Mock Runtime for Unit Testing

See Testing page for list of kitchen pallets with unit test coverage.

There are two main patterns on writing tests for pallets. We can put the tests:

  1. At the bottom of the pallet, place unit tests in a separate Rust module with a special compilation attribute:

    mod tests {
    	// -- snip --
  2. In a separate file called inside src folder, and conditionally include tests inside the main At the top of the

    mod tests;

Now, to use the logic from the pallet under test, bring Module and Trait into scope.

use crate::{Module, Trait};

Create the Outer Environment for Mock Runtime

Before we create the mock runtime that take our pallet to run tests, we first need to create the outer environment for the runtime as follows:

use support::{impl_outer_event, impl_outer_origin, parameter_types};
use runtime_primitives::{Perbill, traits::{IdentityLookup, BlakeTwo256}, testing::Header};
use runtime_io;
use primitives::{H256};

// We define the outer `Origin` enum and `Event` enum.
// You may not be aware that these enums are created when writing the runtime/pallet;
//   it is because they are created through the `construct_runtime!` macro.
// Also, these are not standard Rust but the syntax expected when parsed inside
//   these macros.
impl_outer_origin! {
	pub enum Origin for TestRuntime {}

// -- If you want to test events, add the following. Otherwise, please ignore --
mod test_events {
	pub use crate::Event;

impl_outer_event! {
	pub enum TestEvent for TestRuntime {
// -- End: Code setup for testing events --

Define Mock Runtime and Implement Necessary Pallet Traits

Now, declare the mock runtime as a unit structure

#[derive(Clone, PartialEq, Eq, Debug)]
pub struct TestRuntime;

The derive macro attribute provides implementations of the Clone, PartialEq, Eq, Debug traits for the TestRuntime struct.

The mock runtime also needs to implement the tested pallet's Trait. If it is unnecessary to test the pallet's Event type, the type can be set to (). See further below to test the pallet's Event enum.

impl Trait for TestRuntime {
	type Event = ();

Next, we create a new type that wraps the mock TestRuntime in the pallet's Module.

pub type TestPallet = Module<TestRuntime>;

It may be helpful to read this as type aliasing our configured mock runtime to work with the pallet's Module, which is what is ultimately being tested.

In many cases, the pallet's Trait is further bound by system::Trait like:

pub trait Trait: system::Trait {
	type Event: From<Event<Self>> + Into<<Self as system::Trait>::Event>;

The mock runtime must inherit and define the system::Trait associated types. To do so, impl the system::Trait for TestRuntime with types created previously and imported from other crates.

#[derive(Clone, PartialEq, Eq, Debug)]
pub struct TestRuntime;

parameter_types! {
	pub const BlockHashCount: u64 = 250;
	pub const MaximumBlockWeight: u32 = 1024;
	pub const MaximumBlockLength: u32 = 2 * 1024;
	pub const AvailableBlockRatio: Perbill = Perbill::one();

// First, implement the system pallet's configuration trait for `TestRuntime`
impl system::Trait for TestRuntime {
	type Origin = Origin;
	type Index = u64;
	type Call = ();
	type BlockNumber = u64;
	type Hash = H256;
	type Hashing = BlakeTwo256;
	type AccountId = u64;
	type Lookup = IdentityLookup<Self::AccountId>;
	type Header = Header;
	// To test events, use `TestEvent`. Otherwise, use the commented line
	type Event = TestEvent;
	// type Event = ();
	type BlockHashCount = BlockHashCount;
	type MaximumBlockWeight = MaximumBlockWeight;
	type MaximumBlockLength = MaximumBlockLength;
	type AvailableBlockRatio = AvailableBlockRatio;
	type Version = ();
	type ModuleToIndex = ();
	type AccountData = ();
	type OnNewAccount = ();
	type OnKilledAccount = ();

// Then implement our own pallet's configuration trait for `TestRuntime`
impl Trait for TestRuntime {
	type Event = TestEvent;

// Assign back to type variables so we can make dispatched calls of these modules later.
pub type System = system::Module<TestRuntime>;
pub type TestPallet = Module<TestRuntime>;

With this, it is possible to use this type in the unit tests. For example, the block number can be set with set_block_number

fn add_emits_correct_event() {
	// ExtBuilder syntax is explained further below
	ExtBuilder::build().execute_with(|| {
		// some assert statements and HelloSubstrate calls

