Posts Tagged ‘gradle-pitest-plugin’

Mutation testing allows to check the quality (effectiveness) of automatic tests. PIT (aka pitest) is a leading mutation testing tool for Java environment. In my last blog post about PIT in January 2013 I have covered version 0.29. Since then the PIT development team has been busy and the 4 releases introduced various new features (besides fixed bugs). In this post I will cover the most important (in my opinion) changes in the project (up to recently released version 0.33).

PIT mutation testing tool logo

New features

– preliminary support for Java 8 bytecode – PIT can be used with code which contains Java 8 syntax and constructions (including lamdas)
– internal refactoring resulted in much faster “standard” line coverage calculation
– support for parametrized JUnit tests written with Spock (in Groovy) and JUnitParams
– ability to define a coverage threshold (both line and mutation) below which the build will fail
– ability to use PIT with Robolectric
– new Remove Conditionals Mutator (a conditional statement will always be true – not enabled by default as of 0.33)
– new Remove Increments Mutator (an increment operation will be removed – not enabled by default as of 0.33)
– ability to choose JVM to be used for mutation testing
– ability to run PIT only for locally changed files for Maven build with configured SCM plugin
– demanding users can define their own strategies for: test selection, output format and test prioritization – PIT provides extension points which allow to write custom implementations
– partial support for JUnit categories
– support for mutating static initializers in TestNG

In the meantime there were also releases of plugins/tools based on PIT. My plugin for Gradle was enhanced with the dynamic task dependencies resolution (just “gradle pitest” takes care about all the requisites in the Gradle build lifecycle) and support for the additional main and test source sets. Plugin for Eclipse has got (inter alia) a new mutation view and an ability to run PIT against all the projects in a workspace.

Not only releases

Besides new releases PIT has got brand new Bootstrap based webpage, the logo (see above) and the source code was migrated from Mercurial on Google Code to GitHub. The nice thing is that the move resulted in a few contributions withing the first weeks.

Henry Coles the author of PIT also started the new commercial project FaultSeed – “better mutation testing tools for the JVM” which will be based on PIT and has a goal to be 50% faster than PIT and support also Groovy and Scala. Very promising.

PIT (and mutation testing in general) becomes more and more popular and recently there were given a number of talks about it (including my talk at Developer Conference 2014slides). The number of questions on the project’s mailing list also significantly increased. And you, have you tried PIT in your project yet? 2014 logo

Mutation testing can efficiently detect places in code which are insufficiently covered by tests. The price we have to pay for it is time – number of mutations has to be tested with a set of unit tests. This time is much longer than calculating a “normal” code coverage. The newest PIT 0.29 provides a long awaiting feature – incremental analysis. When enabled PIT will store results from the previous runs on disk and track changes in the code and tests to avoid rerunning analyses which result should stay the same.

To start using incremental analysis it is necessary set historyInputLocation and historyOutputLocation configuration properties. For example in Pitest Maven Plugin it could be:


It is worth to notice that for a basic usage (i.e. run analysis from time to time) input and output history locations will point to the same file. Therefor in Gradle plugin for PIT 0.29.0 there was added an additional parameter enableDefaultIncrementalAnalysis which when enabled automatically set historyInputLocation and historyOutputLocation to build/pitHistory.txt simplifying a configuration.

buildscript {
    dependencies {
        classpath 'info.solidsoft.gradle.pitest:gradle-pitest-plugin:0.29.0'
        classpath 'org.pitest:pitest:0.29'

apply plugin: 'pitest'

pitest {
    targetClasses = ['our.base.package.*']
    threads = 4
    enableDefaultIncrementalAnalysis = true

There is a number of optimizations already implemented in PIT. The author warns of potential errors which can be introduced in that way into the analysis, but although being currently an experimental feature it can dramatically reduce calculation time especially when used on very large codebases.

Update 2013-04-13: Added missing line which applies plugin to a project. Thanks to Bruno de Carvalho for report the issue.

Looking for a way to use mutation testing and PIT with your Gradle-based project? Your search is over. Recently released gradle-pitest-plugin makes it possible in a very comfortable way.

In short the idea with mutation testing is to modify the production code (introduce mutations) which should change its behavior (produce different results) and cause unit tests to fail. The lack of the failure may indicate that given part of the production code was not covered good enough by the tests. To read more about mutation testing take a look on my previous post or PIT webpage directly.

To start using PIT add following configuration to a build.gradle file in your project:

buildscript {
    repositories {
        //Needed to use a plugin JAR uploaded to GitHub (not available in a Maven repository)
        add(new org.apache.ivy.plugins.resolver.URLResolver()) {
            name = 'GitHub'
            addArtifactPattern '[module]/[module]-[revision].[ext]'
    dependencies {
        classpath 'info.solidsoft.gradle.pitest:gradle-pitest-plugin:0.28.0'
        classpath 'org.pitest:pitest:0.28'

This will add required dependencies to a build script together with a proper repositories configuration.

The second thing is to configure plugin itself.

pitest {
    targetClasses = ['our.base.package.*']
    threads = 4

The only required parameter is “targetClasses” – a package containing a code which should be mutated (usually the base package for your project), but in case your tests are written in a thread safe manner I encourage your to give a “threads” parameter a try. It can decrease a time required for mutation analysis dramatically. gradle-pitest-plugin supports all reasonable parameters available in PIT.

Having everything configured running mutation testing is as easy as:

gradle pitest

After a while you should see PIT summary similar to:

- Statistics
Generated 59 mutations Killed 52 (88%)
Ran 161 tests (2.73 tests per mutation)

Detailed reports with information about survived mutations and the corresponding parts of code is written to build/reports/pitest/ directory relative to your project root.

Sample PIT report

Sample PIT report

Btw, there is a version 0.29 of PIT just around the corner which provides such interesting features as incremental analysis (i.e. run only mutation tests for code that have been changed). I plan to write a post about it when released, so stay tuned.

Disclaimer. I am the author of gradle-pitest-plugin.