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If you’re using MSpec (Machine.Specifications), you’ve no doubt run into the verbosity of it. Here’s a typical specification in MSpec

  1. [Subject("Registering as new a usergroup")]
  2. public class when_requesting_registration_page
  3. {
  4.     Establish context = () =>
  5.     {
  6.     };
  8.     Because of = () =>
  9.     {
  10.     };
  12.     It should_display_blank_registration_form = () =>
  13.     {
  14.     };
  15. }
  16. </ol></div></div></div>


    The code is usually divided into three areas, the Establish that defines the context, Because which is defined as the action to take, and finally one or more benefits that are defined as It sections. Having this layout makes it easier to understand specifications and both the console runner as well as ReSharper’s MSpec runner remove underscores and provide a nice formatting.

    Live Templates

    However when it comes to typing all this in, well all those brackets and symbols become tiring. For that I normally use ReSharper Live Templates. If you’re not familiar with these, think of them as code snippets that allow interaction. Each template is uniquely identified by a shortcut, which is a series of characters. To invoke it, you simply type the characters and hit TAB. It then inserts some code. Up to this point it’s like a normal snippet. The twist however is that you can then TAB through placeholders and define values (I’ll cover  Live Templates and all the possibilities it allows in a future post).


    What I’ve been using for a while are some Live Templates for MSpec that allow me to define specifications with a little less effort. The first one is for empty specifications, which is useful for defining scenarios for features and then later proceeding to implement them, named espec. The second one is for the specifications and implementation, named spec.


    To install them, the easiest way is to just open up Live Templates (ReSharper menu) and Import the following file.



    Obviously these are just two simple versions and can be expanded on. For instance, if you use Behaviors in MSpec, you could write an additional one for that. Feel free to use them for your own needs.