Horseshoes and Hand Grenades: OCUnit App Testing, Continued

The reason I spent so much effort, chronicled in my previous OCUnit post, to get the OCUnit tutorial working was because of a claim it made near the end: “It is true that many things [about an application’s user interface] are difficult or impossible to test automatically, but some things can still be tested.”

OCUnit is fairly easy to use with frameworks; you build the tests into the framework, and pass the whole framework as a command-line argument to the otest utility, which automatically finds and runs the tests.

But it seems to me that it’s a much more difficult proposition to test applications cleanly and quickly, especially applications and situations with involved preparatory steps.

The third OCUnit example is an application, so how does it do it? The tests are embedded in the application as a top-level object in MainMenu.nib. Top-level nib objects are instantiated when the nib is loaded, and MainMenu.nib is loaded at application startup. Perfect!

The top-level test object is an instance of SenInterfaceTestCase, which runs its tests when its awakeFromNib method is invoked – not all the time (that would be bad), but only if the proper user default has been set.

In the tutorial’s third example, this user default is set by using a third build style, after development and deployment. This is the deal-breaker, for me. I don’t want to have to maintain a different build style. I don’t want to have to, say, keep the deployment and the test builds styles manually in sync. Removing human error from the tests was the whole point of this exercise!

I tried to get around this by making a new custom executable, which I called Run Tests Executable but which was really just the same TestExtras build product from the development and deployment styles. Then I set the arguments for that custom executable so that it would run its tests. Now testing could be done with either deployment or debug styles.

Only one problem: you need a full path to the custom executable. D’oh! I don’t want a full path. Full paths can’t be checked in and used by other people on your team.

So close! But you know the old saying. Close only counts in….

Is there any way around this? Stay tuned.

One comment

  1. transom

    I don’t understand why a separate build style is such a problem. What are you doing to manually keep Development and Deployment in sync? I make changes in my Development build style from time to time to aid in debugging but I don’t think I have ever made a change to the Deployment build style. What am I missing here?