Code Coverage Teaches and Protects
Posted by bsstahl on 2016-10-14 and Filed Under: development
I often hail code coverage as a great tool to help improve your code base. Today, my use of Code Coverage taught me something about the new .NET Core tooling, and helped protect me from having to support useless code for the lifespan of my project.
In the code below, I used a common dependency injection pattern. That is, an IServiceProvider object holding my dependencies is passed-in to my object and stored as a member variable. When a dependency is needed, I retrieve that dependency from the service provider, and then take action on it. Since there is no guarantee that the dependency I need will have been placed in the container, I use some common guard logic to protect my code.
templates = _serviceProvider.GetService<IEnumerable<Template>>();
if ((templates==null) || (!templates.Any(s => s.TemplateType==ContactPage)))
throw new TemplateNotFoundException(TemplateType.ContactPage, string.Empty);
In this code, I first test that I was able to retrieve a collection of Template objects from the service provider, then verify that the type of Template I need is present in the collection. If either is not the case, an exception is thrown.
I had two tests that covered this section of code, one where the collection was not added to the service provider, the other where an empty collection was added. Both tests passed, however, it wasn't until I looked at the results of the Code Coverage that I realized that the 1st test wasn't doing what I thought it was doing. It turns out that there is actually no way to get a null collection object out of the Microsoft.Extensions.DependencyInjection.ServiceProvider object I am using for my .NET Core apps. That provider simply returns an empty collection if there isn't one in the container. Thus, my check for null was never matched and that branch of code was never executed.
Based on this new knowledge of the behavior of the IServiceProvider, I had a few options. I could:
- Rewrite my test to check for an empty collection. This option seems redundant to me since my check to see if the container holds the template I need is really what I care about.
- Leave the code as-is just in case the behavior of the container changes, accepting that I have what is currently unnecessary and untestable code in my application. I considered this option but it seems to me that a better defense against the unlikely event of a breaking change in the IServiceProvider implementation is described below in option 3.
- Create a new test that verifies the behavior on the ServiceProvider that an empty collection is returned if no collection is supplied to the container. I am not a big fan of this option since it requires me to test OPC (other people's code), and because the risk of this type of breaking change is, in my opinion, extremely low.
- Remove the guard code that tests for null and the test that supports it. Since the code is completely unnecessary, the test itself is redundant because it is, essentially identical to the test verifying that the template I need is in the collection.
I'm sure you've guessed by now that I selected option 4. I removed the guard code and the test from my solution. In doing so, I removed dead code that served no purpose, but would have to be supported through the life of the project.
For those who might be thinking something similar to, "It's nice that the coverage tooling helped you learn about your code, but using Code Coverage as a metric is actually a bad idea so I won't use Code Coverage at all", I'd like to remind you that any tool, such as a hammer or a car, can be abused. That doesn't mean we don't continue to use them, we just make certain that we use them properly. Code Coverage is a horrible way to measure a development team or effort, but it is an outstanding tool and should be used by the development team whenever possible to discover things about the code base.
Code Sample for My TDD Kickstart Sessions
Posted by bsstahl on 2012-02-13 and Filed Under: development
The complete, working application for my .NET TDD Kickstart sessions can be found here.
Unzip the files into a solution folder and open the Demo.sln solution in a version of Visual Studio 2010 that has Unit Testing capability (Professional, Premium or Ultimate). Immediately, you should be able to compile the whole solution, and successfully execute the tests in the Bss.QueueMonitor.Test and Bss.Timing.Test libraries.
To get the tests in the other two test libraries (Bss.QueueMonitor.Data.EF.Test & Bss.QueueMonitor.IntegrationTest) to pass, you will need to create the database used to store the monitored data in the data-tier and integration tests, and enable MSMQ on your system so that a queue to be monitored can be created for the Integration test.
The solution is configured to use a SQLExpress database called TDDDemo. You can use any name or SQL implementation you like, you’ll just need to update the configuration of all of the test libraries to use the new connection. The script to execute in the new database to create the table needed to run the tests can be found in the Bss.QueueMonitor.Data.EF library and is called QueueDepthModel.edmx.sql.
You can install Message Queuing on computers running Windows 7 by using Programs and Features in the Control Panel. You do not need to create any specific queue because the integration test creates a queue for each test individually, then deletes the queue when the test is complete.
If you have any questions or comments about this sample, please start a conversation on Twitter @bsstahl or Contact Me.
.NET TDD Kickstart
Posted by bsstahl on 2012-01-26 and Filed Under: event development
I head out to Fullerton tomorrow for the start of my .NET TDD Kickstart world tour.
In this session, the speaker and the audience will "pair up" for a coding session which will serve as an introduction to Test Driven Development in an Agile environment. We will use C#, Visual Studio and Rhino Mocks to unit test code to be built both with and without dependencies. We will also highlight some of the common issues encountered during TDD and discuss strategies for overcoming them.
I will be presenting this session at numerous venues around the country this year, including, so far:
If you are interested in having me present this or another session at your event, please contact me.
There is much more than an hour’s worth of material to be presented, so instead of trying to rush through everything I want to talk about during this time, I’ve instead taken some questions from this presentation and posted them below. Please contact me if you have any additional questions, need clarification, or if you have an suggestions or additions to these lists.
Update: I have moved the FAQ list here to allow it to be maintained separately from this post.
Unit Test "Normalization"
Posted by bsstahl on 2007-07-07 and Filed Under: development
In a recent conversation about Unit Tests, I was asked about how many asserts I would put into a single test, since some feel that there should only be one Assert per test. My answer was, that I look at it like database normalization with the test name serving as the primary key; that is, the asserts in the test should relate directly and only to that key. This analogy is also appropriate because DB normalization is a good thing within reason, but can definately be overdone. Unit test "normalization" can also be overdone if we try to break-out each assert into its own test.
An example of where multiple asserts might be put into one test is a test of the Add method of a collection object which inherits from System.Collection.CollectionBase. When an item is added, it is appropriate to test for the proper index of that item to be returned from the method, as well as to test that the collection is holding the correct number of items after the Add is done. Both tests relate directly to the Add method. An argument could be made that the count of items relates to the Count property of the collection and therefore that assert doesn't relate only to the Add method, but since we are usually not coding the count property (because it was coded for us in CollectionBase), we don't need to test the Count property on its own, and it should be tested as part of the Add test.