How to dynamically add attributes to a class with Castle.Core

Published on 15 augusti 2013

Yesterday I was working on some unit tests that ensured that some user derived classes passed to a method were decorated with a specific attribute.

Since the mocking framework I used (Moq) did not support dynamically adding of attributes to a mocked type, my first approach was simply to create some private test classes that contained different permutations of the specified attribute, like this:

public class FakeClassWithAnAttributeSetToANumberLessThanTen

public class FakeClassWithAnAttributeSetToANumberGreaterThanTen

[TheAttribute(10, DefaultStuffz=Stuffz.Random)]
public class FakeClassWithAnAttributeSetWithDefaultStuffz

Alas, as the amount of tests grew, I realized that this wasn't a viable solution.

Finally I found a quite nice solution by using Castle.DynamicProxy available in the Castle project. I have personally never used the Castle framework before, but the experience using it was quite nice.

public class MyClass

public class MyClassAttribute : Attribute

To create an instance of MyClass, dynamically decorated with a MyClassAttribute you simply do as below.

public static MyClass CreateClassDecoratedWithAttribute()
	// Get the attribute constructor.
	Type[] ctorTypes = Type.EmptyTypes;
	var ctor = typeof(MyClassAttribute).GetConstructor(ctorTypes);
	Debug.Assert(ctor != null, "Could not get constructor for attribute.");

	// Create an attribute builder.
	object[] attributeArguments = new object[] { };
	var builder = new System.Reflection.Emit.CustomAttributeBuilder(ctor, attributeArguments);

	// Create the proxy generation options.
    // This is how we tell Castle.DynamicProxy how to create the attribute.
	var proxyOptions = new Castle.DynamicProxy.ProxyGenerationOptions();

	// Create the proxy generator.
	var proxyGenerator = new Castle.DynamicProxy.ProxyGenerator();

	// Create the class proxy.
	var classArguments = new object[] { };
	return (MyClass)proxyGenerator.CreateClassProxy(typeof(MyClass), proxyOptions, classArguments);

And now you can test that this actually works.

public void Created_Class_Should_Be_Decorated_With_Attribute()
	// Given
	var myClass = CreateClassDecoratedWithAttribute();

	// When
	var attribute = myClass.GetType().GetCustomAttributes(typeof(MyClassAttribute), true)[0];

	// Then