Unit Testing with OUnit

This section is a bit of a detour from our study of data types, but it's a good place to take the detour: we now know just enough to understand how unit testing can be done in OCaml, and there's no good reason to wait any longer to learn about it.

Using the toplevel to test functions will only work for very small programs. Larger programs need test suites that contain many unit tests and can be re-run every time we update our code base. A unit test is a test of one small piece of functionality in a program, such as an individual function.

We've now learned enough features of OCaml to see how to do unit testing with a library called OUnit. It is a unit testing framework similar to JUnit in Java, HUnit in Haskell, etc. The basic workflow for using OUnit is as follows:

  • Write a function in a file f.ml. There could be many other functions in that file too.
  • Write unit tests for that function in a separate file f_test.ml. That exact name, with an underscore and "test" is not actually essential, but is a convention we'll often follow in 3110.
  • Build and run f_test.byte to execute the unit tests.

The OUnit documentation is available on Github.

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