Day26 - Isolated Tests in Practice (Part 2)

05/14/20192 Min Read — In Testing, Scala, TDD

In the first part of this TDD-Refactoring-Session, I introduced you to the structural design changes I made to my Tic-Tac-Toe game to make it more testable. In this second part, I'll explain how to further separate the logic of the game from the Text-UI and how I handle side effects like reading input from the console.

Test the Game Loop

In the previous blog post, I've shown how I separated the Tic-Tac-Toe logic from the UI in order to make a single move. However, the next step is missing, namely the verification that a game is played until a final state is reached. There are two final states in Tic-Tac-Toe, i.e. either a player wins or there is a draw.

This is the test I came up with for testing the game loop:

"A TicTacToe" should "loop until a game is finished" in {
val game = GameState(Board(), X)
val moveProvider: GameState => (Row, Column) = moves(
(1, 1), // Player X
(3, 3), // Player O
(1, 2), // Player X
(3, 2), // Player O
(1, 3) // Player X (win)
// ACT
val gameEvents =
gameState = game,
player1MoveProvider = moveProvider,
player2MoveProvider = moveProvider
gameEvents.last shouldBe a[GameWon]

As you can see in the snippet above, the function accepts a game state as a first argument and two functions which are responsible to provide the next move (one for the human player's next move and one for the computer's next move). Using these move provider functions helps us for at least three reasons:

  1. The game can be tested without having to rely on a real console input.
  2. One could easily add support to play the game PvP.
  3. We can still implement the game loop, since the provider function calls are allowed to block.

Pushing UI (side effects) to the boundaries

In addition to that, the tests helped me to separate the validation logic for user input from the real input source (i.e. reading from the console). In the old implementation, I mixed input reading with input validation which made the validation code just untestable. Now I created an object called InputReader which reads input from any source (this is done by passing a generic function which does the actual input reading), until the input satisfies a certain condition.

"An InputReader" should "read until the input satisfies a certain condition" in {
var counter = 0
val incrementAndGet = () => {
counter += 1
// ACT
val input =[Int](
inputProvider = incrementAndGet, // read input from function 'incrementAndGet'
inputValidator = _ > 3, // input number must be greather than 3
onInputError = _ => { } // we do not handle input errors in this test case
input shouldBe counter

In the text-client of the Tic-Tac-Toe application, we can then pass the real function which reads input from the console (,, ...). For example, reading the dimension of the grid (which must be a number greather than 2) then looks as follows:

print(s"Please insert grid dimension: ")
val dimension =[Int](
inputProvider =,
inputValidator = dim => dim >= 3,
onInputError = printInvalidChoice

Now the tests give me the certainty that the implementation really does what it is supposed to do. They also offer security for further extensions or refactorings, since mistakes can be detected earlier. In addition, I find it exciting to see how the tests affect the software design. From an untested mess of UI and logic mix towards isolated tests :-) I hope you enjoyed this little refactoring session as much as I did!