Gareth Lennox

Empty unit tests

I was reviewing some code, and noticed a couple of unit tests that had “TODO” comments in them (and no code). The problem is that when running these tests, they were passing. Someone reading the list of tests would assume that the test was testing what it claimed to be testing, when in actual fact its doing nothing.

The first option to avoid this problem is to not actually create test methods until you’re ready to implement them.

I know I like to sometimes lay out a list of tests I want to implement before actually writing them. If you want to do this, then I suggest you create the methods, but ensure that the test is ignored (in nUnit, put an [Ignore] attribute onto the method), or that it fails (in nUnit, Assert.Fail). This is especially important if you’re going to commit to your source control system your partially complete tests.

Doing it this way will ensure that

  1. You don’t forget that you need to implement the test.
  2. That someone doesn’t think that something is being tested when in actual fact it isn’t.

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