Rhino Mocks + Extension Methods + MVC == Crazy Delicious

asp.net, code, asp.net mvc, tdd comments edit

UPDATE: This content is a bit outdated as these interfaces have changed in ASP.NET MVC since the writing of this post.

One task that I relish as a PM on the ASP.NET MVC project is to build code samples and sample applications to put the platform through its paces and try to suss out any problems with the design or usability of the API.

Since testability is a key goal of this framework, I’ve been trying to apply a Test Driven Development (TDD) approach as I build out the sample applications. This has led to some fun discoveries in terms of using new language features of C# to improve my tests.

For example, the MVC framework will include interfaces for the ASP.NET intrinsics. So to mock up the HTTP context using Rhino Mocks, you might do the following.

MockRepository mocks = new MockRepository();
      
IHttpContext context = mocks.DynamicMock<IHttpContext>();
IHttpRequest request = mocks.DynamicMock<IHttpRequest>();
IHttpResponse response = mocks.DynamicMock<IHttpResponse>();
IHttpServerUtility server = mocks.DynamicMock<IHttpServerUtility>();
IHttpSessionState session = mocks.DynamicMock<IHttpSessionState>();

SetupResult.For(context.Request).Return(request);
SetupResult.For(context.Response).Return(response);
SetupResult.For(context.Server).Return(server);
SetupResult.For(context.Session).Return(session);

mocks.ReplayAll();
//Ready to use the mock now

Kind of a mouthful, no?

Then it occurred to me. I should use C# 3.0 Extension Methods to create a mini DSL (to abuse the term) for building HTTP mock objects. First, I wrote a simple proof of concept class with extension methods.

public static class MvcMockHelpers
{
  public static IHttpContext 
    DynamicIHttpContext(this MockRepository mocks)
  {
    IHttpContext context = mocks.DynamicMock<IHttpContext>();
    IHttpRequest request = mocks.DynamicMock<IHttpRequest>();
    IHttpResponse response = mocks.DynamicMock<IHttpResponse>();
    IHttpSessionState session = mocks.DynamicMock<IHttpSessionState>();
    IHttpServerUtility server = mocks.DynamicMock<IHttpServerUtility>();

    SetupResult.For(context.Request).Return(request);
    SetupResult.For(context.Response).Return(response);
    SetupResult.For(context.Session).Return(session);
    SetupResult.For(context.Server).Return(server);

    mocks.Replay(context);
    return context;
  }

  public static void SetFakeHttpMethod(
    this IHttpRequest request, string httpMethod)
  { 
    SetupResult.For(request.HttpMethod).Return(httpMethod);
  }
}

And then I rewrote the setup part for the test (the rest of the test is omitted for brevity).

MockRepository mocks = new MockRepository();
IHttpContext context = mocks.DynamicIHttpContext();
context.Request.SetFakeHttpMethod("GET");
mocks.ReplayAll();

That’s much cleaner, isn’t it?

Please note that I call the Replay method on the IHttpContext mock. That means you won’t be able to setup any more expectations on the context. But in most cases, you won’t need to.

This is just a proof-of-concept, but I could potentially add a bunch of SetFakeXYZ extension methods on the various intrinsics to make setting up expectations and results much easier. I chose the pattern of using the SetFake prefix to help differentiate these test helper methods.

Note that this technique isn’t specific to ASP.NET MVC. As you start to build apps with #C 3.0, you can build extensions for commonly used mocks to make it easier to write unit tests with mocked objects. That takes a lot of the drudgery out of setting up a mocked object.

Oh, and if you’re lamenting the fact that you’re writing ASP.NET 2.0 apps that don’t have interfaces for the HTTP intrinsics, you should read my post on IHttpContext and Duck Typing in which I provide such interfaces.

Happy testing to you!

I have a follow-up post on testing routes. The project includes a slightly more full featured version of the MvcMockHelpers class.

Tags: ASP.NET MVC , TDD, Rhino Mocks

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