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Callista medarbetare Björn Beskow

Yet another Mock framework

// Björn Beskow

I have used EasyMock for Mock Object creation since version 1.0 in 2001. It has never been perfect, but good enough. The need to explicitly work with a separate Control object for every Mock object created was a pain, but that was changed in version 2.0. EasyMock is a decent Mock Object framework.

Still, in lectures and tutorials we do on Mock Object usage, I have always had a bit of a problem explaining how tests using EasyMock fits into the generic Arrange-Act-Assert form of most unit tests. The “recording” part of an EasyMock test tends to fall into both the Arrange and the Assert category: it governs the behavior of the mock object and it records an expectation:

import static org.easymock.EasyMock.*;

//mock creation
List mockedList = createMock(List.class);

//Arrange for mock object usage - program behaviour and register expectation


//Assert: verify all expectations

So what, one might ask? Isn’t that just of interest for a purist? Well, not only. Besides the fact that the assertions on correct usage of the mock object becomes hidden in the Arrange part, the assertions are always implicit there, regardless of whether they make sense or not. Over and over again, I find that I only need the Arrange part: program the mock object with how it should behave. The implicit assertions then just gets in the way, often leading to false negatives.

I have learned to live with this, but last week when struggling with some refactoring work in an area with tons of mock-based tests, I had enough. There must be a better way!

Of course there is. Half an hour surfing, and I discovered Mockito. It is an EasyMock clone that does exactly what I was looking for: Allowing Mock Object expectations to be specified separately from Mock Object behaviour:

import static org.mockito.Mockito.*;

//mock creation
List mockedList = mock(List.class);

//Arrange for mock object usage - program behaviour

//Act using mock object - will never throw any unexpected exception!

//explicit verification, if relevant - if it fails it will throw an assertion error here:

No big deal, one might think. But having worked with it for a couple of days, it sure made my refactorings a whole lot easier. It was well worth the effort switching framework.

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