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Unit testing existing C++ applications with Test Explorer

We recommend that, before you change an existing application, you make sure that it has a good coverage with unit tests. This gives you confidence that your changes have not introduced bugs. If the application does not already have unit tests, you can add them by using the techniques demonstrated in this topic. This topic describes how to add unit tests for existing Visual C++ code, starting with deciding how to test your code, and then creating, writing, and finally, running the tests.

Open the existing C++ project, and inspect it to decide how you want to add the unit tests. You might want to use some modeling tools, which help you see dependencies in the code, and help you understand how the parts interact. For more information, see Visualizing and Understanding Code.

We recommend that you separate your changes into small tasks. Before each small change, write unit tests for aspects of the behavior that will remain the same. These tests will continue to pass after you have made the change. For example, if you plan to change a sorting function so that it sorts a list of people by last name instead of by first name, then you can write a unit test that verifies that all the input names appear in the output. After you have made the change, you might want to add new unit tests for the new behavior.

If it is practical, many or all of your unit tests should use only functions that are exported. But if you are changing just a small part of the whole application, then you might want to use functions that are not exported. For example, you might want tests that invoke internal functions, or tests that set and get the values of internal variables.

There are several ways to test product code, depending on whether it exposes the interfaces that you want to test. Choose one of the following ways:

The unit tests will use only functions that are exported from the code under test:

Add a separate test project. In the test project, add a reference to the project under test.

Go to the procedure To create a test project that references the code project.

The code under test is built as an .exe file:

Add a separate test project. Link it to the output object file.

Go to the procedure To create a test project that references the code object file.

The unit tests must use private functions and data, and the code under test can be built as a static library:

Change the project under test so that it is compiled to a .lib file. Add a separate test project that references the project under test.

This approach has the benefit of allowing your tests to use private members, but still keep the tests in a separate project. However, it might not be suitable for some applications where you must have a dynamic link library (.dll).

Go to the procedure To change the code under test to a static library.

The unit tests must use private functions and data, and the code must be built as a dynamic link library (DLL):

Add unit tests in the same project as the product code.

Go to the procedure To add unit tests in the same project.

To change the code under test to a static library

  • If your tests must use members that are not exported by a project under test, and the project under test is built as a dynamic library, consider converting it to a static library.

    1. In Solution Explorer, on the shortcut menu of the project under test, choose Properties. The project properties window opens.

    2. Choose Configuration Properties, General.

    3. Set Configuration Type to Static Library (.lib).

Continue with the procedure To create a test project for exported functions.

To reference exported functions from the test project

  • If a project under test exports the functions that you want to test, then you can add a reference to the code project from the test project.

    1. Create a C++ test project.

      • On the File menu, choose New, Project, Visual C++, Test, C++ Unit Test Project.

    2. In Solution Explorer, on the shortcut menu of the test project, choose References. The project properties window opens.

    3. Select Common Properties, Framework and References, and then choose the Add New Reference button.

    4. Select Projects, and then the project to be tested.

      Choose the Add button.

    5. In the properties for the test project, add the location of the project under test to the Include Directories.

      Choose Configuration Properties, VC++ Directories, Include Directories.

      Choose Edit, and then add the header directory of the project under test.

Go to Writing the unit tests.

To link the tests to the object or library files

  • If the code under test does not export the functions that you want to test, you can add the output .obj or .lib file to the dependencies of the test project.

    1. Create a C++ test project.

      • On the File menu, choose New, Project, Visual C++, Test, C++ Unit Test Project.

    2. In Solution Explorer, on the shortcut menu of the test project, choose Properties. The project properties window opens.

    3. Choose Configuration Properties, Linker, Input, Additional Dependencies.

      Choose Edit, and add the names of the .obj or .lib files. Do not use the full path names.

    4. Choose Configuration Properties, Linker, General, Additional Library Directories.

      Choose Edit, and add the directory path of the .obj or .lib files. The path is typically within the build folder of the project under test.

    5. Choose Configuration Properties, VC++ Directories, Include Directories.

      Choose Edit, and then add the header directory of the project under test.

Go to Writing the unit tests.

To add unit tests in the same project

  1. Modify the product code project properties to include the headers and library files that are required for unit testing.

    1. In Solution Explorer, in the shortcut menu of the project under test, choose Properties. The project properties window opens.

    2. Choose Configuration Properties, VC++ Directories.

    3. Edit the Include and Library directories:

      Include Directories

      $(VCInstallDir)UnitTest\include;$(IncludePath)

      Library Directories

      $(VCInstallDir)UnitTest\lib;$(LibraryPath)

  2. Add a C++ Unit Test file:

    • In Solution Explorer, in the shortcut menu of the project, choose Add, New Item, and then choose C++ Unit Test.

Go to Writing the unit tests.

  1. In each unit test code file, add an #include statement for the headers of the project under test.

  2. Add test classes and methods to the unit test code files. For example:

    #include "stdafx.h"
    #include "CppUnitTest.h"
    #include "MyProjectUnderTest.h"
    using namespace Microsoft::VisualStudio::CppUnitTestFramework;
    namespace MyTest
    {
      TEST_CLASS(MyTests)
      {
      public:
          TEST_METHOD(MyTestMethod)
          {
              Assert::AreEqual(MyProject::Multiply(2,3), 6);
          }
      };
    }
    

For more information, see Unit testing native code with Test Explorer.

  1. On the View menu, choose Other Windows, Test Explorer.

  2. In Test Explorer, choose Run All.

For more information, see Quick Start: Test Driven Development with Test Explorer.

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