TDD on Visual Studio Code

Posted by Sam Elamin on March 14, 2016

VS Code,TDD,GulpJS and more buzzwords

Dot Net Core is finally in release candidate, the .Net community have been waiting for ages for this to come out! Cross platform is something everyone is excited about and its been a lot of confusion when it comes to the latest version of .Net. We went from vNext to .Net 5 to .Net Core 1.0

And for this new cross platform world, we have a new code editor! VS Code while this isn’t technically an IDE - it is much more light weight than the Visual Studio we are used to on Windows, it takes a bit of getting used to.

I wont go into much detail to why VS code is different than Visual Studio and why Microsoft have launched it. There are plenty of articles out there which do it far more justice than I ever could.

From here on in I will assume you have VS code installed on your machine

Unfortunately for those of you (including myself) who are new to using VS Code you will find a few subtle changes, for example you cant just build your solution with a shortcut like you do on Windows.

Another thing is it doesn’t have a built in test runner yet, so unit testing your code is a bit difficult for those of use used to having resharper a shortcut away, but not impossible.

The aim of this blog post is to walk you through doing TDD on it

For anyone doing TDD, NCrunch is a must! The ability to make any code change and have all your tests run automatically changes the way you code completely, the immediate feedback is immense!

So to start off with we need a working environment, for this tutorial we will be using a Mac but because we are working with cross platform tools, your platform of choice shouldn’t matter much.

First make sure you have VS Code and .Net core installed on your machine, you can follow this guide

Next we check out my sample code using the below command

git clone

This checks out the code which contains a CoreConsoleApp and CoreConsoleApp.Tests a project

Now we need to install gulp which we will use as a task runner.

To do that we open up the terminal and navigate to the root folder of the repo and install gulp, gulp-shell and gulp-watch using the below command

npm install gulp
npm install gulp-shell
npm install gulp-watch

gulp shell will be used to run shell commands defined in the gulp file, while gulp-watch will be used to continually monitor for file changes

VS Code needs all packages to be installed locally but chances are you might want to run gulp from the terminal so you will have to install it again globally using the below command

npm install gulp -g
npm install gulp-shell -g
npm install gulp-watch -g

FYI there is also a gulp plugin for ASP.NET 5 here that does this and more but for the purposes of this tutorial I thought it best to keep it simple

Next we will set up a build task, if you press Ctrl+Shift+B VS Code will complain and say no task runner is configured, click on “Configure Now”. This will create a tasks.json file. Here is where we will define what tasks to run. Replace the contents of the file with the JSON below

    "version": "0.1.0",
    "command": "gulp",
    "isShellCommand": true,
    "tasks": [
            "taskName": "default",
            "isBuildCommand": true,
            "showOutput": "always",
            "isWatching": true

This basically tells VS Code that we want the default build command to run a task default

The next step is to define the task and what it does, we do this via a gulp file

Create a new file on the root directory and call it gulpfile.js this file will contain all the task definitions we want

paste this into the file

var gulp = require('gulp');
 shell = require('gulp-shell');
 watch = require('gulp-watch');

gulp.task('default', ['restore','build', 'watch']);

gulp.task('restore', shell.task([
  'dnu restore ./src/CoreConsoleApp*'

gulp.task('build', shell.task([
  'dnu build ./src/CoreConsoleApp*'

gulp.task('test', shell.task([
  'dnx -p ./src/*.Tests/ test'

gulp.task('watch', function () {'./src/*/*.cs', ['test']);

This file basically says that our default tasks are to restore packages, build the solution and watch for changes in any files ending with .cs

Now try building your solution using CTRL + SHIFT + B the task will continually run on the background after the solution was saved.

Finally lets test this change, navigate to SampleTests.CS and add a failing test

        public void FailingTest()
            Assert.Equal(5, Add(2, 2));

Once you save the file you should see the test task being kicked off!

FYI if you are into shell scripts you can also do all this using this

And that’s it! Feedback is really appreciated so feel free to leave a comment below, and if you enjoyed this tutorial please do share it