Setting up googletest with Visual C++ 2010 Express Edition

So on an Embedded, Real-Time blog why am I taking about Visual C++ and googletest?

With the growth and acceptance of agile techniques, such as Test Driven Design (TDD), which is very well explained in James Grenning’s book Test Driven Development for Embedded C, we now have a set of tools and techniques that are:

  • Natural to use (as they use the native language)
  • Easy to use (to varying degrees)
  • Free

that allow the quality of embedded software to be significantly improved prior to target based testing.

However, It is important to note that TDD does not solve (or even address) may of the complications of developing and testing software for an embedded environment, but at the same time it should not be ignored.

So why Visual C++ express edition and googletest?

First, Visual C++ is not my first tool of choice, this selection came from working with a customer, it was their choice. Saying that, the express edition is free to use (I am assuming you will be using a professional cross-complier for target development) and it has become one of the best standards conforming C++ compilers around. Also I am not claiming to be a Visual C++ expert as I don’t develop software targeted at Windows.

googletest (gtest) is, in my experience to date, by far the easiest unit testing framework around for testing C++. For testing C I prefer Unity, which I’ll discuss in a later post. googletest is also supported by googlemock (gmock), which is an essential part of being able to use a unit testing framework for host testing of embedded software (my next post will look at setting up gmock). Finally, gtest was also part of the customers requirements.

As with many of these projects, all the information is out there, but what I hope to do is save you a little of the pain I went through getting the project setup and working.

I will assume you have Visual C++ 2010 express edition installed, if not go ahead and install it following the default Microsoft process.

Next, download the googletest zip file and unzip it to known location. I suggest something easy, either C:\gtest-1.6.0, or as in my case C:\src\gtest-1.6.0.

Building the gtest libraries

This couldn’t be easier. Simply navigate to the directory \gtest-1.6.0\msvc and open the Visual C++ project gtest (gtest.sln).

image

You will be asked to convert the project from an older format to a newer one. Go ahead and do this. Finally you’ll end up with four projects:

image

Go ahead and build these (F7) and ignore any warnings. Once successfully built, look in the directory \gtest-1.6.0\msvc\gtest\Debug and you will find two library files

image

These are Debug build libraries (the ‘d’ in the library name indicates this). If you want Release build libraries then change the build option to Release and rebuild. You will find the library files gtest.lib and gtest_main.lib in \gtest-1.6.0\msvc\gtest\Release. However, for the purposes here I’m assuming we only need to work with Debug builds.

Building a Visual C++ gtest Project

The key steps to build a gtest project are:

  • Create a new project
    • Win32 Console Application
  • Add test fixture file
    • and remove default main
  • Configure project properties
    • Additional Include Directories
      • \gtest-1.6.0\include
    • Add gtest (debug) libraries
      • gtestd.lib
      • gtest_maind.lib
    • Modify Runtime Library:
      • Multi-threaded Debug (/MTd)

Create a new Visual Studio project

Create a new Win32 Console Application project (gtest_VC_setup)

image

using the Application Wizard, unselect the option for using Precompiled headers as cause some build problems.

image

You will get a default project main file containing the following code:

// gtest_VC_setup.cpp : Defines the entry point for the console application.
 #include "stdafx.h"
  
 int _tmain(int argc, _TCHAR* argv[])
 {
  return 0;
 }

Build (F7) and run (Ctrl+F5) to check everything is okay with the project.

Add test fixture file

We now can write a simple test to check out the gtest libraries. Create a new C++ file  (Ctrl+Shift+A), here named testFixture.cpp. Add the following code to this file:

// testFixture.cpp
 #include "gtest/gtest.h"
 TEST(setup_test_case, testWillPass)
 {
  EXPECT_EQ(42, 42);
 }

 

Regarding the main function (_tmain above) we have two options. Either we can write the main code required by gtest, or we can use a default main which gtest supplies as part of the gtest_main library. For now, we will use the gtest default. To do this we need to remove the file gtest_VC_setup.cpp from the build (if you right-click on the filename, the you will see the option “Exclude from Build”).

