We have covered a lot of different topics in the previous articles. We have learned how to use xUnit to write Unit tests for our Validation class and how to test our Controller class with its actions by using the Moq library to isolate dependencies.

In this article, we are going to learn about Integration Testing in ASP.NET Core MVC. Additionally, we are going to prepare an in-memory database so we don’t have to use the real SQL server during integration tests.

You can download the source code on our GitHub repository.

For the complete navigation of this series, you can visit ASP.NET Core MVC Testing.

These are the topics we are going to cover:

Let’s move on.

Preparing a new Project for Integration Testing

First, we are going to create a new xUnit project named EmployeesApp.IntegrationTests for integration testing purposes.

After the project creation, we are going to rename the UnitTest1.cs class to EmployeesControllerIntegrationTests:

Integration tests project

Additionally, we are going to add a reference to the main project and install a single NuGet package required for the testing purposes:

  • AspNetCore.Mvc.Testing – this package provides the TestServer and an important class WebApplicationFactory to help us bootstrap our app in-memory
  • Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.InMemory – In-memory database provider

Now we can continue on.

Creating In-Memory Factory Configuration

Let’s create a new class TestingWebAppFactory and modify it accordingly:

A couple of things to mention here.

Our class implements the WebApplicationFactory<Startup> class and overrides the ConfigureWebHost method. In that method, we remove the EmployeeContext registration from the Startup.cs class. Then, we are adding Entity Framework in-memory database support to the DI container via the ServiceCollection class.

After that, we add the database context to the service container and instruct it to use the in-memory database instead of the real database.

Finally, we ensure that we seed the data from the EmployeeContext class (The same data you inserted into a real SQL Server database at the beginning of this series).

With these preparations in place, we can return to the test class and start writing our tests.

Integration Testing of the Index Action

In our test class, we can find a single test method with the default name. But let’s remove it and start from scratch.

The first thing we have to do is to implement a previously created TestingWebAppFactory class:

So, we implement the TestingWebAppFactory class with the IClassFixture interface and inject it in a constructor, where we create an instance of the HttpClient. The IClassFixture interface is a decorator which indicates that tests in this class rely on a fixture to run. We can see that the fixture is our TestingWebAppFactory class.

Now, let’s write our first integration test:

We use the GetAsync method to call the action on the /Employees route, which is the Index action and return a result in a response variable. With the EnsureSuccessStatusCode method, we verify that the IsSuccessStatusCode property has the value true:

IsSuccessStatusCode - Integration Testing

If the value is false, it would mean that the request is not successful, thus the test would fail.

Finally, we serialize our HTTP content to a string with the ReadAsStringAsync method and verify that it contains our two employees:

Index integration test pass

We can see that the test passes and that we successfully return our employees from the in-memory database. If you want to make sure that we are really using the in-memory database and not the real one, you can always stop the SQLServer service in the Services window and run the test again.


Now, we can continue towards the integration testing of both Create actions.

Testing the Create (GET) Action

Before we continue with testing, let’s open the Create.cshtml file, from the Views\Employees folder, and modify it by changing the h4 tag (just to have more than one word to test):


Now we are ready to write our test code.

We want to verify when the Create (GET) action executes, it returns a create form:

Create integration test pass

And it does.

Additional Tests for the Create (POST) Action

So, let’s write some integration testing code for the POST action. For the first test method, we are going to verify that our action returns a view with an appropriate error message when the model, sent from the Create page, is invalid. And yes, in a previous article, we had test methods for the invalid model, but without an HTTP request.

Having that said, let’s write the test code:

We create a post request and the formModel object as a dictionary, which consists of the elements that we have on the Create page. Of course, we didn’t provide all the elements, the AccountNumber is missing, because we want to send invalid data.

After that, we store the formModel as a content in our request, send that request with the SendAsync method and ensure that the response is successful.

Finally, we serialize our response and make assertion verification.

If we take a look at the Employee model class, we are going to see that if the AccountNumber is not provided the error message should appear on the form:

That is exactly what we verify in our test method.

Now, we can run the Test Explorer:

Post test fail - Integration Testing

Well, this test fails. But, there is nothing wrong with the code, the test code is good, just for some reason we are getting the 400 Bad Request message.

Why is that?


Well, if we open our controller and take a look at the Create (POST) action, we can see the ValidateAntiForgeryToken attribute. So, our action expects the anti-forgery token to be provided but we are not doing that, thus the test fails. For now (just as temporary solution) we are going to comment out that attribute and run the test again:

Commenting anti-forgery token validation attribute

The result:

Post test passes

Now, the test passes. As we said this is just a temporary solution. There are a couple of steps required to configure Anti-Forgery token in our testing code and in the next article we are going to show you how to do that step by step. For now, let’s just continue with another test while the ValidateAntiForgeryToken is commented out.

Testing Successful POST Request

Let’s write the final test in this article, where we verify that the Create action returns the Index view if the POST request is successful:

So, this code is not too much different from the previous one, except we send a valid formModel object with the request and the assertion part. Basically, once the POST request is finished successfully, the Create method should redirect us to the Index method. There, we can find all the employees including the created one. You can always debug your test code and inspect the responseString variable to visually confirm that response is the Index page with a new employee.

Finally, let’s run the Test Explorer:

The Last Post integration test passes

Excellent! It passes.


In this article, we have learned how to write integration tests in the ASP.NET Core MVC application. We have created an In-Memory database to use it during tests instead of the real database server. Additionally, we have learned how to test our Index action and how to write integration tests for the Create actions as well. This testing methodology could be applied to other actions as well (PUT, Delete…).

Finally, we have seen the problem with the anti-forgery token and in the next article, we are going to learn how to solve that problem by introducing several new functionalities to our code.

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