Test Doubles

Test doubles are a method of unit testing that allows a user to test how the code interacts with an external dependency. It is intended to focus on the code being tested rather than the behavior of the external dependencies. As such, a preset object is used to represent those dependencies and their intended behavior. This allows a section of code to be tested even when its external dependencies are not yet finished or are not yet working. There are several types of objects used as test doubles: dummies, fakes, stubs, and mocks.

Dummies are objects that are passed but never used. In most instances, they are only used to fill out a parameter and are used as a placeholder for arguments.

Fakes are objects that simulate the external dependency by implementing the same interface without interacting with any other objects. Fakes are typically hard-coded in order to represent the correct behavior and must be modified whenever the interface is modified. A new fake object must be created for every unique test case.

Stubs are objects which return a result based on specific input, and they do not usually react beyond the scope of the test. Stubs will usually have all the methods required by the external dependency but will provide hard-coded returns that may need to be altered depending on the test case.

Mocks, much like stubs, will return a result based on a specific input. Mocks can also be programmed with data like the number of times its methods should be called and in what order.


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