Build Your Own Testing Framework

build-your-own-testing-framework, javascript, tdd, test-driven-development, testing, xunit

Today we are going to test-drive the testing framework without any external testing framework. This will be done through test-driving a simple kata (FizzBuzzKata). For example:

  • every time we expect a test to fail and it doesn’t, this is a failing test for our testing framework, that we will be fixing,
  • every time we expect a test to pass and it doesn’t, this is another failing test for our testing framework, that we will be fixing.

For practical reasons, today we are going to use concrete programming language instead of pseudo-code - javascript. Except for small details, that we will point out, the techniques shown here are language-agnostic.

This article is only first one of the series “Build Your Own Testing Framework”, so make sure to stick around for next parts! All articles of these series can be found here: http://www.tddfellow.com/blog/categories/build-your-own-testing-framework/.

Shall we begin?

FizzBuzzKata

Given the number,

  • return Fizz when the number is divisible by 3,
  • return Buzz when the number is divisible by 5,
  • return FizzBuzz when the number is divisible by 3 and 5,
  • return string representation of number otherwise.

Writing your first test

How do we write our first test, when we don’t have a testing framework and we want to create one? - It seems, that we have to design how the test should like in our brand new testing framework.

I personally, would go with the xUnit-like design, since it is relatively simple. Given this, we might write our first test and it will look something like that:

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// test/FizzBuzzKataTest.js

function FizzBuzzKataTest() {
    this.testNormalNumberIsReturned = function() {
        this.assertTrue("1" === fizzBuzz(1));
    };
}

This test should fail, because function fizzBuzz is not defined, but it doesn’t fail, since function testNormalNumberIsReturned is never called. In fact, the object with FizzBuzzKataTest is never being created.

Easiest way to solve that:

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// test/FizzBuzzKataTest.js

function FizzBuzzKataTest() { ... }

var test = new FizzBuzzKataTest();
test.testNormalNumberIsReturned();

If we run this code with node:

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node test/FizzBuzzKataTest.js

We will get the expected error:

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/path/to/project/test/FizzBuzzKataTest.js:3
        this.assertTrue("1" === fizzBuzz(1));
                               ^

ReferenceError: fizzBuzz is not defined

So, let’s define this function:

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// test/FizzBuzzKataTest.js

function FizzBuzzKataTest() { ... }

function fizzBuzz() {}

If we run our test again, we will get the following error:

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/path/to/project/test/FizzBuzzKataTest.js:3
        this.assertTrue("1" === fizzBuzz(1));
             ^

TypeError: this.assertTrue is not a function

Clearly, to fix it we need to define assertTrue on FizzBuzzKataTest object. Obviously, we do not want our user to define all their assertion for every test suite. This means, that we want to define it on FizzBuzzKataTest object outside of the definition of FizzBuzzKataTest.

There are two ways to go about it:

  • inheritance: make FizzBuzzKataTest inherit from some other object function assertTrue, or
  • composition: make FizzBuzzKataTest accept a special object with function assertTrue defined on it.

I would like to go with composition method since it gives us more flexibility in the long run:

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function FizzBuzzKataTest(t) { ... }

and the usage of assertTrue has to change appropriately:

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t.assertTrue("1" === fizzBuzz(1));

and t has to be created and passed in correctly:

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function FizzBuzzKataTest(t) { ... }

function fizzBuzz(number) {}

var assertions = {
    assertTrue: function(condition) {}
};

var test = new FizzBuzzKataTest(assertions);

If we run the test suite again, we will not get any failure anymore. But we were expecting assertTrue to fail, so let’s make it fail:

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assertTrue: function(condition) {
    throw new Error("Expected to be true, but was false");
}

When we run the test suite, we get:

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/path/to/project/test/FizzBuzzKataTest.js:11
        throw new Error("Expected to be true, but got false");
        ^

Error: Expected to be true, but got false

Now, let’s customize the error message a bit:

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this.testNormalNumberIsReturned = function() {
    t.assertTrue("1" === fizzBuzz(1), "Expected to equal " + "1" + ", but got: " + fizzBuzz(1));
}

// ...

assertTrue: function(condition, message) {
    throw new Error(message || "Expected to be true, but got false");
}

When running this, we are getting the expected error:

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/path/to/project/test/FizzBuzzKataTest.js:11
        throw new Error(message || "Expected to be true, but got false");
        ^

Error: Expected to equal 1, but got: undefined

This looks better now. Let’s fix the error now by implementing the simplest thing that could work:

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function fizzBuzz(number) {
    return "1";
}

And as we run our test suite we get:

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/path/to/project/test/FizzBuzzKataTest.js:13
        throw new Error(message || "Expected to be true, but got false");
        ^

Error: Expected to equal 1, but got: 1

Oh, it should have passed the test. I know why it didn’t: we throw this error unconditionally, let’s add an appropriate if statement to assertTrue function:

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assertTrue: function(condition, message) {
    if (!condition) {
        throw new Error(...);
    }
}

If we run this code, it does not fail. That was our first green state - it took as awhile to get here. The reason for this is that we are not only test-driving FizzBuzzKata, additionally, we are writing a feature test for a non-existing testing framework. Now that we are green, we should think about refactoring, i.e.: making the structure of our code right.

