> Test passed 
#> Test passed