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Home Guide NUnit Vs XUnit Vs MSTest: Core Differences

NUnit Vs XUnit Vs MSTest: Core Differences

By Gurudatt S A, Community Contributor -

Table of Contents

Unit testing is essential to check whether the single independent block of code is working as expected or not. While there are different Unit Testing Frameworks to choose from, .Net has three popular Unit Testing frameworks for creating and managing tests

  • NUnit
  • xUnit
  • MSTest

This article discussed these .Net Unit Testing Frameworks, and compare them by highlighting salient features each provide

What Is NUnit?

NUnit is a unit testing tool ported initially from JUnit for .Net Framework and is completely an Open Source Project. NUnit was released in the early 2000s, though the initial Nunit was ported from Junit, the recent .Net version 3 is completely rewritten from scratch.

To run the Nunit test we need to add attributes to our methods. An example, attribute [Test] , Indicates the Test method. The Attributes in Nunit are similar to JUnit/TestNG Annotations.

Below are the NuGet Packages required by NUnit

  • NUnit
  • NUnit3TestAdapter
  • Microsoft.NET.Test.Sdk

What is xUnit?

xUnit is a unit testing tool for .Net Framework which was released in 2007 as an alternative for Nunit. xUnit has attributes for the execution of tests but is not similar to NUnit. [Fact] and [Theory] attributes are similar to [Test]

Below are the NuGet Packages required by xUnit

  • xunit
  • xunit.runner.visualstudio
  • Microsoft.NET.Test.Sdk

What is MSTest?

MSTest is a unit testing framework developed by Microsoft and ships with Visual Studio. However, Microsoft made version 2 open-source which can easily be downloaded. MSTest has attributes range similar to NUnit and provides a wide range of attributes along with parallel run support at the Class and Method level.

Nunit vs xUnit vs MSTest: Feature Differences

Test Declaration[Test][Fact]/ [Theory][TestMethod]
Grouping Tests by Class[TestFixture]Not Available[TestClass]
Setup and Teardown[Setup]


Not Available[TestInitialize]


One needs to use a constructor for setup activity and an IDisposable interface for a teardown
One time setup/ teardown before all tests execution[OneTimeSetUp]


Not Available[ClassInitialize]


One need to rely on IClassFixture
Skip a test[Ignore(“reason”)][Fact(Skip=”reason”)][Ignore]
Group test by Category[Category()][Trait(“Category”,””)][TestCategory(“”)]
Test Data setup/Cleanup before executing test[TestFixtureSetup]


Not Available[ClassInitialize]


Execution in IsolationConfigurableDefault SupportDefault Support
DocumentationWell DocumentedDoesn’t have a well-maintained document structureWell Documented

Run Selenium Tests using NUnit Attributes on BrowserStack

Running NUnit Tests using BrowserStack’s Cloud Selenium Grid on real devices helps get real user conditions into account for better accuracy of test results. To run Selenium tests on BrowserStack Automate, using NUnit Attributes, use the code below:

using System;
using OpenQA.Selenium;
using OpenQA.Selenium.Remote;
using OpenQA.Selenium.Support.UI;
using NUnit.Framework;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using OpenQA.Selenium.Chrome;

namespace SingleTest
public class AttributeTest
IWebDriver driver;


public void oneTimeSetup()
Dictionary<string, object> browserStackOptions = new Dictionary<string, object>();
browserStackOptions.Add("userName", <user name>);
browserStackOptions.Add("accessKey", <access key>);
ChromeOptions options = new ChromeOptions();
options.AddAdditionalOption("bstack:options", browserStackOptions);
driver = new RemoteWebDriver(new Uri(""), options);

public void setup()
driver.Url = "";


public void test1()
DefaultWait<IWebDriver> fluentWait = new DefaultWait<IWebDriver>(driver);
fluentWait.Timeout = TimeSpan.FromSeconds(5);
fluentWait.PollingInterval = TimeSpan.FromMilliseconds(250);
fluentWait.Until(mydriver => mydriver.Title == "StackDemo");

public void test2()
DefaultWait<IWebDriver> fluentWait = new DefaultWait<IWebDriver>(driver);
fluentWait.Timeout = TimeSpan.FromSeconds(5);
fluentWait.PollingInterval = TimeSpan.FromMilliseconds(250);
fluentWait.Until(mydriver => mydriver.Title == "StackDemo1");


On a closing note

NUnit Version 3.x is completely rewritten and it supports parallel test execution, a wide range of attributes for various level setup, and teardown that can help leverage flexibility while designing our Automated tests. 

Whichever Unit Testing framework you choose, it is important to test the application on real device cloud for more accurate test results. By testing under real user conditions you can identify the bottlenecks in the real user experience and rectify them in time before release. Using NUnit as your Unit Testing Framework, you can test your application on real devices and browsers.

Run Unit Test on Real Devices

Automation Frameworks Automation Testing Unit Testing

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