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What is a Mock Object?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Mock objects in the world of computer programming are simulations that can be used to measure performance and response in a controlled environment. The main function of the mock object is to interact with specific components of hardware and software within an experiment. By engaging a mock object within a simulation, it is possible to test the response of the component within a wide range of scenarios, and possibly enhance the response of the component before release to the general public.

Unit testing with the use of a mock object is common to just about every computer programmer and manufacturer. The idea behind the mock object is to get real time information about response and performance in a lab situation. By creating a number of different situations that are likely to be encountered in the real world, the programmer can effectively qualify a final release of some type of hardware or software program. This use of mock objects to work out glitches in the equipment or software program before it hits the consumer market can save the manufacturer huge amounts of time, as well as prevent damage to the reputation of the company among consumers.

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Simulated objects help to uncover all sorts of potential problems. The mock object may be used to identify any number of network errors that could result from various interactions with other components. A simulated object may be able to identify the cause for slow performance, such as a database that seems to take too long to save data or move from one section to another. By creating an artificial environment and testing the mock object under a wide range of circumstances, the chances of failure when the end product is sold to consumers is greatly minimized.

Along with use in testing new hardware and programs before they are released to the buying public, a mock object is sometimes used to refine a new version or release of an existing product. By employing a mock object, it is possible to determine if the new version has retained all the functionality of the previous version, but will not create any interface issues with other programs or hardware once installed.

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