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Case Study: Black marble

Black Marble Discovers How to Unit Test SharePoint Projects with Typemock Isolator


The Company


Black Marble is a highly skilled software development and IT consultancy house based in the North of England that thrives on solving difficult problems. The company ensures its customers benefit from innovative solutions delivered based on original work or Black Marble's partners' technology.

From its inception in 1997, Black Marble's standing as a deeply knowledgeable technical company has grown in leaps, underwriting its customers' confidence in what they produce. Using building blocks such as Microsoft SharePoint, BizTalk or Visual Studio Team System, Black Marble delivers quality IT assets to power its customers' growth .


Not Really Looking into Unit Testing


Black Marble's developers were not looking into unit testing as a work methodology. They did not feel they needed mocking frameworks, and were not concerned with using monitoring tools. Notwithstanding, when they became aware of Typemock through discussion forums about mocking frameworks on the web, they began taking it more seriously. Trying to learn more about its benefits, Richard Fennell was further made aware of Typemock's Isolator usages with SharePoint by Roy Osherove, R&D Manager and unit-testing guru, at the VBUG conference in the United Kingdom.


The Transition to Typemock


The bulk of Black Marble's development is in the SharePoint space. As a result, the company's developers have few opportunities to write units tests. However, after becoming familiar with Typemock, the company is now attempting to get all SharePoint-project developers to consider the use of unit tests facilitated by Isolator.

The transition is gradual. By exposing Black Marble's developers to the ease of Typemock's AAA syntax in SharePoint, it has provided an excellent means to implement unit testing in general. The company is now using Isolator in ASP.NET MVC, SharePoint webparts, and also in SharePoint workflows projects.

Typemock has proven that developers can deliver code faster with better coverage in non-SharePoint projects, especially MVC, and they are now trying to replicate the achievements in the SharePoint environment. Until actual metrics are available, the company's has already been able to assess that it is possible to pull testing back from inefficient integration tests using web records into faster unit tests.


“Typemock has helped to shorten the delivery cycle as we are no longer limited to the slow and complex SharePoint development experience. It has not removed the need for the traditional development cycle completely, but much of the validation, particularly for webparts, has been made far easier.”

Richard Fennell, Engineering Director.






Today, Typemock's Isolator's AAA syntax and the features of version 5.3.1 are meeting Black Marble's needs for unit testing. The solution makes the in-practice untestable SharePoint testable within an automated build, without having to provision a complete SharePoint infrastructure. 

While the company has no metrics yet, developers feel that unit tests are providing them with a far more robust system that enables testing to expose bugs and provide good regression tests.


“Typemock's Isolator has been an eye-opener for Black Marble's developers. It offers us the opportunity to unit test, even in a most untestable framework like SharePoint, enabling us to increase our code coverage and detect more bugs.”

Richard Fennell, Engineering Director.