C. Keith Ray

C. Keith Ray writes about and develops software in multiple platforms and languages, including iOS® and Macintosh®.
Keith's Résumé (pdf)

Monday, November 17, 2014


The question: "I encountered an issue when I try to mock 3rd-party library functions.  The MOCK_METHOD_i macro supports i = 1 to 10 arguments, but 3rd-party library has functions with 11 arguments. Should I alter the scripts that build the MOCK_METHOD_i macros?"

My answer:

Yes and no.

Yes: so go ahead and rebuild the mocking framework by setting "n = 12 or so" in the script the generates the MOCK_METHOD_i macros. Make the tools do the work you want them to do.

No: it's often better to only mock code that you own. If you make that a rule, then what you have to mock is code that you wrote, code which hides and (hopefully) simplifies access to the external code. Your own code will likely NOT need 11 arguments, since you can hide unnecessary parts of the external code. 

There's a nice wrap-up of this concept here: http://www.davesquared.net/2011/04/dont-mock-types-you-dont-own.html

Using test doubles for types we don’t own can end up with fragile tests that don’t actually test much of value, or can even compromise our design and the effectiveness of the abstractions we use. Even when mocking a library we know really well we can end up with compromised abstractions and fragile tests due to relying on implementation details or assumptions based on previous versions of the library.