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Experimental testing framework for Emacs
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README.md
test-framework.el

README.md

Testing framework for Emacs

Tests

A simple test may look like:

(deftest test-foo
  (assert (= (+ 2 2) 4))
  (assert (= (* 3 3) 9))
  (assert (= (% 4 2) 0)))

This checks that 2 + 2 = 4, that 3 * 3 = 9, and that 4 % 2 = 0. (If it isn't, something is seriously wrong!) To run the test:

(test-foo)    ; `M-x test-foo' interactively

To run the test when it's defined, specify :run t:

(deftest test-foo
  :run t
  (assert (= (+ 2 2) 4))
  (assert (= (* 3 3) 9))
  (assert (= (% 4 2) 0)))

Note that it's a good idea to name tests with a prefix like "test-" to avoid overwriting other functions.

Let's simplify it a bit. Most assert- forms defined here accept multiple (sets of) arguments, similarly to, e.g., setq:

(deftest test-foo
  :run t
  (assert
    (= (+ 2 2) 4)
    (= (* 3 3) 9)
    (= (% 4 2) 0)))

This is Lisp, after all! To remove the = noise, use assert-=:

(deftest test-foo
  :run t
  (assert-=
    (+ 2 2) 4
    (* 3 3) 9
    (% 4 2) 0))

Note that xUnit frameworks sometimes use the reverse order, e.g., "assertEquals(4, 2 + 2);", where the expected value comes first. Here, however, the expectation always comes last, mirroring the original code.

At this point it's advisable to add some commentary. Tests as well as assertions can have textual annotations:

(deftest test-foo
  "Example test."
  :run t
  (assert-=
    "Elementary truths."
    (+ 2 2) 4
    (* 3 3) 9
    (% 4 2) 0))

If the test fails, the annotations show up in the failure report. (Note, again, that the forms must be ordered as shown above for the report to make sense.)

For a more BDD-like style, one can write should in place of assert:

(deftest test-baz
  "A list."
  (let ((list '(a b c)))
    (push 'd list)
    (should (eq (first list) 'd))))

Related actions may be grouped together with expect, which only checks the last form:

(deftest test-baz
  "A list."
  (let ((list '(a b c)))
    (expect
      "Push elements to the front."
      (push 'd list)
      (eq (first list) 'd))))

This is useful for providing context in the failure report, as well as in the test itself. should statements can also be grouped:

(deftest test-baz
  "A list."
  (let ((list '(a b c)))
    (expect
      "Push elements to the front."
      (push 'd list)
      (should (eq (first list) 'd))
      (push 'e list)
      (should (eq (first list) 'e)))))

BDD aliases are defined for all assertions: should-eq instead of assert-eq, should-= instead of assert-=, and so on. should is sufficient in most cases, though: it displays a recursive inspection of any failing form, and it checks each and every form it contains.

Note: assert only accepts multiple arguments inside deftest. Outside deftest it's a different macro (defined by cl.el).

Test suites

Tests can be grouped into suites with defsuite. The most straightforward way is simply to wrap it around them:

(defsuite test-foo-suite
  (deftest test-foo
    (assert-=
      (+ 2 2) 4))
  (deftest test-bar
    (assert-=
      (* 3 3) 9)))

Like tests, the suite is executed with (test-foo-suite), M-x test-foo-suite or :run t in the definition. Suites can also have annotations:

(defsuite test-foo-suite
  "Example suite."
  :run t
  (deftest test-foo
   (assert-=
     (+ 2 2) 4)))

One can also define the test suite first and then add tests and suites to it, using the :suite keyword or add-to-suite:

(defsuite test-foo-suite
  "Example suite.")

(deftest test-foo
  :suite test-foo-suite
  (assert-=
    (+ 2 2) 4))

(deftest test-bar
  (assert-=
    (* 3 3) 9))

(add-to-suite 'test-foo-suite 'test-bar)

Furthermore, defsuite forms may nested. (Self-referencing suite definitions should be avoided, although some safeguards exist to prevent infinite loops.)

Fixtures

Sometimes it's useful to set up and tear down an environment for each test in a suite. This can be done with the :setup and :teardown keyword arguments, which accept a form to evaluate before and after each test. (You can use progn to group expressions.)

(defsuite test-foo-suite
  "Example suite."
  :setup (wibble)
  :teardown (progn (wobble) (flob))
  (deftest test-foo
    ...)
  (deftest test-bar
    ...))

However, this might not be sufficient: what if the setup and teardown need to share variables, or the test should be wrapped in a macro like save-restriction? To that end, the more powerful :fixture keyword argument may be used. It accepts a one-argument function which is used to call the test:

(defsuite test-foo-suite
  "Example suite."
  :fixture (lambda (body)
             (unwind-protect
                 ;; set up environment
                 (save-restriction
                   (wibble)
                   (wobble)
                   ;; run test
                   (funcall body))
               ;; tear down environment
               (wubble)
               (flob)))
  (deftest test-foo
    ...)
  (deftest test-bar
    ...))

As shown above, the function must contain (funcall body) somewhere in its definition for the test to be run at all. It is good style to use unwind-protect to ensure that the fixture always completes properly, regardless of the test's outcome.

Finally, there's the :wrap keyword argument, which specifies an around-advice for the whole test, e.g., :wrap ((wobble) ad-do-it). See the docstring of defadvice for more details on advice. While the other fixtures are repeated for each test in the suite, :wrap is executed once for the whole suite. The order is:

+-------------------+
|:wrap              |
|  +==============+ |
|  |:setup        | |
|  |  +---------+ | |
|  |  |:fixture | | |
|  |  |  +----+ | | |
|  |  |  |TEST| | | |
|  |  |  +----+ | | |
|  |  +---------+ | |
|  |:teardown     | |
|  +==============+ |
+-------------------+

A test defined as part of a suite carries with it the suite's fixtures even when called outside the suite. However, when the test is called by a different suite, that suite's fixtures temporarily override the fixtures inherited from the original suite.

Any single test may also specify its own fixtures. In that case, the suite fixtures are wrapped around the test fixtures. However, no fixtures are executed at all if the test is called from within another test: the calling test is assumed to provide the necessary environment.

When defining a function to use as a fixture, make sure to define it before the tests are run (before the test if using :run t).

Mocks and stubs

Mocks and stubs are temporary stand-ins for other pieces of code. They are useful for disabling (or "stubbing out") external behavior while testing a unit.

To stub a function, use stub:

(deftest test-foo
  "Example test."
  (stub foo)
  (assert-not (foo)))  ; foo returns nil

In the rest of the test, any calls to the stubbed function will return nil. To return a different value, specify the stub's body, e.g., (stub foo t).

A stub only changes a function's output, not its input: the argument list remains the same. The stub's body may refer to the original arguments. To change a function's input too, use mock:

(deftest test-foo
  "Example test."
  (mock foo (arg)
    (1+ arg))
  (assert-= (foo 1) 2))  ; foo returns 2

mock specifies a temporary function to assign to foo for the duration of the test. Here it increments its argument by one. When the test completes (or fails), all stubs and mocks are released.

If the same mock is frequently reused, put it in a fixture or define a function for it and call that function in the test. Just ensure that it is never called outside a test, otherwise it will not be released (unless wrapped in with-mocks-and-stubs).

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