System Testing

System tests let you test applications in the browser. Because system tests use a real browser experience, you can test all of your JavaScript easily from your test suite.

To create a system test in your application, extend your test class from ApplicationSystemTestCase. System tests use Capybara as a base and allow you to configure the settings through your application_system_test_case.rb file that is generated with a new application or scaffold.

Here is an example system test:

require 'application_system_test_case'

class Users::CreateTest < ApplicationSystemTestCase
  test "adding a new user" do
    visit users_path
    click_on 'New User'

    fill_in 'Name', with: 'Arya'
    click_on 'Create User'

    assert_text 'Arya'

When generating an application or scaffold, an application_system_test_case.rb file will also be generated containing the base class for system testing. This is where you can change the driver, add Capybara settings, and other configuration for your system tests.

require "test_helper"

class ApplicationSystemTestCase < ActionDispatch::SystemTestCase
  driven_by :selenium, using: :chrome, screen_size: [1400, 1400]

By default, ActionDispatch::SystemTestCase is driven by the Selenium driver, with the Chrome browser, and a browser size of 1400x1400.

Changing the driver configuration options are easy. Let's say you want to use the Firefox browser instead of Chrome. In your application_system_test_case.rb file add the following:

require "test_helper"

class ApplicationSystemTestCase < ActionDispatch::SystemTestCase
  driven_by :selenium, using: :firefox

driven_by has a required argument for the driver name. The keyword arguments are :using for the browser and :screen_size to change the size of the browser screen. These two options are not applicable for headless drivers and will be silently ignored if passed.

To use a headless driver, like Poltergeist, update your Gemfile to use Poltergeist instead of Selenium and then declare the driver name in the application_system_test_case.rb file. In this case you would leave out the :using option because the driver is headless, but you can still use :screen_size to change the size of the browser screen, also you can use :options to pass options supported by the driver. Please refeer to your driver documentation to learn about supported options.

require "test_helper"
require "capybara/poltergeist"

class ApplicationSystemTestCase < ActionDispatch::SystemTestCase
  driven_by :poltergeist, screen_size: [1400, 1400], options:
  { js_errors: true }

Because ActionDispatch::SystemTestCase is a shim between Capybara and Rails, any driver that is supported by Capybara is supported by system tests as long as you include the required gems and files.

Included Modules
Class Public methods
driven_by(driver, using: :chrome, screen_size: [1400, 1400], options: {})

System Test configuration options

The default settings are Selenium, using Chrome, with a screen size of 1400x1400.


driven_by :poltergeist

driven_by :selenium, using: :firefox

driven_by :selenium, screen_size: [800, 800]
# File actionpack/lib/action_dispatch/system_test_case.rb, line 121
def self.driven_by(driver, using: :chrome, screen_size: [1400, 1400], options: {})
  self.driver =, using: using, screen_size: screen_size, options: options)