Junit Kungfu

A great presentation with audio that talks about Junit 4, test naming and other things.  I liked this presentation because it starts expression Behaviour Driven Development concepts without actually using a Behaviour Driven Development Framework.  Additionally its one of the more in-depth presentations covering the new features of JUnit like Rules.

The presenter is John Ferguson Smart who runs testing and agile tools bootcamps around Australia and NZ (as well as elsewhere) so if you are in the vacinity you should consider looking into em.

My notes from the presentation:

Naming tests

Dont use the name testXXX – you aren’t testing methods of your code

You are testing use cases – what should your class be doing

Take out private methods, maybe extract to a separate class and test those separately if they are getting too big.

Use the word should.  Express an outcome

Class Name: When is a behaviour applicable
Method Name: When at is the behaviour testing

Tests become more readable.


Create the test collaborators – Inputs and Expected Outputs (Arrange)

Test the behaviour (Act)

Verify behaviour is correct (Assert)

Extending Hamcrest Matchers

Combine matchers together – hasItem(someOtherHasPropertyMatcherYouPreviouslyDefined)

Create a new matcher –

  1. Extend TypeSafeMatcher<type of thing you are checking against)
  2. Implement Constructor take in  a matcher of expected value
  3. Implement matchesSafely(type of thing you are checking against)
  4. Implement describeTo – decorate the existing test result/matcher description…  description.appendText(“WuzUp!”); matcher.describeTo(Description);
  5. Create a Factory Class for your matchers with static factory methods to return a new matcher
  6. Use It

Multiple asserts per test are bad (see also Integration Tests are a Scam)

You can combine hamcrest matchers into one test

assertThat(itesm, allOf(hasSize(1), hasItem(“java”)));

assertThat(itesm, hasSize(greaterThan(1)));

The error messages will be cleaner too – expect list size of one, and has item java but received <blah>

Parameterized Tests

Usually just one test per Parameterized test class – they get run once

Ways to get test data

Use an xls spreadsheet source

Use Selenium 2’s WebElement to get a webpage

@FindBy(name="HD_EN") WebElement importerName;
@FindBy(name="HD_EA") WebElement importerAddress;
@FindBy(name="HD_ER") WebElement importerRepresentative;

// getters and setters
 // getter return importerName.getValue();

// setter
public void setImporterName(String value) {
     enter(value, into(importerName));

Smoke test to make sure getters and setters are correct


Make sure the annotations aren’t wrong

JUnit Rules

Delete folders after test run

@Rule public TemporaryFolder folder = new TemporaryFolder()
folder.newFile(“a file name”);


accumulate errors rather than fail on first.  This saves having to write 20 different tests with large setup that check 20 things on the same page (eg login and load webpage table then verify each cell)

@Rule public ErrorCollector collector = new ErrorCollector();
// in your test
 collector.addError(new Throwable(“blah”));
collector.addError(new Throwable(“something else”));
collector.checkThat(result, yourMatcher);

The result will show “blah”, “something else” and the result of your failed matcher, as well as fail the test.


When you know something should have a short response time, a DAO for example should be shorter than 1 second

@Rule public MethodRule globalTimeout = new Timeout(1000);
@Test public void catchInfiniteLoopInTest() { for(;;); }

Catch any major issues before they get into production and become embarassing

Verifier Rule

Something that happens after a test is completed, like an assert

Inject behaviour to make JUnit add checks after each test…. kind of like a test post-condition or invariant from Betrand Meyers OO Software construction, but just for the tests themselves.

private List<String> systemErrorMessages = new ArrayList<String>();
public MethodRule verifier = new Verifier() {
    public void verify() {
        assertThat(systemErrorMessages.size(), is(0));

A good example I see would be using it to tie up mock verification calls in EasyMock

Watchman Rule

Called when a test fails or succeeds.  Additional logging perhaps?  How about restarting a GUI, or take a screenshot when a test fails.


Group tests in your own hierarchy based on your classification of the test rather than writing test suites.  Performance tests  that integration tests.  Slow running or fast running tests?

You can setup plain old normal interfaces for your categories, and have them extend each other via subclassing.  There is no Junit annotation here to indicate its an interface for testing, so you can potentially use any interface in your source.  I’m not sure if this is good practice or not, but say you wanted all your DAO tests that implemented a GenericDAO to be tested, you could do this…. or how about test all classes that implements Serializable?

You can annotate a test class, or tests methods with @Category(InterfaceName.class)

When running a category suite however you still need to include the classes to inspect as well as the category name.

@SuiteClasses( { CellTest.class, WhenYouCreateANewUniverse.class })
public class PerformanceTestSuite {}
You can also exclude from a Run and run a
@SuiteClasses( { CellTest.class, WhenYouCreateANewUniverse.class })
public class PerformanceTestSuite {}

But how about scanning your whole test bed?  Can we programmatically inject suite classes and use them with Categories?  At this point it is a limitation unless you want to use a classpath hack.

Parallel Tests

If you have fast IO and multicore (like my new work PC Smile) and well written tests that don’t trodd on each others data.

U use Maven’s surefire 2.5 plugin to achieve this, and say methods, classes or both in parallel.  Classes is probably safer since most people write the test slipping thru later tests in the same class depend on earlier test methods accidentally.


