[unit-testing] NUnit vs. MbUnit vs. MSTest vs. xUnit.net

There are quite a lot of unittesting frameworks out there for .NET. I found this little feature comparison: http://xunit.github.io/docs/comparisons.html

Now I am to choose the best one for us. But how? Does it matter? Which one is most future proof and has a decent momentum behind it? Should I care about the features? While xUnit seems to be most modern and specifically designed for .NET, NUnit again seems to be the one that is widely accepted. MSTest again is already integrated into Visual Studio ...

This question is related to unit-testing nunit mstest mbunit xunit.net

The answer is


It's not a big deal on a small/personal scale, but it can become a bigger deal quickly on a larger scale. My employer is a large Microsoft shop, but won't/can't buy into Team System/TFS for a number of reasons. We currently use Subversion + Orcas + MBUnit + TestDriven.NET and it works well, but getting TD.NET was a huge hassle. The version sensitivity of MBUnit + TestDriven.NET is also a big hassle, and having one additional commercial thing (TD.NET) for legal to review and procurement to handle and manage, isn't trivial. My company, like a lot of companies, are fat and happy with a MSDN Subscription model, and it's just not used to handling one off procurements for hundreds of developers. In other words, the fully integrated MS offer, while definitely not always best-of-bread, is a significant value-add in my opinion.

I think we'll stay with our current step because it works and we've already gotten over the hump organizationally, but I sure do wish MS had a compelling offering in this space so we could consolidate and simplify our dev stack a bit.


Nunit doesnt work well with mixed-mode projects in C++ so I had to drop it


It's not a big deal, it's pretty easy to switch between them. MSTest being integrated isn't a big deal either, just grab testdriven.net.

Like the previous person said pick a mocking framework, my favourite at the moment is Moq.


NUnit is probably the most supported by the 3rd party tools. It's also been around longer than the other three.

I personally don't care much about unit test frameworks, mocking libraries are IMHO much more important (and lock you in much more). Just pick one and stick with it.


Consider supplementing, not replacing, MSTest with another testing framework. You can keep Visual Studio MSTest integration while getting the benefits of a more full-featured testing framework.

For example, i use xUnit with MSTest. Add a reference to the xUnit.dll assembly, and just do something like this. Suprisingly, it just works!

using Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestTools.UnitTesting;
using Assert = Xunit.Assert;  // <-- Aliasing the Xunit namespace is key

namespace TestSample
{
    [TestClass]
    public class XunitTestIntegrationSample
    {
        [TestMethod]
        public void TrueTest()
        {
            Assert.True(true);  // <-- this is the Xunit.Assert class
        }

        [TestMethod]
        public void FalseTest()
        {
            Assert.False(true);
        }
    }
}

I wouldn't go with MSTest. Although it's probably the most future proof of the frameworks with Microsoft behind it's not the most flexible solution. It won't run stand alone without some hacks. So running it on a build server other than TFS without installing Visual Studio is hard. The visual studio test-runner is actually slower than Testdriven.Net + any of the other frameworks. And because the releases of this framework are tied to releases of Visual Studio there are less updates and if you have to work with an older VS you're tied to an older MSTest.

I don't think it matters a lot which of the other frameworks you use. It's really easy to switch from one to another.

I personally use XUnit.Net or NUnit depending on the preference of my coworkers. NUnit is the most standard. XUnit.Net is the leanest framework.


NUnit is probably the most supported by the 3rd party tools. It's also been around longer than the other three.

I personally don't care much about unit test frameworks, mocking libraries are IMHO much more important (and lock you in much more). Just pick one and stick with it.


Consider supplementing, not replacing, MSTest with another testing framework. You can keep Visual Studio MSTest integration while getting the benefits of a more full-featured testing framework.

For example, i use xUnit with MSTest. Add a reference to the xUnit.dll assembly, and just do something like this. Suprisingly, it just works!

using Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestTools.UnitTesting;
using Assert = Xunit.Assert;  // <-- Aliasing the Xunit namespace is key

namespace TestSample
{
    [TestClass]
    public class XunitTestIntegrationSample
    {
        [TestMethod]
        public void TrueTest()
        {
            Assert.True(true);  // <-- this is the Xunit.Assert class
        }

        [TestMethod]
        public void FalseTest()
        {
            Assert.False(true);
        }
    }
}

It's not a big deal, it's pretty easy to switch between them. MSTest being integrated isn't a big deal either, just grab testdriven.net.

Like the previous person said pick a mocking framework, my favourite at the moment is Moq.


It's not a big deal on a small/personal scale, but it can become a bigger deal quickly on a larger scale. My employer is a large Microsoft shop, but won't/can't buy into Team System/TFS for a number of reasons. We currently use Subversion + Orcas + MBUnit + TestDriven.NET and it works well, but getting TD.NET was a huge hassle. The version sensitivity of MBUnit + TestDriven.NET is also a big hassle, and having one additional commercial thing (TD.NET) for legal to review and procurement to handle and manage, isn't trivial. My company, like a lot of companies, are fat and happy with a MSDN Subscription model, and it's just not used to handling one off procurements for hundreds of developers. In other words, the fully integrated MS offer, while definitely not always best-of-bread, is a significant value-add in my opinion.

