Chapter 7. Unit Testing

Just as with other application styles, it is extremely important to unit test any code written as part of a batch job as well. The Spring core documentation covers how to unit and integration test with Spring in great detail, so it won't be repeated here. It is important, however, to think about how to 'end to end' test a batch job, which is what this chapter will focus on.

7.1. End To End Testing Batch Jobs

'End To End' testing can be defined as testing the complete run of a batch job from beginning to end. If the job reads from a file, then writes into the database, this type of testing ensures that any preconditions are met (reference data, correct file, etc) and then runs the job, verifying afterwards that all records that should be in the database are present and correct. Below is an example from one of the Spring Batch sample jobs, the 'fixedLengthImportJob'. It reads from a flat file (in fixed length format) and loads the records into the database. The following unit test code assures it processes correctly:

  //fixed-length file is expected on input
  protected void validatePreConditions() throws Exception{
    BufferedReader reader = null;
    reader = new BufferedReader(new FileReader(fileLocator.getFile()));
    String line;
    while ((line = reader.readLine()) != null) {
      assertEquals (LINE_LENGTH, line.length());

  //Check that records have been correctly written to database
  protected void validatePostConditions() throws Exception { ExecutionContext());

  jdbcTemplate.query("SELECT ID, ISIN, QUANTITY, PRICE, CUSTOMER FROM trade ORDER BY id", 
       new RowCallbackHandler() {

    public void processRow(ResultSet rs) throws SQLException {
      Trade trade;
      try {
        trade = (Trade);
      catch (Exception e) {
        throw new IllegalStateException(e.getMessage());
      assertEquals(trade.getIsin(), rs.getString(2));
      assertEquals(trade.getPrice(), rs.getBigDecimal(4));
      assertEquals(trade.getCustomer(), rs.getString(5));

In the first method, validatePreConditions, the input file is checked to ensure it is correctly formatted. Because it is common to add extra lines to the file to test additional use cases, this test ensures that the fixed length lines are the length they should be. If they are not, it is much preferred to fail in this phase, rather than the job (correctly) failing during the run and causing needless debugging.

In the second method, validatePostconditions, the database is checked to ensure all data has been written correctly. This is arguably the most important part of the test. In this case, it reads one line from the file, and one row from the database, and checks each column one by one for accuracy. It's important to not hard-code the data that should be present in the database into the test class. Instead, use the input file (bypassing the job) to check the output. This allows you to quickly add additional test cases to your file without having to add them to code. The same would be true for database to database jobs, or database to file jobs. It is preferable to be able to add additional rows to the database input without having to add them to the hard coded list in the test class.

7.2. Extending Unit Test frameworks

Because most unit testing of complete batch jobs will take place in the development environment (i.e. eclipse) it's important to be able to launch these tests in the same way you would launch any unit test. In the following examples JUnit 3.8 will be used, but any testing framework could be substituted. The Spring Batch samples contain many 'sample jobs' that are unit tested using this technique. The most important step is being able to launch the job within a unit test. This requires the use of the JobLauncher interface that is discussed in chapters 2 and 4. A Job and JobLauncher must be obtained from an ApplicationContext, and then launched. The following abstract class from Spring Batch Samples illustrates this:

  public abstract class AbstractBatchLauncherTests extends
                        AbstractDependencyInjectionSpringContextTests {

    JobLauncher launcher;
    private Job job;
    private JobParameters jobParameters = new JobParameters();

    public AbstractBatchLauncherTests() {

    * @see org.springframework.test.AbstractSingleSpringContextTests#getConfigLocations()
    protected String[] getConfigLocations() {
      return new String[] { ClassUtils.addResourcePathToPackagePath(getClass(), 
                            ClassUtils.getShortName(getClass()) + "-context.xml") };

    public void testLaunchJob() throws Exception {, jobParameters);

    public void setLauncher(JobLauncher bootstrap) {
      this.launcher = bootstrap;

    public void setJob(Job job) {
      this.job = job;

The Spring Test class AbstractDependencyInjectionSpringContextTests is extended to allow for context loading, autowiring, etc. Only two classes are needed: The Job to be run, and the JobLauncher to run it. Empty JobParameters are used in the example above. However, if the job requires specific parameters they could be coded in subclasses with an abstract method, or using a factory bean in the ApplicationContext for testing purposes. Because none of the sample jobs require this, an empty JobParameters is used. One simple JUnit test case is present in the file, which actually launches the job. If any exceptions are thrown or assertions fail, it will act the same way as any other unit test and display as a failed test due to errors or assertion failure. Because of the best practice for validation mentioned earlier in the chapter, this class is extended further to allow for separate validation before and after the job is run:

  public abstract class AbstractValidatingBatchLauncherTests extends AbstractBatchLauncherTests {

    public void testLaunchJob() throws Exception {

  * Make sure input data meets expectations
  protected void validatePreConditions() throws Exception {}

  * Make sure job did what it was expected to do.
  protected abstract void validatePostConditions() throws Exception;


In the class above, the testLaunchJob method is overridden to call the two abstract methods for validation. Before actually running the job, validatePreConditions is called (it should be noted that it's not required), and then after the job completes successfully, validatePostConidtions is called.