Now build the project; you will see the error:

  • fatal error C1083: Cannot open include file: ‘gtest/gtest.h’: No such file or directory

Configure project properties

gtest Include Directory

We now need to configure the project to look in the correct place for the header gtest.h. Open the project property pages (Alt+F7). Select:

  • Configuration Properties
    • C/C++
      • General
        • Additional Include Directories

And add the path to \gtest-1.6.0\include

image

Rebuild the project; you will now see the error:

• LINK : fatal error LNK1561: entry point must be defined

Add gtest libraries to the build

The error is because we have removed the main function, and thus there is now no program entry point. As stated, we want to use the supplied gtest main, so we need to include the gtest_main.lib library in our build. While we are there we might as well add the gtestd.lib library to the build as well as we’ll need it anyway.

Open the project property pages (Alt+F7). Select:

  • Configuration Properties
    • Linker
      • General
        • Additional Library Directories

And add the path to \gtest-1.6.0\msvc\gtest\Debug

image

Then select:

  • Configuration Properties
    • Linker
      • Input
        • Additional Dependencies

And add gtestd.lib and gtest_maind.lib

image

Rebuild, and you will get yet a further error:

  • fatal error LNK1169: one or more multiply defined symbols found

Modify Runtime Library

Now here is an area I’m note entirely sure why I need to change the runtime library option, but to remove the linker error change the runtime library from:

  • Multi-threaded Debug DLL (/MDd)

to:

  • Multi-threaded Debug (/MTd)

In the project property pages, select:

  • Configuration Properties
    • C/C++
      • Code Generation
        • Runtime Library

to change the option.

image

Finally you will get a clean build which results in an executable. Running the project (Ctrl+F5) will result in the following output:

image

Test gtest

As one last step it is worth checking that gtest is functioning correctly by adding a failing test. Modify testFixture.cpp to include:

// testFixture.cpp
 #include "gtest/gtest.h"
 TEST(setup_test_case, testWillPass)
 {
      EXPECT_EQ(42, 42);
 }
 TEST(setup_test_case, testWillFail)
 {
     EXPECT_EQ(42, 0);
 }

Build and run, giving a final output of:

image

And finally…

Easy, once you know how! There is no real rocket science here, or anything specifically new, but I’m hoping that using this guide you can now start playing with googletest. Also, I am sure there are probably better ways to set the project up, but as I said before, using VC++ is only a means-to-an-end rather than my final target compiler, so I tend to work using the path of least resistance.

To follow up there will be further postings on getting googlemock setup and running with Visual C++ and then I will explore gtest and gmock further.

As always, all constructive feedback welcome and please let me know if you had any problems.

Niall Cooling

Director at Feabhas Limited
Co-Founder and Director of Feabhas since 1995.
Niall has been designing and programming embedded systems for over 30 years. He has worked in different sectors, including aerospace, telecomms, government and banking.
His current interest lie in IoT Security and Agile for Embedded Systems.
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About Niall Cooling

Co-Founder and Director of Feabhas since 1995. Niall has been designing and programming embedded systems for over 30 years. He has worked in different sectors, including aerospace, telecomms, government and banking. His current interest lie in IoT Security and Agile for Embedded Systems.
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2 Responses to Setting up googletest with Visual C++ 2010 Express Edition

  1. Pingback: Sticky Bits » Blog Archive » Setting up googlemock with Visual C++ 2010 Express Edition

  2. Emile V says:

    Seems to work for VS 2012 also. Only the current included VS projects' project settengs need to be altered.
    In the Preprocessor Definitions a definition has to be added:

    _VARIADIC_MAX=10

    More explanation:
    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/12558327/google-test-in-visual-studio-2012

    You also need to do this in projects where you use the testing framework.

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