This is a tool for IntelliJ and Eclipse that runs tests when you save your source and tells you if you have failed runs.  I remember twittering about how cool this would be if it existed a while back, and I’m glad I wasnt the only one with this idea and that someone actually implemented it Open-mouthed smile.

Also there was a plugin for IntelliJ called Fireworks but I could never get it to run tests properly on my Windows PC; always complaining about not being able to find a JDK home Sad smile.

This tool seems pretty cheap at $29 for an individual license, I’ll check it out and give it a shot.


What would be super cool is if it worked with Categories mentioned above, to be able to exclude GUI tests from being executed.  There may be a feature in Infinitest that handles it but I’d be keen to see.


I’m traditionally an EasyMock guy but Mockito has always had good buzz.  At my new job we dont actually have a mocking framework yet so I’m keen to give it a look.

Mockito seems to have less verbose setup of tests, something that when learning EasyMock bashed me around a bit – ever forget to get out of record mode and get a green test accidentally.

As per Integration Tests are a scam ypresso recommends, you can verify interactions, verify a method is being called with certain params.

Other Stuff (comments from the Q&A of the presso)

Hibernate mappings – use an in-memory database

FEST asserts – an alternate to Hamcrest that avoids the Generic issues that plague Hamcrest!!! (boy this frustrates me a lot as a Hamcrest user)

Cobertura – a code coverage tool, alternate to Emma

Private methods shouldn’t be tested explicitly – you should be able to sufficiently test a class by its public facing API.

Testing Presentations

Their has been a presentation I watched last year that absolutely changed my opinion on how I tested and how I designed.  It was one of those presentations that just made sense and I cant believe I haven’t blogged about it until now.

Integration Tests are a Scam by Joe Rainsberger

This was my favourite presentation from last year. It talks about writing the correct type of unit tests to get get fast results and reduce the need for slower integration tests that are generally slower are require a lot of maintenance. He makes a compelling argument about the number of tests in your system don’t improve the sense of security you get from your tests by the same amount. So he talks about what needs to be unit tested from the contract class and the opposite collaborator class and how doing so gives you a better picture of what tests you need to give you a sense of security with quick feedback. The blurb explains it better

Integration tests are a scam. You’re probably writing 2-5% of the integration tests you need to test thoroughly. You’re probably duplicating unit tests all over the place. Your integration tests probably duplicate each other all over the place. When an integration test fails, who knows what’s broken? Learn the two-pronged attack that solves the problem: collaboration tests and contract tests.

TDD of Asynchronous Systems

This presentation by the author of a new book, “growing object oriented software, guided by tests” Nat Pryce, which talks about testing at the integration/functional level and techniques to get around all the painful ‘flickering tests’ & ‘false positives’ issues that occur when you have them. The examples talk about testing legacy systems, swing gui’s and JMS queues.

One of the key ideas is that one must find a point to synchronise on before executing the assertions and those assertions must wait (and retry if not true) until the state has changed or a timeout occurs (and the test then fails)

As a user of UISpec4j with its Assertions that have a timeout, and some perilious test code when someone innocently mixed junit assertions with a UI test, I could relate to this really well.

Legacy Java Systems

I’ve had my fair share of working with legacy code.  I don’t think legacy code is a bad thing because its existence means it has addressed the majority of the needs of the business successfully enough to stay around.  However, as time proceeds, the business needs to change in order not to become a historic entity and so legacy apps need to be updated.  This is usually where the frustration comes in.  You have to work with older development practices and styles you may not be used to.  You also may have to source old libraries or application containers in order to get things to build and deploy. 

However, I would like to think you can make a green field out of anywhere. A lot of other people may disagree, but the legacy system does have the advantage of addressing business need that your own ‘from scratch’ green fields app may not (provided the business need is still relevant).  There was a recent article on info q: Eight Quick Ways to Improve Java Legacy Systems that talked about the following areas

  • Tip #1: Use a Profiler
  • Tip #2: Monitor Database Usage
  • Tip #3: Automate Your Build and Deployment
  • Tip #4: Automate Your Operations and Use JMX
  • Tip #5: Wrap in a Warm Blanket of Unit Tests
  • Tip #6: Kill Dead Code
  • Tip #7: Adopt a ‘compliance to building codes’ Approach
  • Tip #8: Upgrade Your JRE

I’ve used a number of these techniques, but there were some I hadn’t heard of before such as the jdbcWrapper that simply wraps your jdbc driver with a logger so you can see what part of your code executes what SQL. (Tip 2)

Using JMX to trigger cache cleanups as described in Tip 4 is a great idea.  Another useful thing I’ve seen is using scripts and creating a Javascript or Groovy console within your app so that live maintenance can be performed on production environments.

Tip 5 touches on breaking dependencies, which is what you see a lot of in the code base I use. I’d like to get to know more about how to do this

Tip 6 advised that the Emma code coverage tool can also be used to find production code that isnt run (in addition to stuff thats untested)

Tip 7 really rang true to me.  Its easier to bring in all your toys under the sun, but without a common plan, everyone will bring in their own frameworks to solve the same problem and make the app even more confusing to work with.  I like ‘toys’ (frameworks, tools, etc) but I know I can get carried away Winking smile