Testing Request.Form with ASP.NET MVC

08 Jul 2008

I wanted to quickly spike an idea that I had last night, and while normally I'd use Monorail, I thought it was high time I took an interest in ASP.NET MVC. It took about ten minutes for me to stumble to a halt.

In Monorail, you can do something like this:

public void Save([DataBind("item")]Model model){}

The instance of model will be automatically populated with incoming variables from Request.Form or Request.QueryString. To do similar in ASP.NET MVC, it seems you have to do this:

public void Save()
    Model model = new Model();
    BindingHelperExtensions.Binding.UpdateFrom(model, Request.Form, "item");

A bit more verbose, but I can live with that. The trouble came when I was thinking about unit testing this (yes, I should have thought about that first if I really wanted to do TDD, bla bla).

In Monorail, a test for the above could look like:

public void SaveTest()
    MyController controller = new MyController();
    controller.Save(new Model());

Obviously the above doesn't actually do anything, but you get the point. But how would I replicate that with ASP.NET MVC? I can't just pass through a ready-made instance to the Save action. I needed some way to pass through some values to Request.Form so that UpdateFrom would have something to chew on.

Trouble is... there doesn't seem to be a simple way of doing that. I've reviewed a number of blog articles, and even looking at the code for Rob Conery's Storefront which is now linked from the ASP.NET website itself, shows that his solution is to create a fake HttpContextBase class which uses a mock HttpRequestBase.

This being Preview 3, I'd like to think that this process would be streamlined in the near future, but for now, I'll pass.

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