a simple mocking framework for Emacs
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Mocker.el is a mocking framework for Emacs lisp.

Its single entry point, mocker-let provides an let like interface to defining mock objects. Actually, mocker-let is a wrapper around flet, which can be seen as a way to manually generate mocks.


Basic usage

Let's start with a simple example:

(mocker-let ((foo (x y z)
                  ((:input '(1 2 3) :output 4)
                   (:input '(4 5 6) :output 10)))
             (bar (x)
                  ((:input '(42) :output 4))))
  (+ (foo 1 2 3)
     (foo 4 5 6)
     (bar 42)))

Each mock is defined in a function-style, and is associated with a set of "records" that map expected inputs to desired outputs.

Call order

By default, the order of definition within a mock has to be respected by the wrapped code, so that in this situation it would be an error to observe (foo 4 5 6) before (foo 1 2 3).

(mocker-let ((foo (x y z)
                  ((:input '(1 2 3) :output 4)
                   (:input '(4 5 6) :output 10)))
             (bar (x)
                  ((:input '(42) :output 4))))
  (+ (foo 4 5 6)
     (foo 1 2 3)
     (bar 42)))

In such a situation, you'll get a typed error with a message like

(mocker-record-error "Violated record while mocking `foo'. Expected input like: `(1 2 3)', got: `(4 5 6)' instead")

If order is not important, you can obtain the same effect as before by specifying it:

(mocker-let ((foo (x y z)
                  :ordered nil
                  ((:input '(1 2 3) :output 4)
                   (:input '(4 5 6) :output 10)))
             (bar (x)
                  ((:input '(42) :output 4))))
  (+ (foo 4 5 6)
     (foo 1 2 3)
     (bar 42)))

Counting calls

In many situations it can be pretty repetitive to list all the expected calls to a mock. In some, the count might even be a range rather than a fixed number. The :min-occur and :max-occur options allow to tune that. By default, they are both set to 1, so that exactly 1 call is expected. As a special case, setting :max-occur to nil will accept any number of calls. An :occur shorthand is also provided, to expect an exact number of calls.

(mocker-let ((foo (x)
                  ((:input '(1) :output 1 :min-occur 1 :max-occur 3))))
  (+ (foo 1) (foo 1)))

This example will accept between 1 and 3 calls to (foo 1), and complain if that constraint is not fulfilled.

Note the applied algorithm is greedy, so that as many calls as possible will count as part of the earliest constraints.

Flexible input/output

The examples above are fine, but they suppose input and output are just constant expressions. A useful addition is the ability to match arbitrary input and generate arbitrary output.

To this end, the :input-matcher and :output-generator options can be used instead (actually think of :input and :output as convenience shortcuts for constant matcher/generator).

(mocker-let ((foo (x)
                  :ordered nil
                  ((:input-matcher 'oddp :output-generator 'identity :max-occur 2)
                   (:input-matcher 'evenp :output 0))))
  (+ (foo 1) (foo 2) (foo 3)))

Both :input-matcher and :output-generator values need to be functions (or function symbols) accepting the same arguments as the mocked function itself.


Each record definition actually builds a mocker-record object, that's responsible for checking the actual behavior. By providing alternative implementations of those records, one can adapt the mocking to special needs.


As a quick proof of concept, an implementation of a stub is provided with the class mocker-stub-record which casualy ignores any input and always emits the same output:

(mocker-let ((foo (x)
                  ((:record-cls 'mocker-stub-record :output 42))))
  (foo 12345))


In some occasions, you might want to mock only some calls for a function, and let other calls invoke the real one. This can be achieved by using the mocker-passthrough-record. In the following example, the first call to ignore uses the real implementation, while the second one is mocked to return t:

(mocker-let ((ignore (x)
                        :records ((:record-cls mocker-passthrough-record
                                               :input '(42))
                                  (:input '(58) :output t))))
     (or (ignore 42)
         (ignore 58)))

Provide your own

Customized classes can be provided, that can even introduce a mini-language for describing the stub. This can be achieved by overloading mocker-read-record correctly.

In case the customized record class is meant to be used in many tests, it might be more convenient to use a pattern like:

(let ((mocker-mock-default-record-cls 'mocker-stub-record))
  (mocker-let ((foo (x)
                    ((:output 42)))
               (bar (x y)
                    ((:output 1))))
    (+ (foo 12345)
       (bar 5 14))))

Also note that mocker-stub-record set their :min-occur to 0 and :max-occur to nil, if not specified otherwise.

Comparison to other mocking solutions

  • el-mock.el (http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/EmacsLispMock)

    • el-mock.el uses a small DSL for recording behavior, which is great for conciseness. mocker.el instead uses regular lisp as much as possible, which is more flexible.

    • el-mock.el does not allow recording multiple behaviors (the same call will always return the same value). This makes it difficult to use in real situation, where different call sites for the same function might have to behave differently.


;;; automatically answer some `y-or-n-p' questions
(mocker-let ((y-or-n-p (prompt)
                       ((:input '("Really?") :output t)
                        (:input '("I mean... for real?") :output nil))))
;;; blindly accept all `yes-or-no-p' questions
(mocker-let ((yes-or-no-p (prompt)
                          ((:record-cls mocker-stub-record :output t))))
;;; make `foo' generate the fibonacci suite, no matter how it's called
(mocker-let ((foo (x)
                  ((:input-matcher (lambda (x) t)
                    :output-generator (lexical-let ((x 0) (y 1))
                                        (lambda (any)
                                          (let ((z (+ x y)))
                                            (setq x y y z))))
                    :max-occur nil))))