Beyond the Compiler with ConventionTests

We often have conventions in our code. For example all DTOs/entity/etc. classes should be in a specific namespace, or the name of certain types of class should end with a given word. Another example, we may need to make sure that all classes (or those in a specific namespace) contain all-virtual members.

These kind of things are conventions that the team may agree to but the compiler won’t pick up as build errors or warnings. The code may still be completely valid C# even though it violates a convention.

ConventionTests is a brilliant idea (and it’s ideas like this that keep me loving programming) allows us to write tests to verify these conventions, conventions that the compiler cannot verify.


Simple installation via NuGet into your test project: PM> Install-Package TestStack.ConventionTests

Simple Usage

Using whatever testing framework you prefer (, NUnit, etc.) create a test method.

these kind of things are conventions that the team may agree to but the compiler won’t pick up

In this method, the first thing to do is to select all the types in the production code that we want to check against a convention.

We can do this with code such as:

var typesToCheck = Types.InAssemblyOf<SomeClass>();   

Here the Types.InAssemblyOf method is being used to find which assembly contains the class called SomeClass. Using this overload, all of the types in the assembly will be selected, however there are other overloads that allow the returning of types in a given namespace.

The next step is to create an instance of one of the out-of-the-box conventions.

var convention = new AllClassesHaveDefaultConstructor();

This convention checks that all the selected types have a default constructor defined.

Now we have the list of types we want to check, and a convention to check them against.

To actually perform the check, we use the Convention.Is method:

Convention.Is(convention, typesToCheck);

If any of the classes selected in typesToCheck don’t have a default constructor then an exception will be thrown (with some useful info in it) and the test will fail.

You can see some of the other out-of-the-box conventions on the GitHub site, you can also write your own custom conventions.


ConventionTests is one of the tools in the TestStack suite. To learn more about ConventionTests and the other TestStack tools, checkout out my Building the Right Thing in .NET with TestStack Plurasight course.

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