I think we'll stay with our current step because it works and we've already gotten over the hump organizationally, but I sure do wish MS had a compelling offering in this space so we could consolidate and simplify our dev stack a bit.


NUnit is probably the most supported by the 3rd party tools. It's also been around longer than the other three.

I personally don't care much about unit test frameworks, mocking libraries are IMHO much more important (and lock you in much more). Just pick one and stick with it.


Nunit doesnt work well with mixed-mode projects in C++ so I had to drop it


NUnit is probably the most supported by the 3rd party tools. It's also been around longer than the other three.

I personally don't care much about unit test frameworks, mocking libraries are IMHO much more important (and lock you in much more). Just pick one and stick with it.


I wouldn't go with MSTest. Although it's probably the most future proof of the frameworks with Microsoft behind it's not the most flexible solution. It won't run stand alone without some hacks. So running it on a build server other than TFS without installing Visual Studio is hard. The visual studio test-runner is actually slower than Testdriven.Net + any of the other frameworks. And because the releases of this framework are tied to releases of Visual Studio there are less updates and if you have to work with an older VS you're tied to an older MSTest.

I don't think it matters a lot which of the other frameworks you use. It's really easy to switch from one to another.

I personally use XUnit.Net or NUnit depending on the preference of my coworkers. NUnit is the most standard. XUnit.Net is the leanest framework.


It's not a big deal, it's pretty easy to switch between them. MSTest being integrated isn't a big deal either, just grab testdriven.net.

Like the previous person said pick a mocking framework, my favourite at the moment is Moq.


I wouldn't go with MSTest. Although it's probably the most future proof of the frameworks with Microsoft behind it's not the most flexible solution. It won't run stand alone without some hacks. So running it on a build server other than TFS without installing Visual Studio is hard. The visual studio test-runner is actually slower than Testdriven.Net + any of the other frameworks. And because the releases of this framework are tied to releases of Visual Studio there are less updates and if you have to work with an older VS you're tied to an older MSTest.

I don't think it matters a lot which of the other frameworks you use. It's really easy to switch from one to another.

I personally use XUnit.Net or NUnit depending on the preference of my coworkers. NUnit is the most standard. XUnit.Net is the leanest framework.


It's not a big deal on a small/personal scale, but it can become a bigger deal quickly on a larger scale. My employer is a large Microsoft shop, but won't/can't buy into Team System/TFS for a number of reasons. We currently use Subversion + Orcas + MBUnit + TestDriven.NET and it works well, but getting TD.NET was a huge hassle. The version sensitivity of MBUnit + TestDriven.NET is also a big hassle, and having one additional commercial thing (TD.NET) for legal to review and procurement to handle and manage, isn't trivial. My company, like a lot of companies, are fat and happy with a MSDN Subscription model, and it's just not used to handling one off procurements for hundreds of developers. In other words, the fully integrated MS offer, while definitely not always best-of-bread, is a significant value-add in my opinion.

I think we'll stay with our current step because it works and we've already gotten over the hump organizationally, but I sure do wish MS had a compelling offering in this space so we could consolidate and simplify our dev stack a bit.


I wouldn't go with MSTest. Although it's probably the most future proof of the frameworks with Microsoft behind it's not the most flexible solution. It won't run stand alone without some hacks. So running it on a build server other than TFS without installing Visual Studio is hard. The visual studio test-runner is actually slower than Testdriven.Net + any of the other frameworks. And because the releases of this framework are tied to releases of Visual Studio there are less updates and if you have to work with an older VS you're tied to an older MSTest.

I don't think it matters a lot which of the other frameworks you use. It's really easy to switch from one to another.

I personally use XUnit.Net or NUnit depending on the preference of my coworkers. NUnit is the most standard. XUnit.Net is the leanest framework.


It's not a big deal, it's pretty easy to switch between them. MSTest being integrated isn't a big deal either, just grab testdriven.net.

Like the previous person said pick a mocking framework, my favourite at the moment is Moq.


It's not a big deal on a small/personal scale, but it can become a bigger deal quickly on a larger scale. My employer is a large Microsoft shop, but won't/can't buy into Team System/TFS for a number of reasons. We currently use Subversion + Orcas + MBUnit + TestDriven.NET and it works well, but getting TD.NET was a huge hassle. The version sensitivity of MBUnit + TestDriven.NET is also a big hassle, and having one additional commercial thing (TD.NET) for legal to review and procurement to handle and manage, isn't trivial. My company, like a lot of companies, are fat and happy with a MSDN Subscription model, and it's just not used to handling one off procurements for hundreds of developers. In other words, the fully integrated MS offer, while definitely not always best-of-bread, is a significant value-add in my opinion.

I think we'll stay with our current step because it works and we've already gotten over the hump organizationally, but I sure do wish MS had a compelling offering in this space so we could consolidate and simplify our dev stack a bit.


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