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Thursday, December 03, 2009

TestNG and Selenium

I love working on client projects, because those help me really understand how Tapestry gets used, and the problems people are running in to. On site training is another good way to see where the theory meets (or misses) the reality.

In any case, I'm working for a couple of clients right now for whom testing is, rightfully, quite important. My normal approach is to write unit tests to test specific error cases (or other unusual cases), and then write integration tests to run through main use cases. I consider this a balanced approach, that recognizes that a lot of what Tapestry does is integration.

One of the reasons I like TestNG is that it seamlessly spans from unit tests to integration tests. All of Tapestry's internal tests (about 1500 individual tests) are written using TestNG, and Tapestry includes a base test case class for working with Selenium: AbstractIntegrationTestSuite. This class does some useful things:

  • Launches your application using Jetty
  • Launches a SeleniumServer (which drives a web browser that can exercise your application)
  • Creates an instance of the Selenium client
  • Implements all the methods of Selenium, redirecting each to the Selenium instance
  • Adds additional error reporting around any Selenium client calls that fail

These are all useful things, but the class has gotten a little long in the tooth ... it has a couple of critical short-comings:

  • It runs your application using Jetty 5 (bundled with SeleniumServer)
  • It starts and stops the stack (Selenium, SeleniumServer, Jetty) around each class

For my current client, a couple of resources require JNDI, and so I'm using Jetty 7 to run the application (at least in development, and possibly in deployment as well). Fortunately, Jetty 5 uses the old org.mortbay.jetty packages, and Jetty 7 uses the new org.eclipse.jetty packages, so both versions of the server can co-exist within the same application.

The larger problem is that I didn't want a single titanic test case for my entire application; I wanted to break it up in other ways, by Tapestry page initially.

I could create additional subclasses of AbstractIntegrationTestSuite, but then the tests will spend a huge amount of time starting and stopping Firefox and friends. I really want that stuff to start just once.

What I've done is a bit of refactoring, by leveraging some features of TestNG that I hadn't previously used.

The part of AbstractIntegrationTestSuite responsible for starting and stopping the stack is broken out into its own class. This new class, SeleniumLauncher, is responsible for starting and stopping the stack around an entire TestNG test. In the TestNG terminology, a suite contains multiple tests, and a test contains test cases (found in individual classes, within scanned packages). The test case contains test and configuration methods.

Here's what I've come up with:

package com.myclient.itest;

import org.apache.tapestry5.test.ErrorReportingCommandProcessor;
import org.eclipse.jetty.server.Server;
import org.openqa.selenium.server.RemoteControlConfiguration;
import org.openqa.selenium.server.SeleniumServer;
import org.testng.ITestContext;
import org.testng.annotations.AfterTest;
import org.testng.annotations.BeforeTest;

import com.myclient.RunJetty;
import com.thoughtworks.selenium.CommandProcessor;
import com.thoughtworks.selenium.DefaultSelenium;
import com.thoughtworks.selenium.HttpCommandProcessor;
import com.thoughtworks.selenium.Selenium;

public class SeleniumLauncher {

  public static final String SELENIUM_KEY = "myclient.selenium";

  public static final String BASE_URL_KEY = "myclient.base-url";

  public static final int JETTY_PORT = 9999;

  public static final String BROWSER_COMMAND = "*firefox";

  private Selenium selenium;

  private Server jettyServer;

  private SeleniumServer seleniumServer;

  /** Starts the SeleniumServer, the application, and the Selenium instance. */
  @BeforeTest(alwaysRun = true)
  public void setup(ITestContext context) throws Exception {

    jettyServer = RunJetty.start(JETTY_PORT);

    seleniumServer = new SeleniumServer();


    String baseURL = String.format("http://localhost:%d/", JETTY_PORT);

    CommandProcessor cp = new HttpCommandProcessor("localhost",
        RemoteControlConfiguration.DEFAULT_PORT, BROWSER_COMMAND,

    selenium = new DefaultSelenium(new ErrorReportingCommandProcessor(cp));


    context.setAttribute(SELENIUM_KEY, selenium);
    context.setAttribute(BASE_URL_KEY, baseURL);

  /** Shuts everything down. */
  @AfterTest(alwaysRun = true)
  public void cleanup() throws Exception {
    if (selenium != null) {
      selenium = null;

    if (seleniumServer != null) {
      seleniumServer = null;

    if (jettyServer != null) {
      jettyServer = null;

Notice that we're using the @BeforeTest and @AfterTest annotations; that means any number of tests cases can execute using the same stack. The stack is only started once.

Also, notice how we're using the ITestContext to communicate information to the tests in the form of attributes. TestNG has a built in form of dependency injection; any method that needs the ITestContext can get it just by declaring a parameter of that type.

