Be wary of container calls in tests

This one cost me a couple of hours today.  To be clear:

No calls to the IoC container in a unit or integration test!

I want my tests to fail because of an assertion failure, not because of a setup failure.  Containers aren’t brittle, but they can be in a test, and an incorrectly configured container can cause an explosion of failures in tests.  That makes it very difficult to pinpoint a true failure.  There are plenty of patterns to set up fixtures and contexts – from the Builder pattern to the Object Mother pattern to a common Setup method.  All of these can set up the context of a test without using an IoC container.

I have tests for my container, but I have to be very, very wary of a container call in a test.  And no, I don’t use an auto-mocking container as well, I have yet to be convinced it’s better than Builder or Object Mother.  With those patterns, I can follow the yellow-brick road to exactly what’s being constructed.  Not so in the event of a container failure in a test.

If you’ve had luck with containers in a test, I’d love to hear about it.

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