How do I test error conditions?

Use the ut_cmp_error function. For example, here is a function that will throw an error for a bad argument:

add_four <- function(x) {
    if( ! is.numeric(x) ) stop("x must be numeric")
    return( x+4 )

We can test the argument check like this:

ok(ut_cmp_error(add_four("a"), "must be numeric"), "add_four() argument not numeric throws error")
## ok - add_four() argument not numeric throws error

How do I test multivalue results, or see differences?

Use ut_cmp_equal(...) or ut_cmp_identical(...) as replacements for all.equal(...) and identical(...) respectively:

a <- c(1,2,3)
b <- 1:3
ok(ut_cmp_equal(a,b), "a and b are equal")
## ok - a and b are equal

ut_cmp_identical will make sure your objects are identical, and is more useful when comparing e.g. a list of strings which should be exactly the same.

ut_cmp_equal will test for ‘near equality’, and is more useful when comparing numeric values which may be slightly different due to floating-point accuracy.

Either way, if your test fails you will get verbose output showing you how they differ, and if you have git installed the output will be coloured. For example:

> ok(ut_cmp_equal(c(1,2,3,4,5), c(1,8,8,4,5)))
not ok - ut_cmp_equal(c(1, 2, 3, 4, 5), c(1, 8, 8, 4, 5))
# Test returned non-TRUE value:
# Mean relative difference: 2.2
# --- c(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
# +++ c(1, 8, 8, 4, 5)
# [1] 1 [-2 3-]{+8 8+} 4 5

Grouping tests

When dealing with many unit tests in one file it can be useful to group related unit tests.

The ok_group() function is used like this:

ok_group("Test addition", {
    ok(1 + 1 == 2, "Can add 1")
    ok(1 + 3 == 4, "Can add 3")
## # Test addition
## ok - Can add 1
## ok - Can add 3
ok_group("Test subtraction", {
    ok(1 - 1 == 0, "Can subtract 1")
    ok(1 - 3 == -2, "Can subtract 3")
## # Test subtraction
## ok - Can subtract 1
## ok - Can subtract 3

I am sure I do not need to test my code. Is this true?

No. Sit down and have a cup of tea. Hopefully the feeling will go away.

Working with packages

I’m writing a package, how do I put tests in it?

Add the following line to the package DESCRIPTION file.

Suggests: unittest

Create a directory called tests in your package source, alongside your R directory.

Place your tests in a file with the extension .R and add the following lines to the top of the file (replacing mypackage with the name of your package).

library(unittest, quietly = TRUE)

That’s it; R CMD check will run the tests and fail if any of the tests fail.

Any .R file in the tests directory will be run by R CMD check.

When you use the unittest package the package ‘knows’ that it is being run by CMD check and at the end of the tests it produces a summary of the results. The package will also throw an error if any tests fail; throwing an error will in turn cause CMD check to report the error and fail the check.

Here is a very simple example:

Assuming your package contains (and exports) the function biggest()

biggest <- function(x,y) {max(c(x,y))}

then the tests/my_tests_for_biggest.R file could contain something like

library(unittest, quietly = TRUE)

ok(biggest(3,4) == 4, "two numbers")
ok(biggest(c(5,3),c(3,4)) == 5, "two vectors")

How do I test un-exported package functions?

If you have some unit tests which require access to un-exported functions, or un-exported S3 methods, you can use local.

    ok(internal_function() == 3)
    ok(another_internal_function() == 4)
    ok(final_internal_function() == 5)
}, asNamespace('mypackage'))