AbstractIntegrationTestSuite2 is the new base class for writing integration tests:

package com.myclient.itest;

import java.lang.reflect.Method;

import org.apache.tapestry5.test.AbstractIntegrationTestSuite;
import org.apache.tapestry5.test.RandomDataSource;
import org.testng.Assert;
import org.testng.ITestContext;
import org.testng.annotations.AfterClass;
import org.testng.annotations.BeforeClass;
import org.testng.annotations.BeforeMethod;

import com.mchange.util.AssertException;
import com.thoughtworks.selenium.Selenium;

public abstract class AbstractIntegrationTestSuite2 extends Assert implements
    Selenium {

  public static final String BROWSERBOT = "selenium.browserbot.getCurrentWindow()";

  public static final String SUBMIT = "//input[@type='submit']";

   * 15 seconds
  public static final String PAGE_LOAD_TIMEOUT = "15000";

  private Selenium selenium;

  private String baseURL;

  protected String getBaseURL() {
    return baseURL;

  public void setup(ITestContext context) {
    selenium = (Selenium) context
    baseURL = (String) context.getAttribute(SeleniumLauncher.BASE_URL_KEY);

  public void cleanup() {
    selenium = null;
    baseURL = null;

  public void indicateTestMethodName(Method testMethod) {
    selenium.setContext(String.format("Running %s: %s", testMethod
        .getDeclaringClass().getSimpleName(), testMethod.getName()
        .replace("_", " ")));

  /* Start of delegate methods */
  public void addCustomRequestHeader(String key, String value) {
    selenium.addCustomRequestHeader(key, value);


Inside the @BeforeClass-annotated method, we receive the test context and extract the selenium instance and base URL put in there by SeleniumLauncher.

The last piece of the puzzle is the code that launches Jetty. Normally, I test my web applications using the Eclipse run-jetty-run plugin, but RJR doesn't support the "Jetty Plus" functionality, including JNDI. Thus I've created an application to run Jetty embedded:

package com.myclient;

import org.eclipse.jetty.server.Server;
import org.eclipse.jetty.webapp.WebAppContext;

public class RunJetty {

  public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {


  public static Server start() throws Exception {
    return start(8080);

  public static Server start(int port) throws Exception {
    Server server = new Server(port);

    WebAppContext webapp = new WebAppContext();

    // Note: Need jetty-plus and jetty-jndi on the classpath; otherwise
    // jetty-web.xml (where datasources are configured) will not be
    // read.



    return server;

This is all looking great. I expect to move this code into Tapestry 5.2 pretty soon. What I'm puzzling on is a couple of extra ideas:

  • Better flexibility on starting up Jetty so that you can hook your own custom Jetty server configuration in.
  • Ability to run multiple browser agents, so that a single test suite can execute against Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc. In many cases, the same test method might be invoked multiple times, to test against different browsers.

Anyway, this is just one of a number of very cool ideas I expect to roll into Tapestry 5.2 in the near future.


speedskater said...

Thanks for the detailed information on your solution with selenium. It looks realy good.

We had the same problem, running a project with jetty6 and doing testing with testng and selenium, but used another approach.
As you mentioned there is a Problem that there are conflicts between jetty6 and the packaged jetty5 that comes with selenium. My initial approach was a patch of the selenium server and the accompanied jetty 5 so that there were no conflict anymore. Since this approach was quite cumbersome for each update of selenium. We packaged the whole selenium server within a jar. (so a jar file within a jar) and started the selenium server through a separate classloader in the @BeforeSuite section. So we could start the webapplication under test together with an embedded jetty6 without any conflicts.
So creating integration tests is not more as subclassing this base class and writing TestNG with selenium remote control.
Perhaps this approach could also be helpful for you.


Gredler said...

Have you thought about abstracting over WebDriver instead of Selenium? It might make some things easier, and would allow you to switch back and forth between native browser and pure JVM (via HtmlUnit) testing if you wanted to...

altumano said...

Great news.
I have done similar changes to AbstractIntegrationTestSuite to avoid starting a new Firefox for each test. Actually, without this it would be unusable for more that a couple of tests.

I wonder if tapestry-test could be completely separate project from the tapestry itself ? Currently those two are quite independent. I have run tapestry-test 5 against tapestry 4 application, and actually can run it against whatever Java web application.

Andreas Andreou said...

I wanted to tackle similar issues myself recently (esp. relating to jetty and selenium versions) and i went for the IMHO fastest+smallest solution: use maven-jetty-plugin and selenium-maven-plugin and just have them start at the pre-integration-test phase... I even got rid of some code!
Anyway, i'm also waiting to see how WebDriver/Selenium2 evolves - would love to have my tests also run on pure jvm