Programming language: Go
License: MIT License
Tags: Testing     Mock    
Latest version: v6.3.0

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When writing unit-tests for an object, it is often useful to have fake implementations of the object's collaborators. In go, such fake implementations cannot be generated automatically at runtime, and writing them by hand can be quite arduous.

counterfeiter allows you to simply generate test doubles for a given interface.

Supported Versions Of go

counterfeiter follows the support policy of go itself:

Each major Go release is supported until there are two newer major releases. For example, Go 1.5 was supported until the Go 1.7 release, and Go 1.6 was supported until the Go 1.8 release. We fix critical problems, including critical security problems, in supported releases as needed by issuing minor revisions (for example, Go 1.6.1, Go 1.6.2, and so on).

If you are having problems with counterfeiter and are not using a supported version of go, please update to use a supported version of go before opening an issue.

Using counterfeiter

⚠️ Please use go modules when working with counterfeiter.

Typically, counterfeiter is used in go generate directives. It can be frustrating when you change your interface declaration and suddenly all of your generated code is suddenly out-of-date. The best practice here is to use the go generate command to make it easier to keep your test doubles up to date.

Step 1 - Create tools.go

You can take a dependency on tools by creating a tools.go file, as described in How can I track tool dependencies for a module?. This ensures that everyone working with your module is using the same version of each tool you use.

$ cat tools/tools.go
// +build tools

package tools

import (
    _ "github.com/maxbrunsfeld/counterfeiter/v6"

// This file imports packages that are used when running go generate, or used
// during the development process but not otherwise depended on by built code.
Step 2a - Add go:generate Directives

You can add directives right next to your interface definitions (or not), in any .go file in your module.

$ cat myinterface.go
package foo

//go:generate go run github.com/maxbrunsfeld/counterfeiter/v6 . MySpecialInterface

type MySpecialInterface interface {
    DoThings(string, uint64) (int, error)
$ go generate ./...
Writing `FakeMySpecialInterface` to `foofakes/fake_my_special_interface.go`... Done
Step 2b - Add counterfeiter:generate Directives

If you plan to have many directives in a single package, consider using this option. You can add directives right next to your interface definitions (or not), in any .go file in your module.

$ cat myinterface.go
package foo

// You only need **one** of these per package!
//go:generate go run github.com/maxbrunsfeld/counterfeiter/v6 -generate

// You will add lots of directives like these in the same package...
//counterfeiter:generate . MySpecialInterface
type MySpecialInterface interface {
    DoThings(string, uint64) (int, error)

// Like this...
//counterfeiter:generate . MyOtherInterface
type MyOtherInterface interface {
    DoOtherThings(string, uint64) (int, error)
$ go generate ./...
Writing `FakeMySpecialInterface` to `foofakes/fake_my_special_interface.go`... Done
Writing `FakeMyOtherInterface` to `foofakes/fake_my_other_interface.go`... Done
Step 3 - Run go generate

You can run go generate in the directory with your directive, or in the root of your module (to ensure you generate for all packages in your module):

$ go generate ./...
Invoking counterfeiter from the shell

You can use the following command to invoke counterfeiter from within a go module:

$ go run github.com/maxbrunsfeld/counterfeiter/v6

        [-generate] [-o <output-path>] [-p] [--fake-name <fake-name>]
        [<source-path>] <interface> [-]
Installing counterfeiter to $GOPATH/bin

This is unnecessary if you're using the approach described above, but does allow you to invoke counterfeiter in your shell outside of a module:

$ GO111MODULE=off go get -u github.com/maxbrunsfeld/counterfeiter
$ counterfeiter

        [-generate] [-o <output-path>] [-p] [--fake-name <fake-name>]
        [<source-path>] <interface> [-]

Generating Test Doubles

Given a path to a package and an interface name, you can generate a test double.

$ cat path/to/foo/file.go
package foo

type MySpecialInterface interface {
        DoThings(string, uint64) (int, error)
$ go run github.com/maxbrunsfeld/counterfeiter/v6 path/to/foo MySpecialInterface
Wrote `FakeMySpecialInterface` to `path/to/foo/foofakes/fake_my_special_interface.go`

Using Test Doubles In Your Tests

Instantiate fakes`:

import "my-repo/path/to/foo/foofakes"

var fake = &foofakes.FakeMySpecialInterface{}

Fakes record the arguments they were called with:

fake.DoThings("stuff", 5)


str, num := fake.DoThingsArgsForCall(0)

You can stub their return values:

fake.DoThingsReturns(3, errors.New("the-error"))

num, err := fake.DoThings("stuff", 5)

For more examples of using the counterfeiter API, look at some of the provided examples.

Generating Test Doubles For Third Party Interfaces

For third party interfaces, you can specify the interface using the alternative syntax <package>.<interface>, for example:

$ go run github.com/maxbrunsfeld/counterfeiter/v6 github.com/go-redis/redis.Pipeliner

Running The Tests For counterfeiter

If you want to run the tests for counterfeiter (perhaps, because you want to contribute a PR), all you have to do is run scripts/ci.sh.


So you want to contribute to counterfeiter! That's great, here's exactly what you should do:

  • open a new github issue, describing your problem, or use case
  • help us understand how you want to fix or extend counterfeiter
  • write one or more unit tests for the behavior you want
  • write the simplest code you can for the feature you're working on
  • try to find any opportunities to refactor
  • avoid writing code that isn't covered by unit tests

counterfeiter has a few high level goals for contributors to keep in mind

  • keep unit-level test coverage as high as possible
  • keep main.go as simple as possible
  • avoid making the command line options any more complicated
  • avoid making the internals of counterfeiter any more complicated

If you have any questions about how to contribute, rest assured that @tjarratt and other maintainers will work with you to ensure we make counterfeiter better, together. This project has largely been maintained by the community, and we greatly appreciate any PR (whether big or small).


counterfeiter is MIT-licensed.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the counterfeiter README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.