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<h1>Partial mock objects documentation</h1>
        This page...
        <ul>
<li>
            <a href="#inject">The mock injection problem</a>.
        </li>
<li>
            Moving creation to a <a href="#creation">protected factory</a> method.
        </li>
<li>
            <a href="#partial">Partial mocks</a> generate subclasses.
        </li>
<li>
            Partial mocks <a href="#less">test less than a class</a>.
        </li>
</ul>
<div class="content">
        
            <p>
                A partial mock is simply a pattern to alleviate a specific problem
                in testing with mock objects,
                that of getting mock objects into tight corners.
                It's quite a limited tool and possibly not even a good idea.
                It is included with SimpleTest because I have found it useful
                on more than one occasion and has saved a lot of work at that point.
            </p>
        
        <p><a class="target" name="inject"><h2>The mock injection problem</h2></a></p>
            <p>
                When one object uses another it is very simple to just pass a mock
                version in already set up with its expectations.
                Things are rather tricker if one object creates another and the
                creator is the one you want to test.
                This means that the created object should be mocked, but we can
                hardly tell our class under test to create a mock instead.
                The tested class doesn't even know it is running inside a test
                after all.
            </p>
            <p>
                For example, suppose we are building a telnet client and it
                needs to create a network socket to pass its messages.
                The connection method might look something like...
<pre>
<strong>&lt;?php
require_once('socket.php');
    
class Telnet {
    ...
    function &amp;connect($ip, $port, $username, $password) {
        $socket = &amp;new Socket($ip, $port);
        $socket-&gt;read( ... );
        ...
    }
}
?&gt;</strong>
</pre>
                We would really like to have a mock object version of the socket
                here, what can we do?
            </p>
            <p>
                The first solution is to pass the socket in as a parameter,
                forcing the creation up a level.
                Having the client handle this is actually a very good approach
                if you can manage it and should lead to factoring the creation from
                the doing.
                In fact, this is one way in which testing with mock objects actually
                forces you to code more tightly focused solutions.
                They improve your programming.
            </p>
            <p>
                Here this would be...
<pre>
&lt;?php
require_once('socket.php');
    
class Telnet {
    ...
    <strong>function &amp;connect(&amp;$socket, $username, $password) {
        $socket-&gt;read( ... );
        ...
    }</strong>
}
?&gt;
</pre>
                This means that the test code is typical for a test involving
                mock objects.
<pre>
class TelnetTest extends UnitTestCase {
    ...
    function testConnection() {<strong>
        $socket = &amp;new MockSocket($this);
        ...
        $telnet = &amp;new Telnet();
        $telnet-&gt;connect($socket, 'Me', 'Secret');
        ...</strong>
    }
}
</pre>
                It is pretty obvious though that one level is all you can go.
                You would hardly want your top level application creating
                every low level file, socket and database connection ever
                needed.
                It wouldn't know the constructor parameters anyway.
            </p>
            <p>
                The next simplest compromise is to have the created object passed
                in as an optional parameter...
<pre>
&lt;?php
require_once('socket.php');
    
class Telnet {
    ...<strong>
    function &amp;connect($ip, $port, $username, $password, $socket = false) {
        if (!$socket) {
            $socket = &amp;new Socket($ip, $port);
        }
        $socket-&gt;read( ... );</strong>
        ...
        return $socket;
    }
}
?&gt;
</pre>
                For a quick solution this is usually good enough.
                The test now looks almost the same as if the parameter
                was formally passed...
<pre>
class TelnetTest extends UnitTestCase {
    ...
    function testConnection() {<strong>
        $socket = &amp;new MockSocket($this);
        ...
        $telnet = &amp;new Telnet();
        $telnet-&gt;connect('127.0.0.1', 21, 'Me', 'Secret', &amp;$socket);
        ...</strong>
    }
}
</pre>
                The problem with this approach is its untidiness.
                There is test code in the main class and parameters passed
                in the test case that are never used.
                This is a quick and dirty approach, but nevertheless effective
                in most situations.
            </p>
            <p>
                The next method is to pass in a factory object to do the creation...
<pre>
&lt;?php
require_once('socket.php');
    
class Telnet {<strong>
   function Telnet(&amp;$network) {
        $this-&gt;_network = &amp;$network;
    }</strong>
    ...
    function &amp;connect($ip, $port, $username, $password) {<strong>
        $socket = &amp;$this-&gt;_network-&gt;createSocket($ip, $port);
        $socket-&gt;read( ... );</strong>
        ...
        return $socket;
    }
}
?&gt;
</pre>
                This is probably the most highly factored answer as creation
                is now moved into a small specialist class.
                The networking factory can now be tested separately, but mocked
                easily when we are testing the telnet class...
<pre>
class TelnetTest extends UnitTestCase {
    ...
    function testConnection() {<strong>
        $socket = &amp;new MockSocket($this);
        ...
        $network = &amp;new MockNetwork($this);
        $network-&gt;setReturnReference('createSocket', $socket);
        $telnet = &amp;new Telnet($network);
        $telnet-&gt;connect('127.0.0.1', 21, 'Me', 'Secret');
        ...</strong>
    }
}
</pre>
                The downside is that we are adding a lot more classes to the
                library.
                Also we are passing a lot of factories around which will
                make the code a little less intuitive.
                The most flexible solution, but the most complex.
            </p>
            <p>
                Is there a middle ground?
            </p>
        
