A script for adding test cases to a CppUnit test class

One of the problems with using CppUnit as the unit test framwork in C++ is that adding a single test requires updating the code in two files and in total 3 places. A declaration in the header file, a macro in the header file to regsiter the test and the test itself. This makes adding a test too hard, which means the tests themselves become too big because it is easier to add extra asserts to an existing test than to add a new test. Some of the newer C++ frameworks overcome this, but we have been using CppUnit for a long time and have a lot of tests already written so I do not really want to change frameworks.

To fix this I created a small Python script to add a new test, so working from the command line, I just need to write

newtest TestCase testMyNewTest

and the declaration and prototype are created. I don’t need to even look at the header file I can just go straight to the definition of the test function and add the test.

The header file for a CppUnit test case looks like this:

class TestCase : public CppUnit::TestFixture



    CPPUNIT_TEST( testSomething );

    CPPUNIT_TEST( testNextBit );



    void    setUp();
    void    tearDown();


    void    testSomething();

    void    testNextBit();


And the source file



void TestCase::testSomething()


 // test code here



void TestCase::testNextBit()


 // test code here


The script is very simple, it searches for the last CPPUNIT_TEST macro in the header and adds a macro for the new test case. Searchs for the last test function, and adds a test after that. Then it adds a defintion at the end of the source file.

The script makes two assumptions

  • The name of the class matches the name of the file. So the above test class would be in TestCase.h and TestCase.cpp
  • The test class already has at least one test function when the script is run. Since I use a separate script to generate the boilerplate test class with a single test this is always true in my case.

The script is available here in case it is of use to anyone else: newtest.py

David Dibben
David Dibben
Software developer of electromagnetic simulation systems