18 November 2014

One of the applications that I have been working on recently has a lot of complex SQL queries that cannot be tested very well with traditional unit tests. To fill this gap, we decided to write a functional test suite that would perform the following steps:

  • Persist a bunch of data to the table(s) that are used by the query under test to an actual database instance.

  • Execute the query under test against an actual database instance.

  • Verify the expected results.

  • Clean down the table(s) used in the test to avoid pollution against other tests.

The application(s) under test are Spring Boot applications, which make use of Spring Data JPA for the presistence layer. Below is an example of one of the repositories:

public interface BookRepository extends JpaRepository<Book, Long> {

    List<Book> findByIsbn(final String isbn);


Writing a functional test for just such a repository is pretty easy using Spock and its built-in Spring extension:

@ContextConfiguration(classes=[PersistenceConfiguration], loader=SpringApplicationContextLoader)
class BookRepositoryFunctionalSpec extends Specification {

    private BookRepository boolRepository

    def cleanup() {

    def "test that the correct number of books are found when finding books by ISBN"() {
            Book book1 = new Book(title:'A Good Book', author:'Some Guy', isbn:'978-3-16-148410-0')
            Book book2 = new Book(title:'A Good Book, Second Edition', author:'Some Guy', isbn:'978-3-16-148410-1')

            def books = bookRepository.findByIsbn('978-3-16-148410-0')
            books != null
            books.size() == 1
            books.first() == book1
            books = bookRepository.findByIsbn('unknown')
            books != null
            books.size() == 0

The example Spock specification above uses the ActiveProfiles and ContextCongifuration annotations to load the Spring configuration for use by the test. This configuration contains all of the beans required by Spring Data JPA to connect to the database (data source, entity manager, etc). With the Spring configuration added to the test, we can now make use of Spring techniques, such as the auto-wiring of dependencies into the specification. In the example above, we have auto-wired in the BookRepository that defines the query that we want to test. The next thing to notice is that the test uses the deleteAll method of the repository instance to remove any data in the table mapped by the Book entity after each test in the specification. Finally, we have the test itself, which performs the following steps:

  • Create a couple of Book entities and persist them to the mapped table using the repository.

  • Execute the finder method from the repository and validate the correct results are found.

  • Execute the finder method again, this time with input that should not produce a result to validate what is returned in that scenario.

Note that this could easily be broken up into two tests or refactored to use Spock's @Unroll annotation. Now that I was armed with a way to build out functional tests against the actual database using Spring Data JPA and Spock, I needed a way to execute the tests. My first thought was to use Gradle to run the tests. However, due to a limitation of our build infrastructure (our deployment server does not have access to our artifact repository), Gradle would not be able to run the tests, as the build script would not have access to the dependencies it needs to execute! In the part two of this blog post, I will take a look at how I overcame this issue by executing the test suite inside of a Docker container using Gradle.

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