Fill os.Stdin for function that reads from it

Issue

How do I fill os.Stdin in my test for a function that reads from it using a scanner?

I request a user command line input via a scanner using following function:

func userInput() error {
    scanner := bufio.NewScanner(os.Stdin)

    println("What is your name?")
    scanner.Scan()
    username = scanner.Text()

    /* ... */
}

Now how do I test this case and simulate a user input?
Following example does not work. Stdin is still empty.

func TestUserInput(t *testing.T) {
    var file *os.File
    file.Write([]byte("Tom"))
    os.Stdin = file

    err := userInput()
    /* ... */
}

Solution

Mocking os.Stdin

You’re on the right track that os.Stdin is a variable (of type *os.File) which you can modify, you can assign a new value to it in tests.

Simplest is to create a temporary file with the content you want to simulate as the input on os.Stdin. To create a temp file, use ioutil.TempFile(). Then write the content into it, and seek back to the beginning of the file. Now you can set it as os.Stdin and perform your tests. Don’t forget to cleanup the temp file.

I modified your userInput() to this:

func userInput() error {
    scanner := bufio.NewScanner(os.Stdin)

    fmt.Println("What is your name?")
    var username string
    if scanner.Scan() {
        username = scanner.Text()
    }
    if err := scanner.Err(); err != nil {
        return err
    }

    fmt.Println("Entered:", username)
    return nil
}

And this is how you can test it:

func TestUserInput(t *testing.T) {
    content := []byte("Tom")
    tmpfile, err := ioutil.TempFile("", "example")
    if err != nil {
        log.Fatal(err)
    }

    defer os.Remove(tmpfile.Name()) // clean up

    if _, err := tmpfile.Write(content); err != nil {
        log.Fatal(err)
    }

    if _, err := tmpfile.Seek(0, 0); err != nil {
        log.Fatal(err)
    }

    oldStdin := os.Stdin
    defer func() { os.Stdin = oldStdin }() // Restore original Stdin

    os.Stdin = tmpfile
    if err := userInput(); err != nil {
        t.Errorf("userInput failed: %v", err)
    }

    if err := tmpfile.Close(); err != nil {
        log.Fatal(err)
    }
}

Running the test, we see an output:

What is your name?
Entered: Tom
PASS

Also see related question about mocking the file system: Example code for testing the filesystem in Golang

The easy, preferred way

Also note that you can refactor userInput() to not read from os.Stdin, but instead it could receive an io.Reader to read from. This would make it more robust and a lot easier to test.

In your app you can simply pass os.Stdin to it, and in tests you can pass any io.Reader to it created / prepared in the tests, e.g. using strings.NewReader(), bytes.NewBuffer() or bytes.NewBufferString().

Answered By – icza

Answer Checked By – Dawn Plyler (GoLangFix Volunteer)

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