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Maarten Balliauw
Maarten Balliauw

Posted on • Originally published at twilio.com on

How to test ASP.NET Core Minimal APIs

How do you test that your ASP.NET Core Minimal API behaves as expected? Do you need to deploy your application? Can you write tests with frameworks like xUnit, NUnit, or MSTest?

In this post, you will learn the basics of testing ASP.NET Core Minimal APIs. You’ll get started with testing a β€œhello world” endpoint, and then test a more complex API that returns JSON data. You’ll finish with customizing the ASP.NET Core service collection, so you can customize services for your unit tests and integration tests.

By the end of this post, you will have a good understanding of how to make sure your ASP.NET Core Minimal APIs behave as expected and can be deployed to production, even on Fridays!

This post was originally published on the Twilio blog on June 06, 2022: How to test ASP.NET Core Minimal APIs

Prerequisites

  • An OS that supports .NET (Windows/macOS/Linux)
  • A .NET IDE (such as JetBrains Rider)
  • .NET 6.0 SDK or later

You can find the source code for this tutorial on GitHub. Use it as a reference if you run into any issues.

Create a test project

To get started, you will need to create a solution with two projects: an ASP.NET Core Minimal API that will contain the application, and a unit test project that will contain the tests. In this blog post, you will use xUnit as the testing framework.

You can create this solution in your favorite .NET IDE, or using the .NET CLI. In the command line or terminal window, navigate to the folder you want your project to be created in, and run the following commands:

dotnet new web -o MyMinimalApi
dotnet new xunit -o MyMinimalApi.Tests
dotnet add MyMinimalApi.Tests reference MyMinimalApi
dotnet new sln
dotnet sln add MyMinimalApi
dotnet sln add MyMinimalApi.Tests
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You now have a MyMinimalApi.sln file, and two projects (MyMinimalApi.csproj for the ASP.NET Core Minimal API, and MyMinimalApi.Tests.csproj for the unit tests) with some template code. The test project also has a project reference to the Minimal API project.

To run the Minimal API application, you can use the .NET CLI and specify the project to run:

dotnet run --project MyMinimalApi
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The tests can be run using the following .NET CLI command:

dotnet test
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There’s not a lot of useful code in these projects yet. The Minimal API project contains a Program.cs file with an endpoint that returns the string β€œHello World!”:

var builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder(args);

var app = builder.Build();

app.MapGet("/", () => "Hello World!");

app.Run();
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The test project (MyMinimalApi.Tests.csproj) contains a template unit test file UnitTest1.cs that you will replace later in this article.

Update the test project

Before you can start testing your Minimal API, you will need to make some updates to the test project. The unit tests need to be able to use the ASP.NET Core framework, so you’ll have to bring that in somehow. The easiest way to do this is by adding a reference to the Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Testing package. This package also comes with several helper classes that are invaluable when writing unit tests later on.

Add this package using your favorite IDE, or use the .NET CLI:

dotnet add MyMinimalApi.Tests package Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Testing
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The MyMinimalApi.Tests.csproj file now looks like this:

<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk">

  <PropertyGroup>
    <TargetFramework>net6.0</TargetFramework>
    <ImplicitUsings>enable</ImplicitUsings>
    <Nullable>enable</Nullable>

    <IsPackable>false</IsPackable>
  </PropertyGroup>

  <ItemGroup>
    <PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Testing" Version="6.0.0" />
    <PackageReference Include="Microsoft.NET.Test.Sdk" Version="17.1.0" />
    <PackageReference Include="xunit" Version="2.4.1" />
    <PackageReference Include="xunit.runner.visualstudio" Version="2.4.3">
      <IncludeAssets>runtime; build; native; contentfiles; analyzers; buildtransitive</IncludeAssets>
      <PrivateAssets>all</PrivateAssets>
    </PackageReference>
    <PackageReference Include="coverlet.collector" Version="3.1.2">
      <IncludeAssets>runtime; build; native; contentfiles; analyzers; buildtransitive</IncludeAssets>
      <PrivateAssets>all</PrivateAssets>
    </PackageReference>
  </ItemGroup>

  <ItemGroup>
    <ProjectReference Include="..\MinimalAPI\MinimalAPI.csproj" />
  </ItemGroup>

</Project>
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You can now start writing unit tests for your Minimal API.

β€œHello World” and the ASP.NET Core test server

In the Minimal API project, Program.cs already defines a β€œHello World!” endpoint. You will test this endpoint first. Before you can do this, you will need to add the following public partial class definition at the bottom of Program.cs:

public partial class Program { }
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The reason why you need this partial class definition, is that by default the Program.cs file is compiled into a private class Program, which can not be accessed by other projects. By adding this public partial class, the test project will get access to Program and lets you write tests against it.

