#0369 – Visual Studio Solutions – SSIS and Coded UI projects – encounter “System.ArgumentNullException” and tests do not build successfully


Recently, we undertook a project to write a couple of automation tools for the utilities that we use to move data around.

The automation solution involved a couple of SSIS packages that created a few data views, generated some key columns and cross-referenced records with predefined static data to facilitate data comparison. In addition, we also wrote a couple of Coded UI tests which would read configuration parameters from a simple Excel file and run through the utilities so that they can run independently without any need of human interaction.

The issue

Unfortunately, it seems that at least in Visual Studio 2012, one cannot have both – an SSIS project and a Coded UI project. This is because the Coded UI tests fail to build with a “System.ArgumentNullException” error.

Here are the simple steps to reproduce the issue:

  1. Launch VS2012
  2. In an new solution, add a new Integration Services project. Leave defaults and save the solution
  3. In this solution, add a new Coded UI Test project. Leave defaults and save the solution. The solution now has the 2 projects as required
  4. Go to Test -> Windows -> Test Explorer
  5. In the solution explorer, right click on the solution and choose “Build Solution”
  6. Build fails unexpectedly with the following error:
System.ArgumentNullException: Value cannot be null.
Parameter name: source
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.ValidateArg.NotNull[T](T arg, String parameterName)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.ValidateArg.NotNullOrEmpty[T](IEnumerable`1 arg, String parameterName)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.Interop.VSProjectExtensions.CompareNormalizedPath(String source, String target)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.Interop.VSProjectExtensions.GetKeyOutputForIVsOutputGroup(IVsOutputGroup outputGroup)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.Interop.VSProjectExtensions.GetProjectOutputPath(IVsProjectCfg2 projectConfig, String groupName)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.Interop.VSProjectExtensions.GetKeyOutputForGroup(IVsSolutionBuildManager buildManager, IVsProject project, String groupName)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestWindow.VsAdapters.VsTestContainer.get_Source()
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestWindow.VsAdapters.VsTestContainer.CreateTimeStamp()
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestWindow.VsAdapters.VsTestContainer..ctor(ITestContainerDiscoverer discoverer, ILogger log, IVsProject project, IServiceProvider serviceProvider, IVsAppContainerUtilities appContainerUtilities)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestWindow.VsAdapters.VsProjectOutputContainerDiscoverer.<get_TestContainers>b__0(IVsProject p)
at System.Linq.Enumerable.WhereSelectEnumerableIterator`2.MoveNext()
at System.Linq.Enumerable.WhereEnumerableIterator`1.MoveNext()
at System.Collections.Generic.List`1..ctor(IEnumerable`1 collection)
at System.Linq.Enumerable.ToList[TSource](IEnumerable`1 source)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestWindow.Controller.TestContainerDiscovererExtension.GetSortedContainers(ITestContainerDiscoverer discoverer)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestWindow.Controller.TestContainerProvider.GetContainersFromDiscoverer(ITestContainerDiscoverer discoverer)

The Workaround

The workaround to build and run the Coded UI tests is to simply unload (removal of the project is not necessary) the SSIS project(s) for the time being. Once the Coded UI tests are done, the SSIS project(s) can be loaded back into the solution before checking it back into source control.

MS Connect Case

While the workaround is simple enough, it can be slightly inconvenient when there are multiple team members who consume the solution. I therefore wrote up a Connect case for this issue (ID# 2194579). Here’s the link: https://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/feedback/details/2194579/solution-with-both-coded-ui-and-integration-services-projects-encounters-system-argumentnullexception-and-tests-do-not-build-successfully

If you encounter the same issue, or if you believe it should be fixed, please “up” vote on the MS connect item linked above.

Until we meet next time,
Be courteous. Drive responsibly.

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