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Rafal Borowiec
Software developer, Team Leader, Agile practitioner, occasional blogger, lecturer. Open Source enthusiast, quality oriented and open-minded.

Spring MVC Integration Testing: Assert the given model attribute(s) have global errors


In order to report a global error in Spring MVC using Bean Validation we can create a custom class level constraint annotation. Global errors are not associated with any specific fields in the validated bean. In this article I will show how to write a test with Spring Test that verifies if the given model attribute has global validation errors.


Custom (Class Level) Constraint

For the sake of this article, I created a relatively simple class level constraint called SamePassword, validated by SamePasswordValidator:

@Constraint(validatedBy = SamePasswordsValidator.class)
public @interface SamePasswords {
    String message() default "passwords do not match";
    Class<?>[] groups() default {}; 
    Class<? extends Payload>[] payload() default {};

As you can see below, the validator is really simple:

public class SamePasswordsValidator implements ConstraintValidator<SamePasswords, PasswordForm> {

    public void initialize(SamePasswords constraintAnnotation) {}

    public boolean isValid(PasswordForm value, ConstraintValidatorContext context) {
        if(value.getConfirmedPassword() == null) {
            return true;
        return value.getConfirmedPassword()

The PasswordForm is just a POJO with some constraint annotations, inclduing the once I have just created:

public class PasswordForm {
    private String password;
    private String confirmedPassword;

    // getters and setters omitted for redability



The controller has two methods: to display the form and to handle the submission of the form:

public class PasswordController {

    @RequestMapping(value = "password")
    public String password(Model model) {
        model.addAttribute(new PasswordForm());
        return "globalerrors/password";

    @RequestMapping(value = "password", method = RequestMethod.POST)
    public String stepTwo(@Valid PasswordForm passwordForm, Errors errors) {
        if (errors.hasErrors()) {
            return "globalerrors/password";
        return "redirect:password";

When the password validation fails, a global error is registered in a BindingResult (Errors in the above example) object. We could then display this error on top of the form in a HTML page for example. In Thymeleaf this would be:

<div th:if="${#fields.hasGlobalErrors()}">
  <p th:each="err : ${#fields.globalErrors()}" th:text="${err}">...</p>

Integration Testing with Spring Test

Let’s setup an integration test:

@SpringApplicationConfiguration(classes = Application.class)
public class AccountValidationIntegrationTest {

    private WebApplicationContext wac;
    private MockMvc mockMvc;

    public void setUp() throws Exception {
        mockMvc = MockMvcBuilders.webAppContextSetup(wac).build();

The first test verifies that sending a form with empty password and confirmedPassword fails:

    public void failsWhenEmptyPasswordsGiven() throws Exception {
                .param("password", "").param("confirmedPassword", ""))
                        "passwordForm", "password", "confirmedPassword"

In the above example, the test verifies if there are field errors for both password and confirmedPassword fields.

Similarly, I would like to verify that when given passwords do not match, I get a specific, global error. So I would expect something like this: .andExpect(model().hasGlobalError("passwordForm", "passwords do not match")). Unfortunately, ModelResultMatchers returned by MockMvcResultMatchers#model() does not provide methods to assert the given model attribute(s) have global errors.

Since it is not there, I created my own matcher that extends from ModelResultMatchers. The Java 8 version of the code is below:

public class GlobalErrorsMatchers extends ModelResultMatchers {

    private GlobalErrorsMatchers() {

    public static GlobalErrorsMatchers globalErrors() {
        return new GlobalErrorsMatchers();

    public ResultMatcher hasGlobalError(String attribute, String expectedMessage) {
        return result -> {
            BindingResult bindingResult = getBindingResult(
                result.getModelAndView(), attribute
                .filter(oe -> attribute.equals(oe.getObjectName()))
                .forEach(oe -> assertEquals(
                    "Expected default message", expectedMessage, oe.getDefaultMessage())

    private BindingResult getBindingResult(ModelAndView mav, String name) {
        BindingResult result = (BindingResult) mav.getModel().get(BindingResult.MODEL_KEY_PREFIX + name);
            "No BindingResult for attribute: " + name, result != null
            "No global errors for attribute: " + name, result.getGlobalErrorCount() > 0
        return result;

With the above addition I am now able to verify global validation errors like here below:

import static pl.codeleak.demo.globalerrors.GlobalErrorsMatchers.globalErrors;

public void failsWithGlobalErrorWhenDifferentPasswordsGiven() throws Exception {
            .param("password", "test").param("confirmedPassword", "other"))
                "passwordForm", "passwords do not match")

As you can see extending Spring Test’s matchers and providing you own is relatively easy and can be used to improve validation verification in an integration test.


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