Home » JVM Languages » Scala » Kotlintest and property based testing

About Biju Kunjummen

Biju Kunjummen

Kotlintest and property based testing

I was very happy to see that Kotlintest, a port of the excellent scalatest in Kotlin, supports property based testing.

I was introduced to property based testing through the excellent “Functional programming in Scala” book.

The idea behind property based testing is simple – the behavior of a program is described as a property and the testing framework generates random data to validate the property. This is best illustrated with an example using the excellent scalacheck library:

import org.scalacheck.Prop.forAll
import org.scalacheck.Properties

object ListSpecification extends Properties("List") {
  property("reversing a list twice should return the list") = forAll { (a: List[Int]) =>
    a.reverse.reverse == a
  }
}

scalacheck would generate a random list(of integer) of varying sizes and would validate that this property holds for the lists. A similar specification expressed through Kotlintest looks like this:

import io.kotlintest.properties.forAll
import io.kotlintest.specs.StringSpec


class ListSpecification : StringSpec({
    "reversing a list twice should return the list" {
        forAll{ list: List<Int> ->
            list.reversed().reversed().toList() == list
        }
    }
})

If the generators have to be a little more constrained, say if we wanted to test this behavior on lists of integer in the range 1 to 1000 then an explicit generator can be passed in the following way, again starting with scalacheck:

import org.scalacheck.Prop.forAll
import org.scalacheck.{Gen, Properties}

object ListSpecification extends Properties("List") {
  val intList = Gen.listOf(Gen.choose(1, 1000))
  property("reversing a list twice should return the list") = forAll(intList) { (a: List[Int]) =>
    a.reverse.reverse == a
  }
}

and an equivalent kotlintest code:

import io.kotlintest.properties.Gen
import io.kotlintest.properties.forAll
import io.kotlintest.specs.StringSpec

class BehaviorOfListSpecs : StringSpec({
    "reversing a list twice should return the list" {
        val intList = Gen.list(Gen.choose(1, 1000))

        forAll(intList) { list ->
            list.reversed().reversed().toList() == list
        }
    }
})

Given this let me now jump onto another example from the scalacheck site, this time to illustrate a failure:

import org.scalacheck.Prop.forAll
import org.scalacheck.Properties

object StringSpecification extends Properties("String") {

  property("startsWith") = forAll { (a: String, b: String) =>
    (a + b).startsWith(a)
  }

  property("concatenate") = forAll { (a: String, b: String) =>
    (a + b).length > a.length && (a + b).length > b.length
  }

  property("substring") = forAll { (a: String, b: String, c: String) =>
    (a + b + c).substring(a.length, a.length + b.length) == b
  }
}

the second property described above is wrong – if two strings are concatenated together they are ALWAYS larger than each of the parts, this is not true if one of the strings is blank. If I were to run this test using scalacheck it correctly catches this wrongly specified behavior:

+ String.startsWith: OK, passed 100 tests.
! String.concatenate: Falsified after 0 passed tests.
> ARG_0: ""
> ARG_1: ""
+ String.substring: OK, passed 100 tests.
Found 1 failing properties.

An equivalent kotlintest is the following:

import io.kotlintest.properties.forAll
import io.kotlintest.specs.StringSpec

class StringSpecification : StringSpec({
    "startsWith" {
        forAll { a: String, b: String ->
            (a + b).startsWith(a)
        }
    }

    "concatenate" {
        forAll { a: String, b: String ->
            (a + b).length > a.length && (a + b).length > b.length
        }
    }

    "substring" {
        forAll { a: String, b: String, c: String ->
            (a + b + c).substring(a.length, a.length + b.length) == b
        }
    }
})

on running, it correctly catches the issue with concatenate and produces the following result:

java.lang.AssertionError: Property failed for

Y{_DZ<vGnzLQHf9|3$i|UE,;!%8^SRF;JX%EH+<5d:p`Y7dxAd;I+J5LB/:O)

 at io.kotlintest.properties.PropertyTestingKt.forAll(PropertyTesting.kt:27)

However there is an issue here, scalacheck found a simpler failure case, it does this by a process called “Test Case minimization” where in case of a failure it tries to find the smallest test case that can fail, something that the Kotlintest can learn from.

There are other features where Kotlintest lags with respect to scalacheck, a big one being able to combine generators:

case class Person(name: String, age: Int)

val genPerson = for {
  name <- Gen.alphaStr
  age <- Gen.choose(1, 50)
} yield Person(name, age)

genPerson.sample

However all in all, I have found the DSL of Kotlintest and its support for property based testing to be a good start so far and look forward to how this library evolves over time.

If you want to play with these samples a little more, it is available in my github repo here – https://github.com/bijukunjummen/kotlintest-scalacheck-sample

Reference: Kotlintest and property based testing from our JCG partner Biju Kunjummen at the all and sundry blog.
(0 rating, 0 votes)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Start the discussion Views Tweet it!
Do you want to know how to develop your skillset to become a Java Rockstar?
Subscribe to our newsletter to start Rocking right now!
To get you started we give you our best selling eBooks for FREE!
1. JPA Mini Book
2. JVM Troubleshooting Guide
3. JUnit Tutorial for Unit Testing
4. Java Annotations Tutorial
5. Java Interview Questions
6. Spring Interview Questions
7. Android UI Design
and many more ....
I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policy

Leave a Reply

avatar

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
Notify of