🐦‍⬛ Birdie - snapshot testing in Gleam

Package Version Hex Docs Supported targets

Snapshot testing allows you to perform assertions without having to write the expectation yourself. Birdie will store a snapshot of the expected value and compare future runs of the same test against it. Imagine doing a should.equal(expected, got) where you don’t have to take care of writing the expected output.

Writing snapshot tests with Birdie

First you’ll want to add the package to your dependencies:

gleam add --dev birdie

To write snapshot tests you can import the birdie module and use the snap function:

import gleeunit
import birdie

pub fn main() {

pub fn hello_birdie_test() {
  "🐦‍⬛ Smile for the birdie!"
  |> birdie.snap(title: "my first snapshot")
  // All snapshots must have a unique title!

This will record a new snapshot with the given title and content. A snapshot test will always fail on its first run until you review and accept it. Once you’ve reviewed and accepted a snapshot, the test will fail only if the snapshot’s content changes; in that case you will be presented with a diff and asked to review it once again.

A typical workflow will look like this:

Reviewing snapshots

Birdie also provides a CLI tool to help you in the review process: run gleam run -m birdie in your project and birdie will help you interactively review all your new snapshots.

The CLI tool can also do more than just guide you through all your snapshots one by one. To check all the available options you can run gleam run -m birdie help



What should my snapshots be named like?

A good idea is to give snapshots long descriptive titles that clearly state what you’re expecting to see when reviewing those. Also all snapshots must have unique names so that birdie won’t mix those up, so be careful when naming snapshots to not repeat the same title twice!

During the review process, Birdie will try to be helpful and show you an error message if it can spot two tests that happen to share the same exact title. It will only work for snapshots that have a literal string as a title but it can be really helpful to spot some of those confusing bugs!

How big should the snapshot’s content be?

My recommendation is strive to have small and cohesive snapshots. Each snapshot test should test one thing and one thing only. Having small snapshots will make your life way easier during the review process! It’s better to review 10 small snpashots than a single huge one and you’ll see better, more focused diffs.

Why is the snapshot content a String? I want to snapshot other things!

Birdie will only ever accept String values and it’s up to you to turn your own Gleam types into a String before snapping those: this way you have total freedom and will be able to choose a format that makes sense to you and makes things easier to review!

If you don’t want to write serialisers for yourself and are ok with a default look then I recommend you try using the pprint package. It’s an awesome package that can turn any Gleam type into a pretty string that will work perfectly with Birdie and produce nice diffs out of the box. I’m sure most of the times you won’t feel the need to use anything else!

import birdie
import pprint

pub fn a_snapshot_test() {
  Ok([1, 2, 3])
  |> pprint.format
  // ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
  // pprint does all the hard work of turning
  // any value into a pretty string!
  |> birdie.snap(title: "a snapshot test using pprint's output")


This package was heavily inspired by the excellent Rust library insta, do check it out!


If you think there’s any way to improve this package, or if you spot a bug don’t be afraid to open PRs, issues or requests of any kind! Any contribution is welcome 💜

Search Document