Testing ASP.NET Core Controllers in Isolation with Mock Objects and Moq

In previous posts we saw how to get started testing ASP.NET Core MVC controllers and also how to use the Moq mocking library in .NET Core tests.

If there is code in controllers that needs testing, but the controller has a dependency, for example passed into the constructor, it may not make sense to use the real version of the dependency. In these cases Moq can be used to create a mock version of the dependency and pass it to the controller that needs testing.

As an example suppose we have the following controller code:

public class HomeController : Controller
{
    private readonly ISmsGateway _smsGateway;

    public HomeController(ISmsGateway smsGateway)
    {
        _smsGateway = smsGateway;
    }

    [HttpPost]
    [ValidateAntiForgeryToken]
    public IActionResult Send(SendSmsRequest request)
    {
        if (ModelState.IsValid)
        {
            var sendReceipt = _smsGateway.Send(request.PhoneNumber, request.Message);

            return Ok(sendReceipt);
        }

        return BadRequest();
    }
}

In the preceding code, the controller takes an ISmsGateway dependency as a constructor parameter. This dependency is later used in the the Send() method.

After installing Moq a mock SMS gateway can be created. Once created, Moq’s Setup() method can be used to determine what happens when the controller calls the mocked Send() method as the following code demonstrates:

[Fact]
public void ShouldSendOk()
{
    SendSmsRequest sendSmsRequest = new SendSmsRequest
    {
        PhoneNumber = "42",
        Message = "Hello"
    };

    Guid expectedSendReceipt = Guid.NewGuid();

    var mockSmsGateway = new Mock<ISmsGateway>();
    
    mockSmsGateway.Setup(x => x.Send(sendSmsRequest.PhoneNumber, sendSmsRequest.Message))
                  .Returns(expectedSendReceipt);

    var sut = new HomeController(mockSmsGateway.Object);
    
    IActionResult result = sut.Send(sendSmsRequest);

    var okObjectResult = Assert.IsType<OkObjectResult>(result);

    Assert.Equal(expectedSendReceipt, okObjectResult.Value);
}

We may also want to test that if there is a model binding error, then  no message is sent via the SMS gateway. The follow test code shows the use of the AddModelError() method to simulate an error, and the use of Moq’s Verify() method to check that the gateway’s Send() method was never called:

[Fact]
public void ShouldNotSendWhenModelError()
{
    SendSmsRequest sendSmsRequest = new SendSmsRequest
    {
        PhoneNumber = "42",
        Message = "Hello"
    };

    var mockSmsGateway = new Mock<ISmsGateway>();

    var sut = new HomeController(mockSmsGateway.Object);
    sut.ModelState.AddModelError("Simulated", "Model error");

    sut.Send(sendSmsRequest);

    mockSmsGateway.Verify(x => x.Send(It.IsAny<string>(), It.IsAny<string>()), Times.Never);
}

To learn how to get started testing ASP.NET Core MVC applications check out my ASP.NET Core MVC Testing Fundamentals Pluralsight course.

Testing ASP.NET Core MVC Controllers: Getting Started

When writing ASP.NET Core MVC web applications, you may want to test that controller actions behave in the expected way, for example that the action returns the correct result type (e.g. a ViewResult) or that the action behaves as expected when the model state is invalid.

To get started writing controller tests, first add a new .NET Core xUnit test project to the solution. This will create the test project along with requried xUnit.net NuGet packages. It will also add a default test class "UnitTest1.cs":

using System;
using Xunit;

namespace WebApplication1.Tests
{
    public class UnitTest1
    {
        [Fact]
        public void Test1()
        {
        }
    }
}

In the preceding code, notice the xUnit.net [Fact] attribute that marks the Test1 method as a test that should be executed by the test runner. One way to run tests in Visual Studio is to use the built-in Test Explorer which can be accessed via the menus: Test->Windows->Test Explorer.

If you build the project you will see the default test shown in the Test Explorer window:

Visual Studio Test Explorer

Adding a Controller Test

First, to get access to the controllers in the ASP.NET Core MVC application, add a reference to the web project from the test project. An instance of a controller can now be created in the test method:

var sut = new WebApplication1.Controllers.HomeController();

We can now call methods (actions) on the controller and verify the results. As a simple example, we can check that the Index method result is a view:

[Fact]
public void Test1()
{
    HomeController sut = new WebApplication1.Controllers.HomeController();

    IActionResult result = sut.Index();

    Assert.IsType<ViewResult>(result);
}

There are many different ways to test the results of controllers, including the ability to simulate model errors or using Moq mock objects as controller constructor dependencies.

The following code shows an excerpt from a controller and a test that examines the view's model that was returned:

public class PersonViewModel
{
    public string Name { get; set; }
}

public IActionResult Person()
{
    PersonViewModel viewModel = new PersonViewModel
    {
        Name = "Amrit"
    };

    return View(viewModel);
}
[Fact]
public void Test2()
{
    HomeController sut = new WebApplication1.Controllers.HomeController();

    IActionResult result = sut.Person();

    ViewResult viewResult = Assert.IsType<ViewResult>(result);

    PersonViewModel model = Assert.IsType<PersonViewModel>(viewResult.Model);

    Assert.Equal("Amrit", model.Name);
}

To learn how to get started testing ASP.NET Core MVC applications check out my ASP.NET Core MVC Testing Fundamentals Pluralsight course.