Mocking Framework: Pick One And Start Mocking Yourself

by Jon Davis 25. March 2008 10:40

At the office we're designing a client-side MVC framework to compliment ASP.NET MVC framework. Fun stuff, but between both server and client side MVC, we're trying to figure out how we're going to build our tests.

On the server side, there are already some mocking frameworks out there. Some people swear by Rhino Mocks. Personally, I haven't even started doing the mocking thing, to my shame. But lately everyone seems to be pointing to 'Moq', http://code.google.com/p/moq/. This includes Phil Haack, who is a leader in the ASP.NET MVC development team.

What sells me on Moq already is that it's specifically targeting people like me -- people who know they need to mock their stuff to build tests, but haven't really gotten used to TDD, or who are overwhelmed by the whole process.

On the client side, I kinda pooh-poohed JsUnit already (but might still come back to it), but I just stumbled across WebAii, http://www.artoftest.com/webaiifxproduct.aspx  .. this ought to be interesting. :) It's all client-side stuff but it's built around ASP.NET development (rather than Java, or Ruby, or specifically the Firefox browser), which sounds good.

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Paying Attention to MVP, Presenter First, Castle, MonoRail, Igloo, et al

by Jon Davis 23. July 2007 00:34

In order to be an excellent software developer, one must be able to communicate and interoperate with others' software excellently. Lately, deafening chatter has been overwhelming the software communities about MVC, MVP, Presenter First, Castle, Spring, MonoRail, and so on. To my shame, I was so focused for so long on embracing OOP and the C# language and the .NET Framework and general Microsoft APIs and technologies that I overlooked these essential patterns, practices, and tools used by software professionals the world over. If I had only swallowed MVC and XP years ago, I would not be struggling so badly to play catch-up.

So far I haven't actually written a single line of code yet based on these patterns. I have looked over the shoulder of our team architect who was trying to get into it, and in so doing got a snapshot of what MVP code "looks like" (lots of interfaces and event handlers). After listening to Atomic Object's ArcCast podcast interviews, I've read Atomic Object's PDF presentation on Presenter First. I've realized the value of mock objects, and I've heard about Rhino Mocks. I've learned about Inversion of Control and dependency injection, and implementation tools for these in Spring.Net and in the Castle Project. I've been looking around for how MVP is supposed to work correctly in a web-based environment, where view state is already URI-controlled (unlike a GUI app, where the controller / presenter can push a view change more immediately). I've come across MonoRail and Igloo, but except for coding shortcuts I still don't see a solution to this problem.

But I haven't actually started using any of them.

I still haven't figured out whether these processes, patterns, and tools are directly related to those of Agile and XP. I do know that all of these are directly tied to unit testing and testable software--a critical process of software development I have tended to abhor, to my awful, disgusting shame.

I have an "Agile Princples, Patterns, and Practices in C#" book sitting on my lap, and I'm trying to figure out whether I should delve into this book, or if I should start tinkering with Castle to lead to MonoRails, or tinker with NUnit, or with NMock, or Rhino Mocks, or what. Maybe it doesn't matter, as long as I delve into one of these and progress myself.

I am certain, however, that by the end of this year, I had better know and be practicing all of the essentials of the above, or I will not feel confident in calling myself "excellent".

Update: After reading the forewords and the prefaces of Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#, I am pursuaded, this is the path I should take right now. This should be a book I should try to read end-to-end. While the subject is not related to MVC/MVP/PF, etc., I'm pursuaded that XP / Agile programming is a skill that is mandatory to understand as a software professional. It is about working with people, test-driven development, changeable software, and core values. MVP is just one technique for process and pattern, but it does not fit all. XP/Agile knowledge, however, might actually be one-size-fits-all. We'll see.

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About the author

Jon Davis (aka "stimpy77") has been a programmer, developer, and consultant for web and Windows software solutions professionally since 1997, with experience ranging from OS and hardware support to DHTML programming to IIS/ASP web apps to Java network programming to Visual Basic applications to C# desktop apps.
 
Software in all forms is also his sole hobby, whether playing PC games or tinkering with programming them. "I was playing Defender on the Commodore 64," he reminisces, "when I decided at the age of 12 or so that I want to be a computer programmer when I grow up."

Jon was previously employed as a senior .NET developer at a very well-known Internet services company whom you're more likely than not to have directly done business with. However, this blog and all of jondavis.net have no affiliation with, and are not representative of, his former employer in any way.

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