Posts Tagged ‘bdd’

Tune up your JUnit test class template for Idea with the BDD-like syntax, Java 8 and the Mockito-AssertJ duo.

Topics covered in this article may seem trivial. However, from my trainer experience I know that (unfortunately) it is not a common practice. Therefore, I decided to write this short blog post to propagate them and to be able to refer to it in the future.

given-when-then-template

My favorite testing framework for Java (and Groovy) is Spock. However, its mocks are not suitable for some purpose and I still use Mockito in various places. In addition, I still conduct a lot of my testing training in a JUnit/Mockito/AssertJ variant for teams which already have a test suite in that stack and would like to improve their skills without changing the known technology. Therefore, as an interlude, this blog post about testing in the pure Java style and propose how to tune up your JUnit testing framework assuming that you are already using Mockito and AssertJ (you should give them a try in the other case).

This blog post consists of tree parts. Firstly, I propose a BDD-style section-based test structure to keep your test more consist and more readable. Next, I explain how simplify – using the AssertJ and Mockito – constructions with Java 8. Last, but not least, I show how to configure it in IntelliJ IDEA as a default JUnit test (class) template (which isn’t as trivial as it should).

Part 1. BDD-style sections

Well written unit tests should meet several requirements (but it is a topic for a separate post). One of the useful practices is a clear separation into 3 code blocks with precisely defined responsibility. You can read more on that topic in my previous blog post.

As a repetition just the core rules presented in a short form:

  • given – an object under test initialization + stubs/mocks creation, stubbing and injection
  • when – an operation to test in a given test
  • then – received result assertion + mocks verification (if needed)
@Test
public void shouldXXX() {
  //given
  ...
  //when
  ...
  //then
  ...
}

That separation helps to keep tests short and focused on just one responsibility to test (in the end it’s just an unit test).

In Spock those sections are mandatory (*) – without them a test will not even compile. In JUnit there are just comments. However, having them in place encourage people to use them instead of having one big block of mess inside (especially useful for newbies in a testing area).

Btw, the mentioned given-when-then convention is based on (is a subset of) a much wider Behavior-Driven Development concept. You may encounter a similar division on 3 code blocks named arrange-act-assert which in general is an equivalent.

Part 2. Java 8 for AssertJ and Mockito

One of the features of Java 8 is an ability to put default methods in an interface. That can be used to simplify of calling static methods which is prevalent in the testing frameworks such as AssertJ and Mockito. The idea is simple. A test class willing to use a given framework can implement a dedicated interface to “see” those methods as its own methods on code completion in an IDE (instead of static methods from external class which require giving a class name before or a static import). Under the hood those default methods just delegate execution to static methods. You can read more about it in my other blog post.

AssertJ natively supports those construction starting with version 3.0.0. Mockito 1.10 and 2.x are Java 6 compatible and therefore it is required to use a 3rd-party project – mockito-java8 (which should be integrated into Mockito 3 – once available).

To benefit from easier method completion in Idea it is enough to implement two interfaces:

import info.solidsoft.mockito.java8.api.WithBDDMockito;
import org.assertj.core.api.WithAssertions;

class SampleTest implements WithAssertions, WithBDDMockito {

}

Part 3. Default template in Idea

I’m a big enthusiast of omnipresent automation. Wouldn’t it be good to have both given-when-then sections and extra interfaces automatically in place in your test classes? Let’s eliminate those boring things from our life.

Test method

Changing a JUnit test method is easy. One of the possible ways is “CTRL-SHIFT-A -> File Template -> Code” and a modification of JUnit4 Test Method to:

@org.junit.Test
public void should${NAME}() {
  //given
  ${BODY}
  //when
  //then
}

To add a new test in an existing test class just press ALT-INSERT and select (or type) JUnit4 Test Method.

Test class

With the whole test class the situation is a little bit more complicated. Idea provides a way to edit existing templates, however, it is used only if a test is generated with CTRL-SHIFT-T from a production class. It’s not very handy with TDD where a test should be created first. It would be good to have a new position “New JUnit test class” next to “Java class” displayed if ALT-INSERT is pressed being in a package view in a test context. Unfortunately, to do that a new plugin would need to be written (a sample implementation for Spock). As a workaround we can define a regular file template which (as a limitation) will be accessible everywhere (e.g. even in a resource directory).

Do “CTRL-SHIFT-A -> File Template -> Files”, press INSERT, name template “JUnit with AssertJ and Mockito Test”, set extension to “java” and paste the following template:

package ${PACKAGE_NAME};

import info.solidsoft.mockito.java8.api.WithBDDMockito;
import org.assertj.core.api.WithAssertions;

#parse("File Header.java") 
public class ${NAME} implements WithAssertions, WithBDDMockito {

}

Showcase

We are already set. Let’s check how it can look in practice (click to enlarge the animation).

idea-test-templates-in-action

Summary

I hope I convinced you to tune your test template to improve readability of your tests and to safe several keystrokes per test. In that case, please spend 4 minutes right now to configure it in your Idea. Depending on a number of tests written it may start to pay off sooner than you expect :).

Btw, at the beginning of October I will be giving a presentation about new features in Mockito 2 at JDD in Kraków.

JDD logo

Self promotion. Would you like to improve your and your team testing skills and knowledge of Spock/JUnit/Mockito/AssertJ quickly and efficiently? I conduct a condensed (unit) testing training which you may find useful.

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Create better defined, shorter and maintainable unit tests with given-when-then sections.

