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Quick Start Unit Test - How to Start Working with the Google C++ Testing Framework in Less than 10 Minutes

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This article demonstrates how to start using the "Google C++ Testing Framework" quickly and easily.


This step-by-step walkthrough demonstrates how to create a library for unit testing (the "Google C++ Testing Framework") and shows how to start using it quickly and easily.


If you have heard a lot of positive reviews about the usefulness of unit tests, but do not know how to start, then this article is for you. This tip gives some information about setting up a testing Google's framework, then describes how to quickly create unit test in Visual Studio 2010 (requires the use of Microsoft Visual C++ 7.1 or newer).

In the development process, testing of the software is a mandatory step. One of the main tests is the unit testing, which involves testing the fundamental elements of the software product.

It may be carried out by using the Google C++ Testing Framework (Yes, there is an alternative way to use printf). This framework can be used on different operating systems (Windows, Windows CE, Linux, Mac OS X, Symbian, etc). The Google's framework is based on the popular xUnit architecture, i.e., this architecture provides the ability to test the different units of software such as classes and methods. The main advantage of xUnit frameworks is that they provide an automated solution with no need to write the same tests many times, and no need to remember what should be the result of each test. For example, I can do a bunch of changes in my code, and then I can confirm I hadn't broken anything by running the test over it again... It saves a lot of time, effort and nerves. Of course, you can have unit tests that will do it for each nightly build.

The GTest (Google C++ Testing Framework) supports automatic test discovery, a rich set of assertions, user-defined assertions, death tests, fatal and non-fatal failures, various options for running the tests, and XML test report generation.

I hope that my short tips can help you save time and evade the pitfalls in the process of working with Gtest in Windows. You can easily tweak your environment and it may give you the ability already in a short time to create a unit-test and to test a concrete software module.

So let's start!

Using the Code

Create a Library

  1. You need to download the last version of "Google Test Framework" from

    Currently the latest stable release of "Google Test Framework" is Version 1.7.0 for Windows OS and is available for download, but over time, it may change from one version to another.

  2. Extract all files from the archive into C:\gtest-1.7.0\ folder or some other directory.

    The unpacked archive is a repository for several files and folders:

    The unzipped folder

  3. Go to the "~\gtest-1.7.0\msvc" folder:

    The unzipped folder

    The msvc\ folder contains two solutions:

    • gtest.sln - uses static versions of the Microsoft runtime libraries
    • gtest-md.sln - uses DLL versions of Microsoft runtime libraries

Now please pay attention to your tested project!

When building the Google library, you must check the C/C++ runtime library in the project which you are going to test. Solution selection is purely based on the project which you are going to test. In Visual Studio 2010, you can select this option using Project->Properties->Configuration Properties->C/C++->Code Generation->Runtime Library

You MUST use the same option to compile both gtest library and the test code. So, if for the Runtime Library, your project uses the Multi-threaded DLL (the /MD or the /MDd) option, then you should open the solution with suffix -md, i.e., the gtest-md.sln file.

If for the Runtime Library, your project uses the Multi-threaded (the /MT or the /MTd ) option, then you should open the gtest.sln solution.

For more information about the "/MD, /MT, /LD (Use Run-Time Library)", see here.

Now let's look at our project:

The Runtime Library

OK, for our code, we use the "Multi-threaded DLL (/MD)" configuration for Release version and "Multi-threaded Debug DLL (/MDd)" for the Debug configuration. Therefore, we will use the gtest-md.sln!

Let’s open the gtest-md.sln. When you first open the gtest-md.sln in Visual Studio 2010 (or any version later than Microsoft Visual C++ 2003), you will see the Visual Studio Conversion Wizard window.

The Visual Studio Conversion Wizard

This wizard will convert Google's project created with the previous version of Visual Studio to the current version of Visual Studio...

For the debug version of your project, you should build the GTest solution with 'Debug' configuration.

Debug version

Debug configuration will build the gtestd.lib file:

Debug library

For the release version of your project, you should build the GTest solution with 'Release' configuration, respectively.

Release version

Release configuration will build the gtest.lib file: Release library

Ok, after you have successfully generated the library for the unit testing, it's necessary to incorporate it into other Console App project.

Project Setup

Suppose we want to test the hypothesis that all the methods in the CCalc class are working correctly.

