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Typed doubles

Mock Suey enhances verified doubles by adding type-checking support: every mocked method call is checked against the corresponding method signature (if present), and an exception is raised if types mismatch.

Consider an example:

let(:array_double) { instance_double("Array") }

specify "#take" do
  allow(array_double).to receve(:take).and_return([1, 2, 3])

  expect(array_double.take("three")).to eq([1, 2, 3])

This test passes with plain RSpec, because from the verified double perspective everything is valid. However, calling [].take("string") raises a TypeError in runtime.

With MockSuey and RBS, we can make verified doubles stricter and ensure that the types we use in method stubs are correct.

To enable typed verified doubles, you must explicitly configure a type checker:

MockSuey.configure do |config|
  config.type_check = :ruby
  # Optional: specify signature directries to use ("sig" is used by default)
  # config.signature_load_dirs = ["sig"]
  # Optional: specify whether to raise an exception if no signature found
  # config.raise_on_missing_types = false

That’s it! Now all mocked methods are type-checked.

Mock contracts verification

Types drastically increase mocks/stubs stability (or consistency), but even they do not guarantee that mocks behave the same way as real objects. For example, if your method returns completely different results depending on the values (not types) of the input.

The only way to provide ~100% confidence to mocks is enforcing a contract. One way to enforce mock contracts is to require having a unit/functional tests where a real object receives the same input and returns the same result as the mock. For example, consider the following tests:

describe Accountant do
  let(:calculator) { instance_double("TaxCalculator") }

  # Declaring a mock == declaring a contract (input/output correspondance)
  before do
    allow(calculator).to receive(:tax_for_income).with(2020).and_return(202)
    allow(calculator).to receive(:tax_for_income).with(0).and_return(0)

  subject { }

  specify "#after_taxes" do
    # Assuming the #after_taxes method calls calculator.tax_for_income
    expect(subject.after_taxes(2020)).to eq(1818)
    expect(subject.after_taxes(0)).to be_nil

describe TaxCalculator do
  subject { }

  # Adding a unit-test using the same input
  # verifies the contract
  specify "#tax_for_income" do
    expect(subject.tax_for_income(2020)).to eq(202)
    expect(subject.tax_for_income(0)).to eq(0)

We need a way to enforce mock contract verification. In other words, if the dependency behaviour changes and the corresponding unit-test reflects this change, our mock should be marked as invalid and result into a test suit failure.

One way to do this is to introduce explicit contract verification (via custom mocking mechanisms or DSL or whatever, see bogus or compact, for example).

Mock Suey chooses another way: automatically infer mock contracts (via mock contexts) and verify them by collecting real object calls during the test run. You can enable this feature via the following configuration options:

MockSuey.configure do |config|
  config.verify_mock_contracts = true
  # Choose the real objects tracing method
  config.trace_real_calls_via = :prepend # or :trace_point

Each method stub represents a contract. For example:

allow(calculator).to receive(:tax_for_income).with(2020).and_return(202)
allow(calculator).to receive(:tax_for_income).with(0).and_return(0)

#=> TaxCalculator#tax_for_income: (2020) -> Integer
#=> TaxCalculator#tax_for_income: (0) -> Integer

If the method behaviours changes, running tests would result in a failure if mock doesn’t reflect the change:

# Assuming we decided to return nil for non-positive integers
specify "#tax_for_income" do
  expect(subject.tax_for_income(0)).to be_nil

The test suite will fail with the following exception:

$ rspec accountant_spec.rb


1) Mock contract verification failed:
   No matching call found for:
     TaxCalculator#tax_for_income: (0) -> Integer
   Captured calls:
     (0) -> NilClass

The contract describes which explicit input values result in a particular output type (not value). Such verification can help to verify boundary conditions (e.g., when some inputs result in nil results or exceptions).


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