Instrumenting coverage tool for .net (framework 2.0+ and core) and Mono, reimplemented and extended almost beyond recognition from dot-net-coverage, plus a set of related utilities for processing the results from this and from other programs producing similar output formats.
Never mind the fluff -- how do I get started?
Start with the Quick Start guide
What's in the box?
For Mono, .net framework and .net core, except as noted
AltCover, a command-line tool for recording code coverage (including dotnet and global tool versions)
- MSBuild tasks to drive the tool, including
- An API for the above functionality, with Fake and Cake integration
- A PowerShell module for PowerShell 5.1 and PowerShell Core 6+ containing a cmdlet that drives the tool, and other cmdlets for manipulating coverage reports
- A coverage visualizer tool
- For .net framework and mono (for .net framework, needs GTK# v2.12.xx installed separately -- see https://www.mono-project.com/download/stable/#download-win )
- For .net core : uses the cross-platform AvaloniaUI toolkit
- General purpose install -- excludes the
dotnet testAPI with FAKE and CAKE integration and the AvaloniaUI visualizer
- API install -- excludes the visualizer in all forms
- dotnet global tool install -- excludes the visualizer in all forms
- Visualizer dotnet global tool -- just the .net core/Avalonia Visualizer as a global tool
- FAKE build task utilities -- just AltCover related helper types for FAKE scripts (v5.18.1 or later), only in this package
As the name suggests, it's an alternative coverage approach. Rather than working by hooking the .net profiling API at run-time, it works by weaving the same sort of extra IL into the assemblies of interest ahead of execution. This means that it should work pretty much everywhere, whatever your platform, so long as the executing process has write access to the results file. You can even mix-and-match between platforms used to instrument and those under test.
In particular, while instrumenting .net core assemblies "just works" with this approach, it also supports Mono, as long as suitable
.pdb, in recent versions) symbols are available. One major limitation here is that the
.mdb format only stores the start location in the source of any code sequence point, and not the end; consequently any nicely coloured reports that take that information into account may show a bit strangely.
Why altcover? -- the back-story of why it was ever a thing
Back in 2010, the new .net version finally removed the deprecated profiling APIs that the free NCover 1.5.x series relied upon. The first version of AltCover was written to both fill a gap in functionality, and to give me an excuse for a ground-up F# project to work on. As such, it saw real production use for about a year and a half, until OpenCover reached a point where it could be used for .net4/x64 work (and I could find time to adapt everything downstream that consumed NCover format input).
Fast forwards to autumn 2017, and I get the chance to dust the project off, with the intention of saying that it worked on Mono, too -- and realise that it's déja vu all over again, because .net core didn't yet have profiler based coverage tools either, and the same approach would work there as well.
See the Wiki page for details
To do and
On Hold items are implicitly up for grabs and
Help Wanted; most of the current project items are XML manipulation or GUI programming.
Possible retirement/obsolescence of support
tl;dr -- legacy framework/Mono support is not going away any time soon.
Despite earlier ruminations on the subject, as .net 4.7.2 can consume
netstandard2.0 libraries (everything but the recorder), and .net core 2+ can consume
net20 libraries (the recorder), legacy framework/Mono support continues after the release of .net 5 and until such a time as it is no longer possible to retain those API levels. Framework builds apart from the minimum (executable entry-points and the recorder) remain until I have suitable replacements for Framework-only static analysis tooling (i.e. can convince FxCop to consume
It is assumed that the following are available
The build may target
netcoreapp2.0/2.1 for deliverables, and
net5.0 for unit tests, but does not need any pre-5.0 runtimes to be installed (roll-forward policies are in place).
You will need Visual Studio VS2019 (Community Edition) v16.8.1 or later with F# language support (or just the associated build tools and your editor of choice). The NUnit3 Test Runner will simplify the basic in-IDE development cycle. Note that some of the unit tests expect that the separate build of test assemblies under Mono, full .net framework and .net core has taken place; there will many failures when running the unit tests in Visual Studio from clean when those expected assemblies are not found.
For GTK# support, the GTK# latest 2.12 install is expected -- try https://www.mono-project.com/download/stable/#download-win -- while the latest releases of the GTK#3 libraries will download the native support if the expected version is not detected.
It is assumed that
mono (version 6.12.x or later) and
dotnet are on the
PATH already, and everything is built from the command line, with your favourite editor used for coding.
Start by setting up with
dotnet tool restore; this sets up local tools including
dotnet fake run ./Build/setup.fsx to do the rest of the set-up.
dotnet fake run ./Build/build.fsx performs a full build/test/package process.
dotnet fake run ./Build/build.fsx --target <targetname> to run to a specific target.
If the build fails
If there's a passing build on the CI servers for this commit, then it's likely to be one of the intermittent build failures that can arise from the tooling used. The standard remedy is to try again.
The tests in the
AltCover.Test project are broadly ordered in the same dependency order as the code within the AltCover project (the later
Runner tests aside). While working on any given layer, it would make sense to comment out all the tests for later files so as to show what is and isn't being covered by explicit testing, rather than merely being cascaded through.