So let's check out the following class:


#pragma once

* A CCalc class. This class provides methods to perform standard arithmetic operations
class CCalc
    * The method adds two numbers and returns their sum
    int Add(int i, int j)
	int res = i + j;
	return res;
    * The method subtracts two numbers and returns result of subtraction
    int Sub(int i, int j)
	int res = i - j;
	return res;

    * This method multiplies two numbers and returns the result of multiplying
    int Mul(int i, int j)
	In order to provide an error detection, here I will purposely generate a logic error!
	Logic errors can be the most difficult type of errors to track down
	This often happens if you copy and paste a few lines of code...
       int res = i + j;
       return res;

As we said before, this class is part of the Win32 Console Application named 'Calc' under solution 'Calc':

Win32 Console app - Calc.vcprj under solution 'Calc'

  1. Let's create a separate project for our unit test.

    Add to our solution (Calc) a new "Win32 Console Application" project with the name 'UnitTest_Cal':

    The'Add New Project' window

    The'Win32 Application Wizard' window

  2. A unit test project of "Win32 Console Application" will be generated. Within the created application, there are the stdafx.cpp, targetver.h, stdafx.h files used for the console application and the UnitTest_Calc.cpp that contains the traditional _tmain function.

    The unit test

    You can now set up your test project to link with the Google Test library...

  3. Add the library as a dependency to your linker's "Additional Dependencies" property (find that under your Project Properties->Configuration Properties->Linker->Input):

    • For Release version, add the gtest.lib:

      The linker's 'Additional Dependencies'(Release)

    • For Debug version, add the gtestd.lib:

      The linker's 'Additional Dependencies'(Debug)

  4. Add the directories in which to search for the library (.lib) files (find that under your Project Properties->Configuration Properties->VC++ Directories->Library Directories):
    • For the Release version, add path to the gtest.lib:

      The 'Library Directories'(Release)

    • For the Debug version, add path to the gtestd.lib:

      The 'Library Directories'(Debug)

  5. Add the directories in which to search for the include files that are referenced in the source code:
    • <gtest_dir>
    • <gtest_dir>\include

    Include Directories

    (Find that under your Project Properties->Configuration Properties->VC++ Directories->Include Directories.)

    • For Release version:

      The 'Include Directories'(Release)

    • Add the same directories for Debug version:

      The 'Include Directories'(Debug)

  6. Let's open the UnitTest_Calc.cpp - the main source file in UnitTest_Calc application. Unfortunately, immediately after creation, the program doesn’t do anything, so to make it a little more interesting, for example to test functions from our CCalc class, you need to change it. So, you can insert the following code into the UnitTest_Calc.cpp file as shown below:
    // UnitTest_Calc.cpp : Defines the entry point for the console application.
    #include "stdafx.h"
    #include <conio.h>
    // This header file defines the public API for Google Test.
    //It should be included by any test program that uses Google Test.
    #include "gtest/gtest.h"
    #include "..\Calc\Calc.h"
    /* TEST(test_case_name, test_name) is a predefined macro. 
       These are ordinary C++ functions that don't return a value. 
       In this function, along with any valid C++ statements you want to include, 
       use the various Google Test assertions to check values. 
       The test's result is determined by the assertions; 
       if any assertion in the test fails (either fatally or non-fatally), 
       or if the test crashes, the entire test fails. Otherwise, it succeeds.
    TEST(testCalc, MyFirstTest)
    	CCalc c;
    	EXPECT_EQ(8,  c.Add(5,3));
    	EXPECT_EQ(2,  c.Sub(5,3));
    	EXPECT_EQ(15, c.Mul(5,3));
    /* Test No. 2  
    TEST(testCalc, MySecondTest)
    int _tmain(int argc, _TCHAR* argv[])
       /*The method is initializes the Google framework and 
         must be called before RUN_ALL_TESTS */
       ::testing::InitGoogleTest(&argc, argv);
       /*RUN_ALL_TESTS automatically detects and runs all the tests 
       defined using the TEST macro. 
       It's must be called only once in the code because multiple calls lead to conflicts  
       and, therefore, are not supported.
       return RUN_ALL_TESTS();

    Make sure it is exactly as shown in the preceding example; otherwise the program may not compile.

    Notice: The testing framework liberates us from a "housekeeping chores", and the test itself is concentrated only on the content of the test.

    We should only define one isolated scope for each unit test (e.g., TEST {...} ) and add to this test any content. For example, put into EXPECT_EQ() macro the expression that you want to test (like c.Add(5,3)) and put its expected result (e.g., 8) as its second argument.

    That's all! After that, the Gtest does all the work for us.

    A good unit test focuses just on testing!

  7. Build and run the UnitTest_Calc.vcproj and we will see the following gtest output:

    The test failed!

    As you can see, the test failed (as indicated by the red arrow). When tests fail, they should provide as much information about the problem as possible.Therefore, our cmd-window contains some information helping you better understand and diagnose failure.

    Let's look closely at the following lines:

    UnitTest_Calc.cpp(26): error: Value of: c.Mul(5,3)
    Actual: 8
    Expected: 15

    Thus an error occurred here: "EXPECT_EQ(15, c.Mul(5,3))". We expected to get 15 (expected result), but we got 8 (actual result)!