In the MyMinimalApi.Tests project, rename the UnitTest1.cs file to HelloWorldTests.cs and update the code:

namespace MyMinimalApi.Tests;

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Testing;

public class HelloWorldTests
{
    [Fact]
    public async Task TestRootEndpoint()
    {

    }
}
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The TestRootEndpoint() test will have to do a couple of things:

  • Start the ASP.NET Core Minimal API
  • Create an HTTP client for to connect to the application
  • Send an HTTP request to the / endpoint
  • Verify the response

Earlier in this post, you have added a reference to the Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Testing package. This package contains the WebApplicationFactory<T>, which is an important building block for testing ASP.NET Core applications.

The WebApplicationFactory<T> class creates an in-memory application that you can test. It handles bootstrapping of your application, and provides an HttpClient that you can use to make requests.

Update the code in the TestRootEndpoint() method:

[Fact]
public async Task TestRootEndpoint()
{
    await using var application = new WebApplicationFactory<Program>();
    using var client = application.CreateClient();

    var response = await client.GetStringAsync("/");

    Assert.Equal("Hello World!", response);
}
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The code uses WebApplicationFactory<Program>. Here’s the reason you had to add that public partial class! You can use other public classes from the Minimal API project as well, but I personally prefer Program as it’s there in every project.

You can run this test using the .NET CLI, and look at the results:

> dotnet test

Microsoft (R) Test Execution Command Line Tool Version 17.2.0 (x64)
Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

Starting test execution, please wait...
A total of 1 test files matched the specified pattern.

Passed!  - Failed:     0, Passed:     1, Skipped:     0, Total:     1, Duration: < 1 ms - MyMinimalApi.Tests.dll (net6.0)
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The test you created has just started your Minimal API application using the WebApplicationFactory<Program>, and uses an HttpClient that was returned by application.CreateClient(). Using this client, the test makes an HTTP GET request to the / endpoint. In this example, you used the GetStringAsync("/") method to do this. The test then asserts the response matches what is expected.

Congratulations, you have just created your first test for an ASP.NET Core Minimal API!

Update the Minimal API project

Let’s spice things up a little! In most APIs, endpoints will work with JSON payloads in requests and responses. An API endpoint may return different results depending on the request that is being made. It may return a 200 OK status code on success, and a 400 Bad Request status code with more details in the response body when the request was not valid.

In this section, you will add such an endpoint to the Minimal API. This endpoint will also perform validation of the request, using the MiniValidation package.

Add this package using your favorite IDE, or use the .NET CLI:

dotnet add MyMinimalApi package MiniValidation --prerelease
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Info: MiniValidation is a library intended to bring model validation to ASP.NET Core Minimal APIs. It currently only has pre-release packages available. When a stable version lands you should consider dropping the --prerelease version.

When that is installed, add a Person class to your Minimal API. This class will be used as a request payload later on.

public class Person
{
    [Required, MinLength(2)]
    public string? FirstName { get; set; }

    [Required, MinLength(2)]
    public string? LastName { get; set; }

    [Required, DataType(DataType.EmailAddress)]
    public string? Email { get; set; }
}
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Note that the Person class adds validation attributes from the System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations namespace. Add using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations; to the top of your Program.cs file to include the namespace . The MiniValidation packages you added earlier can process these attributes and validate the request is well-formed.

The Minimal API will also need to be able to store the Person in a data store. While modeling this data store is not in the scope of this article, you can define an IPeopleService interface to interact with the data store, and a PeopleService class that implements this interface:

public interface IPeopleService
{
    string Create(Person person);
}

public class PeopleService: IPeopleService
{
    public string Create(Person person)
        => $"{person.FirstName} {person.LastName} created.";
}
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Info: In real projects, the PeopleService could use Entity Framework Core or other storage mechanisms to do something more useful.

It’s now time to register the IPeopleService with the ASP.NET Core service collection, so your API endpoint can make use of it. Add it as a scoped service to make sure a new instance of PeopleService is created each time a request comes in:

var builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder(args);

builder.Services.AddScoped<IPeopleService, PeopleService>();

// ...
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You are doing great! As a final step in this section, you will implement the actual API endpoint in your Minimal API. This endpoint will listen for POST requests on /people, and accept a Person object in the request body. After the endpoint validates the incoming request, the API either uses the IPeopleService to store the object in the database, or returns a validation result.

app.MapPost("/people", (Person person, IPeopleService peopleService) =>
    !MiniValidator.TryValidate(person, out var errors)
        ? Results.ValidationProblem(errors)
        : Results.Ok(peopleService.Create(person)));
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Add using MiniValidation; to your using statements at the top of Program.cs class so you can use the MiniValidator class.

