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Grails 1.1 Testing - Unit, Integration & Functional
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Grails 1.1 Testing - Unit, Integration & Functional


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A walkthrough of the benefits, drawbacks, new features, important "gotchas" and some code samples using the testing features available in Grails 1.1. …

A walkthrough of the benefits, drawbacks, new features, important "gotchas" and some code samples using the testing features available in Grails 1.1.

We'll be covering:

- unit testing (specifically GrailsUnitTestCase and it's extensions)
- integration testing
- functional testing (using WebTest)

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  • 1. Grails 1.1 Testing
    Tech Talk @ 2Paths
    July 17, 2009
    By Dave Koo
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 2. Agenda
    Unit Testing
    Integration Testing
    Functional Testing
    Putting It All Together
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 3. Unit Testing - Overview
    unit tests enable testing small bits of code in isolation
    Grails does NOT inject any surrounding infrastructure (ie. no dynamic GORM methods, database, Spring resources, bootstrap, ServletContext, etc)
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 4. Unit Testing - Benefits
    find problems sooner -> you can test your code before all it's dependencies are created/available
    enables safer refactoring (of individual classes)
    faster to run than integration & functional tests
    there isn't a big speed gap early in the project (PLAID: unit ~ 10s, integration ~ 30)
    but it grows as the system gets bigger
    makes TDD less painful -> breaks problem into smaller pieces
    provides form of API documentation & spec
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 5. Unit Testing - Drawbacks
    more code to maintain & debug -> often as buggy as code under test (if written by same person :)
    sometimes you have to mock a LOT of stuff before you can write your little test
    doesn't catch bugs at the integration or UI layers -> can create false sense of security
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 6. Unit Testing – GrailsUnitTestCaseOverview
    extends GroovyTestCase to add Grails-specific mocking and make testing more convenient for Grails users
    mocking is test-specific and doesn't leak from one test to another
    avoids having to do a lot of MetaClass hacking (and forgetting to teardown your metaclass hacking :)
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 7. Unit Testing – GrailsUnitTestCasemethods
    mockFor(class, loose = false)
    mockDomain(class, testInstances[ ])
    mockForConstraintsTests(class, testInstances[ ])
    mockLogging(class, enableDebug = false)
    Code samples:
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 8. Unit Testing – GrailsUnitTestCasemockFor(class, loose = false)
    generic mocker for mocking methods of any class
    returns a control object (not the actual mock)
    loose - false == strict mocking (sequence of expected method calls matters), true == loose (sequence doesn't matter)
    methods - you can mock instance or static methods
    demands - your expectations of the mock
    range - number of times a method is expected to be called (default === 1)
    closure - mock implementation of the method
    strictControl.createMock() - returns an actual mock object
    strictControl.verify() - verifies that all demands were actually met
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 9. Unit Testing – GrailsUnitTestCasemockDomain(class, testInstances[ ])
    mocks all methods (instance, static & dynamic) on a domain class
    testInstances- a list of domain class instances which replaces and acts as the "database”
    you can call save(), findBy*(), validate(), etc on an instance of a mocked domain class
    inheritance can be tricky!
    assume you have ParentClass, ChildA, ChildB
    if you mock ParentClass and pass a collection of instances containing ChildA and/or ChildB objects to the MockDomain() method, you must ensure that you have already mocked each type of ChildX class in the instance collection. This is needed even if you NEVER call a dynamic method on any child class (such as ChildClass.list()).
    always mock a child class BEFORE mocking its parent, otherwise you may get "Method Not Found" exceptions when calling dynamic methods on the child
    new addition to Grails
    still some bugs / missing features
    check Grails' JIRA & mailing lists if experiencing wierdbehaviour
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 10. Unit Testing – GrailsUnitTestCaseother methods…
    mockForConstraintsTests(class, testInstances[ ])
    Stripped-down version of mockDomain that allows for assertions to validate domain class constraints
    Takes the pain out of testing domain class constraints
    mockLogging(class, enableDebug = false)
    Adds a mock "log" property to a class. Any messages passed to the mock logger are echoed to the console.
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 11. Unit Testing – ControllerUnitTestCase
    extends GrailsUnitTestCase to add mocks for:
    all dynamic properties & methods Grails injects into controllers (render, redirect, model, etc)
    all HTTP objects available to controllers (request, response, session, params, flash, etc)
    command object (if needed)
    provides an implicit "controller" property which contains all the above mocks (no need to def the controller yourself in your test class)
    don't forget to mock your Domain objects as needed if the controller action you call expects a database
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 12. Unit Testing – Other Unit Tests
    extends GrailsUnitTestCase to add mocks for dynamic properties & methods a TagLibexpects
    extends jUnit to allow you to test that your DB is in the expected state
    prevents subsequent tests from failing due to a previous test leaving the database "dirty"
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 13. Integration Testing - Overview
    used to test that an entire module or sub-system consisting of multiple classes is working correctly (in isolation)
    one level below a functional test as integration tests do not test the entire stack
    Grails injects all the surrounding infrastructure such as data sources & Spring beans
    pretty straightforward to implement since there's generally no mocking involved