Now let's go back to the code of CCalc::Mul function, to understand why this function returns an error value.

* This method multiplies two numbers and returns the result of multiplying
int Mul(int i, int j)
   int res = i + j;
   return res;

We see that instead of multiplication of two digits, the CCalc:Mul function is calculating the sum of two digits!

Thus we must do only one correction, i.e., to change the '+' operator to '*'

After that, we should reopen our unit test (UnitTest_Calc.vcproj) and restart it again...

The test successfully completed!

Now we see that the test has been successfully completed.

To display the same results in the Build output window immediately after building the project, you could add the "$(TargetDir)$(TargetFileName)" string under "Post-Build Event\Command Line" (find that under your Project Properties->Configuration Properties->Build Events->Post-Build Event->Command Line):


Add this configuration for both Release and Debug versions of your test.

NOTE: Please pay attention, when you use the macros in 'Build Events', always put quotes around them. e.g.:"$(TargetPath)". They usually expand out to a path in Document and Settings and don't have quotes around them by default. Passing that value to many DOS-based applications will result in using spaces as filename separation delimiters, and thus, leads to "File not found" error (the most common cause of compilation errors)

Build output

Congratulations for a job well done!


The gtest-gbar app

The gtest-gbar project is an independent addition for Gtest. This tool helps to work with the text based UI of Google Test (it only adds some GUI to Google test).

The gtest-gbar is a bit more sophisticated than the console output. Also it's really an easy tool to run specific tests (since gtest supports all kinds of test filtering).

The latest stable release of gtest-gbar is available for download here.

Points of Interest

In this post, I have outlined some basic settings that you should do to start working with Google C++ Testing Framework under Visual C++ 2010. In this short tutorial, I have briefly explained how to write an unit-test. For more details, please see the Documentation on Google Test version 1.7 and, of course, read the Advanced topics on using Google C++ Testing Framework. If you want to see some Google Test sample code, please watch this samples folder, which has a number of well-commented samples showing how to use a variety of Google Test features.


  • 13th December, 2013: Initial post


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

Written By
Software Developer
Canada Canada
Mr.Volynsky Alex is a Software Engineer in a leading software company. Alex is skilled in many areas of computer science. He has over 14 years of experience in the design & development of applications using C/C++/STL, Python, Qt, MFC, DirectShow, JavaScript, VBScript, Bash and of course - C#/.NET.

In addition, Alex is the active member of Intel® Developer Zone (he was awarded by Intel® Green Belt for his active contribution to the Intel Developer Zone community for developers using Intel technology).

Alex is also interested in the Objective-C development for the iPad/iPhone platforms and he is the developer of the free 15-puzzle game on the App Store.

Overall, Alex is very easy to work with. He adapts to new systems and technology while performing complete problem definition research.

His hobbies include yacht racing, photography and reading in multiple genres.
He is also fascinated by attending computer meetings in general, loves traveling, and also takes pleasure in exercising and relaxing with friends.

Visit his C++ 11 blog

Comments and Discussions

QuestionI don't know! Pin
Member 121853113-Dec-15 20:19
Member 121853113-Dec-15 20:19 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Stephan_Z6-Oct-15 3:26
Stephan_Z6-Oct-15 3:26 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 Pin
Volynsky Alex6-Oct-15 11:57
professionalVolynsky Alex6-Oct-15 11:57 
QuestionConfiguration of Google Test Framework for Eclipse Pin
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AnswerRe: Configuration of Google Test Framework for Eclipse Pin
Volynsky Alex16-Apr-15 12:42
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GeneralRe: Configuration of Google Test Framework for Eclipse Pin
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GeneralRe: Configuration of Google Test Framework for Eclipse Pin
Volynsky Alex17-Apr-15 0:03
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QuestionTesting more complex class Pin
zip-imp7-Apr-15 6:11
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GeneralVery helpful Pin
shaijujanardhanan7-Nov-14 18:53
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QuestionRe: Very helpful Pin
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Questionnice Pin
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AnswerRe: nice Pin
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Questiongreat thanks Pin
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AnswerRe: great thanks Pin
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QuestionMy 5 but small error in code snippet Pin
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AnswerRe: My 5 but small error in code snippet Pin
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GeneralRe: My 5 but small error in code snippet Pin
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GeneralThanks for sharing Pin
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GeneralRe: Thanks for sharing Pin
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QuestionGoogleTest runner Pin
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AnswerRe: GoogleTest runner Pin
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QuestionI wish you a long and prosper life Pin
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AnswerRe: I wish you a long and prosper life Pin
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QuestionLinking Pin
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