F# Testing - Expecto

Created: 2019-11-12 Updated: 2019-11-23
categories: f# testing

Test or Behaviour Driven Development has been a staple in my workflow for years. Now that I've got some familiarity with F# it's time to get serious.

.NET has a bunch of testing tools such as xUnit, NUNit and MSTest. However, this is F# so I wanted something a little more idiomatic.

Expecto Patron...

Err, anyway. It runs tests in parallel and async which is a nice boost. It's got a test runner built in so no need for additional libraries. I'm a (Neo)Vim user but there are runners for VSCode and Visual Studio.

It also comes with performance testing which sounds intriguing especially for game development. I'll take a look at that later.

There is also support for property based testing through FsCheck. I'll not be using FsCheck to begin with, preferring to stick with what I know but it's definitely something I want to add later on.

Installing Expecto

There is a dotnet project template, however, I like to know what is going into it so we'll set it up manually.

All we need to begin with is Expecto itself.

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dotnet paket add Expecto

Running our first test

Time for a "Hello world" example:

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#r "../../packages/Expecto/lib/netstandard2.0/Expecto"

open Expecto

test "A simple test" {
  let subject = "Hello World"
  Expect.equal subject "Hello World" "Should match"
}
|> runTestsWithCLIArgs [] [||]

Nice!

We'll need to know a few more features in order to get started with testing in my project.

Grouping tests

You can use testlist to group a bunch of tests. testList can be nested.

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testList "Group of tests" [
  test "a test" {
    Expect.equal (2 + 2) 4 ""
  }

  test "another test" {
    Expect.equal (3 + 3) 6 ""
  }
]
|> runTestsWithCLIArgs [] [||]

Pending and focused tests.

Prefix test with a p to mark it as pending and it'll be excluded in test runs. To only run some tests it's f for focused test.

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testList "unfocused test list" [
  test "won't run" { Expect.isTrue false "This should have run" }
  ftest "will run" { Expect.isTrue true "This is meant to run" }
]

Unfortunately, there is currently no way to have Expecto auto-discover tests and shuffle them. Test.shuffle only works on a list of tests. Perhaps this could be added as an option.

One thing I don't like is the extra message string. Often, it's obvious what's going on without needing clarification. Especially with BDD where test cases generally have a single expectation and the text of that is usually enough.

However, there is a workaround. As suggested by the creator:

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module Expect =
  let equal a b = b |> Expect.equal "" a

This would mean a proliferation of new functions mirroring the old so for now will stick with the standard syntax unless my OCD gets the better of me.

For testing my project we'll need to run all the tests in the project. This can be done by marking tests with the Tests attribute:

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[<Tests>]
testList "test list" [
  test "a test" { Expect.isTrue true "" }
]

And then running with one of the *InAssembly functions:

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[<EntryPoint>]
let main args =
  runTestsInAssemblyWithCLIArgs [] args

This brings up another issue. A handy feature in Expecto is Test.shuffle. However, it requires you pass it a list of tests. This rules it out from being used with the above runTestsInAssembly* functions. This limits it's usefulness. However, as we're starting out I'm okay with this. It's a great potential PR for the project.

Integrations with BenchmarkDotNet, FsCheck and Hopac can be added to paket.dependencies:

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ac paket.dependencies nuget Expecto.BenchmarkDotNet
ac paket.dependencies nuget Expecto.FsCheck
ac paket.dependencies nuget Expecto.Hopac

dotnet paket install

Integrating with .NET

We can make Expecto play nicely with the dotnet CLI by adding a couple of packages. This also removes the need for a Program.cs entrypoint file as it's generated automatically.

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ac paket.dependencies nuget Microsoft.NET.Test.Sdk
ac paket.dependencies nuget YoloDev.Expecto.TestSdk

dotnet paket install

Then you can run tests with the dotnet command:

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dotnet test