FlexMock and RubyCocoa

I struggled using mocks in RubyCocoa. Here’s what I learned, using FlexMock.

I’m writing some tests to understand and explain the RubyCocoa interface to key-value observing. Key-value observing is yet another way for one object to observe another. (I’ll call these two objects the @watcher and the @observed.)

If I were describing a key-value observing test over the phone, I’d describe it as having four steps:

  1. Set up the relationship between the two objects.

  2. Change an attribute of @observed.

  3. During that change, expect some @watcher method to be called. One of the arguments will be an NSDictionary that contains the values before and after the change.

  4. Also expect that the value really truly has been changed.

Here’s how I’d describe it in code:

  def test_setting_in_ruby_style
    newval = 5
    during {
      @observed.value = newval
    }.behold! {
      this_change(:old => @observed.value, :new => newval)
    assert_equal(newval, @observed.value)

I have an idiosyncratic way of using mocks in Ruby. Notice the order in my English description above. I say what the test is doing before I say what happens during and after that action. But mock expectations have to be set up before the action. In Java (etc.) that requires steps 2 and 3 to be reversed. In Ruby, I can use blocks to put the steps in the more normal order. (You can see the definitions of during and behold! in the complete code.)

Since each of the tests sets up almost the same expectations, I hived that work off into this_change:

  def this_change(expected)
                  on { | actuals |
                       actuals[:old] == expected[:old] &&
                       actuals[:new] == expected[:new]

That’s a fairly typical use of FlexMock. I specify three arguments exactly, and I use code to check the remaining one. (There are components in the actuals NSDictionary that I don’t care about.)

Now I have to start to do something special. Here’s setup:

  def setup
    @observed = Observed.alloc.init
    @watcher = flexmock(Watcher.alloc.init)
                @watcher, value‘,
                OSX::NSKeyValueObservingOptionNew | OSX::NSKeyValueObservingOptionOld,

Normally, an argument to flexmock just provides a name for the mock, useful in debugging. However, key-value observing only works when the @watcher object inherits from NSObject. So I pass in an already-initialized object for FlexMock to “edit” and add mockish behavior to. It’s of class Watcher, which inherits from NSObject. But why not just use an NSObject?

I could, except for a helpful feature of key-value observing. Before each call into the @watcher, key-value observing checks if it responds to the method observeValueForKeyPath_ofObject_change_context. If not, it raises an exception.

If I just passed in an NSObject and gave FlexMock an expectation that it should_receive an observeValueForKeyPath_ofObject_change_context message, FlexMock would just attach that expectation to a list of expectations. It would not create any method of that name; rather, method_missing traps such calls to the method and then checks off the appropriate expectation.

Therefore, I have to create a Watcher class for no reason other than to contain the method:

class Watcher <  OSX::NSObject
  def observeValueForKeyPath_ofObject_change_context(
             keyPath, object, change, context)

The method doesn’t have to actually do anything; it’s never called. Instead, FlexMock redefines it to trampoline a call to it over to message_missing.

You can find the rest of the code here: mock-example.rb.

Hope this helps.

2 Responses to “FlexMock and RubyCocoa”

  1. Exploration Through Example » Blog Archive » FlexMock, RubyCocoa, and Notifications Says:

    […] You can find the rest of the code here: mock-example-notifications.rb. I have an idiosyncratic style for writing mocking tests. Explanation of the syntax I use is here. […]

  2. Brian Marick Says:

    Here’s a better way: http://www.exampler.com/blog/2008/10/23/flexmock-and-rubycocoa-2/

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