Soft assertions for C# unit testing frameworks (MSTest, NUnit,

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Post summary: Code example of very easy and useful custom implementation of soft assertions in C# unit testing frameworks such as MSTest, NUnit or

Code shown in examples bellow is available in GitHub DotNetSamples/SoftAssertions repository.

Unit vs Functional testing

Unit testing paradigm states that each test exercises particular code behaviour. So in a perfect world one unit test would have one assertion which defines unit test result – either passed or failed. This is why unit testing frameworks provide only asserts which stop further execution of current test method. In functional testing usually one test verifies several conditions. Not debating if this is good or bad. Assume you are doing GUI testing, once you have opened particular page you’d better do as much verification as possible to reduce the risk of bugs. Having this page opened over and over for each single check is not the most efficient way of testing. This is why when you run functional tests you need some kind of assert that indicates whether passed or failed but to let the test continue in no critical issue is present. Those are generally called “soft” asserts.

Soft assertions code

Following code is an implementations of soft assertions:

public class SoftAssertions
	private readonly List<SingleAssert> 
		_verifications = new List<SingleAssert>();

	public void Add(string message, string expected, string actual)
		_verifications.Add(new SingleAssert(message, expected, actual));

	public void Add(string message, bool expected, bool actual)
		Add(message, expected.ToString(), actual.ToString());

	public void Add(string message, int expected, int actual)
		Add(message, expected.ToString(), actual.ToString());

	public void AddTrue(string message, bool actual)
			.Add(new SingleAssert(message, true.ToString(), actual.ToString()));

	public void AssertAll()
		var failed = _verifications.Where(v => v.Failed).ToList();

	private class SingleAssert
		private readonly string _message;
		private readonly string _expected;
		private readonly string _actual;

		public bool Failed => _expected != _actual;

		public SingleAssert(string message, string expected, string actual)
			_message = message;
			_expected = expected;
			_actual = actual;

		public override string ToString()
			return $"'{_message}' assert was expected to be '{_expected}' " +
				$"but was '{_actual}'";

Soft assertions details

Actual assertion is handled by SingleAssert class. It contains a message to be displayed to user in case of fail as well as expected and actual values. They are stored as strings. All asserts during testing are stored in a List<SingleAssert>. There are several methods that add assert. There are such that accept bool, string and int. You can extend and add as many as you want. It is mandatory to call AssertAll() method so asserts can be evaluated. Evaluation consists of filtering out passed asserts leaving only failed: var failed = _verifications.Where(v => v.Failed).ToList(). Then list with failed is checked for empty failed.Should().BeEmpty(). In this case FluentAssertions framework is used, but code can be changed to such that suits your particular needs.

Soft assertions usage

Usage is pretty straight forward. SoftAssertions object should be created before each test and asserted after each test:

public class UnitTest
	private SoftAssertions _softAssertions;

	public void SetUp()
		_softAssertions = new SoftAssertions();

	public void TearDown()

	public void TestMixedSoftAssertions()
		_softAssertions.Add("Passing bool Add assertion", true, true);
		_softAssertions.Add("Failing bool Add assertion", true, false);
			.Add("Passing string Add assertion", "SameString", "SameString");
			.Add("Failing string Add assertion", "SameString", "OtherString");
		_softAssertions.Add("Passing int Add assertion", 1, 1);
		_softAssertions.Add("Failing int Add assertion", 1, 2);
		_softAssertions.AddTrue("Passing AddTrue assertion", true);
		_softAssertions.AddTrue("Failing AddTrue assertion", false);

Soft assertions result

Result of test shown above is: Result Message: Expected collection to be empty, but found {‘Failing bool Add assertion’ assert was expected to be ‘True’ but was ‘False’, ‘Failing string Add assertion’ assert was expected to be ‘SameString’ but was ‘DifferentString’, ‘Failing int Add assertion’ assert was expected to be ‘1’ but was ‘2’, ‘Failing AddTrue assertion’ assert was expected to be ‘True’ but was ‘False’}.

This comes out of the box because FluentAssertions is used. Otherwise you have to do some other output and assertions.

Other soft assertions

Some custom implementation of soft assertions is as well available in NTestRunner framework, but it is more complex and demanding special approach for writing tests.


Soft assertions are very useful in functional testing. With this simple class you can directly have them in your functional tests.


Convert NUnit 3 to NUnit 2 results XML file

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Post summary: Examples how to convert NUnit 3 result XML file into NUnit 2 result XML file.

Although NUnit 3 was officially released in November 2015 still there are CI tools that do not provide support for parsing NUnit 3 result XML files. In this post I will show how to convert between formats so CI tools can read NUnit 2 format.

NUnit 3 console runner

The easiest way is if you are using NUnit 3 console runner. It can be provided with and option: –result=TestResult.xml;format=nunit2.

Nota bene: Mandatory for this to work is to have nunit-v2-result-writer in nuget packages directory otherwise error will be shown: Unknown result format: nunit2.

Convert NUnit 3 to NUnit 2

If tests are being run in some other way other than NUnit 3 console runner then solution bellow is needed. There is no program or tool that can do this conversion, so custom one is needed. This is a Powershell script that uses nunit-v2-result-writer assemblies and with their functionality converts the XML files:

$assemblyNunitEngine = 'nunit.engine.api.dll';
$assemblyNunitWriter = 'nunit-v2-result-writer.dll';
$inputV3Xml = 'TestResult.xml';
$outputV2Xml = 'TestResultV2.xml';

Add-Type -Path $assemblyNunitEngine;
Add-Type -Path $assemblyNunitWriter;
$xmldoc = New-Object -TypeName System.Xml.XmlDataDocument;
$fs = New-Object -TypeName System.IO.FileStream -ArgumentList $inputV3Xml,'Open','Read';
$xmlnode = $xmldoc.GetElementsByTagName('test-run').Item(0);
$writer = New-Object -TypeName NUnit.Engine.Addins.NUnit2XmlResultWriter;
$writer.WriteResultFile($xmlnode, $outputV2Xml);

Important here is to give proper path to nunit.engine.api.dll, nunit-v2-result-writer.dll and NUnit 3 TestResult.xml files. Powershell script above is equivalent to following C# code:

using System.IO;
using System.Xml;
using NUnit.Engine.Addins;

public class NUnit3ToNUnit2Converter
	public static void Main(string[] args)
		var xmldoc = new XmlDataDocument();
		var fileStream 
			= new FileStream("TestResult.xml", FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read);
		var xmlnode = xmldoc.GetElementsByTagName("test-run").Item(0);

		var writer = new NUnit2XmlResultWriter();
		writer.WriteResultFile(xmlnode, "TestResultV2.xml");

File samples

Here is a collection of several NUnit result files. there with V3 are NUnit 3 format, those with V2_NUnit are generated with –result=TestResult.xml;format=nunit2 option and those with V2_Converted are converted with code above.


Although little inconvenient it is possible to convert NUnit 3 to NUnit 2 result XML files using Powershell scripts and nunit-v2-result-writer assemblies.