Saturday, December 09, 2017

Announcing AltCover

Now I have time to myself, and the season doesn't lend itself to outdoor activities, I can start dusting off my various coding projects and devoting the time and energy to those that I used to expend for pay.

First off the block is AltCover, an alternative code coverage tool for .net and Mono.

This is a project I started back in the dark days in the spring of 2010, when changes in the profiling API of the new CLR 4.0 release meant that the old freeware NCover 1.5.x series no longer functioned. For some considerable while, the only FOSS alternative that worked with the new CLR (by instrumenting the code under test before execution, rather than on-the-fly) seemed to be an initial proof-of-concept on CodeProject.

At that point, I'd been looking for something non-trivial to work on that would provide the opportunity to use F# to build up my fluency in the language; and so the obvious thing to to was to re-implement from scratch and extend to cover such gaps as I found in its functionality when trying to use it as a near drop-in replacement for the now non-functional NCover version.

After some considerable interval and a failed dalliance with PartCover, including my first contribution to a real FOSS tool, but never a resolution to one real sticking problem, where it looked like JITting across assembly boundaries was causing executed lines to not appear in the coverage, I shelved my work in favour of the off-the-shelf OpenCover, where I could intermittently contribute enhancements to cover personal pain points.

Why have I dusted it off again now?

Well, for much the same reasons as before; a non-trivial project that does answer some pain-points (Mono and probably the new dotnet core amongst them) that OpenCover's necessarily intimate relationship with the runtime makes difficult. And it provides a reason to play with new toys that have grown up over the last few years, like Fake for builds, and the generous provision of CI tools to FOSS projects so people can take builds rather than having to roll their own.

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