Spring with Testing frameworks – How does it work?

Spring with testing framework

Spring with testing framework – How does it work?


Unit testing and integration testing are critical phases in a software development life cycle. However, certain limitations can prevent achieving the full potential of these two testing approaches. The Spring Framework can help an enterprise overcome the limitations by providing a ready made framework for automation testing. Both unit and integration testing have certain dependencies which may not be fulfilled unless the software is in a mature state. To identify possible problems beforehand, Spring framework provides certain simulations or mock situations that help enterprises do complete unit and integration testing to ensure that the software is error-free.

What is a testing framework?

A testing framework provides guidelines or rules for automation of software testing. Following a testing framework is not mandatory. Following a testing framework may yield many benefits such as reuse of code, reduced script maintenance cost and higher portability. There are a number of testing frameworks available such as Linear scripting – record and playback and the test library architecture framework.

What is a Spring framework?

Let us think of a Spring framework like the framework of a housing community. When the builder of a housing community is building the second or third housing community, the builder does not need to know about building everything from scratch because he or she has some experience already. It is about building on the experience and learning from new experience. As the builder goes on building new communities, new lessons such as costing and materials are learnt. When you buy a house, you do not need to build it from the scratch. You can customize it in the way you like or even extend it provided the provision is there. The Spring framework is like the basic structure of the house. It is a Java-based solution based on which you can build enterprise applications for the web. So, if you think in terms of building an enterprise application, you already have the structure and it is about building on the structure.

Spring framework and testing framework

This section will discuss how the Spring framework can help the testing framework.

This was discussed earlier in this article that the Spring framework helps executing the unit and integration testing in the testing frameworks.

Unit testing support

Unit testing is about ensuring that individual components of the code such as the methods, classes and the services are fulfilling what they are supposed to do individually. Now, when it is about testing individual components, it can be tested at any stage of application development. But there are certain limitations when it comes to testing objects that are dependent because to fulfill the dependency, certain conditions need to be fulfilled and they may not be available at that stage of application development. For example, User and UserGroup are two classes and the former is dependent on the latter. UserGroup is used to hit the database for performing the VRUD operations. Now, if the application development is at the primary stage, the testing may not be possible because the database environment is not available. So you need mock objects to do this. The Spring framework provides support for mocking of all classes that cannot be tested because of certain limitations.

You will also like to read – Interesting articles on Spring framework 

Integration testing support

The main purpose of integration testing is to find out whether all the components of a software application can work with one another in ways that are expected of the components. For example, a web service may be exposed to mock external systems to find out whether it is accepting requests and returning responses.

Clearly, when integration testing is performed, multiple classes and objects will be tested in conjunction. The Spring framework helps by auto-populating the classes and objects thus saving a lot of time needed to manually populate the classes and objects.

Other than the above, Spring framework also provides annotations support. Spring annotations are in fact designed for testing support. The Spring framework provides a set of Spring-specific annotations in the org.springframework.test.annotation package which can be used for testing purposes especially if the application is being developed based on Java 5 and upwards. The main annotations available in the framework are the following:

  • @Repeat
  • @Timed
  • @NotTransactional
  • @ExpectedException
  • @IfProfileValue
  • @ProfileValueSourceConfiguration

Writing sample application:

Integrate Spring with JUnit. Here you need to have spring-test.jar. First we are defining dependencies in pom.xml file.

Listing 1: Defining dependency in pom.xml as described below






























Following is the interface for validating assertions. Later we have implemented it in a class. 

Listing2: SprTestService.java (Interface)

package com.techalpine.examples.spring;

public interface SprTestService {

boolean isValid(String str);


Following is the implementation of the above interface. It overrides the isValid method.

Listing3: SprTestServiceImpl.java (Interface Implementation)

package com.techalpine.examples.spring;

import org.springframework.stereotype.Service;


public class SprTestServiceImpl implements SprTestService {


public boolean isValid(String str ) {

return true;



This is the config class for component scanning.

Listing 4: AppConfig.java (Spring configuration file)

package com.techalpine.examples.spring;

import org.springframework.context.annotation.ComponentScan;

import org.springframework.context.annotation.Configuration;


@ComponentScan(basePackages = {“com.techalpine.examples.spring”})

public class AppConfig {


Following is the main program to test the output. It checks the assertions and shows the output.

Listing 5: SpringFrmWrkTest.java

package com.techalpine.spring;

import com.techalpine.examples.spring.AppConfig;

import com.techalpine.examples.spring.SprTestService;

import com.techalpine.examples.spring.SprTestServiceImpl;

import org.junit.Test;

import org.junit.runner.RunWith;

import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired;

import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Qualifier;

import org.springframework.test.context.ContextConfiguration;

import org.springframework.test.context.junit4.SpringJUnit4ClassRunner;

import static org.hamcrest.MatcherAssert.assertThat;

import static org.hamcrest.Matchers.instanceOf;

import static org.hamcrest.Matchers.is;


@ContextConfiguration(classes = {AppConfig.class})

public class SpringFrmWrkTest {

//Dependency Injection



SprTestService sprtstsrv;


public void spr_test_sprtstsrv_return_true() {

//Assert for correct impl

assertThat(sprtstsrv, instanceOf(SprTestServiceImpl.class));

//Assert for true value

assertThat(sprtstsrv.isValid(“”), is(true));



If we run the above application, it will show the output as TRUE. 

Must read – Articles on testing domain 


Automation testing is seen as an important component of testing discipline these days by the enterprises because they believe it saves time and resource. However, fulfillment of automation testing framework is not possible unless the support is provided. For example, without mocking support, automated unit testing would be incomplete and enterprises would face the possibility of erroneous software at the time when they should be approaching the last lap of testing. Spring framework automates a lot of things and the great thing about it is that enterprises do not need to reinvent anything given there. It is about using and reusing only.

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