Posts Tagged 'release'

Visual Assert hits RTM, now available for free

Visual Assert, the unit testing Add-In for Visual Studio/Visual C++ has finally left its beta status and — better yet — is now available for free, both for commercial and non-commercial use.

Visual Assert, based on the cfix 1.6 unit testing framework, allows you to easily write, manage, run, and debug your C/C++ unit tests -– without ever leaving the Visual Studio® IDE. No fiddling with command line tools, no complex configuration, and no boilerplate code required.

Sounds good? Then go straight to the Visual Assert homepage and download the installer!


cfix 1.5.1 released

A new version of cfix, the unit testing framework for C and C++ on Windows, is now available on Sourceforge. Despite fixing several minor issues, the new version resolves the following two issues that were reported by users:

  • Definiting multiple WinUnit fixtures with setup/teardown routines in a single .cpp file leads to a compilation error
  • A thread handle is leaked during execution of a test (#2889511)

Updated binaries and source code are available for download on Sourceforge.

Btw, in case you use cfix for kernel mode testing and are using WDK 7600, please have a look at my previous post: LTCG issues with the WIN7/amd64 environment of WDK 7600

cfix 1.5 released; adds support for EXE-embedded tests and kernel mode multi-threading

A new version of the cfix unit testing framework is now ready for download.

Unlike the previous release, which was mainly a maintenance release, cfix 1.5 adds major new features: kernel mode multithreading and EXE-based unit tests.

EXE based unit tests

As I discussed in a previous post in the context of Visual Assert/cfix studio, cfix’ restriction to DLL based unit tests has turned out to be quite a limitation for certain kinds of projects.

In cfix 1.5, this restriction has been removed: cfix now supports both, unit tests compiled and linked into DLL modules and unit tests embedded into EXE modules.

Now, when I say embeded into an EXE module, I do not mean that you may merely leave out the /LD compiler switch — it means that you may compile and link unit tests into the actual application EXE module without impacting this application’s behavior or having to change the application’s main() routine: When you run the application direcly or through the debugger, it will behave as normal (e.g. launch GUI). Once you launch it via cfix32 -exe app.exe (or cfix64 -exe app.exe, respectively), however, the application’s main() routine will not execute and instead, your embedded unit tests will run.

This may seem awkward at first — but it offers a tremendous advantage: All of the application’s code now immediately becomes testable (i.e. accessible by unit test code) without having to do complex reorganization of your build process or source tree layout (although it is still a very good idea to enhance the build process s.t. the unit tests are stripped in the RTM builds and to make cfix.dll a delayload DLL). For many projects, relying on this feature will therefore make adopting cfix and maybe even unit testing in general much easier.

In almost all regards, EXE-embedded unit tests behave the same as their DLL counterparts. They are, however, slightly less handy when it comes to debugging (unless you use Visual Assert, which will shield you from this). For this reason, and their greater flexibility in general, it should be noted though that DLL-based unit tests will remain the preferred choice.

Kernel mode multithreading

Since its first release, cfix has featured support for multi-threaded test cases. Multi-threaded test cases are tests which spawn child threads and — and this is the important point — both, the “main” thread and the child threads may trigger assertions (i.e. use CFIX_ASSERT and friends). Regardless of the thread an assertion occurs on, it will be recognized by the framework and will lead to the test case being marked as having failed. In case this sounds trivial to you, be informed that not even JUnit properly supports this :)

And while this feature has been supported for user mode tests ever since, the infrastructure for kernel mode unit tests, which was added in version 1.1, has lacked support for this feature: There was no kernel mode counterpart of CfixCreateThread and thus, only single-threaded kernel mode tests were supported.

cfix 1.5 now finally introduces CfixCreateSystemThread: CfixCreateSystemThread is basically a wrapper for PsCreateSystemThread with the added functionality of registering the child thread with cfix. Thus, all threads spawned using CfixCreateSystemThread (rather than using PsCreateSystemThread directly) are allowed to make use of assertions.

