Unit Testing and the .NET Micro Framework

Recently I decided to take up a new hobby… writing code for small things. So, being a .NET developer, I decided the easiest way to crack this nut is to use .NET Micro Framework (or NETMF).

Getting started with NETMF is fairly easy for a .NET developer. You go to www.netmf.com, download and install the SDK and you create new projects using the new templates.

One thing that’s missing from NETMF is the ability to unit test your projects. Because the core is not the same as the desktop core there are no unit testing tools. Searching a bit I found a few people using some patchy solutions involving referencing code files in regular unit testing projects. While this may work for some, I don’t believe it’s the most accurate test as the framework implementations are rather different. This drew me to creating my own solution…

Introducing MFUnit!

MFUnit is a simple .NET Micro Framework Unit Testing Library. It uses convention based discovery to find and run your tests.

Open Source

MFUnit is open source – https://github.com/ducas/MFUnit. Check it out! You’ll find a readme page with more detailed information and source code, including a test project that uses MFUnit to test the Assert class.


1. Create a NETMF Console Project

2. …

Install-Package MFUnit

3. Profit!

Installing this package will create a class named TestProgram. Simply delete Program.cs, write your tests and you’re on your way.


  1. Test fixtures/classes must end with Tests
  2. Test methods (or facts) must be public void methods


MFUnit comes with an Assert library that supports the following methods:

  • Fail
  • AreEqual
  • IsTrue
  • IsFalse
  • IsNull
  • IsNotNull
  • Throws


The following class will be discovered by the test runner and the methods will be executed.

public class AssertTests
    public void AssertIsNull_ShouldPass_WhenActualIsNull()

    public void AssertIsNull_ShouldFail_WhenActualIsNotNull()

The first method will pass, but the second will fail. The Output Debug window will contain the following text:

PASS AssertTests.AssertIsNull_ShouldFail_WhenActualIsNull
    #### Exception MFUnit.AssertException - 0x00000000 (3) ####
    #### Message: Expected: "null", Actual: "not null".
    #### MFUnit.Assert::Fail [IP: 0005] ####
    #### MFUnit.Assert::IsNull [IP: 000f] ####
    #### MFUnit.Tests.AssertTests::AssertIsNull_ShouldPass_WhenActualIsNull [IP: 0008] ####
    #### System.Reflection.MethodBase::Invoke [IP: 0000] ####
    #### MFUnit.TestRun::Execute [IP: 00b6] ####
A first chance exception of type 'MFUnit.AssertException' occurred in MFUnit.dll
FAIL AssertTests.AssertIsNull_ShouldPass_WhenActualIsNotNull: Expected: "null", Actual: "not null".


Currently the only GUI is a simple Pass/Fail count.


Depending on whether this picks up and how many people request it, I may put some effort into listing the appropriate tests and making the information navigable.

Also, once VS11 is a bit closer to release, I may add a plugin for the test runner.


Hopefully this is useful to others out there. If you have any suggestions feel free to leave comments. If you want to contribute I’ll happily accept GOOD pull requests.


Posted on 5 April, 2012, in .NET Micro Framework, Dev Stuff and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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