VCR 2.0.0 RC Released!

I’ve just released the release candidate for VCR 2.0.0. There’s lots of new goodness. This blog post is a bit of an “extended” change log detailing most of the interesting changes from VCR 1.x.

What’s been removed

Support for Ruby 1.8.6 and 1.9.1 has been dropped. It doesn’t make sense to keep supporting these versions, especially since I use travis-ci for my CI builds and it no longer supports 1.8.6 and 1.9.1.

There are several old deprecated APIs that have been removed. This is unlikely to affect anyone since I believe they have all been deprecated for over a year. I won’t detail them here. If you’re running a fairly recent 1.x release without any warnings then this shouldn’t affect you at all.

VCR 1.x supported regexes that were manually inserted in a cassette in place of a URI. This support has been dropped. VCR 2.0 supports custom request matchers which are much more flexible then the regex support in VCR 1.x. You could even re-implement the regex support using a custom request matcher in a few lines of code if it is important for your test suite.

What’s been changed

The configuration API has changed slightly:

# VCR 1.x
VCR.config do |c|
  c.cassette_library_dir = 'cassettes'
  c.stub_with :fakeweb, :typhoeus

# VCR 2.0
VCR.configure do |c|
  c.cassette_library_dir = 'cassettes'
  c.hook_into :fakeweb, :typhoeus

Your existing configuration will continue to work with a deprecation warning.

The cassette format has changed significantly. VCR 1.x cassettes are not compatible with VCR 2.0. You’ll need to either re-record them or migrate them to the new format.

Individual HTTP interactions are no longer replayed multiple times during the use of a single cassette. The new :allow_playback_repeats cassette option can be used to restore the VCR 1.x behavior.

The Faraday integration has been rewritten. The Faraday integration in VCR 1.x was more than a little confusing; besides configuring config.stub_with :faraday, you also had to insert VCR::Middleware::Faraday in the Faraday middleware stack and provide a cassette configuration block. In VCR 2.0, you simply configure config.hook_into :faraday, just like for FakeWeb, WebMock, Typhoeus or Excon. Under the covers, it takes care of inserting the middleware in the Faraday stack. Alternately, if you want control over where the VCR middleware goes in the stack, you can opt to insert it yourself.

Custom Request Matchers

This is one of the best new features of VCR 2.0. I blogged about this previously, so I won’t belabor it here.

Swappable (and Custom) Serializers

This is one of the other big new features of VCR 2.0. My recent blog post contains the pertinent details.

Request Hooks

VCR now provides before_http_request, after_http_request and around_http_request hooks. These can be used in many ways. Here’s how you could use an after_http_request hook to log all HTTP requests:

VCR.configure do |c|
  c.after_http_request do |request, response|
    Logger.log_http_request(request, response)

You can also use a request hook to globally handle all requests made to a specific API:

VCR.configure do |c|
  c.around_http_request do |request|
    uri = URI(request.uri)
    if == ''
      # extract an address like "1700 E Pine St, Seattle, WA"
      # from a query like "address=1700+E+Pine+St%2C+Seattle%2C+WA"
      address = CGI.unescape(uri.query.split('=').last)
      VCR.use_cassette("geocoding/#{address}", &request)

In an around_http_request, you can either treat the request as a proc (and pass it on to a method that expects a block as &request), or use request.proceed to allow the request to continue.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing this for all requests–you’ll often want to test the same requests getting different responses in different tests–but for truly stateless APIs that always return the same response for a given request (such as a geocoder) this can be very handy.

On ruby 1.8 you won’t be able to use an around_http_request hook because it uses a fiber; instead you can use separate before_http_request and after_http_request to achieve the same behavior.

Ignore a Request Based on Anything

VCR 1.x made it simple to ignore a request based on the host:

VCR.configure do |c|
  c.ignore_localhost = true # to ignore and localhost requests

  # or...

  c.ignore_hosts '', ''

This worked great for most people, but some wanted to selectively ignore localhost requests based on port. VCR 2.0 now lets you ignore a request based on anything, by providing a block that returns a truthy value if the given request should be ignored. Here’s how you can ignore only localhost requests to port 7500:

VCR.configure do |c|
  c.ignore_request do |request|
    uri = URI(request.uri) == 'localhost' && uri.port == 7500

Improved Unhandled Request Error Messages

If you’ve used VCR 1.x, you’ve undoubtedly gotten an error like this:

Real HTTP connections are disabled. Unregistered request: GET  You can use VCR to automatically
record this request and replay it later.  For more details, visit
the VCR documentation at:

You get this kind of error when a request is made that VCR does not know how to handle. There are a lot of different ways you can fix the error, but the message doesn’t give you much help.

In VCR 2.0, you’ll get a more helpful error message:

An HTTP request has been made that VCR does not know how to handle:

VCR is currently using the following cassette:
  - cassettes/widgets.yml
  - :record => :once
  - :match_requests_on => [:method, :uri]

Under the current configuration VCR can not find a suitable HTTP interaction
to replay and is prevented from recording new requests. There are a few ways
you can deal with this:

  * You can use the :new_episodes record mode to allow VCR to
    record this new request to the existing cassette [1].
  * If you want VCR to ignore this request (and others like it), you can
    set an `ignore_request` callback [2].
  * The current record mode (:once) does not allow new requests to be recorded
    to a previously recorded cassette. You can delete the cassette file and re-run
    your tests to allow the cassette to be recorded with this request [3].
  * The cassette contains 1 HTTP interaction that has not been
    played back. If your request is non-deterministic, you may need to
    change your :match_requests_on cassette option to be more lenient
    or use a custom request matcher to allow it to match [4].


Integration with RSpec 2 Metadata

Ryan Bates had this great idea to integrate VCR with RSpec 2 using metadata. VCR 2.0 now provides direct support for this:

VCR.configure do |c|

RSpec.configure do |c|
  # so we can use `:vcr` rather than `:vcr => true`;
  # in RSpec 3 this will no longer be necessary.
  c.treat_symbols_as_metadata_keys_with_true_values = true

# apply it to an example group
describe MyAPIWrapper, :vcr do

describe MyAPIWrapper do
  # apply it to an individual example
  it "does something", :vcr do

  # set some cassette options
  it "does something", :vcr => { :record => :new_episodes } do

  # override the cassette name
  it "does something", :vcr => { :cassette_name => "something" } do

The old use_vcr_cassette macro still works. The primary difference is that the macro uses the same cassette for each example in an example group, while the metadata uses a different cassette for each individual example.

Exclusive cassettes

VCR has always allowed you to “nest” cassettes; for example, you may use a cassette for an entire cucumber scenario and then also use a cassette in an individual step definition. When you do this, requests may be handled by an HTTP interaction from the outer cassette if there is not an HTTP interaction from the inner cassette that matches.

If you do not want to allow the matching to “fall through” to the outer cassette you can use the new :exclusive option:

VCR.use_cassette('my_cassette', :exclusive => true) do
  # ...

VCR 2.0.0 Final

I plan to release VCR 2.0.0 final in a couple of weeks. Please give the RC a try and give me feedback!

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About Me

Husband and father, lapsed musician, software engineer at Square, open source developer, world traveler and Christian.