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Page: Testing Plugin, Version:6

Testing Plugin

Unit testing in the 1.0.x line of Grails is not the easiest thing in the world. If you want to test domain classes, controllers, or even services there are so many things you need to mock and set up. Without a rigorous approach to it test can quickly degenerate into a mess. On top of that, custom meta-class programming sometimes leaks into the integration tests, causing odd failures. This difficulty often results in users going straight for integration tests, despite unit tests having the benefit of speed and the ability to run from within an IDE.

The Testing Plugin targets these weaknesses by providing a set of classes that make testing many of Grails' artifacts really easy, while providing plenty of flexibility.

The classes in the testing plugin are being incorporated into Grails 1.1, so if you have a recent 1.1 SNAPSHOT or revision from the Subversion branch, then you don't need to install the plugin.

Getting started

Installing the plugin is trivial:

grails install-plugin testing
There is nothing else to do except write your tests!

The framework

The core of the testing plugin is the grails.test.GrailsUnitTestCase class. This is a sub-class of GroovyTestCase geared towards Grails applications and their artifacts. It provides several methods for mocking particular types as well as support for general mocking a la Groovy's MockFor and StubFor classes. Let's start by looking at how you can use GrailsUnitTestCase to test a simple service:

class MyService {
    def otherService

String createSomething() { def stringId = otherService.newIdentifier()

def item = new Item(code: stringId, name: "Bangle") return stringId }

int countItems(String name) { def items = Item.findAllByName(name) return items.size() } }

Normally you might look at the dependency on another service and the use of dynamic domain class methods with a bit of a groan. You can use meta-class programming and the "map as object" idiom, but these can quickly get ugly. How might we write the test with GrailsUnitTestCase ?
import grails.test.GrailsUnitTestCase

class MyServiceTests extends GrailsUnitTestCase { void testCreateSomething() { // Mock the domain class. def testInstances = [] mockDomain(Item, testInstances)

// Mock the "other" service. String testId = "NH-12347686" def otherControl = mockFor(OtherService) otherControl.demand.newIdentifier(1..1) {-> return testId }

// Initialise the service and test the target method. def testService = new MyService() testService.otherService = otherControl.createMock()

def retval = testService.createSomething()

// Check that the method returns the identifier returned by the // mock "other" service and also that a new Item instance has // been saved. assertEquals testId, retval assertEquals 1, testInstances assertTrue testInstances[0] instanceof Item }

void testCountItems() { // Mock the domain class, this time providing a list of test // Item instances that can be searched. def testInstances = [ new Item(code: "NH-4273997", name: "Laptop"), new Item(code: "EC-4395734", name: "Lamp"), new Item(code: "TF-4927324", name: "Laptop") ] mockDomain(Item, testInstances)

// Initialise the service and test the target method. def testService = new MyService()

assertEquals 2, testService.countItems("Laptop") assertEquals 1, testService.countItems("Lamp") assertEquals 0, testService.countItems("Chair") } }

OK, so a fair bit of new stuff there, but once we break it down you should quickly see how easy it is to use the methods available to you. Take a look at the "testCreateSomething()" test method. The first thing you will probably notice is the "mockDomain()" method, which is one of several provided by GrailsUnitTestCase . It adds all the common domain methods (both instance and static) to the given class so that any code using it sees it as a full-blown domain class. So for example, once the Item class has been mocked, we can safely call the "save()" method on instances of it. Speaking of which, what happens when we call that method on a mocked domain class? Simple: the new instance is added to the "testInstances" list we passed into the "mockDomain()" method.

The next bit we want to look at is centered on the "mockFor" method. This is analagous to the MockFor and StubFor classes that come with Groovy and it can be used to mock any class you want. In fact, the "demand" syntax is identical to that used by Mock/StubFor, so you should feel right at home. Of course you often need to inject a mock instance as a dependency, but that is pretty straight forward with the "createMock()" method, which you simply call on the mock control as shown. For those familiar with EasyMock, the name "otherControl" highlights the role of the object returned by "mockFor()" - it is a control object rather than the mock itself.

The rest of the "testCreateSomething()" method should be pretty familiar, particularly as you now know that the mock "save()" method adds instances to "testInstances" list. However, there is an important technique missing from the test method. We can determine that the mock "newIdentifier()" method is called because its return value has a direct impact on the result of the "createSomething()" method. But what if that weren't the case? How would we know whether it had been called or not? With Mock/StubFor the check would be performed at the end of the "use()" closure, but that's not available here. Instead, you can call "verify()" on the control object - in this case "otherControl". This will perform the check and throw an assertion error if it hasn't been called when it should have been.

Lastly, "testCountItems()" in the example demonstrates another facet of the "mockDomain()" method. It is normally quite fiddly to mock the dynamic finders manually, and you often have to set up different data sets for each invocation. On top of that, if you decide a different finder should be used then you have to update the tests to check for the new method! Thankfully the "mockDomain()" method provides a lightweight implementation of the dynamic finders backed by a list of domain instances. Simply provide the test data as the second argument of the method and the mock finders will just work.

GrailsUnitTestCase - the "mock*()" methods

You have already seen a couple of examples in the introduction of the "mock*()" methods provided by the GrailsUnitTestCase class. Here we will look at all the available methods in some detail, starting with the all-purpose "mockFor()". But before we do, there is a very important point to make: using these methods ensures that any changes you make to the given classes do not leak into other tests! This is a common and serious problem when you try to perform the mocking yourself via meta-class programming, but that headache just disappears as long as you use at least one of "mock*()" methods on each class you want to mock.

mockFor(class, loose = false)

_General purpose mocking that allows you to set up either strict or loose demands on a class._

mockDomain(class, testInstances = [])

_Takes a class and makes mock implementations of all the domain class methods (both instance- and static-level) accessible on it._

mockForConstraintsTests(class, testInstances = [])

_Highly specialised mocking for domain classes and command objects that allows you to check whether the constraints are behaving as you expect them to._

mockLogging(class, enableDebug = false)

_Adds a mock "log" property to a class. Any messages passed to the mock logger are echoed to the console._


_Adds mock versions of the dynamic controller properties and methods to the given class. This is typically used in conjunction with the ControllerUnitTestCase class._


_Adds mock versions of the dynamic taglib properties and methods to the given class. This is typically used in conjunction with the TagLibUnitTestCase class._