Using Windsor as an auto-mocking container

One of my former colleagues blogged about using AutoFixture as an auto-mocking container the other day, which got me thinking about auto-mocking with Windsor.

Although I’ve never used auto-mocking myself, a few months ago, I answered a question on StackOverflow, hinting at how auto-mocking could be accomplished with Castle Windsor. I didn’t provide any example code though, so this post will show a more complete solution on how auto-mocking can be implemented with Windsor and Rhino Mocks[1. I realize that all the cool kids are using other mocking libraries these days. I’m still using Rhino though, but it should be a fairly trivial task to “port” this solution to another mocking library.].

A lazy component loader to generate the mocks

First, I create a simple ILazyComponentLoader that lazily registers a Rhino Mocks instance when a particular service is requested – like so:

– real simple. Windsor’s default lifestyle is singleton, which ensures that subsequent calls for the same service will give me the same mock instance.

Test fixture base class

Then I create a test fixture base class, which is supposed to act as exactly that: a fixture for the SUT:

As you can see, my SetUp method creates a new WindsorContainer, registering nothing but my AutoMockingLazyComponentLoader and TAppService – the SUT type. It then uses the container to instantiate the SUT, storing it away in a protected instance variable for test cases to work on.

I included DoSetUp and DoTearDown methods for my test fixtures to override in case they need to – but in most cases, they should not be used because of the coupling they introduce between test cases.

Lastly, I have two methods: Dep, which allows me to access an injected service type (short for “dependency”), and Mock which allows me to generate a new mock object in case I need to mock something other than my SUT’s dependencies.

How to write a new test fixture

As a result of this, a test fixture for something called HandleUpdateDisturbanceForecast is reduced to something like this:

– which I think looks pretty slick. And yes, this is an actual test case from something we’re building – doesn’t matter what it’s doing, just wanted to show an actual example.

It’s not like I’m saving a huge amount of coding here – I usually only instantiate my SUT in the SetUp method of my test fixtures, but I like how the “fixed style” of AutoMockingFixtureFor encourages application services to follow a pattern that makes for easy IoC and testing. And the fixture is relieved of almost all clutter that does not directly relate to the thing being tested.

Shouldly – better assertions

Today I came across Shouldly, as I followed a link in a tweet by Rob Conery. I have a thing for nifty mini-projects, so I immediately git clone http://github.com/shouldly/shouldly.git‘d it, and pulled it into a small thing I am building.

What is Shouldly? Basically, it’s just a niftier way of writing assert statements in tests. It fits right in between NUnit and Rhino Mocks, so you will get the most out of it if you are using those two for your unit tests. Check out this repository test – first, arrange and act:

and then, usually the assert would look something like this:

– yielding error messages like this:

which is probably OK and acceptable, because how would NUnit know any better than that?

Check out what Shouldly can do:

– yielding error messages like this:

which IMO is just too nifty to ignore!

Shouldly takes advantage of the fact the the current StackTrace has all the information we’re after when the assert is an extension method, which is extremely cool and well thought out.

Moreover, it integrates with Rhino Mocks, yielding better messages when doing AssertWasCalled stuff: Instead of just telling that the test did not pass, it tells you exactly which calls were recorded and which one was expected – a thing that Rhino Mocks has always been missing.

Conclusion: YourNextProject.ShouldContain("Shouldly")