    where to use integration tests??? we'll come back to this in a few mins :)
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 14. Integration Testing - Benefits
    tests the real interactions between individual pieces
    finds more complex bugs that unit tests can't find
    faster to run than functional tests (usually)
    makes large-scale refactoring safer
    find bugs sooner -> doesn't require other system modules to be built
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 15. Integration Testing - Drawbacks
    perhaps overused by lazy testers who don't feel like mocking :)
    requires more code to be written than unit tests
    doesn't find system-level or inter-module bugs
    value is debatable if you have good functional tests & good unit tests.
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 16. Functional Testing - Overview
    used to test functionality from an end user's perspective across all layers of the system
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 17. Functional Testing - Benefits
    finds complex system-level and inter-module bugs
    finds UI bugs
    can be written by non-techies (depends on tool used)
    provides "done when" acceptance criteria for the customer
    provides a form of user documentation
    makes large-scale refactoring safer
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 18. Functional Testing - Drawbacks
    very slow to execute HTTP level tests
    often more cumbersome to write than other types of tests
    often brittle and can require a lot of maintenance (especially if tied to UI)
    Usually hard to write until UI is available (and stable)
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 19. Functional Testing - Tools
    CanooWebTest& Grails Functional Testing
    Both wrap HtmlUnit which provides a Java API that mocks a web browser
    wrapper for WebTest's XML syntax
    and therefore constrained by the underlying XML syntax
    Grails Functional Testing
    pure-groovy solution
    more flexible, but newer & therefore fewer features than WebTest
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 20. Functional Testing - WebTest
    test organization & re-use
    grouping steps with
    calling methods from other tests
    Groovy step
    notation uses 3 double-quotes as Groovy code delimeter (“””)
    accessing HtmlUnit for fine-grained test control
    parameter passing between app context & WebTest context
    AJAX testing w/ sleep()
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 21. Functional Testing – WebTestgrouping steps with
    if your test has dozens of steps, it gets hard to read the report
    grouping steps with rolls them up to 1 line in the test report, which can be easily expanded/collapsed: “verify bank account info”) { invoke “someController/someAction”verifyText “some text”verifyText “more text”}
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 22. Functional Testing – WebTestcalling methods from other tests
    Instead of copying & pasting the same methods from one test to another, you can call a method in another test by passing it your AntBuilder instance (ant) as a param. This ensures the test steps are executed using the calling test’s AntBuilder.
    ====== in CallingTestClass() ====def otherTestClass = new OtherTestClass()otherTestClass.someMethod(ant)====== in OtherTestClass() =====def someMethod(AntBuilderab) {ab.invoke“someController/someAction”ab.verifyText“some text”}
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 23. Functional Testing – WebTestGroovy step
    If you need to execute arbitrary Groovy code in your test, use WebTest’sgroovy step.
    Keep in mind that this groovy step won’t have access to any Groovy variables defined in your test (such as method params)…it only has access to the properties in the AntBuilder context.
    So you need to pass any needed params to the AntBuilder before entering your groovy step. Then you can retrieve them from the AntBuilder from within your step.
    The following example involves:
    Storing Groovy variables into AntBuilder properties
    Retrieving AntBuilder properties for use in the Groovy step
    Calling some HtmlUnit methods which aren’t available in WebTest for fine-grained test control
    Pausing the test for 2 seconds (very useful with AJAX tests to give the server time to respond
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 24. Functional Testing – WebTestGroovy step
    test method with Groovy step to test AJAX autocomplete form input:
    def setAJAXInputField(elementId, elementValue, AntBuilderab) {ab.storeProperty(property: 'elementId', value: elementId)
    ab.storeProperty(property: 'elementValue', value: elementValue)
    ab.groovy ""” def elementId = step.webtestProperties.elementId
    def elementValue = step.webtestProperties.elementValue def document = step.context.currentResponse.documentElement
    def element = document.getHtmlElementById(elementId)
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 25. Putting It All Together - Running tests
    test-app -> all tests
    test-app -unit -> all unit tests
    test-app -integration -> all integration tests
    test-app -unit AnnualReportAssignmentHandler-> 2 unit tests & all integration tests
    test-app AnnualReportAssignmentHandlerWorkflowManagerService-> 2 unit tests & 1 integration test
    run-webtest-> runs all tests using new server instance
    run-webtest -nostart-> runs all tests using existing Tomcat instance (much faster!!!)
    run-webtestClassNameTestName-> run TestName using existing Tomcat instance
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (
  • 26. Putting It All Together - Summary
    Unit testing - taglibs, controllers, services, domain classes (including contraints), other delegates & "helpers", even your data (dbUnit)
    Integration testing
    now that Grails 1.1 supports unit testing of controllers with ControllerUnitTestCase, that seems to be the preferred way of testing them (rather than using integration tests).
    This makes sense since controllers should not be doing the heavy lifting in a Grails app.
    The same holds true for TagLib testing with TagLibUnitTestCase.
    this leaves Services as the most valuable thing to cover with integration tests (but only after you’ve written unit tests for them )
    Functional testing - smoke tests, acceptance tests, regression tests
    Manual testing by humans - look & feel, anything not covered above
    ©2009 - 2Paths Solutions Ltd. (