Just to make sure, here’s what your Program.cs should now look like:

using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations;
using MiniValidation;

var builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder(args);

builder.Services.AddScoped<IPeopleService, PeopleService>();

var app = builder.Build();

app.MapGet("/", () => "Hello World!");

app.MapPost("/people", (Person person, IPeopleService peopleService) =>
    !MiniValidator.TryValidate(person, out var errors)
        ? Results.ValidationProblem(errors)
        : Results.Ok(peopleService.Create(person)));

app.Run();

public partial class Program { }

public interface IPeopleService
{
    string Create(Person person);
}

public class PeopleService : IPeopleService
{
    public string Create(Person person)
        => $"{person.FirstName} {person.LastName} created.";
}

public class Person
{
    [Required, MinLength(2)]
    public string? FirstName { get; set; }

    [Required, MinLength(2)]
    public string? LastName { get; set; }

    [Required, DataType(DataType.EmailAddress)]
    public string? Email { get; set; }
}
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If you want to, you can run the Minimal API and test the /people endpoint from your terminal`.

First, start your Minimal API using dotnet run --project MyMinimalApi and look for the localhost URL in the output.

If you have the curl command available in your terminal, run:

bash
curl -X POST --location "https://localhost:7230/people" \
-H "Content-Type: application/json" \
-d "{ \"FirstName\": \"Maarten\" }"

Or if you're using PowerShell, run:

powershell
Invoke-WebRequest

-Uri https://localhost:7230/people
-Method Post

-ContentType "application/json"
-Body '{"FirstName": "Maarten"}'

Replace the https://localhost:7230 with the localhost URL that the dotnet run command printed to the console.

The response should be a 400 Bad request, since the LastName and Email properties are required:

`
HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request
Content-Type: application/problem+json
Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2022 09:04:56 GMT
Server: Kestrel
Transfer-Encoding: chunked

{
"type": "https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc7231#section-6.5.1",
"title": "One or more validation errors occurred.",
"status": 400,
"errors": {
"LastName": [
"The LastName field is required."
],
"Email": [
"The Email field is required."
]
}
}
`

After you confirm the endpoint works, you will convert this request into a test!

Test different payloads and HTTP methods

Your Minimal API now has a /people endpoint. It has two possible response types: a 200 OK that returns a string value, and a 400 Bad Request that returns problem details as a JSON payload.

In the MyMinimalApi.Tests project, add a PeopleTests.cs file that contains the following code:

`csharp
using System.Net;
using System.Net.Http.Json;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Http;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Testing;

namespace MyMinimalApi.Tests;

public class PeopleTests
{
[Fact]
public async Task CreatePerson()
{
}

[Fact]
public async Task CreatePersonValidatesObject()
{
}
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}
`

The PeopleTests class now contains 2 test methods that you will need to implement:

  • CreatePerson() to test the 200 OK scenario
  • CreatePersonValidatesObject() to test the 400 Bad Request scenario

You will start with the CreatePerson() test method. The test will again make use of the WebApplicationFactory<Program> to create an in-memory HTTP client that you can use to validate the API.

`csharp
[Fact]
public async Task CreatePerson()
{
await using var application = new WebApplicationFactory();

var client = application.CreateClient();
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}
`

Next, you will use the client to send a JSON payload to the /people endpoint. You can use the PostAsJsonAsync() method to send a JSON payload to the Minimal API under test. Finally, you can use the xUnit Assert class to validate the response status code and the response content.

Update the CreatePerson() test like below:

`csharp
[Fact]
public async Task CreatePerson()
{
await using var application = new WebApplicationFactory();

var client = application.CreateClient();

var result = await client.PostAsJsonAsync("/people", new Person
{
    FirstName = "Maarten",
    LastName = "Balliauw",
    Email = "maarten@jetbrains.com"
});

Assert.Equal(HttpStatusCode.OK, result.StatusCode);
Assert.Equal("\"Maarten Balliauw created.\"", await result.Content.ReadAsStringAsync());
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}
`

You can run this test using the .NET CLI, and confirm your Minimal API works as expected.

bash
dotnet test

The CreatePersonValidatesObject() test is next. Like in the CreatePerson() test method, you will begin with creating a request to the in-memory Minimal API. Only this time, you will send an empty Person object.

