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Features and design goals

doctest has been designed from the start to be as light and unintrusive as possible. These key features should be kept.

Unintrusive (transparent):

  • everything testing-related can be removed from the binary executable by defining the DOCTEST_CONFIG_DISABLE identifier
  • very small and easy to integrate - single header
  • Extremely low footprint on compile times - around 25ms of compile time overhead for including the header in a file
  • The fastest possible assertion macros - 50k asserts can compile for under 30 seconds (even under 10 sec)
  • doesn't drag any headers when included (except for in the translation unit where the library gets implemented)
  • everything is in the doctest namespace (and the implementation details are in a nested detail namespace)
  • all macros have prefixes - some by default have unprefixed versions as well but that is optional - see configuration
  • 0 warnings even with the most aggresive flags (on all tested compilers!!!)
    • -Weverything -pedantic for clang
    • -Wall -Wextra -pedantic and >> over 35 << other warnings not covered by these flags for GCC!!! - see here
    • /Wall for MSVC (except for: C4514, C4571, C4710, C4711)
  • doesn't error on unrecognized command line options and supports prefixes for interop with client command line parsing
  • can set options procedurally and not deal with passing argc/argv from the command line
  • doesn't leave warnings disabled after itself

Extremely portable:

  • Standards compliant C++11 code - should work with any C++11 capable compiler (use tag 1.2.9 for C++98 and older compilers)
  • tested with GCC: 4.8, 4.9, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • tested with Clang: 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 (XCode 6+)
  • tested with MSVC: 2015, 2017, 2019 (also in 32 bit mode)
  • per-commit tested on travis and appveyor CI services
    • warnings as errors even on the most aggressive warning levels - see here
    • statically analyzed on the CI - Cppcheck / Clang-Tidy / Coverity Scan / OCLint / Visual Studio Analyzer
    • all tests have their output compared to reference output of a previous known good run
    • all tests built and ran in Debug/Release modes
    • all tests ran through valgrind under Linux (sadly not under OSX)
    • all tests ran through address, UB and thread sanitizers under Linux/OSX
    • tests are ran in more than 150 different configurations on UNIX (Linux + OSX) on travis CI
    • tests are ran in a total of 14 different configurations on Windows on appveyor CI

Other features:

  • really easy to get started - it's just 1 header file - see the tutorial
  • very light, unintrusive and portable - see the sections above - and also the benchmarks
  • offers a way to remove everything testing-related from the binary with the DOCTEST_CONFIG_DISABLE macro
  • tests are registered automatically - no need to add them to a collection manually
  • Subcases - an intuitive way to share common setup and teardown code for test cases (alternative to test fixtures which are also supported)
  • templated test cases - parameterized by type
  • supports logging macros for capturing local variables and strings - as a message for when an assert fails - with lazy stringification and no allocations when possible!
  • crash handling support - uses signals for UNIX and SEH for Windows
  • thread-safe - asserts (and logging) can be used from multiple threads spawned from a single test case - example
  • an extensible reporter system (can be also used for implementing event listeners)
  • output from all compilers on all platforms is the same - byte by byte
  • binaries (exe/dll) can use the test runner of another binary - so tests end up in a single registry - example
  • supports BDD style tests
  • one core assertion macro for comparisons - standard C++ operators are used for the comparison (less than, equal, greater than...) - yet the full expression is decomposed and left and right values of the expression are logged
  • asserts can be used outside of a testing context - example
  • assertion macros for exceptions - if something should or shouldn't throw
  • floating point comparison support - see the Approx() helper
  • powerful mechanism for stringification of user types - including exceptions!
  • tests can be grouped in test suites
  • test case decorators such as description / skip / may_fail / should_fail / expected_failures / timeout
  • can be used without exceptions and rtti - checkout DOCTEST_CONFIG_NO_EXCEPTIONS
  • powerful command line with lots of options
  • can report the duration of test cases
  • tests can be filtered based on their name/file/test suite using wildcards
  • can filter subcases using wildcards and by specifying the nesting levels for which those filters should work
  • failures can (optionally) break into the debugger on Windows and Mac
  • integration with the output window of Visual Studio for failing tests
  • a main() can be provided when implementing the library with the DOCTEST_CONFIG_IMPLEMENT_WITH_MAIN identifier
  • can write tests in headers - they will still be registered only once in the executable/shared object
  • range-based execution of tests - see the example python script
  • colored output in the console
  • controlling the order of test execution
  • different doctest::Contexts can be created and ran many times within a single execution of the program
  • ability to query if code is currently being ran in a test - doctest::is_running_in_test
  • tests can be registered in CTest with the use of doctest_discover_tests(<target>) from scripts/cmake/doctest.cmake

There is a list of planned features which are all important and big - see the roadmap.


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