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Mocky, an Objective-C mock objects framework

Mocky is an opinionated, jMock inspired mock objects framework for OSX and iOS development.

It supports class and protocol-based mocking; a simple, expressive API designed for readability; Hamcrest matcher support using OCHamcrest and ships with support for OCUnit, or any testing framework built on top of it.

Note: This document is currently a work in progress.

Getting Started

The recommended way of adding Mocky to your project is using CocoaPods. Mocky is available as a static library for iOS and a framework for OSX. You can also clone the project repository and add it to Xcode to your workspace or project and build it as a dependency.


If you are using CocoaPods, all you need to do is add the following line to your Podfile:

pod 'Mocky'

Using the framework on OSX is as simple as dragging it into your project. If you are using the static library in an iOS project, you'll also need to put the headers somewhere in your source tree, or reference them on disk by setting the header search path for your test bundle.

Quick Introduction

Borrowing from jMock once again, we'll write a test for a simple publish/subscriber system. A publisher can publish messages (represented by strings) to one or more subscribers.

For all of the following examples, the test case @interface has been omitted.

A failing test

Before we can create mocks or set up any expectations, we need a context in which our mocks can exist. In Mocky, this context is defined by an instance of the 'LRMockery' class:

@implementation PublisherTest {
  LRMockery *context;

- (void)setUp
  context = [LRMockery mockeryForTestCase:self];


Now we'll write our first test. We want to assert that given a single subscriber, when we publish a message, the subscriber receives it. At this point, we've defined no classes or protocols other than our test case - we'll write the test first, then write the minimum we need to get the test to compile, before making it pass.

- (void)testSubscriberReceivesMessage
  id<Subscriber> subscriber = [context mock:@protocol(Subscriber)];

  Publisher *publisher = [[Publisher alloc] init];
  [publisher addSubscriber:subscriber];

  NSString *message = @"some message";

  [context check:^{
    [[expectThat(subscriber) receives] receive:message];

  [publisher publish:message];


The last line of our test will check that all expectations have been met and will cause a test failure if they have not.

So far, the only design decisions we've made so far is that a subscriber will be any object that implements the Subscriber protocol. For this test, we don't care what a particular implementation of Subscriber does with the message it receives. We've also begun to define our Publisher interface.

Getting it to compile

To get this code to compile, we'll need to define the Subscriber protocol and Publisher class. We can do this in our test file for now.

@protocol Subscriber

- (void)receives:(NSString *)message;


@interface Publisher : NSObject

- (void)addSubscriber:(id<Subscriber>)subscriber;
- (void)publish:(NSString *)message;


@implementation Publisher

- (void)addSubscriber:(id<Subscriber>)subscriber

- (void)publish:(NSString *)message


Now we are able to compile our test, when we run it, it fails with the following error:

Expected <mock Subscriber> 
  to receive receive: with arguments: ["some message"] 
  exactly once but received it 0 times.

Making the test pass

We can now write the simplest implementation possible to make this test work.

@implementation Publisher {
  id<Subscriber> _subscriber;

- (void)addSubscriber:(id<Subscriber>)subscriber
  _subscriber = subscriber;

- (void)publish:(NSString *)message
  [_subscriber receive:message];


It's a quick first pass - we know we'll probably want to support multiple subscribers, but this should be enough to get the tests passing. We run them and they pass.

A second test

Let's see if we can write a test for multiple subscribers.

- (void)testMultipleSubscribersReceiveMessages
  id<Subscriber> subscriberOne = [context mock:@protocol(Subscriber)];
  id<Subscriber> subscriberTwo = [context mock:@protocol(Subscriber)];

  Publisher *publisher = [[Publisher alloc] init];
  [publisher addSubscriber:subscriberOne];
  [publisher addSubscriber:subscriberTwo];

  NSString *message = @"some message";

  [context check:^{
    [[expectThat(subscriberOne) receives] receive:message];
    [[expectThat(subscriberTwo) receives] receive:message];

  [publisher publish:message];


We expect this test to fail, and when we run it, we get the following error:

Expected <mock Subscriber> 
  to receive receive: with arguments: ["some message"] 
  exactly once but received it 0 times.

Disambiguating the error message

This is what we expected to happen but there is one small issue: the error doesn't really help us identify which subscriber didn't receive the message. Let's give our mocks a custom name and try running it again:

- (void)testMultipleSubscribersReceiveMessages
  id<Subscriber> subscriberOne = [context mock:@protocol(Subscriber) 
                                         named:@"subscriber one"];

  id<Subscriber> subscriberTwo = [context mock:@protocol(Subscriber) 
                                         named:@"subscriber two"];


Now when we run the test, our error is a bit more useful:

Expected subscriber one 
  to receive receive: with arguments: ["some message"] 
  exactly once but received it 0 times.

Now we can update our implementation to get the test passing:

@implementation Publisher {
  NSMutableSet *_subscribers;

- (id)init
  self = [super init];
  if (self) {
    _subscribers = [[NSMutableSet alloc] init];
  return self;

- (void)addSubscriber:(id<Subscriber>)subscriber
  [_subscribers addObject:subscriber];

- (void)publish:(NSString *)message
  [_subscribers makeObjectsPerformSelector:@selector(receive:) withObject:message];


Defining Expectations

All expectations in LRMocky are defined within an expectation block. An expectation block is defined by calling the -[LRMockery check:] method.

