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More on Wapcaplet

Yesterday I wrote about Wapcaplet, which is really little more than a Rails patch that didn’t get accepted, but that some of us think Rails actually quite needs. To that end I submitted a second patch, which does the same thing but, by default, outputs a warning rather than raising an exception. I also included some methods for modifying the behavior on ActionController::TestCase. Specifically, if you want to ensure your tests aren’t broken:

ActionController::TestCase.treat_parameter_type_warnings_as_errors

Or if you, like Pierre, don’t care:

ActionController::TestCase.ignore_parameter_type_warnings

I don’t know if these changes will make the behavior of the patch palatable enough for the core team to commit it. We’ll see. After creating the ticket I considered pulling the new behavior back into Wapcaplet; I’ve decided not to for a few reasons:

  • First and foremost, no one pays attention to warnings. I can’t count the times I’ve preached myself blue about eliminating compiler/interpreter warnings, to little or no effect. I recently broke the builds for several projects by deleting a method that had been deprecated for a year and half, and which generated a fairly annoying deprecation warning on every build for every project that used it (keep in mind that at Pivotal projects will build many times a day).

  • Any patch applied to Rails will affect every Rails project that upgrades. I believe people should fix their broken tests, but I accept that this change will break a lot of tests. I can accept warnings as a way to show people what may be broken without bringing the world down on their heads. Wapcaplet, on the other hand, is entirely opt-in; no need to handle users with kid gloves.

  • I believe that a test failure is the right behavior. We’re talking about broken tests, they should act that way.

Remember, the lion ate Pierre.

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