Kudos to Matt Oh for beta-testing this feature.

Minor enhacements

Another enhancement related to multi threaded tests is Auto-joining of child threads: After a test routine completes, the framework will now automatically check whether any child threads were created. If this is the case and any of these threads are still running, they will be waited on — not before all threads have terminated will the test run resume. This feature both makes writing multi-threaded tests more convenient (you do not have to wait by yourself) and safer (No more runaway child threads).

Finally, another feature worth noting is that by specifying the -td command line switch, cfix can be directed to not capture a stack backtrace when an assertion fails. Although stack backtraces are usually very helpful, the symbol loading can make their creation quite expensive. Using this switch can therefore speed up the usage of cfix.

Download/Upgrade Now

You see, there are many good reasons to upgrade your cfix installation or — in case you are not using cfix yet — to give cfix a try.

Better yet, check out the Visual Assert AddIn for Visual C++ — it is based on the new cfix 1.5 release and seamlessly integrates with Visual Studio.

Download cfix 1.5.0 Installer
Download cfix 1.5.0 source code

cfix 1.3.0 Released, Introducing WinUnit Compatibility

cfix 1.3, the latest version of the unit testing framework for C/C++ on Windows, has just been released. As announced in the last blog post, the major new feature of this release is WinUnit compatibility, i.e. the ability to recompile existing WinUnit test suites into cfix test suites without having to change a single line of code.

To demonstrate that this compatibility indeed works, consider the following simple example:

#include "WinUnit.h"

  WIN_ASSERT_STRING_EQUAL( "foo", "bar" "Descriptive message");

Compile it:

cl /I %CFIX_HOME%\include /LD /EHa /Zi winunittest.cpp /link /LIBPATH:%CFIX_HOME%\lib\i386

Or, in case %INCLUDE% and %LIB% already happen to be set properly:

cl /LD /EHa winunittest.cpp

Note that the only difference to compiling the test for WinUnit ist that a different include path is used — rather than the original winunit.h, cfix’ own winunit.h is used, which in turn implements the WinUnit API on top of the existing API.

The resulting DLL is a valid cfix DLL and its tests can be run in the usual manner. As the example contains a failing test, cfix will print the stack trace and error description to the console:

D:\sample>cfix32 -ts -z winunittest.dll
cfix version (fre)
(C) 2008-2009 - Johannes Passing -
[Failure]      winunittest.DummyTest.DummyTest
      winunittest.cpp(5): DummyTest

      Expression: Descriptive message: [foo] == [bar] (Expression: "foo" == "bar")
      Last Error: 0 (The operation completed successfully. )

      cfix!CfixpCaptureStackTrace +0x40
      cfix!CfixPeReportFailedAssertion +0xd2
      winunittest!cfixcc::Assertion::Relate ...
      winunittest!DummyTest +0x9c
      cfix!CfixsRunTestRoutine +0x33
      cfix!CfixsRunTestCaseMethod +0x27
      cfix!CfixsRunTestCase +0x25

Of course, cfix also supports WinUnit fixtures, as the following example, taken from the original WinUnit article on MSDN demonstrates:

#include "WinUnit.h"
#include <windows.h>

// Fixture must be declared.

  TCHAR s_tempFileName[MAX_PATH] = _T("");
  bool IsFileValid(TCHAR* fileName);

// Both SETUP and TEARDOWN must be present. 
  // This is the maximum size of the directory passed to GetTempFileName.
  const unsigned int maxTempPath = MAX_PATH - 14; 
  TCHAR tempPath[maxTempPath + 1] = _T("");
  DWORD charsWritten = GetTempPath(maxTempPath + 1, tempPath);
  // (charsWritten does not include null character)
  WIN_ASSERT_TRUE(charsWritten  0, 
    _T("GetTempPath failed."));

  // Create a temporary file
  UINT tempFileNumber = GetTempFileName(tempPath, _T("WUT"), 
    0, // This means the file will get created and closed.

