Working with Racer, Part II

This week I played with Racer and Gallio, the current incarnation of mbUnit. Did you know that Gallio comes with Typemock Isolator extensions?

Anyway, Gallio has some thread manipulation classes, like TaskContainer and ThreadTask, as well as others. I tried to find deadlocks around those classes. No dice. I’m not discouraged though. I’m just going to need a more thread-complicated project where a deadlock is waiting to be found.

But until then, here are things I find during my exercises, useful ones, I think.

First, when using MSTest, which I do, you need to turn off deployment in the solution’s test configuration file. There’s a small bug that causes a weird exception when you run with the default deployment on.

Next, running with Isolator. Yes, Typemock tools do work together. When you have both installed, and you want to run Racer, you should disable Isolator and enable Racer. This is the default mode, since Racer runs the regular code paths.

However, there come times where you need dependency isolation. In my tests, I found that the code I want to Racer to test calls system files dependencies. In another case, the function got an abstract class as an argument. In both, those didn’t have any impact on what I was looking for, namely thread manipulation methods. So I faked them with Isolator.

In order to make that work, you need to disable from the Typemock menu and enable Isolator. Then you need to link Isolator with Racer, using Isolator’s Configuration program. And that’s it, you can now use Isolator’s APIs to your heart’s content. This can make the process of running much shorter, because as we know dependencies can be heavy on the processing side, while not important for the purpose of the test.

So far I haven’t found a worthy opponent. And by worthy I mean a complex enough multi-threaded project that might actually cause deadlocks. What I’ve encountered until now are simple locks. What do you suggest I try next?

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