Pedro Pedro - 1 year ago 355
C# Question

Unit Testing: DateTime.Now

I have some unit tests that expects the 'current time' to be different than DateTime.Now and I don't want to change the computer's time, obviously. What's the best strategy to achieve this?


Answer Source

The best strategy is to wrap the current time in an abstraction and inject that abstraction into the consumer.

Alternatively, you can also define a time abstraction as an Ambient Context:

public abstract class TimeProvider
    private static TimeProvider current =

    public static TimeProvider Current
       get { return TimeProvider.current; }
           if (value == null)
               throw new ArgumentNullException("value");
           TimeProvider.current = value; 

   public abstract DateTime UtcNow { get; }

   public static void ResetToDefault()
       TimeProvider.current = DefaultTimeProvider.Instance;

This will enable you to consume it like this:

var now = TimeProvider.Current.UtcNow;

In a unit test, you can replace TimeProvider.Current with a Test Double/Mock object. Example using Moq:

var timeMock = new Mock<TimeProvider>();
timeMock.SetupGet(tp => tp.UtcNow).Returns(new DateTime(2010, 3, 11));
TimeProvider.Current = timeMock.Object;

However, when unit testing with static state, always remember to tear down your fixture by calling TimeProvider.ResetToDefault().

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