  // Make sure that the file actually exists
    _T("File %s is invalid or does not exist."), s_tempFileName);

// TEARDOWN does the inverse of SETUP, as well as undoing 
// any side effects the tests could have caused.
  // Delete the temp file if it still exists.
  if (IsFileValid(s_tempFileName))
    // Ensure file is not read-only
    DWORD fileAttributes = GetFileAttributes(s_tempFileName);
    if (fileAttributes & FILE_ATTRIBUTE_READONLY)
          fileAttributes ^ FILE_ATTRIBUTE_READONLY),
          _T("Unable to undo read-only attribute of file %s."),

    // Since I'm testing DeleteFile, I use the alternative CRT file
    // deletion function in my cleanup.
      _T("Unable to delete file %s."), s_tempFileName);

  // Clear the temp file name.
    ARRAYSIZE(s_tempFileName) * sizeof(s_tempFileName[0]));

BEGIN_TESTF(DeleteFileShouldDeleteFileIfNotReadOnly, DeleteFileFixture)
    _T("DeleteFile did not delete %s correctly."),

BEGIN_TESTF(DeleteFileShouldFailIfFileIsReadOnly, DeleteFileFixture)
  // Set file to read-only
  DWORD fileAttributes = GetFileAttributes(s_tempFileName);
    fileAttributes | FILE_ATTRIBUTE_READONLY));

  // Verify that DeleteFile fails with ERROR_ACCESS_DENIED
  // (according to spec)

  bool IsFileValid(TCHAR* fileName)
    return (GetFileAttributes(fileName) != INVALID_FILE_ATTRIBUTES);

Compiling and running this test yields the expected output:

d:\sample>cl /I %CFIX_HOME%\include /LD /EHa /Zi fixture.cpp /link /LIBPATH:%CFIX_HOME%\lib\i386
d:\sample>cfix32 -ts -z fixture.dll
cfix version (fre)
(C) 2008-2009 - Johannes Passing -
[Success]      fixture.DeleteFileFixture.DeleteFileShouldDeleteFileIfNotReadOnly
[Success]      fixture.DeleteFileFixture.DeleteFileShouldFailIfFileIsReadOnly

       1 Fixtures
       2 Test cases
           2 succeeded
           0 failed
           0 inconclusive


All compatibility has its limitations — although cfix supports all major WinUnit constructs and assertions, there are a small number of known limitations, which are listed in the documentation. And although I am confident that most WinUnit code should compile and run just fine, it is, of course, possible, that further limitations pop up. In such cases, I would welcome an appropriate bug report and will try to fix cfix accordingly.


In order to have cfix be a fully adequate replacement for cfix, the cfix documentation has additionally been augmented to include a documentation of the entire WinUnit API.

Technical background

Technically, implementing the compatibility layer went rather smoothly. On the one hand, WinUnit and cfix have similar architectures, which makes many things easier. On the other hand, WinUnit has a clean, single public header file (contrast that to CppUnit!), which also simplified things. And as WinUnit is limited to C++, I was able to use C++ templates (in combination with some preprocessor macros) to implement the entire WinUnit compatibility layer without having to change a single line of cfix itself. Rather, the WinUnit macros/classes are all mapped onto the existing cfix C++ API, which already includes most of what was neccessary to implement the WinUnit functionality.


In case have been using WinUnit the past and have a set of existing WinUnit-based test suites, give cfix a try — Not only should it be a full-featured replacement for WinUnit, you can also expect to see, and benefit from new features in upcoming releases!

Last but not least, the release contains a number of minor bugfixes. So upgrading is recommended even if you do not intend to use the new WinUnit compatibility feature.

cfix can be downloaded here.

cfix 1.2 Installer Fixed for AMD64

The cfix 1.2 package as released last week contained a rather stupid bug that the new build,, now fixes: the amd64 binaries cfix64.exe and cfixkr64.sys were wrongly installed as cfix32.exe and cfixkr32.sys, respectively. Not only did this stand in contrast to what the documenation stated, it also resulted in cfix being unable to load the cfixkr driver on AMD64 platforms.

