Instant BDD/TDD Feedback With BlinkyTape

Roy and I were trying to figure out something cool to do with a Blink(1) when we had a great insight:

What if we could instantly see the status of our automatic test build without having to tab out of our editor?

For our Ruby on Rails projects we use Guard to monitor file changes and instantly run our specs. We had previously written the initial tmux notifier and using other notifiers that guard provides, yet it wasn’t quite good enough. We practice ping-pong pairing and red-green-refactor in extremely tiny iterations, there is a lot of tabbing out of the editor to check the status of guard.

We wanted to know at a glance: Has it even started running yet? What was the previous status? Is it running a focused spec or the whole spec suite?

Unfortunately the Blink(1) was out of stock (and still is as of this writing), which made it hard to replicate on other machines and spread to more teams. I kickstarted the BlinkyTape project and it recently shipped. The BlinkyTape is even more amazing, and much more visible. We wrote an Arduino sketch, a ruby gem, and an easy way to integrate guard.

We have quickly become addicted to this setup and find it slow and difficult to work without it. I can’t wait to see what amazing ideas others have.

Here are some sample shots of what it looks like in action.








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