Review of property-based testing libraries for C++


I first heard of property-based testing in Bryan O'Sullivan's talk on "Running a startup on Haskell" where he said that even non-Haskell programmers should know about property-based testing (PBT). PBT is

designed to assist in software testing by generating test cases for test suites. (wikipedia)

The idea behind PBT is to run the test suite against a set of lose assumptions specified by the programmer. The test suite generates tests to falsify these assumptions and eventually presents a minimal failing case for further investigation.

So here is what I found regarding PBT libraries in the C++ world. Note that this is strictly a review of the libraries I found as I have not (yet) used any of the libraries presented here.


Apparently the first PBT library for C++ was QuickCheck++ (GPLv3) developed between 2009 and 2012 by Cyril Soldani at LegiaSoft. It features extensive documentation and is a header-only library. The licensing of a testing library does not impose too much on the software being tested because the tests are not usually linked into the programs.

The next effort is seen in CppQuickCheck (BSD, github) started in 2010 by Greg Rogers and still accepting patches with the latest contribution from 2015. The author acknowledges QuickCheck++ and adds support for generator combinators and shrinking.

autocheck (MIT, github) was developed in 2012-2013 by John Freeman and is still accepting patches with the latest contribution from 2015. Also a header-only library, it acknowledges the first two for inspiration and proposes "numerous improvements with C++11 features" (quote from the wiki).

The last one I could find is rapidcheck (BSD, github) developed by Emil Erikson for Spotify from 2014 on and still active in 2016. The author acknowledges autocheck in a discussion on reddit but adds support for generator combinators and shrinking making the case that shrinking is the most valuable. rapidcheck further advertises integration with Boost Test, Google Test, and Google Mock. Examples of such are presented in a further blog post by the author.


I would probably go with the latest one first as it is still being actively developed and seems to be the most modern and feature-complete.

Comments !