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I have tackled a small C++ project recently for an interview process and used the chance to learn more about testing. I have mostly used Python unittest in the past, both for Python and C code. Together with ctypes it is a nice solution to test C against Python code.

Now I wanted to have a deeper look into Google Test in combination with CMake.

Setting up Google Test

I compiled Google Test myself, which is pretty easy with the repo on Github. This will install headers and libraries necessary for C++ testing in your projects.

An easy example of how to use Google Test can be found here. I use one single source file to run all my tests:

#include <gtest/gtest.h>

int main(int argc, char **argv) {
    ::testing::InitGoogleTest(&argc, argv);
    return RUN_ALL_TESTS();

const char *actualValTrue  = "hello gtest";
const char *expectVal      = "hello gtest";

TEST(StrCompare, CStrEqual) {
    EXPECT_STREQ(expectVal, actualValTrue);

Integrate GTest in CMake

I wanted a solution to work together with CMake. When I run make test it should run the GTest tests and report the results. Also, I wanted the tests to be ignored if GTest is not available on a machine. I came up with this CMakeLists.txt.

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.9)
add_library(test_with_gtest SHARED code_to_be_tested.cpp)
    message("GTest found, enabling testing")

This will build a shared library with name test_with_gtest based on the source file code_to_be_tested.cpp. If Google Test is installed/found, additionally, the test directory is added to the project and testing is enabled. The CMakeLists.txt of the test folder looks like this.

add_executable(google_tests test_cases.cpp)
include_directories(${CMAKE_BINARY_DIR} ${gtest_SOURCE_DIR}/include ${gtest_SOURCE_DIR})
target_link_libraries(google_tests gtest gtest_main test_with_gtest)
gtest_add_tests(TARGET google_tests AUTO)

This creates a new executable target google_tests from source file test_cases.cpp (see first code section). This code links against the library which contains the code to be tested.

Now, if Google Test is found, I can compile my project and run tests like this.

$ cmake ..
$ make -j4
$ make test

However, this is just a CMake summary of the tests. If something goes wrong, it is nice to have a more verbose output by directly running the executable performing the tests.

$ ./test/google_tests

Test Fixtures

For more extensive testing, it is preferrable to use reproducable sets of input data. This is where fixtures come in handy. A fixture is a class providing logic to prepare (SetUp()) and clean up (TearDown()) tests. This logic gets called before each test and enables multiple tests on the same input state. An example can be

#include <gtest/gtest.h>
#include "../code_to_be_tested.h"

int factor;

class rangeAllocatorTests: public ::testing::Test {
    void SetUp() {
        factor = 7;

    void TearDown() {

int main(int argc, char **argv) {
  ::testing::InitGoogleTest(&argc, argv);
  return RUN_ALL_TESTS();

TEST_F(rangeAllocatorTests, testAddition) {
  int result = 4 * factor;
  EXPECT_EQ(result, 28);

With this code, factor will always be set to 7 before the actual test happens. Of course, this is a very simple example and in most cases you want to have a more complex SetUp() routine.

Copyright © 2023 Sebastian Müller. All rights reserved.