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An integration test spans multiple controllers and actions, tying them all together to ensure they work together as expected. It tests more completely than either unit or functional tests do, exercising the entire stack, from the dispatcher to the database.

At its simplest, you simply extend IntegrationTest and write your tests using the get/post methods:

require "test_helper"

class ExampleTest < ActionDispatch::IntegrationTest
  fixtures :people

  def test_login
    # get the login page
    get "/login"
    assert_equal 200, status

    # post the login and follow through to the home page
    post "/login", username: people(:jamis).username,
      password: people(:jamis).password
    follow_redirect!
    assert_equal 200, status
    assert_equal "/home", path
  end
end

However, you can also have multiple session instances open per test, and even extend those instances with assertions and methods to create a very powerful testing DSL that is specific for your application. You can even reference any named routes you happen to have defined.

require "test_helper"

class AdvancedTest < ActionDispatch::IntegrationTest
  fixtures :people, :rooms

  def test_login_and_speak
    jamis, david = login(:jamis), login(:david)
    room = rooms(:office)

    jamis.enter(room)
    jamis.speak(room, "anybody home?")

    david.enter(room)
    david.speak(room, "hello!")
  end

  private

    module CustomAssertions
      def enter(room)
        # reference a named route, for maximum internal consistency!
        get(room_url(id: room.id))
        assert(...)
        ...
      end

      def speak(room, message)
        xml_http_request "/say/#{room.id}", message: message
        assert(...)
        ...
      end
    end

    def login(who)
      open_session do |sess|
        sess.extend(CustomAssertions)
        who = people(who)
        sess.post "/login", username: who.username,
          password: who.password
        assert(...)
      end
    end
end

Another longer example would be:

A simple integration test that exercises multiple controllers:

require 'test_helper'

class UserFlowsTest < ActionDispatch::IntegrationTest
  test "login and browse site" do
    # login via https
    https!
    get "/login"
    assert_response :success

    post_via_redirect "/login", username: users(:david).username, password: users(:david).password
    assert_equal '/welcome', path
    assert_equal 'Welcome david!', flash[:notice]

    https!(false)
    get "/articles/all"
    assert_response :success
    assert assigns(:articles)
  end
end

As you can see the integration test involves multiple controllers and exercises the entire stack from database to dispatcher. In addition you can have multiple session instances open simultaneously in a test and extend those instances with assertion methods to create a very powerful testing DSL (domain-specific language) just for your application.

Here's an example of multiple sessions and custom DSL in an integration test

require 'test_helper'

class UserFlowsTest < ActionDispatch::IntegrationTest
  test "login and browse site" do
    # User david logs in
    david = login(:david)
    # User guest logs in
    guest = login(:guest)

    # Both are now available in different sessions
    assert_equal 'Welcome david!', david.flash[:notice]
    assert_equal 'Welcome guest!', guest.flash[:notice]

    # User david can browse site
    david.browses_site
    # User guest can browse site as well
    guest.browses_site

    # Continue with other assertions
  end

  private

    module CustomDsl
      def browses_site
        get "/products/all"
        assert_response :success
        assert assigns(:products)
      end
    end

    def login(user)
      open_session do |sess|
        sess.extend(CustomDsl)
        u = users(user)
        sess.https!
        sess.post "/login", username: u.username, password: u.password
        assert_equal '/welcome', sess.path
        sess.https!(false)
      end
    end
end

Consult the Rails Testing Guide for more.

Methods
A
D
U
Included Modules
Class Public methods
app()
# File actionpack/lib/action_dispatch/testing/integration.rb, line 652
def self.app
  @@app || ActionDispatch.test_app
end
app=(app)
# File actionpack/lib/action_dispatch/testing/integration.rb, line 656
def self.app=(app)
  @@app = app
end
Instance Public methods
app()
# File actionpack/lib/action_dispatch/testing/integration.rb, line 660
def app
  super || self.class.app
end
document_root_element()
# File actionpack/lib/action_dispatch/testing/integration.rb, line 669
def document_root_element
  html_document.root
end
url_options()
# File actionpack/lib/action_dispatch/testing/integration.rb, line 664
def url_options
  reset! unless integration_session
  integration_session.url_options
end