Pester 5 and Group-Object – Best Friends

Figuring out how to group the output of your Pester tests

Words: 830

Time to read: ~ 4 minutes

I’ve been working with Pester v5 lately.

Pester v5 with PowerShell v5 at work & Pester v5 with PowerShell Core outside of work.

There are quite a few changes from Pester version 3, so it’s almost like learning a new language… except it’s based on slang. I think that I’m speaking eloquently, and then I’ve suddenly insulted someone and Pester no longer wants to play nice with me.

Initial Tests

I’ve got the following data that I’m using to test Pester v5.

BeforeDiscovery -ScriptBlock {
    $Groups = @(
        [PSCustomObject] @{
            Server = 1
            Group = 'A'
            Value = '86b7b0f9-996f-4c19-ac9a-602b8fe4d6f2' -as [guid]
        }, 
        [PSCustomObject] @{
            Server = 1
            Group = 'B'
            Value = 'e02913f7-7dae-4d33-98c9-d05db033bd08' -as [guid]
        },
        [PSCustomObject] @{
            Server = 2
            Group = 'A'
            Value = '96ad0394-8e9e-4406-b17e-e7d47f29f927' -as [guid]
        },
        [PSCustomObject] @{
            Server = 2
            Group = 'B'
            Value = 'f8efa8b6-e21b-4b9c-ae11-834e79768fee' -as [guid]
        }
    )
}
Image showing the data in the Before Discovery block
Test data

Usually, I would only use -TestCases to iterate through the data. I know that in Pester v3, I could wrap the It blocks inside a foreach () {}, and it would be okay. Hell, in most of my testings, it was faster. It doesn’t matter; I liked using -TestCases, and the performance difference is negligible to me.

That is still an option with Pester v5. I can run the below code to confirm.

Describe -Name 'Attempt: 01' -Tag '01' -Fixture {
    Context -Name 'Server: <_.Server>' -Fixture {
        It -Name 'should have a guid for its value: <_.Value>' -TestCases $Groups {
            $_.Value | Should -BeOfType [guid]
        }
    }
}
ForEach on the It block

If I look at the data, I can see that I’ve got two different values for Server; 1 and 2. It would be great if I could group the tests by those server values.

For me, Pester has three main blocks; Describe, Context, and It.
I know that Pester v5 has a -ForEach parameter for each of these blocks. I’ve already tried using the -ForEach parameter against the It block, and it didn’t do what I wanted.

Reminder of the ForEach on the It block

I’ll try it against the Context block instead and see if it works.


Describe -Name 'Attempt: 02' -Tag '02' -Fixture {
    Context -Name 'Server: <_.Server>' -Foreach $Groups {
        It -Name 'should have a guid for its value: <_.Value>' -Test {
            $_.Value | Should -BeOfType [guid]
        }
    }
}
ForEach on the Context block

That kind of works but we’ve got the same server in two different groups. Let’s move the groups up to the Describe level.

Describe -Name 'Attempt: 03 - Server: <_.Server>' -Tag '03' -Foreach $Groups {
    Context -Name 'Server: <_.Server>' -Fixture {
        It -Name 'should have a guid for its value: <_.Value>' -Test {
            $_.Value | Should -BeOfType [guid]
        }
    }
}
ForEach on the Describe block

We’ll that’s not what I wanted. Instead of 1 describe block, we have multiple blocks; 1 per group.

Grouped Data

Now, I’m going to start using Group-Object. My data by itself doesn’t seem to work.

$Groups = @(
    [PSCustomObject] @{
        Server = 1
        Group = 'A'
        Value = '86b7b0f9-996f-4c19-ac9a-602b8fe4d6f2' -as [guid]
    }, 
    [PSCustomObject] @{
        Server = 1
        Group = 'B'
        Value = 'e02913f7-7dae-4d33-98c9-d05db033bd08' -as [guid]
    },
    [PSCustomObject] @{
        Server = 2
        Group = 'A'
        Value = '96ad0394-8e9e-4406-b17e-e7d47f29f927' -as [guid]
    },
    [PSCustomObject] @{
        Server = 2
        Group = 'B'
        Value = 'f8efa8b6-e21b-4b9c-ae11-834e79768fee' -as [guid]
    }
)
Results of the Test Data

We can pass that data into Group-Object to group our data by a certain property. In my case, I want to group the data by the Server property.

$Groups | Group-Object -Property Server
Grouped Test Data

Taking a look at the first group, I only have the data for that single property value.

($Groups | Group-Object -Property Server)[0].Group
Inside the first group of Test Data

Now, I’ll try the Pester code again.

Grouped Tests

First, I’ll try putting the groups into the It blocks and see if that works.

Describe -Name 'Attempt: 05' -Tag '05' -Fixture {
    BeforeDiscovery -ScriptBlock {
        $GroupedGroups = $Groups | Group-Object -Property Server
    }

    Context -Name 'Server: <_.Name>' -Fixture {
        It -Name 'should have a guid for its value: <_.Group.Value>' -ForEach $GroupedGroups {
            $_.Group.Value | Should -BeOfType [guid]
        }
    }
}
Grouped on the It block

It doesn’t fully work. The data is grouped but the results seems to be concatenating the values. I’d like it better if they were split out to separate tests per value.

This time, I’ll group the data in the context blocks and then pass the groups into the It blocks. I’ll do this by passing the groups into the -ForEach parameter of the It block using $_.Group.

Describe -Name 'Attempt: 04' -Tag '04' -Fixture {
    BeforeDiscovery -ScriptBlock {
        $GroupedGroups = $Groups | Group-Object -Property Server
    }

    Context -Name 'Server: <_.Name>' -ForEach $GroupedGroups {
        It -Name 'should have a guid for its value: <_.Value>' -TestCases $_.Group {
            $_.Value | Should -BeOfType [guid]
        }
    }
}
Grouped on Context and passed to It block

In the previous code blocks, I used the BeforeDiscovery block in the Describe block. If you don’t want to use that, you can pass the Group-Object cmdlet to the ForEach parameter as a subexpression.

Describe -Name 'Attempt: 06 - Server: <_.Name>' -Tag '06' -ForEach ($Groups | Group-Object -Property Server) {
    Context -Name 'Server: <_.Name>' -Fixture {
        It -Name 'should have a guid for its value: <_.Value>' -TestCases $_.Group {
            $_.Value | Should -BeOfType [guid]
        }
    }
}
Without using BeforeDiscovery on the Describe block

Pass or Fail

I’ve encountered this obstacle of grouping objects in tests a couple of times. I’m hoping that by writing this down, I’ll be able to commit the information to memory.

Hey, if it doesn’t, I can always grab the code and figure it out.

Author: Shane O'Neill

DBA, T-SQL and PowerShell admirer, Food, Coffee, Whiskey (not necessarily in that order)...

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