Recently, I’ve been writing rather about more advanced concepts related to automatic testing (mostly related to Spock). However, conducting my testing training I clearly see that very often knowledge of particular tools is not the main problem. Even with Spock it is possible to write bloated and hard-to-maintain test, breaking (or not being aware of) good practices related to writing unit tests. Therefore, I decided to write about more fundamental things to promote them and by the way have a ready to use material to reference when coaching less experienced colleagues.

Introduction

Well written unit tests should meet several requirements and it is a topic for the whole series. In this blog post I would like to present a quite mature concept of dividing an unit test on 3 separate blocks with a strictly defined function (which in turn is a subset of Behavior-driven Development).

given-when-then to the victory

Unit tests are usually focused on testing some specific behavior of a given unit (usually one given class). As opposed to acceptance tests performed via UI, it is cheap (fast) to setup a class to test (a class under test) from scratch in an every test with stubs/mocks as its collaborators. Therefore, performance should not be a problem.

Sample test

To demonstrate the rules I will use a small example. ShipDictionary is a class providing an ability to search space ships based on particular criteria (by a part of a name, a production year, etc.). That dictionary is powered (energized) by different indexes of ships (ships in service, withdrawn from service, in production, etc.). In that one particular test it is tested an ability to search ship by a part of its name.

private static final String ENTERPRISE_D = "USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)";

@Test
public void shouldFindOwnShipByName() {
    //given
    ShipDatabase shipDatabase = new ShipDatabase(ownShipIndex, enemyShipIndex);
    given(ownShipIndex.findByName("Enterprise")).willReturn(singletonList(ENTERPRISE_D));
    //when
    List foundShips = shipDatabase.findByName("Enterprise");
    //then
    assertThat(foundShips).contains(ENTERPRISE_D);
}

given-when-then

The good habit which exists in both Test-driven and Behavior-driven Development methodologies is ‘a priori’ knowledge what will be tested (asserted) in a particular test case. It could be done in a more formal way (e.g. scenarios written in Cucumber/Gherkin for acceptance tests) or in a free form (e.g. ad hoc noted points or just an idea of what should be tested next). With that knowledge it should be quite easy to determine three crucial things (being a separated sections) of which the whole test will consist.

given – preparation

In the first section – called given – of a unit test it is required to create a real object instance on which the tested operation will be performed. In focused unit tests there is only one class in which the logic to be tested is placed. In addition, other objects required to perform a test (named collaborators) should be initialized as stubs/mocks and properly stubbed (if needed). All collaborators have to be also injected into the object under test which usually is combined with that object creation (as a constructor injection should be a preferred technique of dependency injection).

//given
ShipDatabase shipDatabase = new ShipDatabase(ownShipIndex, enemyShipIndex);
given(ownShipIndex.findByName("Enterprise")).willReturn(singletonList(ENTERPRISE_D));

when – execution

In the when section an operation to be tested is performed. In our case it is a search request followed by result memorization in a variable for further assertion.

//when
List foundShips = shipDatabase.findByName("Enterprise");

In most cases it is good to have just one operation in that section. More elements may suggest an attempt to test more than one operation which (possibly) could be divided into more tests.

then – assertion

The responsibility of the final section – then – is mostly an assertion of the previously received result. It should be equal to the expected value.

//then
assertThat(foundShips).contains(ENTERPRISE_D);

In addition, it may be necessary to perform a verification of method executions on declared mocks. It should not be a common practice as an assertion on received value in most cases is enough to confirm that code being tested works as expected (according to set boundaries). Nevertheless, especially with testing void methods it is required to verify that a particular method was executed with anticipated arguments.

AAA aka 3A – an alternative syntax

As I’ve already mentioned, BDD is a much wider concept which is especially handy for writing functional/acceptance tests with requirements defined upfront, (often) in a non technical form. An alternative test division syntax (with very similar meaning for the sections) is arrange-act-assert often abbreviated to AAA or 3A. If you don’t use BDD at all and three A letters are easier to remember for you than GWT, it’s perfectly fine to use it to create the same high quality unit tests.

Tuning & optimization

The process of matching used tools and methodologies to ongoing process of skill acquisition (aka the Dreyfus model) has been nicely described in the book Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware. Of course, in many cases it may be handy to use a simplified variant of a test with a given section moved to a setup/init/before section or initialized inline. The same may apply to when and then sections which could be merged together (into an expect section, especially in parameterized tests). Having some experience and fluency in writing unit tests it is perfectly valid to use shorthand and optimizations (especially testing some non-trivial cases). As long as the whole team understand the convention and is able to remember about basic assumptions regarding writing good unit tests.

Summary

Based on my experience in software development and as a trainer I clearly see that dividing (unit) tests into sections makes them shorter and more readable, especially having less experienced people in the team. It’s simpler to fill 3 sections with concisely defined responsibility than figure out and write everything in the tests at once. In closing, particularly for people reading only the first and the last sections of the article, here are condensed rules to follow:

  • given – an object under test initialization + stubs/mocks creation, stubbing and injection
  • when – an operation to test in a given test
  • then – received result assertion + mocks verification (if needed)

P.S. It is good to have a test template set in your IDE to safe a number of keystrokes required to write every test.
P.S.S. I you found this article useful you can let me know to motivate me to write more about unit test basics in the future.

Picture credits: Tomas Sobek, Openclipart, https://openclipart.org/detail/242959/old-scroll

Self promotion. Would you like to improve your and your team testing skills and knowledge of Spock/JUnit/Mockito/AssertJ quickly and efficiently? I conduct a condensed (unit) testing training which you may find useful.