Referencing MSTest And MSTestv2 Unit Testing Framework Through Namespace Aliasing

Let me start-off by explaining what MSTest and MSTestV2 are.

MSTest (Microsoft.VisualStudio.QualityTools.UnitTestFramework.dll) – This is the unit testing framework that comes pre-installed when you install Visual Studio IDE (Available through the .Net Framework – GAC)

MStestV2 (Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestPlatform.TestFramework.dll) – This is now the open source version of MSTest. With any open source libraries, there are lots of good contributions but also features do change more frequent. More often, removed (or enhanced in this case). You install this version of MSTest through Nuget.

With that brief description on MSTest and MSTestV2, now comes the question: Why would I reference both MSTest and MSTestV2 in the same test project? Well, there are two reasons; Backwards compatibility and issues exposed in MSTestV2 that is still being worked on.

In terms of backwards compatibility, I work with many developers around utilizing data driven features in MSTest. The good back then is that we can data drive tests using many data source providers (e.g. Excel, SQL, etc…). The bad part is that the open source framework (MSTestV2) only supports both XML and CSV as the data source providers (Though, it supports DataRow as a data source which is good).

Ideally, I would ask the developers to migrate directly to MSTestV2 but in this case, I’d like for them to regress any issues they find in MSTest and see what else could break in MSTestV2.

The issue: Referencing both dlls causes collisions and/or conflicts simply because most of the attributes (or All- [TestClass],[TestMethod],etc…) uses the exact same namespace:


The Solution! Welcome back namespace aliasing. The last time I used namespace aliasing, oh, I can’t remember exactly but probably late 2006 (C# 2.0)

With namespace aliases, you can reference multiple assemblies even if those assemblies have the exact same namespace

Step 1: Provide an alias name at the assembly level.

Go to the properties of each assembly and provide an alias.


Step 2: In code, refer to the assembly alias using the C# reserved keywordextern

extern alias FrameworkV1;
extern alias FrameworkV2;

using System;
using TestFrameworkV1 = FrameworkV1.Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestTools.UnitTesting;
using TestFrameworkV2 = FrameworkV2.Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestTools.UnitTesting;

Step 3: Refer to the appropriate assembly classes and/or attributes through the namespace alias (variable you created through the “using” statement)


And the result