Fabrication vs FactoryGirl

The ability to generate testing data via a simple syntax is something offered by both Fabrication and FactoryGirl. So which is faster?

The Setup

To test the performance a simple schema is generated containing a few different models:

rails generate model address street:string city:string state:string postal:string
class CreateAddresses < ActiveRecord::Migration[5.1]
  def change
    create_table :addresses do |t|
      t.string :street, null: false
      t.string :city, null: false
      t.string :state, null: false
      t.string :country, null: false
      t.string :postal, null: false
      t.timestamps
    end
  end
end
class Address < ApplicationRecord
  has_one :company
  validates :street, presence: true
  validates :city, presence: true
  validates :state, presence: true
  validates :country, presence: true
  validates :postal, presence: true
end
rails generate model company name:string address:references
class CreateCompanies < ActiveRecord::Migration[5.1]
  def change
    create_table :companies do |t|
      t.string :name, null: false, index: { unique: true }
      t.references :address, null: false, index: true
      t.timestamps
    end
    add_foreign_key :companies, :addresses
  end
end
class Company < ApplicationRecord
  belongs_to :address
  has_many :employees
  validates :name, presence: true, uniqueness: true
end
rails generate model employee name:string email:string company:references
class CreateEmployees < ActiveRecord::Migration[5.1]
  def change
    create_table :employees do |t|
      t.string :name, null: false
      t.string :email, null: false, index: { unique: true }
      t.references :company, null: false
      t.timestamps
    end
    add_foreign_key :employees, :companies
  end
end
class Employee < ApplicationRecord
  validates :name, presence: true
  validates :email, presence: true, uniqueness: true
  belongs_to :company
end

Then identical factories / fabricators are defined:

Fabricator(:address) do
  street '123 Sandhill Road'
  city 'Whitehorse'
  state 'Yukon'
  country 'Canada'
  postal '00000'
end

FactoryGirl.define do
  factory :address do
    street '123 Sandhill Road'
    city 'Whitehorse'
    state 'Yukon'
    country 'Canada'
    postal '00000'
  end
end

Fabricator(:company) do
  name { sequence { |index| "Company ##{index}" } }
  address
end

FactoryGirl.define do
  factory :company do
    sequence(:name) { |index| "Company ##{index}" }
    association :address, strategy: :build
  end
end

Fabricator(:employee) do
  name { sequence { |index| "Employee ##{index}" } }
  email { sequence { |index| "#{index}@fake.host" } }
  company
end

FactoryGirl.define do
  factory :employee do
    sequence(:name) { |index| "Employee ##{index}" }
    sequence(:email) { |index| "#{index}@fake.host" }
    association :company, strategy: :build
  end
end

The Benchmarks

A mixture of create and build is used via benchmark (with bmbm for warming) to profile the differences between Fabricator and FactoryGirl over a variety of factories and fixtures. The benchmarks run in a joinable transaction (similar to how they would be invoked in a testing environment).

require 'benchmark'

ITERATIONS = 50_000

def autorollback
  ApplicationRecord.transaction(joinable: true) do
    yield
    raise ActiveRecord::Rollback
  end
end

Benchmark.bmbm(32) do |benchmark|
  [Fabricate, FactoryGirl].each do |service|
    %i[address company employee].each do |resource|
      benchmark.report("#{service}.build(#{resource.inspect})") do
        ITERATIONS.times { autorollback { service.build(resource) } }
      end
      benchmark.report("#{service}.create(#{resource.inspect})") do
        ITERATIONS.times { autorollback { service.create(resource) } }
      end
    end
  end
end

The Results

The following results are measured in seconds (so less is more):

                                       user     system      total        real
Fabricate.build(:address)         25.620000   2.340000  27.960000 ( 30.918019)
Fabricate.create(:address)        62.510000   6.780000  69.290000 ( 79.881861)
Fabricate.build(:company)         31.290000   2.230000  33.520000 ( 36.253026)
Fabricate.create(:company)       134.810000  12.270000 147.080000 (173.582866)
Fabricate.build(:employee)        40.980000   2.300000  43.280000 ( 46.014712)
Fabricate.create(:employee)      220.580000  19.250000 239.830000 (286.526900)
FactoryGirl.build(:address)       24.420000   2.070000  26.490000 ( 29.069839)
FactoryGirl.create(:address)      61.420000   6.440000  67.860000 ( 77.759625)
FactoryGirl.build(:company)       34.430000   2.210000  36.640000 ( 39.499374)
FactoryGirl.create(:company)     173.610000  14.070000 187.680000 (221.798007)
FactoryGirl.build(:employee)      45.290000   2.290000  47.580000 ( 50.445987)
FactoryGirl.create(:employee)    256.920000  20.540000 277.460000 (330.741249)

Seconds to Build (50,000 entries)

Seconds to Create (50,000 entries)

Seconds to Build vs Create (50,000 entries)

Summary

Fabricate has a slight advantage over FactoryGirl for building and creating nested resources. For non nested resources they are comparable. Given that the difference is less than ten percent selection can probably ignore performance. The more interesting result is the difference between build and create. The vast performance improvements outlines the importance of selecting build over create whenever possible (likely primarily in unit test).