I love unit testing but, to be honest, I just haven’t been able to come up with an approach I really like for continuous integration and unit testing of CF apps. This week I decided I was going to try out the three main frameworks I know of; CFUnit, CFCUnit, and MXUnit and see if I can’t find one that I like using for comprehensive testing.

Our shop doesn’t use CFEclipse much and, in general, we don’t really like loading up Eclipse that much for developing CF apps; it seems like overkill. We do, however, use Ant so I referenced a bunch of CF-Eclipse type tutorials to get some basis for making all of this work.

The first one I tried out was CFUnit. This is the one I have used the most in the past and so it seemed like it would be my choice in the end. The first problem I ran into with CFUnit was the inability to run a test suite with the ANT task. This may be a feature I just don’t see but nobody else seems to be documenting how to do it either.

My normal approach to setting up CFUnit is to create a test directory under the root of my project and then create a similar directory structure as my normal object model. For instance in my object directory I might have a bean, dao, gateway, and service subdirectory. Within each of these directories I will create a test CFC and a runner CFM for each test. Then I will create a simple CFM in that directory that does a cfinclude for each CFM runner; these comprehensive runners are my test suites. Then, in the parent object directory I will create another runner CFM that includes each test suite so that I have one full suite I can quickly access.

CFCUnit does support Test Suites. However, the initial install itself seems to have some problems. For instance when I follow the installation instructions that say to run the CFCUnit’s own unit tests a bunch of them fail. The failing tests are primarily concerned with the CFUnit wrapper functionality but the fact that all of those tests failed caused me some real concern.

MxUnit doesn’t support Test Suites either however it does support “directory” testing and seems like the best option of the three for what I want to do. Now, instead of having to create each of my test runner files I can just create an ANT task that is responsible for each directory and then another ant task that will run each of the directory level tests to serve as my overall test suite. It’s not perfect but it seems like a good option.

While messing with all of these I tried using the BuildAgent in Eclipse to get the build to happen on each save. That kind of sucked. While I liked the constant testing it was just too much. For instance, I use ColdSpring with a pretty large app and each time my tests run they have to load the ColdSpring xml file to resolve dependency injection. Perhaps that isn’t the greatest structure but I want my tests to also help confirm that my coldspring configuration is valid. Furthermore, I tend to change and save files pretty quickly. Each time I would save the ant task was still firing off from the prior save and I’d end up having to cancel it. For my workflow I prefer to make my batch of changes and then hit the “test” button (or key combo).

I’ll be posting a followup with my final conclusions on how I approached continuous testing along with precise instructions on how I configured everything. After I do that I’ll be looking at a collection of build tools such as CruiseControl for testing automatically whenever someone checks in a change.


Jon Wolski

I’m using cfcUnit with ant in Eclipse, and I too had the problem of long- running tasks on file-save.

I resolved this by running my ‘unittest’ ant target (2-seconds) on “Auto Build” (in the launch configuration properties for the project) and a more comprehensive ant target on “Manual Build.”

Slava Imeshev

Our Parabuild might be worth adding to the list of Continuous Integration tools to consider.