Fixture customization

AutoFixture is designed around the 80-20 (Pareto) principle. It is expected that the default Fixture instance will be able to create specimens witout too much trouble, in most cases. However there are situations, where AutoFixture needs some extra help.

  • When a class consumes an interface, the default Fixture will not be able to create an instance. (Solved with AutoMocking Customizations)
  • When the API has circular references, Fixture might enter an infinite recursion.
  • When constructors accept only arguments that don’t fit with the default specimens created by the Fixture.

To address these special cases, AutoFixture offers extension points, allowing client code to customize the default behavior.

AutoFixture also offers an idiomatic way to encapsulate these customizations and also keep the code DRY, called Customizations. This concept corresponds closely to modularization APIs of seveal well-known DI containers, like Castle Windsor’s Installers or Autofac’s Modules.

Implementing customizations

Customizations are simply implementations of the ICustomization interface, that requires clients to implement a single method Customize. The method receives a single argument, which is the Fixture instance itself.

public interface ICustomization
    void Customize(IFixture fixture);

Anything that can be done using the Fixture instance can also be done with the IFixture instance passed in the customization.

Using customizations

Customizing AutoFixture using Customizations is a simple and straight-forward process. All that is necessary is to provide the Fixture an implementation of the ICustomization interface, using the Customize method.

var fixture = new Fixture()
    .Customize(new AutoMoqCustomization());

In the example above, the Fixture instance is customized by the client code using the AutoMoqCustomization provided in the AutoFixture.AutoMoq package. Note that almost every extension library provided by AutoFixture offers at least one Customization.

Reusing customizations

By design customizations are intended to be small in scope, reusable and composable. Whenever implementing a custom customization, it is recommended to adhere to the DRY principle and avoid defining all the configuration inside a single customization instance.

To be able to use multiple atomic customizations it is recommended to use the composite pattern. For convenience AutoFixture offers the CompositeCustomization class that implements the composite pattern for the ICustomization interface.

var fixture = new Fixture()
    .Customize(new CompositeCustomization(
      new AutoMoqCustomization(),
      new NullRecursionCustomization(),
      new CustomersCustomization()

Composite customizations can also be implemented by inheriting from CompositeCustomization. This offers the benefit of having descriptive names for sets of related customizations.

class DomainCustomization : CompositeCustomization
  public DomainCustomization()
    : base(
        new CustomersCustomization(),
        new AddressCustomization())