The new MSI package is now available for download on Sourceforge.

cfix 1.2 introduces improved C++ support

cfix 1.2, which has been released today, introduces a number of new features, the most prominent being improved support for C++ and additional execution options.

New C++ API

To date, cfix has primarily focussed on C as the programming language to write unit tests in. Although C++ has always been supported, cfix has not made use of the additional capabilities C++ provides. With version 1.2, cfix makes C++ a first class citizen and introduces an additional API that leverages the benefits of C++ and allows writing test cases in a more convenient manner.

Being implemented on top of the existing C API, the C++ API is not a replacement, but rather an addition to the existing API set.

As the following example suggests, fixtures can now be written as classes, with test cases being implemented as methods:

#include <cfixcc.h>

class ExampleTest : public cfixcc::TestFixture
  void TestOne() 
  void TestTwo() 


To learn more about the definition of fixtures, have a look at the respective TestFixture chapter in the cfix documentation.

Regarding the implementation of test cases, cfix adds a new set of type-safe, template-driven assertions that, for instance, allow convenient equality checks:

void TestOne() 
  const wchar_t* testString = L"test";
  // Use typesafe assertions...
  CFIXCC_ASSERT_EQUALS( L"test", testString );
  CFIXCC_ASSERT_EQUALS( wcslen( testString ), ( size_t ) 4 );
  // ...log messages...
  CFIX_LOG( L"Test string is %s", testString );
  // ...or use the existing "C" assertions.
  CFIX_ASSERT( wcslen( testString ) == 4 );
  CFIX_ASSERT_MESSAGE( testString[ 0 ] == 't', 
    L"Test string should start with a 't'" );

Again, have a look at the updated API reference for an overview of the new API additions.

Customizing Test Runs

Another important new feature is the addition of the new switches -fsf (Shortcut Fixture), -fsr (Shortcut Run), and -fss (Shortcut Run On Failing Setup). Using these switches allows you to specify how a test run should resume when a test case fails.

When a test case fails, the default behavior of cfix is to report the failure, and resume at the next test case. By specifying -fsf, however, the remaining test cases of the same fixture will be skipped and execution resumes at the next fixture. With -fsr, cfix can be requirested to abort the entire run as soon as a single test case fails.

What else is new in 1.2?


As always, cfix 1.2 is source and binary compatible to previous versions. The new MSI package and source code can now be downloaded on Sourceforge.

cfix is open source and licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License.

cfix 1.1.1 released

As discussed last week, cfix 1.1.0 has suffered from a potential deadlocking issue when run in the VisualStudio 2008 debugger. cfix 1.1.1 mitigates this problem and should now work equally well with Visual Studio 2005 and 2008.

When run in a debugger, cfix now will not try to capture a stack trace for a failed assertion any more. These stack traces usually have been redundant to what the debugger provides, yet the logic to implement this has been the reason for the interference with the VS 2008 debugger. When run outside the debugger, cfix will capture and display a stack trace as before.

As always, binaries and source code can be obtained on Sourceforge.



About me

Johannes Passing, M.Sc., living in Berlin, Germany.

Besides his consulting work, Johannes mainly focusses on Win32, COM, and NT kernel mode development, along with Java and .Net. He also is the author of cfix, a C/C++ unit testing framework for Win32 and NT kernel mode, Visual Assert, a Visual Studio Unit Testing-AddIn, and NTrace, a dynamic function boundary tracing toolkit for Windows NT/x86 kernel/user mode code.

Contact Johannes: jpassing (at) acm org

Johannes' GPG fingerprint is BBB1 1769 B82D CD07 D90A 57E8 9FE1 D441 F7A0 1BB1.

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