Using parameterized tests

Parameterized tests are useful to repeat a specific test logic over a finite set of parameters.

Due to limitations on how generated parameters are passed, parameterized tests can only accept one pointer parameter; however, this is not that much of a problem since you can just pass a structure containing the context you need.

Adding parameterized tests

Adding parameterized tests is done by defining the parameterized test function, and the parameter generator function:

group ParameterizedBase


ParameterizedTest(Type, Suite, Name, ...) internal

ParameterizedTest(Type *param, Suite, Name, [Options...]) { Function Body }.

Defines a new parameterized test.

A parameterized test only takes one parameter to pass multiple parameters, use a structure type.

  • Type: The type of the parameter.
  • Suite: The name of the test suite containing this test.
  • Name: The name of the test.
  • ...: An optional sequence of designated initializer key/value pairs as described in the criterion_test_extra_data structure (see criterion/types.h). Example: .exit_code = 1

ParameterizedTestParameters(Suite, Name) internal

Defines the parameter generator prototype for the associated parameterized test.

A constructed instance of criterion::parameters, or the result of the cr_make_param_array macro.
  • Suite: The name of the test suite containing the test.
  • Test: The name of the test.

cr_make_param_array(Type, Array, Len, Cleanup) internal

Constructs a parameter list used as a return value for a parameter generator.

This is only recommended for C sources. For C++, use criterion::parameters or criterion_test_params.

The parameter list.
  • Type: The type of the array subscript.
  • Array: The array of parameters.
  • Len: The length of the array.
  • Cleanup: The optional cleanup function for the array.


using criterion::parameters = typedef std::vector<T, criterion::allocator<T> >

Represents a C++ dynamic parameter list for a parameter generator.

  • T: The type of the parameter.

#include <criterion/parameterized.h>

ParameterizedTestParameters(suite_name, test_name) {
    void *params;
    size_t nb_params;

    // generate parameter set
    return cr_make_param_array(Type, params, nb_params);

ParameterizedTest(Type *param, suite_name, test_name) {
    // contents of the test

suite_name and test_name are the identifiers of the test suite and the test, respectively. These identifiers must follow the language identifier format.

Type is the compound type of the generated array. params and nb_params are the pointer and the length of the generated array, respectively.


The parameter array must be reachable after the function returns – as such, local arrays must be declared with static or dynamically allocated.

Passing multiple parameters

As said earlier, parameterized tests only take one parameter, so passing multiple parameters is, in the strict sense, not possible. However, one can easily use a struct to hold the context as a workaround:

#include <criterion/parameterized.h>

struct my_params {
    int param0;
    double param1;

ParameterizedTestParameters(suite_name, test_name) {
    static struct my_params params[] = {
        // parameter set

    size_t nb_params = sizeof (params) / sizeof (struct my_params);
    return cr_make_param_array(struct my_params, params, nb_params);

ParameterizedTest(struct my_params *param, suite_name, test_name) {
    // access param.param0, param.param1, ...

C++ users can also use a simpler syntax before returning an array of parameters:

ParameterizedTestParameters(suite_name, test_name) {
    static struct my_params params[] = {
        // parameter set

    return criterion_test_params(params);

Dynamically allocating parameters

Any dynamic memory allocation done from a ParameterizedTestParameter function must be done with cr_malloc, cr_calloc, or cr_realloc.

Any pointer returned by those 3 functions must be passed to cr_free after you have no more use of it.

It is undefined behaviour to use any other allocation function (such as malloc) from the scope of a ParameterizedTestParameter function.

In C++, these methods should not be called explicitely – instead, you should use:

  • criterion::new_obj<Type>(params...) to allocate an object of type Type and call its constructor taking params.... The function possess the exact same semantics as new Type(params...).
  • criterion::delete_obj(obj) to destroy an object previously allocated by criterion::new_obj. The function possess the exact same semantics as delete obj.
  • criterion::new_arr<Type>(size) to allocate an array of objects of type Type and length size. Type is initialized by calling its default constructor. The function possess the exact same semantics as new Type[size].
  • criterion::delete_arr(array) to destroy an array previously allocated by criterion::new_arr. The function possess the exact same semantics as delete[] array.

Furthermore, the criterion::allocator<T> allocator can be used with STL containers to allocate memory with the functions above.

Freeing dynamically allocated parameter fields

One can pass an extra parameter to cr_make_param_array to specify the cleanup function that should be called on the generated parameter context:

#include <criterion/parameterized.h>

struct my_params {
    int *some_int_ptr;

void cleanup_params(struct criterion_test_params *ctp) {
    cr_free(((struct my_params *) ctp->params)->some_int_ptr);

ParameterizedTestParameters(suite_name, test_name) {
    static my_params params[] = {{
        .some_int_ptr = cr_malloc(sizeof (int));
    param[0].some_int_ptr = 42;

    return cr_make_param_array(struct my_params, params, 1, cleanup_params);

C++ users can use a more convenient approach:

#include <criterion/parameterized.h>

struct my_params {
    std::unique_ptr<int, decltype(criterion::free)> some_int_ptr;

    my_params(int *ptr) : some_int_ptr(ptr, criterion::free) {}

ParameterizedTestParameters(suite_name, test_name) {
    static criterion::parameters<my_params> params;

    return params;

criterion::parameters<T> is typedef’d as std::vector<T, criterion::allocator<T>>.

Configuring parameterized tests

Parameterized tests can optionally recieve configuration parameters to alter their own behaviour, and are applied to each iteration of the parameterized test individually (this means that the initialization and finalization runs once per iteration). Those parameters are the same ones as the ones of the Test macro function (c.f. Configuration reference).