Switching to MbUnit

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For the longest time now, I’ve been a fan of MbUnit, but never really used it on a real project. In part, I stuck with NUnit despite MbUnit’s superiority because NUnit was the defacto standard.

Well you know what? Pretty much every company or client I end up moving to has not had unit testing in place before I arrived. I’ve always been the one to introduce unit testing. So on my latest project, when I finally meet another developer who writes unit tests, and he is using MbUnit, I decided to make the switch.

And that, my friends, was a great decision... Why?

TypeFixture\ Say you write an interface IFoo (though it could just as easily have been an abstract class or any base class for that matter). You then proceed to implement a couple implementations of IFoo. Wouldn’t it be nice to write some unit tests specific to the interface? Here’s how you do it in MbUnit.

interface IFoo {}

class Bar : IFoo {}

class Baz : IFoo {}


[TypeFixture(typeof(IFoo), "Tests the IFoo interface.")]

publicclass IFooTests



    public Bar ProvideBar()


        returnnew Bar();




    public Baz ProvideBaz()


        returnnew Baz();




    publicvoid TestIFoo(IFoo instance)


        //Test that the IFoo instance

        //Behaves properly.



What you are seeing is a TypeFixture which is a type of TestFixture that is useful for testing an interface. There is only one test method TestIFoo. However you should notice that it takes in a parameter of type IFoo.

This deviates from the typical NUnit test which does not allow any parameters. So just who is passing the test that parameter? The other methods in the fixture that have been marked with the Provider attribute. The test method is called once for every provider. The provider methods simply instantiate the concrete instance of the interface you are testing. So the next time you implement the interface, you simply add another provider method. Pretty sweet, eh?

Row Based Testing\ I already wrote a post on the RowTest attribute for MbUnit. It supports a very common test paradigm of using the same method to test a wide variety of inputs.

Test Runner\ Matt Berther shows how easy it is to write an executable that will run all your unit tests.

RollBack Attribute\ Attach this attribute to a test method and MbUnit makes sure that any database transactions are rolled back at the end of the test. There is an implementation of a RollBack attribute for NUnit out there, but the extensibility model is tricky, as I found I couldn’t get the RollBack attribute to work with an ExpectedException attribute.

And More...\ MbUnit also has test attributes for repeating a test and repeating a test on multiple threads. It also has a test fixture designed to test custom collections that implement IEnumerable and IEnumeration.

For more information, check out this Code Project article and the MbUnit wiki.

In the near future, I’ll be switching the unit tests for Subtext to use MbUnit. And assuming Dare and Torsten are ok with it, the unit tests for RSS Bandit.