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Mock Java Calendar - JMockit vs Mockito

, 19 May 2012
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This post discusses the different possibilities to mock the behavior of Calendar class in Java, in order to unit test the business methods which depend on this class. Three solutions are proposed.

This has to be a classic, but somehow I have passed some time to figure it out.

Basically to get the current time or day in Java, we should be using the Calendar class in a way like this:

Calendar c = Calendar.getInstance();
int day = c.get(Calendar.DAY_OF_WEEK);

Now I imagine this code can be hidden somewhere inside a business method and the behaviour of that method would be dependent on the current day. Typical example can be the method which returns the schedule of the cinema on the current day.

public class ScheduleService{
  public Schedule getTodaySchedule(){
    Calendar c = Calendar.getInstance();
    int day = c.get(Calendar.DAY_OF_WEEK);

    //get it from DB or wherever you want
    Schedule s = lookupAccordingToDay(day);
  }
}

In order to test this method you have to mock the Calendar. You will have to verify, that for Monday the service will return the schedule for Monday. However since the test will be automatically called every day, not only Monday, you will obtain whole different schedules and the assert will fail. There are several solutions to this. I have 3 in my mind.

Solution 1: create a separate service

First solution has nothing to do with mocking. The way to go here is to isolate the Calendar into a separate service (let's call it CurrentDayService). Than you can manually create a mock for this service. You will also have to change the body of your ScheduleService to use this CurrentDayService.

public interface ICurrentDayService {
   int getCurrentDay();
}

public class CurrentDayService {
   public int getCurrentDay(){
      Calendar c = Calendar.getInstance();
      return c.get(Calendar.DAY_OF_WEEK);
   }
}

public class CurrentDayServiceMock {
   private int dayToReturn;
   public CurrentDayServiceMock(int dayToReturn){
     this.dayToReturn = dayToReturn;
   }
   public int getCurrentDay(){
      return dayToReturn;
   }
}

public class ScheduleService {
  //@Autowire or inject this service
  private CurrentDayService dayService;
  
  public Schedule getTodaySchedule(){
    int day = dayService.getCurrentDay();
    //get it from DB or wherever you want
    Schedule s = lookupAccordingToDay(day);
  }
}

Now in the unit test your schedule service, can use the mock instead of the real implementation. If you are using Dependency Injection than you can define a different context for unit tests. If not, you will have to do it manually.

Solution 2: use Mockito

Mockito allows you to mock the real Calendar class. That means that you no longer need to wrap the Calendar by some CurrentDayService class just to be able to mock the behavior. However you will still have to add a mechanism to pass the mocked Calendar to your service. That is not that complicated. Have a look at the following definition o the ScheduleService and the unit test which comes with it.

public class ScheduleService{
  private Calendar calendar;
  public ScheduleService(){
    calendar = Calendar.getInstance();
  }
  public Schedule getTodaySchedule(){
    int day = calendar.get(Calendar.DAY_OF_WEEK);
    Schedule s = lookupAccordingToDay(day);
  }

  public setCalendar(Calendar c){
    calendar = c;
  }
}

@Test
public void testGetTodaySchedule() {
 Calendar c = Mockito.mock(Calendar.class);
 Mockito.when(c.get(Calendar.DAY_OF_WEEK)).thenReturn(2);

 ScheduleService sService = new SomeStrangeService();
 //there has to be a way to set the current calendar
 sService.setCalendar(c);
 Schedule schedule = sService.getTodaySchedule();
 //Assert your schedule values
}

To sum it up: if the setCalendar method is not called, than the Calendar is instantiated in the constructor. So in production, it will be return the current day. In your unit test, you can easily mock it, to specify different behavior. The drawback: if someone accidentally calls the setCalendar method in the production, you will get into trouble.

Solution 3: use JMockit, mock all the calendars in you JVM

JMockit is strong framework which as some other mocking frameworks is using the Java Instrumentation API. The code that you want to execute in your mocks is injected as byte code at runtime. This enables JMockit to, for instance mock all the instances of Calendar class in your JVM. Here is how you can achieve this:

@MockClass(realClass = Calendar.class)
public static class CallendarMock {

 private int hour;
 private int day;
 private int minute;

 public CallendarMock(int day, int hour, int minute) {
  this.hour = hour;
  this.day = day;
  this.minute = minute;
 }

 @Mock
 public int get(int id) {
  if (id == Calendar.HOUR_OF_DAY) {
   return hour;
  }
  if (id == Calendar.DAY_OF_WEEK) {
   return day;
  }

  if (id == Calendar.MINUTE) {
   return minute;
  }
  return -1;
 }
}

The previous code snippet is the infrastructure which I can use to mock the Calendar's get method. A utility class CalendarMock has to be created, which specifies the methods which are mocked. The realClass attribute in the MockClass annotation specifies which class is mocked by the defined class. So now the unit test is simplified. There is not need to specify the Calendar which should be used by the ScheduleService.

@Test
public void testGetTodaySchedule() {
 Mockit.setUpMocks(new CallendarMock(Calendar.MONDAY, 12, 20));
 ScheduleService sService = new SomeStrangeService();
 Schedule schedule = sService.getTodaySchedule();
 //Assert your schedule values
}
@After
public void destroyMock() {
    Mockit.tearDownMocks();
}

At the end, you have to remember to switch-off the mocking of the Calendar. If not the Calendar will be mocked in all the tests executed after this one. Hence the call to the tearDownMocks() method.

Summary

With Mockito you can mock the real Calendar. However you have to pass the instance of the mocked calendar to the class, which actually uses it. With JMockit you are able to tell to the JVM: "from now all my mocks behave like this...". For me this simplifies the situation, while I am not forced to create a setter for a Calendar to be passed to my service class. But it would take much more time and effort to compare the two frameworks. It might be that Mockito handles some situations better than JMockit.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Jan Fajfr
Software Developer (Junior) OCTO Technology
Czech Republic Czech Republic
I work as IT consultant at OCTO Technology. Previously I have lived and studied CS in Prague, Paris and Valencia.
 
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