Run, JUnit! Run!!!

JUnit together with JavaScript and SVN are some of the technologies that programmers often start using without even reading a single blog post let alone a book.  Maybe this is a good thing since they look simple enough and understandable so we can use them right away without any manuals, but this also means that they are also underused. In this article we will go through some features of JUnit that I consider very useful.

Parameterized tests 

Sometimes we need to run the same method or functionality with many different inputs and different expected results. One way to do this would be to create separate tests for each of the cases, or you can use loop but that it would be harder to track down the origin of a possible test failure.

For example if we have the following value object representing rational numbers:

public class RationalNumber {

  private final long numerator;
  private final long denominator;

  public RationalNumber(long numerator, long denominator) {
    this.numerator = numerator;
    this.denominator = denominator;

  public long getNumerator() {
    return numerator;

  public long getDenominator() {
    return denominator;

  public String toString() {
    return String.format("%d/%d", numerator, denominator);

And we have a service class called App with a method convert that divides the number to a rounded value of 5 decimal :

public class App {

   * THE Logic
   * @param number some rational number
   * @return BigDecimal rounded to 5 decimal points
  public static BigDecimal convert(RationalNumber number) {
    BigDecimal numerator = new BigDecimal(number.getNumerator()).
        setScale(5, RoundingMode.HALF_UP);

    BigDecimal result = numerator.divide(
        new BigDecimal(number.getDenominator()),

    return result;

And for the actual AppTest class we have

public class AppTest {

  private RationalNumber input;
  private BigDecimal expected;

  public AppTest(RationalNumber input, BigDecimal expected) {
    this.input = input;
    this.expected = expected;

  @Parameterized.Parameters(name = "{index}: number[{0}]= {1}")
  public static Collection<Object> data() {
    return Arrays.asList(new Object[][]{
      {new RationalNumber(1, 2), new BigDecimal("0.50000")},
      {new RationalNumber(1, 1), new BigDecimal("1.00000")},
      {new RationalNumber(1, 3), new BigDecimal("0.33333")},
      {new RationalNumber(1, 5), new BigDecimal("0.20000")},
      {new RationalNumber(10000, 3), new BigDecimal("3333.33333")}

  public void testApp() {
    //given the test data
    BigDecimal out = App.convert(input);
    Assert.assertThat(out, is(equalTo(expected)));


The Parametrized runner or @RunWith(Parameterized.class) enables the "parametrization" or in other words the injection of the collection of values annotated with @Parameterized.Parameters into the Test constructor where each of the sublist is an parameter list. This means that each of the RationalNumber objects in the data() method will be injected into the input variable and each of the BigDecimal values would be the expected value, so in our example we have 5 tests.

There is also an optional custom naming of the generated test added in the annotation, so " {index}: number[{0}]= {1}" will be replaced with the appropriate parameters defined in the data() method and the "{index}" placeholder will be the test case index, like in the following image

Running the parametrized tests in IntelliJ Idea 

JUnit rules

The simplest definition of JUnit rules is that they are in a sense an interceptors  and very similar to the Spring aspect oriented programming or Java EE interceptors API. Basically you can do useful things before and after the test execution.

OK so let’s start with some of the built in test rules. One of them is ExternalResource  where the idea is that we setup an external resource and after the teardown garteet the resource was freed up. A classic example of such test is a creation of file, so for that purpose we have a built in class TemporaryFolder but we can also create our own ones for other resources :

public class TheRuleTest {
  public TemporaryFolder folder = new TemporaryFolder();

  public void someTest() throws IOException {
    final File tempFile = folder.newFile("thefile.txt");
    tempFile.setExecutable(true)  ;
    assertThat(tempFile.canExecute(), is(true));

We could have done this in a @Before and @After blocks and use java temp files but it is easy to forget something and leave some of the files unclosed in some of the scenarios where a test fails.

For example there is also a Timeout rule for methods where if the the execution is not finished in given time limit the test will fail with a Timeout exception. For example to limit the running for 20 milliseconds :

public MethodRule globalTimeout = new Timeout(20);

We can implement our own rules that can do a policy enforcement or various project specific changes. The only thing that needs to be done is for us to implement the TestRule interface.

A simple scenario to explain the behaviour is to add a rule that prints someting before and after test.

import org.junit.rules.TestRule; 
import org.junit.runner.Description;
import org.junit.runners.model.Statement;

public class MyTestRule implements TestRule {

  public class MyStatement extends Statement {

    private final Statement statement;

    public MyStatement(Statement statement) {
      this.statement = statement;

    public void evaluate() throws Throwable {
      System.out.println("before statement" );
      System.out.println("after statement");


  public Statement apply(Statement statement,
                         Description description) {

    System.out.println("apply rule");
    return new MyStatement(statement);


So now that we have our rule we can use it in tests, were the tests will just print out different values :

public class SomeTest {

  public MyTestRule folder = new MyTestRule();

  public void testA()  {

  public void testB()  {

When we run a test the following output will be created on the  console output :

apply rule
before statement
after statement
apply rule
before statement
after statement

From the built in one there is one called ExpectedException that can very useful when trying out testing errors. Additionally there is an option to chain the rules that can be useful in many scenarios.

To sum up

If you wanna say that Spock or TestNG or some library build on top of JUnit have more features than JUnit, than that is probably true.

But you know what? We don’t always have those on our class path and chances are that JUnit is there and already used all over the place. Than why not use it’s full potential ?

Reference: Run, JUnit! Run!!! from our JCG partner Attila Mihaly Balazs at the Java Advent Calendar blog.
Related Whitepaper:

Bulletproof Java Code: A Practical Strategy for Developing Functional, Reliable, and Secure Java Code

Use Java? If you do, you know that Java software can be used to drive application logic of Web services or Web applications. Perhaps you use it for desktop applications? Or, embedded devices? Whatever your use of Java code, functional errors are the enemy!

To combat this enemy, your team might already perform functional testing. Even so, you're taking significant risks if you have not yet implemented a comprehensive team-wide quality management strategy. Such a strategy alleviates reliability, security, and performance problems to ensure that your code is free of functionality errors.Read this article to learn about this simple four-step strategy that is proven to make Java code more reliable, more secure, and easier to maintain.

Get it Now!  

Leave a Reply

eight + = 16

Java Code Geeks and all content copyright © 2010-2014, Exelixis Media Ltd | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
All trademarks and registered trademarks appearing on Java Code Geeks are the property of their respective owners.
Java is a trademark or registered trademark of Oracle Corporation in the United States and other countries.
Java Code Geeks is not connected to Oracle Corporation and is not sponsored by Oracle Corporation.

Sign up for our Newsletter

20,709 insiders are already enjoying weekly updates and complimentary whitepapers! Join them now to gain exclusive access to the latest news in the Java world, as well as insights about Android, Scala, Groovy and other related technologies.

As an extra bonus, by joining you will get our brand new e-books, published by Java Code Geeks and their JCG partners for your reading pleasure! Enter your info and stay on top of things,

  • Fresh trends
  • Cases and examples
  • Research and insights
  • Two complimentary e-books