MOxUnit is a lightweight unit test framework for Matlab and GNU Octave.
- Defining MOxUnit tests
- Running MOxUnit tests
- Use with CI
- Compatibility notes
- Runs on both the Matlab and GNU Octave platforms.
- Uses object-oriented TestCase, TestSuite and TestResult classes, allowing for user-defined extensions.
- Can be used directly with continuous integration services, such as Travis-ci and Shippable.
- Supports JUnit-like XML output for use with Shippable and other test results visualization approaches.
- Supports the generation of code coverage reports using MOCov
- Provides compatibility with the (now unsupported) Steve Eddin's Matlab xUnit test framework, and with recent Matlab test functionality.
- Distributed under the MIT license, a permissive free software license.
Using the shell (requires a Unix-like operating system such as GNU/Linux or Apple OSX):
git clone https://github.com/MOxUnit/MOxUnit.git cd MOxUnit make install
This will add the MOxUnit directory to the Matlab and/or GNU Octave searchpath. If both Matlab and GNU Octave are available on your machine, it will install MOxUnit for both.
Start Matlab or GNU Octave.
On the Matlab or GNU Octave prompt, go to the directory that contains the new
MOxUnit-masterdirectory, then run:
% change to the MOxUnit subdirectory % % Note: if MOxUnit was retrieved using 'git', then the name of % top-level directory is 'MOxUnit', not 'MOxUnit-master' cd MOxUnit-master/MOxUnit % add the current directory to the Matlab/GNU Octave path moxunit_set_path() % save the path savepath
Defining MOxUnit tests
To define unit tests, write a function with the following header:
function test_suite=test_of_abs try % assignment of 'localfunctions' is necessary in Matlab >= 2016 test_functions=localfunctions(); catch % no problem; early Matlab versions can use initTestSuite fine end initTestSuite;
- It is crucial that the output of the main function is a variable named
test_suite, and that the output of
localfunctionsis assigned to a variable named
- As of Matlab 2016b, Matlab scripts (such as
initTestSuite.m) do not have access to subfunctions in a function if called from that function. Therefore it requires using localfunctions to obtain function handles to local functions. The "try-catch-end" statements are necessary for compatibility with older versions of GNU Octave, which do not provide the
- Alas, the call to
localfunctionscannot be incorporated into
initTestSuiteso the entire code snippet above has to be the header of each test file
Then, define subfunctions whose name start with
test or end with
test (case-insensitive). These functions can use the following
assertTrue(a): assert that
assertFalse(a): assert that
assertEqual(a,b): assert that
assertElementsAlmostEqual(a,b): assert that the floating point arrays
bhave the same size, and that corresponding elements are equal within some numeric tolerance.
assertVectorsAlmostEqual(a,b): assert that floating point vectors
bhave the same size, and are equal within some numeric tolerance based on their vector norm.
assertExceptionThrown(f,id): assert that calling
f()throws an exception with identifier
id. (To deal with cases where Matlab and GNU Octave throw errors with different identifiers, use
moxunit_util_platform_is_octave. Or use
id='*'to match any identifier).
As a special case,
moxunit_throw_test_skipped_exception('reason') throws an exception that is caught when running the test;
moxunit_run_tests will report that the test is skipped for reason
For example, the following function defines three unit tests that tests some possible inputs from the builtin
function test_suite=test_of_abs try % assignment of 'localfunctions' is necessary in Matlab >= 2016 test_functions=localfunctions(); catch % no problem; early Matlab versions can use initTestSuite fine end initTestSuite; function test_abs_scalar assertTrue(abs(-1)==1) assertEqual(abs(-NaN),NaN); assertEqual(abs(-Inf),Inf); assertEqual(abs(0),0) assertElementsAlmostEqual(abs(-1e-13),0) function test_abs_vector assertEqual(abs([-1 1 -3]),[1 1 3]); function test_abs_exceptions % GNU Octave and Matlab use different error identifiers if moxunit_util_platform_is_octave() assertExceptionThrown(@()abs(struct),''); else assertExceptionThrown(@()abs(struct),... 'MATLAB:UndefinedFunction'); end
Examples of unit tests are in MOxUnit's
tests directory, which test some of MOxUnit's functions itself.
Running MOxUnit tests
cdto the directory where the unit tests reside. For MOxUnit itself, the unit tests are in the directory
run the tests using
moxunit_runtests. For example, running
testsdirectory runs tests for MOxUnit itself, and should give the following output:
>> moxunit_runtests suite: 98 tests ............................................................ ...................................... -------------------------------------------------- OK (passed=98) ans = logical 1
moxunit_runtests, by default, gives non-verbose output and runs all tests in the current directory. This can be changed using the following arguments:
-verbose: show verbose output.
