Visual Studio 2005 – C++ Unit Testing – Not so good

So, as of late, I have been programming more in C++ than in C#/.NET. The first order of business was getting everything to Visual Studio 2005, which has been accomplished. In .NET, there is built in Unit Testing, Code Coverage, Refactoring, etc. In Visual Studio C++ unmanaged/native C++, you don’t get any of that. (Thanks Microsoft!) Now, if you code in managed C++, you get all the nice features (I’m pretty sure you get all of them).

What you can do, and there are some articles/blogs on the net, is set up a Unit Testing project in managed C++ and then link in your managed C++ projects. This works. Sometimes. It looks better on paper than when you actually try to implement it, depending on your environment and how you have things laid out.

We are making static MFC (probably the first problem – MFC :)) libs for a Core library, and we had to tweak a bunch of settings (ie: make a new build configuration), just so we could link into the managed C++ projects. There were numerous issue, just too many to list here. Things just don’t work nice together.

When we managed to get things to actually compile, and run, then the code coverage would show all the Microsoft API’s as not covered, since the libs were statically linked in to the test project.

Overall, my experience with Visual Studio 2005 and unit testing has been a good one. As long as you are using VB.NET or C# 🙂 

It is so nice since it is integrated into the IDE, and it can make unit tests for you from existing code. This all would be a god send for C++, yet, there isn’t anything there.

And as long as I am griping about it, intellisense in C++ really isn’t that good. I did some research and found Visual AssistX, and we purchased it. Really is worth the money. Adds refactoring and intellisense on crack compared to the built in intellisense.

Anyways, I will follow up with a few more posts with my experiences on C++ unit testing. I tried a few other frameworks, and actually got CppUnit to work well, so I will blog on the steps I took to make it work.

Just because you develop in C++ doesn’t mean you can’t develop with an Agile mindset, it is just a little bit harder to get started. Unit Testing, Refactoring, Code Coverage, and then Continuous Integration. Hopefully over time I will get some more posts up about these things and how as a C++ developer using Visual Studio 2005 you can accomplish them (or at least the way I did it) 🙂

By no means am I saying I know the best way, but it seems that there isn’t much out there talking about this stuff for a native/unmanaged C++ dev using Microsoft technologies, or maybe I just can’t find it.

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By Steve Novoselac

Director of Digital Technology @TrekBikes, Father, Musician, Cyclist, Homebrewer

One reply on “Visual Studio 2005 – C++ Unit Testing – Not so good”

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