The check: method can be called multiple times - the expectations from one block are appended to the expectations defined in any previous blocks.

All of the following code samples omit the check: block boilerplate and are assumed to be taking place within the context of the omitted block definition.

Expectation syntax

The general form for expectations can be defined as follows:

[[expectThat(<mock object>) <cardinality-rule>] <selector-with-args>]; 
  [then <action>];

The [then <action>] part is optional and is used to define things that should happen when an expectation is met.

Cardinality rules

All expectations have a cardinality, i.e. a number of calls that should happen for the expectation to be considered satisfied. The default cardinality for expectations is for them to be received exactly once. So the following:

[[expectThat(<mock object>) receives] someMethod];

Is the equivalent to:

[[expectThat(<mock object>) receivesExactly:1] someMethod];

You can expect a minimum number of invocations:

[[expectThat(<mock object>) receivesAtLeast:1] of] someMethod];

(the above example uses the optional of method - this is purely syntatic sugar and may be used to suit your taste).

Or a maximum number of invocations:

[[expectThat(<mock object>) receivesAtMost:1] of] someMethod];

Or both:

[[expectThat(<mock object>) receivesBetween:1 and:3] of] someMethod];

If you don't care how many times a particular method is called - including no calls at all - you could write:

[[expectThat(<mock object>) receivesAtLeast:0] of] someMethod];

A better way of expressing this is to use the allowing() function in place of expectThat().

[allowing(<mock object>) someMethod];

If you don't care what messages are sent to a mock object at all, you can ignore it entirely:

ignoring(<mock object>);


Actions take place when an expectation is matched and successfully invoked. You could configure a method call to return a canned value (e.g. stubbing):

[allowing(<mock object>) returnsSomeString]; 
  [then returns:@"some string"];

If you need to return a primitive value, you can use returnValue: instead of returns::

[allowing(<mock object>) returnsSomeInteger]; 
  [then returnsValue:(void *)123];

You'll notice the need to cast the value to a void pointer to prevent a compiler warning. Alternatively, you can pass a boxed value to returns: and it will still work as expected:

[allowing(<mock object>) returnsSomeInteger]; 
  [then returns:@123];

All of the above examples have been defined using allowing() instead of expectThat() - this is because you should prefer to stub queries, but only expect commands.

You can do more than return a value from an expected invocation. You can raise an exception:

[allowing(<mock object>) mightRaiseSomething]; 
  [then raisesException:<some exception>];

You can also perform an arbitrary block of code:

[allowing(<mock object>) returnsSomeString]; 
  [then performsBlock:^(NSInvocation *invocation) {
    // do something here

The matched invocation will always be passed into the block, giving you a chance to modify it if you wish (you could conditionally set the return value here, for instance).

You can also perform multiple actions:

[allowing(<mock object>) returnsSomeString]; 
  [then doesAllOf:^(id<LRExpectationActionSyntax> actions) {
    [actions returns:@"return value"];
    [actions performsBlock:^(NSInvocation *unused) {
      // do something else

If you are expecting multiple calls to a method, you could configure the expectation to perform different actions on each call. For instance, if you wanted to specify that the third call to a method raises an exception, you could write:

[allowing(<mock object>) returnsSomeString]; 
  [then onConsecutiveCalls:^(id<LRExpectationActionSyntax> actions) {
    [actions returns:@"return value 1"];
    [actions returns:@"return value 2"];
    [actions raisesException:<some exception>];


Some times you want expectations to match only when in a particular state. This can be useful when testing that methods are only called in certain situations (normally after some other method call has taken place).

You can ask the mockery for a new state:

id readiness = [[context states:@"readiness"] startsAs:@"unready"];

We can use this state object within our expectation blocks to constraint expectations to only occur in the given state:

whenState([readiness equals:@"ready"], ^{
  [[expectThat(testObject) receives] someMethod];

If we were to call someMethod on testObject in the current state, an unexpected invocation error would be raised.

You can trigger a state transition by calling transitionTo: on the state object, but more typically you would trigger this as the result of another expectation, using a state transition action:

[[expectThat(testObject) receives] doSomethingElse]; 
  [then state:readiness becomes:@"ready"];

Now, as long as our object under test calls doSomethingElse before calling doSomething, the test will pass.

Asynchronous behaviour

Sometimes, your expectations will be satisfied by invocations that are performed by some asynchronous operation. In order to test that these expectations are met, you need to be able to ask the context to wait for a given invocation.

Mocky supports asynchronous behaviour testing using states and a synchroniser, which can be invoked using the waitUntil: or waitUntil:withTimeout: methods on LRMockery.

First of all, you need a state to represent the asynchronous nature of the call:

id operation = [[context states:@"operation"] startsAs:@"waiting"];

You can now configure your expectation as normal, triggering a state change when it is invoked:

[[expectThat(testObject) receives] doSomethingElse]; 
  [then state:operation becomes:@"finished"];

Finally, you can ask the context to wait for the expected state; in this case, the finished state.

[context waitUntil:[operation equals:@"finished"]];

The default timeout is 1 second, but this can be changed by passing in a different timeout value:

[context waitUntil:[operation equals:@"finished"] withTimeout:3];

You will still need to place a call to assertContextSatisfied() after the waitUntil: call.

If the state change is never triggered, or the timeout is reached, the method will return and your test will fail as expected.

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