        <p><a class="target" name="creation"><h2>Protected factory method</h2></a></p>
            <p>
                There is a way we can circumvent the problem without creating
                any new application classes, but it involves creating a subclass
                when we do the actual testing.
                Firstly we move the socket creation into its own method...
<pre>
&lt;?php
require_once('socket.php');
    
class Telnet {
    ...
    function &amp;connect($ip, $port, $username, $password) {<strong>
        $socket = &amp;$this-&gt;_createSocket($ip, $port);</strong>
        $socket-&gt;read( ... );
        ...
    }<strong>
        
    function &amp;_createSocket($ip, $port) {
        return new Socket($ip, $port);
    }</strong>
}
?&gt;
</pre>
                This is the only change we make to the application code.
            </p>
            <p>
                For the test case we have to create a subclass so that
                we can intercept the socket creation...
<pre>
<strong>class TelnetTestVersion extends Telnet {
    var $_mock;
    
    function TelnetTestVersion(&amp;$mock) {
        $this-&gt;_mock = &amp;$mock;
        $this-&gt;Telnet();
    }
    
    function &amp;_createSocket() {
        return $this-&gt;_mock;
    }
}</strong>
</pre>
                Here I have passed the mock in the constructor, but a
                setter would have done just as well.
                Note that the mock was set into the object variable
                before the constructor was chained.
                This is necessary in case the constructor calls
                <span class="new_code">connect()</span>.
                Otherwise it could get a null value from
                <span class="new_code">_createSocket()</span>.
            </p>
            <p>
                After the completion of all of this extra work the
                actual test case is fairly easy.
                We just test our new class instead...
<pre>
class TelnetTest extends UnitTestCase {
    ...
    function testConnection() {<strong>
        $socket = &amp;new MockSocket($this);
        ...
        $telnet = &amp;new TelnetTestVersion($socket);
        $telnet-&gt;connect('127.0.0.1', 21, 'Me', 'Secret');
        ...</strong>
    }
}
</pre>
                The new class is very simple of course.
                It just sets up a return value, rather like a mock.
                It would be nice if it also checked the incoming parameters
                as well.
                Just like a mock.
                It seems we are likely to do this often, can
                we automate the subclass creation?
            </p>
        
        <p><a class="target" name="partial"><h2>A partial mock</h2></a></p>
            <p>
                Of course the answer is "yes" or I would have stopped writing
                this by now!
                The previous test case was a lot of work, but we can
                generate the subclass using a similar approach to the mock objects.
            </p>
            <p>
                Here is the partial mock version of the test...
<pre>
<strong>Mock::generatePartial(
        'Telnet',
        'TelnetTestVersion',
        array('_createSocket'));</strong>

class TelnetTest extends UnitTestCase {
    ...
    function testConnection() {<strong>
        $socket = &amp;new MockSocket($this);
        ...
        $telnet = &amp;new TelnetTestVersion($this);
        $telnet-&gt;setReturnReference('_createSocket', $socket);
        $telnet-&gt;Telnet();
        $telnet-&gt;connect('127.0.0.1', 21, 'Me', 'Secret');
        ...</strong>
    }
}
</pre>
                The partial mock is a subclass of the original with
                selected methods "knocked out" with test
                versions.
                The <span class="new_code">generatePartial()</span> call
                takes three parameters: the class to be subclassed,
                the new test class name and a list of methods to mock.
            </p>
            <p>
                Instantiating the resulting objects is slightly tricky.
                The only constructor parameter of a partial mock is
                the unit tester reference.
                As with the normal mock objects this is needed for sending
                test results in response to checked expectations.
            </p>
            <p>
                The original constructor is not run yet.
                This is necessary in case the constructor is going to
                make use of the as yet unset mocked methods.
                We set any return values at this point and then run the
                constructor with its normal parameters.
                This three step construction of "new", followed
                by setting up the methods, followed by running the constructor
                proper is what distinguishes the partial mock code.
            </p>
            <p>
                Apart from construction, all of the mocked methods have
                the same features as mock objects and all of the unmocked
                methods behave as before.
                We can set expectations very easily...
<pre>
class TelnetTest extends UnitTestCase {
    ...
    function testConnection() {
        $socket = &amp;new MockSocket($this);
        ...
        $telnet = &amp;new TelnetTestVersion($this);
        $telnet-&gt;setReturnReference('_createSocket', $socket);<strong>
        $telnet-&gt;expectOnce('_createSocket', array('127.0.0.1', 21));</strong>
        $telnet-&gt;Telnet();
        $telnet-&gt;connect('127.0.0.1', 21, 'Me', 'Secret');
        ...<strong>
        $telnet-&gt;tally();</strong>
    }
}
</pre>
            </p>
        
        <p><a class="target" name="less"><h2>Testing less than a class</h2></a></p>
            <p>
                The mocked out methods don't have to be factory methods,
                they could be any sort of method.
                In this way partial mocks allow us to take control of any part of
                a class except the constructor.
                We could even go as far as to mock every method
                except one we actually want to test.
            </p>
            <p>
                This last situation is all rather hypothetical, as I haven't
                tried it.
                I am open to the possibility, but a little worried that
                forcing object granularity may be better for the code quality.
                I personally use partial mocks as a way of overriding creation
                or for occasional testing of the TemplateMethod pattern.
            </p>
            <p>
                It's all going to come down to the coding standards of your
                project to decide which mechanism you use.
            </p>
        
    </div>
        References and related information...
        <ul>
<li>
            SimpleTest project page on <a href="http://sourceforge.net/projects/simpletest/">SourceForge</a>.
        </li>
<li>
            <a href="http://simpletest.org/api/">Full API for SimpleTest</a>
            from the PHPDoc.
        </li>
<li>
            The protected factory is described in
            <a href="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/java/library/j-mocktest.html">this paper from IBM</a>.
            This is the only formal comment I have seen on this problem.
        </li>
</ul>
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