Validating View Controllers with Quick and Nimble

On arriving  UI automated testing in XCode 7 developers had a great tool for automatically validate our apps.  But as our test suite starts growing we start facing some inconveniences.

By using accessibility interface you cannot validate view controller attributes, for instance validate if you got the right number of cells in a collection. Another problem that I faced was at time of refactoring test cycles took to long.

I strongly believe in testing, but dealing with such inconveniences  pushed me to search for another iOS test frameworks. After watching some videos and hearing about them in some conferences I decided to investigate about validating view Controllers with Quick and Nimble.

The aim of this post is just show how to setup Quick and Nimble test frameworks and play a little bit with them.

Quick and Nimble

Quick is a BDD testing frakework that is almost the same as XCTest, but with the additional focus on describing your intent and why you are testing parts of your code.

Nimble allows you to express expectations using a natural, easily understood language.


I have found some difficulties downloading sample projects with the framework integrated. So at the time of writing this posts the XCode that I am using is 7.3.1 and the Podfile content is the following:

View controller undertest

The view controller under test shows a collection of Gremlins with a search bar that will allow to filter them by name.

Simulator Screen Shot 31 Jul 2016 00.33.15


Test are implemented as a regular UN test, so adding a new test is just adding a new UN test file:



As was mentioned before test are implemented as BDD test structure changes a little bit but do not get scared. Lets start  testing the view controller title:

First thing to do is import Quick and Nimble and extend our test class from QuickSpec. beforeEach is the chunk of code that will be execute before each test. Tests itself are implemented by specifying with it.

Another important issue is the call controller.beginAppearanceTransition before each test, this execute viewcontroller lifecycle calls before executing test.

Now lets launch test:


But remember we have to move from red to green. Now, just set the expected title string name and re-run the tests.

The first impression that you experiment with this framework is how easy and fast is execute a battery of test. An how easy is get into view controller internal attributes and methods for validating what is going on.

Let’s test that collection view can show all the expected gremlins

The view controller by default will show a hardcoded set of gremlins for better understanding, but that is not the real case scenario. For validating that the first that we do is just validate that the number of items that can see the collection view are 13, and afterwards we inject an array of 3 items for validating that the new number of items that can see the collection view now is different:

Lets look for more gremlins

But the view controller also allows us search gremlins by name, now lets validate that this functionallity is really working:

An important issue that I want to mention at that point is that or view controller hides the search bar when there are no items. This is very easy to do with this framework, just check .hidden attribute from search bar and that’s all!.

You can download the sample project used in this post here.


With Quick and Nimble you can run a test suit very quickly and this is great for refactoring. On the other hand is direct to have access to view controller internal stuff, this will save you lines of code and execution time on UI testing. So Quick and Nimble is a great alternative to unload test stuff from UI testsuite.


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