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AssertJ > Fest > Hamcrest

I have previously blogged about Hamcrest, and using its assertThat methods in preference to JUnit’s Assert.

However, I quickly after discovered FEST Assertions, and happily switched to it. It provides the same improved test readability and failure messages as Hamcrest, but has the extra benefit of enabling IDE auto completion, rather than having to search through package and class docs to find the right matcher.

Unfortunately, Fest seems to not longer be actively developed. The last stable release of the 1.x branch, 1.4, was released way back in 2011, and the new 2.x branch never made it to a stable release and hasn’t had a commit since June 2013.

Enter AssertJ


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Testing for expected exceptions in JUnit

Unit tests are used to verify that a piece of code operates as the developer expects it to. Sometimes, that means checking that the code throws expected exceptions too. JUnit is the standard for unit testing in Java and provides several mechanisms for verifying exceptions were thrown. This article explores the options and their relative merits.

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Builder Pattern: Good for code, great for tests

I’ve found the builder design pattern occasionally useful in code, but frequently useful in tests. This article is a quick summary of the pattern in general, followed by look at a working example of using it in tests. See the code in github.

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Software Quality via Unit Testing

The following post is based on a talk I gave at Desert Code Camp 2013. See also the associated slide deck.

Software quality is critical to consistently and continually delivering new features to our users. This articles covers the importance of software quality and how to deliver it via unit testing, Test Driven Development and clean code in general.
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Spring MVC Hello World with Continuous Deployment

Oh dear, yet another ‘Hello World!’. But although the functionality is trivial, this little SpringMVC project is complete enough for me to use as a template to bootstrap more complex projects. It consists of:

  • HTML/JSP client
  • SpringMVC server using a Controller/Service/DAO design
  • Maven for build and dependency management

This is an updated version of an older project I created, with the following enhancements:

  • Added a full suite of automated tests (unit, integration and browser based)
  • Added placeholders for JavaScript and images (both can be a little tricky to put in the correct place with SpringMVC)
  • Incorporated into a continuous deployment environment

More details below, but you can find the full source code on this GitHub repository and the deployed app at
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Add log4j logging for a unit test in IntelliJ

In IntelliJ

  • Click: Run -> Edit Configuration
  • Select your test configuration (or add a new one)
  • In VM parameters, add
    (Or wherever your log4j properties file is)

That’s it. The test should now run with log4j logging (although obviously you need to have the necessary log4j jars available).
This example uses a windows file format, but will work equally well with *nix.

I use this approach for turning on MyBatis logging for individual tests. See here for a basic setup of a log4j.xml file to enable logging with MyBatis.

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EasyMock is an open source library for creating, and defining the behavior of, mock objects as part of your unit tests. This article describes how to use EasyMock (v3.0), including its record/playback approach, after setting the context with an brief introduction to unit testing in general and the associated need for mock objects.
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Hamcrest Matcher

As a follow up to the Hamcrest post I made yesterday, I wanted to post an example of my own Hamcrest matcher implementation. This matcher tests if a string contains a specified number of substrings.
An example usage could be:

    String sql = "select a,b,c from tableA";
    assertThat(sql, hasNumberOfSubstrings(",", 2));

See the source code below. I have been reading up on OSS licenses recently and decided to release this using the same license as Hamcrest – the new BSD license.

I have also attached a jar which includes the associated unit tests, although you will need the hamcrest-unit-test project to compile, which can be downloaded as part of the hamcrest all-in-one jar.
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Hamcrest is a framework for writing matcher objects. Matchers have a variety of uses, but are particularly useful when writing unit tests. Instead of using JUnit’s assertEquals methods, we use Hamcrest’s assertThat construct with one (or more) of the many Matchers available. For example



    assertThat(a, equalTo(b));

A small change in this example, but Hamcrest’s benefits are many, enabling you to write much more flexible tests that are easier to read and have more meaningful failure messages.
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OSCON Day1: Test Driven Database Development

The first tutorial at OSCON was on Test Driven Database Development. The idea was to use pgTAP to write unit tests to check database correctness, including table structures, views and stored procedures. As a fan of Test Driven Development (TDD) for regular code, the concept of using it on the database tier makes a lot of sense.

Unfortunately I had a lot of problems getting the required software setup working, which included PostgreSQL, pgTAP, Test::Harness, make and perl. Ultimately I wasn’t able to get the examples running due to imcompatabilities between PostgreSQL and pgTAP on my Macbook Pro (OS X 10.5.8) and ended with this error:

dyld: Library not loaded: /usr/local/lib/libxml2.2.dylib
Referenced from: /Library/PostgreSQL/8.4/lib/postgresql/pgxs/src/makefiles/../../src/test/regress/pg_regress
Reason: Incompatible library version: pg_regress requires version 10.0.0 or later, but libxml2.2.dylib provides version 9.0.0

I considered trying to upgrade libxml, but there were suggestions that this could cause my machine to not boot! I even considered upgrading to OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), but decided that this was a little too close to shaving yaks.

I would really like to get more familiar with pgTAP at some point, but I will have to put on hold for now…

Update: I managed to get some input from David Wheeler, worked through the technical issues and got all the tests running. Thanks David! Despite the earlier setup problems, I came away with a very positive feeling about TDDD and pgTAP and can see it playing a part in any future database schema development I do.

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