# Friday, October 19, 2007

In it's Weekly Source Code, Scott Hanselman presents a new CodePlex project, NDepend.Helpers.FileDirectoryPath from Patrick Smacchia. Nice, better path handling should have been part of the BCL a while ago. 

Path stuff is hard

Path normalization and parsing is not an easy task so when Patrick Smacchia mentions that his code "100% unit-tested", I decided to see if Pex could not find a little bug over there.

A dumb parameterized unit test

So I added wrote the following parameterized unit test, which 'simply' calls the constructor of FilePathRelative. Under the hood, there is some string manipulation done by the library to normalize the path, it should be interresting to see what comes out of this. I also added calls to PexComment.XXX to log the input/output values (Pex will build a table out of this):

    public void FilePathRelativeCtor(string path) {
        FilePath result = new FilePathRelative(path);
        PexComment.Value("result", result.FileName);


So Pex starts running and soon enough an assert pops up. Pex had just found a neat little path that broke an assertion in the library:

public void FilePathRelativeCtor_String_71019_003302_0_05() {

Popping up the reports, I went for the parameter table (remember the PexComment calls) that shows one row for each generated test. In fact, the 5-th test that Pex generated was triggering the assert:

Note that "//" also triggers the bug which seems to indicate that any path finishing by "/" will have this behavior.

The path condition

Lastly, I took a quick look at the path condition that Pex solved to discover the bug (see red below). Luckily this one is fairly easy and one can clearly see 'path[0] == '/' in there.

 What did we learn today?

Handling paths is hard :)

Also, we saw that a dumb parameterized unit test (just calling a ctor), could find a bugs. If you use assertions, it will help Pex look for bugs in your code.

posted on Friday, October 19, 2007 1:46:37 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [3]
# Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Update: I will not be at the Seattle Code Camp, too much rescheduling.

I'll be presenting Pex at the Seattle Code Camp in Nov.

Pex – Automated White Box Unit Testing

Parameterized unit testing is becoming a mainstream feature of most unit test frameworks; MbUnit RowTest (and more), VSTS data tests, xUnit.net Theories, etc... Unfortunately, it is still the responsibility of the developer to figure out relevant parameter values to exercise the code. With Pex, this is no longer true. Pex is a unit test framework addin that can generate relevant parameter values for parameterized unit tests. Pex uses an automated white box analysis (i.e. it monitors the code execution at runtime) to systematically explore every branches in the code. In this talk, Peli will give an overview of the technology behind Pex (with juicy low-level .NET profiling goodness), then quickly jump to exiting live demos.

posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 6:36:52 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, October 10, 2007

When someone is writing a book that contains code snippets, the question of (automatically) keeping those in sync quickly becomes very imporant. There's already lots of different solutions to this problem (every author has probably it's own), here's yet another one for C# that we've developed to author the Pex documentation.


A couple things that we wanted to acheive with this tool:

  • snippets are always compilable and run as expected,
  • snippets can be full classes, methods or even partial statements
  • simple :)

'#region' based solution

This solution uses the #region directive to define a snippet. The region describe contains the snippet name, which will be used to dump it into a file. For example, given this piece of C#,

#region snippet StackExamplePart3
stack.Push(new object);

Our parse will extract the code in the region and write it to StackExamplePart3.tex, which gets pulled in our LaTeX scripts.

stack.Push(new object);

That's it?

Yes, you can author snippets that stay compilable and up to date:

  • we can author all the snippets in Visual Studio and we are sure they always compile
  • it's very easy to parse the #region's (left as exercise ;))
  • #region are very flexible in terms what they contain so we can have snippets containing partial methods, statement, etc...
  • the scheme aslo supports nested regions which is usefull when one explains an example line by line, and integrate the entire sample at the end. For example, DeclaringUnitTest is a 'sub'-snippet of UnitTest:
#region snippet UnitTest
#region snippet DeclaringUnitTest
void Test(int i)
  • we can integrate our snippets in unit tests and verify they work as expected
  • the tool can be integrated into the build process as a post-command build


posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2007 11:41:32 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [2]