Since all of its properties will be null or empty, the test should get back a 400 Bad Request. You can assert this is indeed the case. What’s more, you can also use the result.Content.ReadFromJsonAsync<>() method to deserialize the validation problems, and verify they are as expected.

Update the CreatePersonValidatesObject() test like below:

`csharp
[Fact]
public async Task CreatePersonValidatesObject()
{
await using var application = new WebApplicationFactory();

var client = application.CreateClient();

var result = await client.PostAsJsonAsync("/people", new Person());

Assert.Equal(HttpStatusCode.BadRequest, result.StatusCode);

var validationResult = await result.Content.ReadFromJsonAsync<HttpValidationProblemDetails>();
Assert.NotNull(validationResult);
Assert.Equal("The FirstName field is required.", validationResult!.Errors["FirstName"][0]);
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}
`

I will leave the validation of the other properties as an exercise for you.

Again, try running this test using the .NET CLI, and confirm your Minimal API works as expected.

bash
dotnet test

Well done! You have now written tests that validate JSON payloads accepted and returned by your Minimal API!

Customizing the service collection

There’s one more thing… The Minimal API you created contains a PeopleService that, in a more real-life project, could need a database connection. This could be okay for some tests, and unnecessary for others.

The tests that you have written so far all have been validating the responses of the Minimal API. There’s no real need for the β€œreal” implementation of IPeopleService, so let’s see how you can swap it out with a test implementation!

In the MyMinimalApi.Tests project, create a new file TestPeopleService.cs with the following code:

csharp
public class TestPeopleService : IPeopleService
{
public string Create(Person person) => "It works!";
}

The TestPeopleService class implements IPeopleService just like the real implementation does, but the Create method returns a simple string value.

Next, you will update the test methods to configure the WebApplicationFactory<Program> with a service override for IPeopleService, wiring it to TestPeopleService instead. You can do this in a number of ways: using the WithWebHostBuilder() and ConfigureServices() methods, or by implementing a custom WebApplicationFactory<T>. In this tutorial, you will use the first approach to change the IPeopleService to be a TestPeopleService.

Update the CreatePerson test with the following code:

`csharp
[Fact]
public async Task CreatePerson()
{
await using var application = new WebApplicationFactory()
.WithWebHostBuilder(builder => builder
.ConfigureServices(services =>
{
services.AddScoped();
}));

var client = application.CreateClient();

var result = await client.PostAsJsonAsync("/people", new Person
{
FirstName = "Maarten",
LastName = "Balliauw",
Email = "maarten@jetbrains.com"
});

Assert.Equal(HttpStatusCode.OK, result.StatusCode);
Assert.Equal("\"It works!\"", await result.Content.ReadAsStringAsync());
}
`

To use services.AddScoped, add using Microsoft.Extensions.DependencyInjection; to your using statements at the top of the file.

Note that in the code sample, the final Assert.Equal is now testing for the string that is returned by TestPeopleService.

Depending on how many customizations you want to make to your Minimal API under test, you can move the WithWebHostBuilder() and ConfigureServices() methods out, and override the WebApplicationFactory<T> class. This has the advantage of having one place where you customize the service collection.

For example, you can create a TestingApplication class and override the CreateHost method to customize the service collection:

`csharp
class TestingApplication : WebApplicationFactory
{
protected override IHost CreateHost(IHostBuilder builder)
{
builder.ConfigureServices(services =>
{
services.AddScoped();
});

   return base.CreateHost(builder);
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}
}
`

You can use it in tests by replacing new WebApplicationFactory<Program> with new TestingApplication():

`csharp
[Fact]
public async Task CreatePerson()
{
await using var application = new TestingApplication();

var client = application.CreateClient();

var result = await client.PostAsJsonAsync("/people", new Person
{
FirstName = "Maarten",
LastName = "Balliauw",
Email = "maarten@jetbrains.com"
});

Assert.Equal(HttpStatusCode.OK, result.StatusCode);
Assert.Equal("\"It works!\"", await result.Content.ReadAsStringAsync());
}
`

If you want to start customizing the Minimal API during tests, make sure to explore the various methods of WebApplicationFactory<T> that you can override to configure your application for the tests you are writing.

Conclusion

That’s it! You just built several tests for an ASP.NET Core Minimal API, and validated it behaves as expected. You started out with testing a basic endpoint that returned a string, and then saw how to work with different HTTP methods and payloads on the request and response. You even customized the ASP.NET Core service collection with custom services for your tests.

Whether you are writing unit tests, integration tests or both, you should now have a good understanding of how to go about using the test server and customizing the service collection for many scenarios.

If you’re hungry for more, check out the Microsoft docs on integration testing.

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