Obviously, we should move our testing framework code outside of the test suite file. Probably, somewhere in src/TestingFramework.js. For that, we need to first parametrize FizzBuzzKataTest and extract the function to run the test suite.

Parametrize:

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var testSuiteConstructor = FizzBuzzKataTest;
var testSuite = new testSuiteConstructor(assertions);
testSuite.testNormalNumberIsReturned();

and extract method:

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function runTestSuite(testSuiteConstructor) {
    var testSuite = new testSuiteConstructor(assertions);
    testSuite.testNormalNumberIsReturned();
}

var testSuiteConstructor = FizzBuzzKataTest;
runTestSuite(testSuiteConstructor);

and inline the variable testSuiteConstructor:

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runTestSuite(FizzBuzzKataTest);

Now it is time to move testing code to src/TestingFramework.js:

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// src/TestingFramework.js

var assertions = {
    assertTrue: function (condition, message) {
        if (!condition) {
            throw new Error(message || "Expected to be true, but got false");
        }
    }
};

function runTestSuite(testSuiteConstructor) {
    var testSuite = new testSuiteConstructor(assertions);
    testSuite.testNormalNumberIsReturned();
}

And to be able to require runTestSuite function:

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// src/TestingFramework.js

var assertions = { ... };

function runTestSuite(testSuiteConstructor) { ... }

module.exports = runTestSuite;

And, finally, let’s use that from our test suite:

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// test/FizzBuzzKataTest.js

var runTestSuite = require("../src/TestingFramework");

function FizzBuzzKataTest(t) { ... }

function fizzBuzz(number) { ... }

runTestSuite(FizzBuzzKataTest);

If we run the test suite again, everything should pass. Somehow, I don’t feel comfortable now, let’s try to break the test suite and see if it will fail as expected:

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function fizzBuzz(number) {
    return "2";  // <-- "1" was changed to "2" here
}

And run tests:

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/path/to/project/src/TestingFramework.js:4
            throw new Error(message || "Expected to be true, but got false");
            ^

Error: Expected to equal 1, but got: 2

Yes, it still works as expected. We have just introduced a Mutation to our code, to see if it is still tested properly. Let’s undo the Mutation and see the test still pass. And it does.

If you look closely now, it should be possible to inline FizzBuzzKataTest definition as an argument of runTestSuite call:

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var runTestSuite = require(...);

function fizzBuzz(number) { ... }

runTestSuite(function (t) { ... });

And if we run our test suite, it still works. Just to check, that we are still good, let’s repeat our Mutation from the previous step. It should still fail as expected. And it does. Undo the mutation and the test is still passing. Great.

I think we are done with Refactoring step, for now, let’s get back to writing another failing test.

Writing the second test

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this.testAnotherNormalNumberIsReturned = function() {
    t.assertTrue("2" === fizzBuzz(2), "Expected to equal " + "2" + ", but got: " + fizzBuzz(2));
};

If we run these tests, they do not fail. This is strange, let’s look at runTestSuite function again:

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function runTestSuite(testSuiteConstructor) {
    var testSuite = new testSuiteConstructor(assertions);
    testSuite.testNormalNumberIsReturned();
}

Great, it just runs one specific function, we should probably run all functions starting from test instead:

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function runTestSuite(testSuiteConstructor) {
    var testSuite = new testSuiteConstructor(assertions);

    for (var testName in testSuite) {
        if (testName.match(/^test/)) {
            testSuite[testName]();
        }
    }
}

REMARK: this code is Javascript specific. Other programming languages will have their own way of iterating over the function/method list and calling a function by its name. Usually, it is some sort of reflection for compiled languages and meta-programming features for interpreted languages.

If we run tests now, we get the expected failure:

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/path/to/project/src/TestingFramework.js:4
            throw new Error(message || "Expected to be true, but got false");
            ^

Error: Expected to equal 2, but got: 1

If we try to change return "1" to return "2", of course this test will pass, but the other will fail:

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/path/to/project/src/TestingFramework.js:4
            throw new Error(message || "Expected to be true, but got false");
            ^

Error: Expected to equal 1, but got: 2

This is great for couple of reasons:

  • It validates, that our change to how test* functions are discovered is correct, and
  • We have to have a bit smarter implementation to pass both tests now:
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function fizzBuzz(number) {
    return number.toString();
}

And if we run the tests, they pass. Now, that we are in Green state, we should start refactoring. Have you noticed the duplication already?

