Monday, February 24, 2014

paranoia testing

Somebody told me once a funny story about a woman who day after day kept arriving late to work, because once on her way to the office, she kept having the need to go back home again and again just to check that she unplugged the iron from the wall socket. Her unfounded fear was such that one day she finally decided to take the iron with her to the office in her handbag.

A common unfounded fear that some developers sometimes have when working with the database, is that they will fail to query it for whatever reason and they feel the need of testing that the database is returning them the expected values. It is common to see horrible tests like this one:

   public void whenAddingANewUserTheUserIsSavedToTheDatabase() {  
     //Tell hibernate to add this user to the database   
     ormAdapter.add(userFactory("djordje", "123"));  
     //Find the user and check its values  
     User savedValueInDatabase = adapter.find("djordje");  
     //Delete the test data  

The above test has many problems, not just it is slow, also it is wrongly aimed because is not testing the functionality of the application, it just testing that some third party framework(hibernate in this case) is working properly.

Developers who do this, don't understand that the database is just a detail/add-on of the application.
It is fine to perform a smoke test to ping the database if they want(just to verify that the configuration of the ORM framework was correctly done), but testing that the HQL or the hibernate criteria are returning some values is wrong.
"Hibernate, MySQL, Oracle... all are just vendors, their solutions will work, you don't need to test them again!"

Focus on testing the functionality by mocking the dependencies you have with the database.
The only thing that counts at the end of the day is that the inputs and outputs to the service layer are processed correctly. If the data comes from a database, a file, a socket... doesn't matter at all.
Here an alternative test that will mock a dependency to the database and will check that the data is processed correctly:

   public void loginTest() {   
     PersonManagementAdapterORM adapterORM = mock(PersonManagementAdapterORM.class);  
     when(adapterORM.find("djordje","123")).thenReturn(new Person("djordje","123"));  
     LoginService service = new LoginServiceImpl(adapterORM);  
     boolean authorized = service.login("djordje","123");  

Now tests main concern is the functionality and not how the data is added to, or retrieved from the database.
I trained the mock to behave as expected and I verified that its behavoir was executed as expected.
The database was not at all a concern.

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