There are some resources on unit testing incoming routes. Like you have an URL and need to know which route will it map to. For example this post from Phil Haack describes how to do it, or better yet, it’s part of MvcContrib TestHelper library – which makes it really easy to test incoming urls, you just say (for example):

"~/".Route().ShouldMapTo<HomeController>(c => c.Index());

And you have a test that says if user requests a URL like it should map to Index action of your Home controller.

What I also needed though, was to test the URLs that are generated from these routes. Like say URL for an action link. So I came up with this helper method. This is using rhino mocks and T4MVC – which I encourage you to check out, because it’s just awesome to have almost everything strongly typed.

public static ActionResult ShouldGenerateUrl(this ActionResult result, string expectedUrl, RouteData previousRequestRouteData)
    var mocks = new MockRepository();

    var request = mocks.StrictMock<HttpRequestBase>();
    request.Stub(r => r.ApplicationPath).Return("/");
    request.Stub(r => r.ServerVariables).Return(new NameValueCollection());

    var response = mocks.StrictMock<HttpResponseBase>();


    var httpContext = mocks.StrictMock<HttpContextBase>();
    httpContext.Stub(c => c.Request).Return(request);
    httpContext.Stub(c => c.Response).Return(response);

    var urlHelper = new UrlHelper(new RequestContext(httpContext, previousRequestRouteData));

    var routeValues = result.GetRouteValueDictionary();

    mocks.ReplayAll();    urlHelper.RouteUrl(routeValues);

    return result;

So what am I doing here? After some digging I found this post on stack overflow that told me what I need to mock to use UrlHelper outside of HttpContext. I also tell rhino mocks I’m expecting a call to response.ApplyAppPathModifier with parameter equal to the URL I’m expecting, because I know that this method gets called after the URL has been constructed, just to make it fully qualified name. I’m passing in an action result – that’s how it’s done in T4MVC – and calling extension method defined by T4MVC GetRouteValueDictionary that gets route values for that action result. Everything is set up now, so I make rhino mocks enter replay mode and make an attempt to generate URL base on the route values. If it generates an URL you expected, then nothing happens and your unit test continues. If it generates different URL, however, you will get an error message from rhino mocks saying I expected a call with this parameter, but instead I got a call with a different one. Because I’m using strict mock I don’t even need to call mocks.VerifyAll() – the exception is thrown immediately after the ApplyAppPathModifier method is called with wrong parameter.

For convenience I created some overloads:

public static ActionResult ShouldGenerateUrl(this ActionResult result, string expectedUrl)
     return ShouldGenerateUrl(result, expectedUrl, new RouteData());

public static ActionResult ShouldGenerateUrl(this ActionResult result, string expectedUrl, object previousRequesRouteData)
    var routeData = new RouteData();
    foreach(PropertyDescriptor property in TypeDescriptor.GetProperties(previousRequesRouteData))
        routeData.Values.Add(property.Name, property.GetValue(previousRequesRouteData));

    return ShouldGenerateUrl(result, expectedUrl, routeData);

So now if I want to test what URL is generated I can use something like


I could also specify route values from previous request if I wanted to verify that those don’t interfere with the URL that is generated. If you don’t want to use T4MVC, you could create your own method that would take an object like

new { controller = "Home", action = "About"}

Finally I’d like to add that routes are sometimes the biggest nightmare in MVC, especially if you use ajax helpers. You just keep wondering “why the hell it’s not working?” After a while you open firebug to see the nice 500 – Internal server error, and find out it doesn’t work because the routes are not working. I hope that combination of this method of verifying generated URLs and TestHelper in MvcContrib will lead to avoiding at least some of these issues.