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t.assertTrue("1" === fizzBuzz(1), "Expected to equal " + "1" + ", but got: " + fizzBuzz(1));

// and:

t.assertTrue("2" === fizzBuzz(2), "Expected to equal " + "2" + ", but got: " + fizzBuzz(2));

Extracting "1" and "2" as variable expected, and fizzBuzz(1) and fizzBuzz(2) as variable actual, makes these 2 lines identical:

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this.testNormalNumberIsReturned = function () {
    var expected = "1";
    var actual = fizzBuzz(1);
    t.assertTrue(expected === actual, "Expected to equal " + expected + ", but got: " + actual);
};

this.testAnotherNormalNumberIsReturned = function() {
    var expected = "2";
    var actual = fizzBuzz(2);
    t.assertTrue(expected === actual, "Expected to equal " + expected + ", but got: " + actual);
};

Specifically, this is identical:

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t.assertTrue(expected === actual, "Expected to equal " + expected + ", but got: " + actual);

This sounds like t.assertEqual(expected, actual) to me. So let’s extract it:

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// src/TestingFramework.js

var assertions = {
    assertTrue: function(condition, message) { ... },

    assertEqual: function(expected, actual) {
        this.assertTrue(
          expected === actual,
          "Expected to equal " + expected + ", but got: " + actual
        );
    }
}

Now, let’s use it and inline our expected and actual variables:

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this.testNormalNumberIsReturned = function () {
    t.assertEqual("1", fizzBuzz(1));
};

this.testAnotherNormalNumberIsReturned = function() {
    t.assertEqual("2", fizzBuzz(2));
};

This looks much more readable. If we run tests, they still pass. If we try to break our code by using some Mutation, the tests fail as expected. Great, our refactoring was a success!

Let’s finish test-driving our fizzBuzz function.

Test-Driving Fizz Buzz Kata

First test for Fizz case:

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// test:
this.testFizzIsReturned = function () {
    t.assertEqual("Fizz", fizzBuzz(3));
};

// Error: Expected to equal Fizz, but got: 3

// implementation:
function fizzBuzz(number) {
    if (number === 3) return "Fizz";
    return number.toString();
}

This is pretty stupid implementation, but it works for that one tests, so let’s write the test, that will break this implementation and force us to write real if condition:

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// test:
this.testFizzIsReturnedForDifferentNumber = function () {
    t.assertEqual("Fizz", fizzBuzz(6));
};

// Error: Expected to equal Fizz, but got: 6

// implementation:
function fizzBuzz(number) {
    if (number % 3 === 0) return "Fizz";
    return number.toString();
}

This technique is called Triangulation:

  • the first test is to force us to write some if statement with a correct body,
  • second is to force us to make the condition right.
  • If we had an else clause, we would have had another test to make that part right.

OK, that looks like a right implementation for Fizz, let’s write the test for Buzz now:

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// test:
this.testBuzzIsReturned = function () {
    t.assertEqual("Buzz", fizzBuzz(5));
};

// Error: Expected to equal Buzz, but got: 5

// stupid implementation:
function fizzBuzz(number) {
    if (number === 5) return "Buzz";
    if (number % 3 === 0) return "Fizz";
    return number.toString();
}

// Triangulation:
this.testBuzzIsReturnedForDifferentNumber = function () {
    t.assertEqual("Buzz", fizzBuzz(10));
};

// Error: Expected to equal Buzz, but got: 10

// correct implementation:
function fizzBuzz(number) {
    if (number % 5 === 0) return "Buzz";
    if (number % 3 === 0) return "Fizz";
    return number.toString();
}

And finally let’s implement final requirement FizzBuzz:

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// test:
this.testFizzBuzzIsReturned = function () {
    t.assertEqual("FizzBuzz", fizzBuzz(15));
};

// Error: Expected to equal FizzBuzz, but got: Buzz

// stupid implementation:
function fizzBuzz(number) {
    if (number === 15) return "FizzBuzz";
    if (number % 5 === 0) return "Buzz";
    if (number % 3 === 0) return "Fizz";
    return number.toString();
}

// Triangulation:
this.testFizzBuzzIsReturnedForDifferentNumber = function () {
    t.assertEqual("FizzBuzz", fizzBuzz(30));
};

// Error: Expected to equal FizzBuzz, but got: Buzz

// correct implementation:
function fizzBuzz(number) {
    if (number % 15 === 0) return "FizzBuzz";
    if (number % 5 === 0) return "Buzz";
    if (number % 3 === 0) return "Fizz";
    return number.toString();
}

I think we are done with the implementation. FizzBuzzKata has an extended set of requirements, but they are out of the scope of this article. These requirements force us to introduce Strategy pattern and stop using this unmaintainable chain of if statements.

Refactoring this code to Strategy pattern is left as an exercise for the reader.

Bottom Line

Congratulations! Using FizzBuzzKata we have test-driven bare-bones testing framework to the point, that we can do Test-Driven Development for a simple Kata. And all that without having any testing framework in place.

The code is available on Github: https://github.com/waterlink/BuildYourOwnTestingFrameworkPart1

Now, with this minimal framework in place, it should be possible to unit-test the framework itself, so that we can support more use cases. This will be covered in next series of “Build Your Own Testing Framework”. Stay tuned!

Thanks!

Thank you for reading, my dear reader. If you liked it, please share this article on social networks and follow me on twitter: @waterlink000.

If you have any questions or feedback for me, don’t hesitate to reach me out on Twitter: @waterlink000.