Basic Test Environments

To build the test runtime environment, import runtime_io

use runtime_io;

In the Cargo.toml, this only needs to be imported under dev-dependencies since it is only used in the tests module. It also doesn't need to be feature gated in the std feature.

default-features = false

version = '2.0.0-alpha.7'

There is more than one pattern for building a mock runtime environment for testing pallet logic. Two patterns are presented below. The latter is generally favored for reasons discussed in custom test environment

  • new_test_ext - consolidates all the logic for building the environment to a single public method, but isn't relatively configurable (i.e. uses one set of pallet constants)
  • ExtBuilder - define methods on the unit struct ExtBuilder to facilitate a flexible environment for tests (i.e. can reconfigure pallet constants in every test if necessary)



In smpl-treasury, use the balances::GenesisConfig and the pallet's Genesis::<TestRuntime> to set the balances of the test accounts and establish council membership in the returned test environment.

pub fn new_test_ext() -> runtime_io::TestExternalities {
	let mut t = system::GenesisConfig::default().build_storage::<TestRuntime>().unwrap();
	balances::GenesisConfig::<TestRuntime> {
		balances: vec![
			// members of council (can also be users)
			(1, 13),
			(2, 11),
			(3, 1),
			(4, 3),
			(5, 19),
			(6, 23),
			(7, 17),
			// users, not members of council
			(8, 1),
			(9, 22),
			(10, 46),
		vesting: vec![],
	}.assimilate_storage(&mut t).unwrap();
		council: vec![
	}.assimilate_storage(&mut t).unwrap();

More specifically, this sets the AccountIds in the range of [1, 7] inclusive as the members of the council. This is expressed in the decl_module block with the addition of an add_extra_genesis block,

add_extra_genesis {
	build(|config| {
		// ..other stuff..

To use new_test_ext in a runtime test, we call the method and call execute_with on the returned runtime_io::TestExternalities

fn fake_test() {
	new_test_ext().execute_with(|| {
		// test logic

execute_with executes all logic expressed in the closure within the configured runtime test environment specified in new_test_ext



Another approach providing for a more flexible runtime test environment, instantiates a unit struct ExtBuilder,

pub struct ExtBuilder;

The behavior for constructing the test environment is contained the methods on the ExtBuilder unit structure. This fosters multiple levels of configuration depending on if the test requires a common default instance of the environment or a more specific edge case configuration. The latter is explored in more detail in Custom Test Environment.

Like new_test_ext, the build() method on the ExtBuilder object returns an instance of TestExternalities. Externalities are an abstraction that allows the runtime to access features of the outer node such as storage or offchain workers.

In this case, create a mock storage from the default genesis configuration.

impl ExtBuilder {
	pub fn build() -> runtime_io::TestExternalities {
		let mut storage = system::GenesisConfig::default().build_storage::<TestRuntime>().unwrap();

which calls some methods to create a test environment,

fn fake_test_example() {
	ExtBuilder::build().execute_with(|| {
		// ...test conditions...

While testing in this environment, runtimes that require signed extrinsics (i.e. take origin as a parameter) will require transactions coming from an Origin. This requires importing the impl_outer_origin macro from support

use support::{impl_outer_origin};

	pub enum Origin for TestRuntime {}

It is possible to place signed transactions as parameters in runtime methods that require the origin input. See the full code in the kitchen, but this looks like

fn last_value_updates() {
	ExtBuilder::build().execute_with(|| {
		HelloSubstrate::set_value(Origin::signed(1), 10u64);
		// some assert statements

Run these tests with cargo test, an optional parameter is the test's name to only run that test and not all tests.

Note that the input to Origin::signed is the system::Trait's AccountId type which was set to u64 for the TestRuntime implementation. In theory, this could be set to some other type as long as it conforms to the trait bound,

pub trait Trait: 'static + Eq + Clone {
	type AccountId: Parameter + Member + MaybeSerializeDeserialize + Debug + MaybeDisplay + Ord + Default;

Setting for Testing Event Emittances

Events are not emitted on block 0. So when testing for whether events are emitted, we manually set the block number in the test environment from 0 to 1 like so:

fn main() {
impl ExtBuilder {
	pub fn build() -> TestExternalities {
		let storage = system::GenesisConfig::default().build_storage::<TestRuntime>().unwrap();
		let mut ext = TestExternalities::from(storage);
		ext.execute_with(|| System::set_block_number(1));