Review: ZaneBug

Zanebug 1.4.1
Adapdev Technologies

Boy, there sure are a lot of unit testing frameworks out there. That doesn't surprise me too much; over the last couple of years, unit testing and TDD have increasingly been recognized as important ways to get better code. Zanebug, an outgrowth of and improvement on NUnit, is one of the promising recent entrants in this field.

Zanebug takes the same basic approach as NUnit, letting you mark up code with attributes to indicate which methods should be run when doing a test pass. In fact, it's completely upwards-compatible with NUnit 2.1; if you've got existing NUnit test fixtures (assuming they don't use the new 2.2 stuff) they should run fine in Zanebug. But Zanebug also adds a batch of other stuff to NUnit. The most obvious change is an improved user interface that goes beyond red light/green light to offer lots of additional information. For example, it's easy to pick out which tests are associated with which console or error output, as well as to get time and memory consumption figures for specific tests. Other tabs in the output section show debug and trace output from the code, as well as integrated Performance Monitor reporting. You can even tie whether a test passes into performance metrics.

Another nice touch is the ability to modify a test's repeat count at runtime, without going into the test assembly to modify attributes. Of course you can also decide which tests to run or ignore at runtime. And if you know NUnit, you should have no trouble picking up the Zanebug extensions.

Zanebug itself is open source, with a fairly aggressive roadmap of future features. Some of those features (like VS .NET integration) are already available in one or another NUnit extension. Others, like Web integration plans, are intriguing in their own right. If you've been keeping an eye on the unit-testing world, it's worth looking at Zanebug to see if it's a better alternative for your own needs.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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