[TIP] testing class properties and internal methods

Michael Foord fuzzyman at voidspace.org.uk
Mon Mar 5 14:10:38 PST 2007

Nate Lowrie wrote:
> Just wondering what the thoughts were on this.....
> I have never tested class properties since they are basically getter
> and setter functions.  I also never test getter and setter functions
> either.
> Also, I have not taken to writing unit tests for the "private",
> internal methods not in the public interface for a class.  I do this
> since they are called from the public interface methods.
> What are people's thoughts on this?
Where private methods (not part of the public API) provide a unit of 
functionality, we unit test them.

We like to specify code behaviour in our test names (similar to some of 
the BDD stuff I think, but I haven't had a chance to read much on this 
yet). Specifying behaviour for the code only through the public API can 
lead to some very complex tests / specifications.

It is often easier to specify public API behaviour in terms of calling 
down to private methods - and then mock out these private methods in the 
test of the public API. The private methods can then be tested separately.

All the best,


> Cheers,
> Nate L.
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