Jersey Client: Testing external calls

Jim and I have been doing a bit of work over the last week which involved calling neo4j’s HA status URI to check whether or not an instance was a master/slave and we’ve been using jersey-client.
The code looked roughly like this:

class Neo4jInstance {
    private Client httpClient;
    private URI hostname;

    public Neo4jInstance(Client httpClient, URI hostname) {
        this.httpClient = httpClient;
        this.hostname = hostname;

    public Boolean isSlave() {
        String slaveURI = hostname.toString() + ":7474/db/manage/server/ha/slave";
        ClientResponse response = httpClient.resource(slaveURI).accept(TEXT_PLAIN).get(ClientResponse.class);
        return Boolean.parseBoolean(response.getEntity(String.class));

While writing some tests against this code we wanted to stub out the actual calls to the HA slave URI so we could simulate both conditions and a brief search suggested that mockito was the way to go.

We ended up with a test that looked like this:

public void shouldIndicateInstanceIsSlave() {
    Client client = mock( Client.class );
    WebResource webResource = mock( WebResource.class );
    WebResource.Builder builder = mock( WebResource.Builder.class );

    ClientResponse clientResponse = mock( ClientResponse.class );
    when( builder.get( ClientResponse.class ) ).thenReturn( clientResponse );
    when( clientResponse.getEntity( String.class ) ).thenReturn( "true" );
    when( webResource.accept( anyString() ) ).thenReturn( builder );
    when( client.resource( anyString() ) ).thenReturn( webResource );

    Boolean isSlave = new Neo4jInstance(client, URI.create("http://localhost")).isSlave();


which is pretty gnarly but does the job.

I thought there must be a better way so I continued searching and eventually came across this post on the mailing list which suggested creating a custom ClientHandler and stubbing out requests/responses there.

I had a go at doing that and wrapped it with a little DSL that only covers our very specific use case:

private static ClientBuilder client() {
    return new ClientBuilder();

static class ClientBuilder {
    private String uri;
    private int statusCode;
    private String content;

    public ClientBuilder requestFor(String uri) {
        this.uri = uri;
        return this;

    public ClientBuilder returns(int statusCode) {
        this.statusCode = statusCode;
        return this;

    public Client create() {
        return new Client() {
            public ClientResponse handle(ClientRequest request) throws ClientHandlerException {
                if (request.getURI().toString().equals(uri)) {
                    InBoundHeaders headers = new InBoundHeaders();
                    headers.put("Content-Type", asList("text/plain"));
                    return createDummyResponse(headers);
                throw new RuntimeException("No stub defined for " + request.getURI());

    private ClientResponse createDummyResponse(InBoundHeaders headers) {
        return new ClientResponse(statusCode, headers, new ByteArrayInputStream(content.getBytes()), messageBodyWorkers());

    private MessageBodyWorkers messageBodyWorkers() {
        return new MessageBodyWorkers() {
            public Map<MediaType, List<MessageBodyReader>> getReaders(MediaType mediaType) {
                return null;

            public Map<MediaType, List<MessageBodyWriter>> getWriters(MediaType mediaType) {
                return null;

            public String readersToString(Map<MediaType, List<MessageBodyReader>> mediaTypeListMap) {
                return null;

            public String writersToString(Map<MediaType, List<MessageBodyWriter>> mediaTypeListMap) {
                return null;

            public <T> MessageBodyReader<T> getMessageBodyReader(Class<T> tClass, Type type, Annotation[] annotations, MediaType mediaType) {
                return (MessageBodyReader<T>) new StringProvider();

            public <T> MessageBodyWriter<T> getMessageBodyWriter(Class<T> tClass, Type type, Annotation[] annotations, MediaType mediaType) {
                return null;

            public <T> List<MediaType> getMessageBodyWriterMediaTypes(Class<T> tClass, Type type, Annotation[] annotations) {
                return null;

            public <T> MediaType getMessageBodyWriterMediaType(Class<T> tClass, Type type, Annotation[] annotations, List<MediaType> mediaTypes) {
                return null;

    public ClientBuilder content(String content) {
        this.content = content;
        return this;

If we change our test to use this code it now looks like this:

public void shouldIndicateInstanceIsSlave() {
    Client client = client().requestFor("http://localhost:7474/db/manage/server/ha/slave").
    Boolean isSlave = new Neo4jInstance(client, URI.create("http://localhost")).isSlave();

Is there a better way?

In Ruby I’ve used WebMock to achieve this and Ashok pointed me towards WebStub which looks nice except I’d need to pass in the hostname + port rather than constructing that in the code.


Reference: Jersey Client: Testing external calls from our JCG partner Mark Needham at the Mark Needham Blog blog.
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2 Responses to "Jersey Client: Testing external calls"

  1. Hi,

    If you make use of the Jersey class TerminatingClientHandler you can simplify this code quite a bit, here in the test class that I use in the project:

    And the same code, obviously slightly different, when using JAX-RS 2.0:

    Hope this is helpful,


  2. G.H. says:

    The second approach aside: How did you get the first one to even run? When I try mocking WebResource.Builder as you do up there, I get the following:

    Cannot mock/spy class com.sun.jersey.api.client.WebResource$Builder
    Mockito cannot mock/spy following:
    – final classes
    – anonymous classes
    – primitive types

    as WebResource.Builder is declared final.

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