Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Automated integration testing in ASP.Net MVC & Forms without IIS


I have wrote about testing ASP.Net web forms in one of my previous post. This the era of MVC and I am still writing about web forms. Mainly I am working with web forms only for my web site http://joymononline.in. I have started it before MVC days and still I don't see any reason for converting to MVC. Its serving its purpose using the web forms technology? Why should I change? Another reason I am keep it there in web forms just to realize that technology should not drive our architectural decisions. Every time before I suggest MVC for any project, I think about my own web site and think twice whether we should go to MVC or not? None in my company agree or do in old web forms but its still worth considering and making sure there is specific reason for selecting ASP.Net MVC. According to them we should never do anything in web forms.

Recently I tried to implement Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery to my web site. Details of doing it via AppVeyor can be found in another post. It was very easy to run unit tests in the integration server.


But the one of the issue I found during that exercise is on running Integration tests. What I wanted was to make sure all the pages in my site is browsable after each check and and deploy to staging. I was using [HostType("ASP.NET")] attribute to run the tests against IIS. This is mentioned in my earlier post about testing web forms. This works well in development machine as I have created IIS web application from Visual Studio and the project was pointing to that web application(Project Properties->Web->Server->Local IIS in VS 2013). But in build machine, this hosting will not happen automatically. We need to write script to host the application to IIS which is according to me extra task.

Possible approaches

This problem is not new. Many people have solved it in many ways. There are free solutions such as using tools like Selenium or can use hosting libraries such as WatiN, MVCInterationTestFramework etc... Some more options can be seen in the below link.

My Solution

The requirement is clear. We need to host the site in a web server to run integration tests. So why can't we start a web server before the test begins and the test request site page. This lead to MVCIntergationTestFramework library. This .Net library helps us to host any folder as IIS web application. It also has some features to test results from MVC response.

No need to get confused with MVC prefix. As mentioned earlier, we can host any folder as IIS web application. So web forms also works. The main git project has many clones and one of those provide nuget as well named FakeHost. So its easy to include into VS test project.

Continuous integration

Since it doesn't need upfront IIS web application, it is easy to run tests from CI server provided it has IIS in it. AppVeyor has IIS in it and it runs smoothly there.

Once again this is my solution towards a small problem of integration testing of my personal web site. It may not be applicable always. If anybody wants to take a look at production code how its done, have a look at my personal web site code in Github. Now I am really enjoying the free CI & CD life. I don't know how to write down the joyful feeling of getting our source compiled after each check in, automatically testing the same and publish to staging and production if everything goes well. Everything free.

Happy CI & CD


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