-quiet: supress all output
directory: run unit tests in directory
file.m: run unit tests in file
-recursive: add files from directories recursively.
-logfile logfile.txt: store the output in file
-junit_xml_file xmlfile: store JUnit-like XML output in file
To test MOxUnit itself from a terminal, run:
Use with CI
MOxUnit can be used with the Travis-ci service for continuous integration (CI) testing. This is achieved by setting up a .travis.yml configuration file. This file is also used by Shippable. As a result, the test suite is run automatically on both Travis-ci and Shippable every time it is pushed to the github repository, or when a pull request is made. If a test fails, or if all tests pass after a test failed before, the developers are notified by email.
The easiest test to set up on Travis and/or Shippable is with GNU Octave. Make sure your code is Octave compatible. Note that many Matlab projects tend to use functionality not present in Octave (such as particular functions), whereasand writing code that is both Matlab- and Octave-compatible may require some additional efforts.
.travis.yml file for a project could look like that:
language: generic os: linux before_install: - sudo apt-get install octave before_script: - git clone https://github.com/MOxUnit/MOxUnit.git - make -C MOxUnit install script: - make test
In this case
make test is used to run the tests. To avoid a Makefile and run tests directly through Octave, the script has to call Octave directly to run the tests:
# ... before_script: - git clone https://github.com/MOxUnit/MOxUnit.git script: - octave --no-gui --eval "addpath('~/git/MOxUnit/MOxUnit');moxunit_set_path;moxunit_runtests('tests')"
Note that MOxUnit tests itself on travis, with this travis file.
Travis now supports Matlab directly. You can use MOxUnit with it, but its tricky because:
- Travis only supports Matlab 2020a and, presumably, higher (at the time of writing 2020a is the newest version).
- Makefile installation does not work with Matlab on travis.
- Nor does calling Matlab from the command line in a usual way - with
matlab -nodesktop -nosplash .... Instead it has to be called with the
.travis.yml file looks as follows:
language: matlab matlab: R2020a os: linux # Just clone MOxUnit, `don't make install` it (!) before_script: - git clone https://github.com/MOxUnit/MOxUnit.git script: - matlab -batch 'back=cd("./MOxUnit/MOxUnit/"); moxunit_set_path(); cd(back); moxunit_runtests tests -verbose; exit(double(~ans))'
exit(double(~ans)) ensures that the build fails if MOxUnit tests fail.
Because GNU Octave 3.8 does not support
classdefsyntax, 'old-style' object-oriented syntax is used for the class definitions. For similar reasons, MOxUnit uses the
lasterrorfunction, even though its use in Matlab is discouraged.
Recent versions of Matlab (2016 and later) do not support tests defined just using "initTestSuite", that is without the use of
localfunctions(see above). To ease the transition, consider using the Python script
tools/fix_mfile_test_init.py, which can update existing .m files that do not use
For example, the following command was used on a Unix-like shell to preview changes to MOxUnit's tests:
find tests -iname 'test*.m' | xargs -L1 tools/fix_mfile_test_init.py
and adding the
--applyoption applies these changes, meaning that found files are rewritten:
find tests -iname 'test*.m' | xargs -L1 tools/fix_mfile_test_init.py --apply
Recent versions of Matlab define a
matlab.unittest.Testclass for unit tests. An instance
tcan be used with MOxUnit using the
MOxUnitMatlabUnitWrapperTestCase(t), which is a
MOxUnitTestCaseinstance. Tests that are defined through
function tests=foo() tests=functiontests(localfunctions) function test_funcA(param) function test_funcA(param)
can be run using MOxUnit as well (and included in an
MOxUnitTestSuiteinstance using its with
addFile) instance, with the exception that currently setup and teardown functions are currently ignored.
Currently MOxUnit does not support:
- Documentation tests require MOdox.
- Support for setup and teardown functions in
- Subclasses of MOxUnit's classes (
MOxUnitTestReport) have to be defined using "old-style" object-oriented syntax.
- The object-oriented class structure was inspired by the Python unit test framework.
assert*function signatures are aimed to be compatible with Steve Eddin's Matlab xUnit test framework.
Nikolaas N. Oosterhof, n dot n dot oosterhof at googlemail dot com.
- Thanks to Scott Lowe, Thomas Feher, Joel LeBlanc, Anderson Bravalheri, Sven Baars, 'jdbancal', Marcin Konowalczyk for contributions.
(The MIT License)
Copyright (c) 2015-2020 Nikolaas N. Oosterhof
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