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So I've got "Services" in my system that handle creating, updating etc of the data.

For example state_service.create() would create a new state in the database. This state belongs to a group.

The problem is, the group needs to be created first, before the state can be added.

Now, I can always call group_service.create() first, then create the state after, like this:

def test_state_service_create(self):
    self.group_service.create()
    state_id = self.state_service.create()
    self.assertTrue(state_id)

however I am not sure if this is bad practice, since this now relies on group_service.create() working correctly. The alternative is to manually create the group myself, such as:

def test_state_service_create(self):
    self.db.groups.insert_one(self.mock_groups[0])
    state_id = self.state_service.create()
    self.assertTrue(state_id)

But this would just mean that I'd need to update the mock data should the schema change.

Which is the proper practice here, or is it something else entirely?

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    Aren't you, in both examples, calling something that is not intended to be tested? – Theraot Feb 9 at 16:02
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    I'm perfectly fine with the first case. I've never understood the "relies on x working correctly". Of course it does. That is why you test that first. – Euphoric Feb 9 at 16:08
  • @Theraot, well the first example uses a method that's going to be tested as part of these test suites. The second example uses an external library that's tested independantly. I guess my thinking is that by using the second example, the test is less likely to fail for something else it's relying on. – Slepton Feb 9 at 16:23
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IMHO it's perfectly fine to make whatever calls you need to prepare your test pre-requisite conditions - they are necessary to run your test.

If your testing framework has test skipping capabilities and if you have ways to check if those calls failed - i.e. if your test's pre-requisite conditions are NOT met then I'd also recommend skipping the test - you can't actually run it, so technically it'd be incorrect to declare it failed.

Immediately skipping tests on any failure in setting up pre-requisite conditions has some advantages:

  • reducing unnecessary noise, depending on how the project deals with test failures
  • potentially significant savings in expensive/lengthy testing
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