Using Mockito To Test Spring MVC Ajax Interaction

Filed under: java, spring, testing — Tags: , , , , , , , — digitaljoel @ 4:36 pm

So, I shared in Ajax Post to Spring MVC Controller what I learned about making an ajax post to a Spring MVC Controller. Then I shared in Mock Testing Spring MVC Controller what I learned about using Mockito to test my Spring MVC controller. So what about testing my RequestHandler that handles the ajax post and returns a JSON object? Well, as Samuel L. Jackson says in Jurassic Park, “Hold on to your butts”

Here’s the method that handles the ajax post of form data.

    @RequestMapping( value="answer/new", method=RequestMethod.POST)
    public ResponseEntity<String> newAnswer( @RequestParam(value="answerSeverity", required=true ) String severity
            , @RequestParam( value="answerText", required=true ) String text
            , @RequestParam( value="requiresReason", required=false, defaultValue="false" ) boolean requiresReason
            , @RequestParam( value="answerReasons", required=false ) List<Long> reasonKeys
        Severity sev = Severity.valueOf( severity );
        SurveyAnswer answer = new SurveyAnswer( text, sev );
        answer.setRequiresReason( requiresReason );
        if ( requiresReason )
            // add all the reasons
            List<SurveyAnswerReason> reasons = surveyService.findReasonsByKey( reasonKeys );
            for( SurveyAnswerReason reason : reasons )
                answer.addReason( reason );
        answer = surveyService.persist( answer );
        this.getAnswers( sev ).add( answer );
        return createJsonResponse( answer );

    private ResponseEntity<String> createJsonResponse( Object o )
        HttpHeaders headers = new HttpHeaders();
        headers.set(  "Content-Type", "application/json" );
        String json = gson.toJson( o );
        return new ResponseEntity<String>( json, headers, HttpStatus.CREATED );

You can read the previous post for information on what’s going on here, but basically, we handle the form post, create a new SurveyAnswer, and then return the created answer as a JSON object using the createJsonResponse method.

In order to mock test this, I’m going to have to mock all the calls to the surveyService methods. That would be findReasonsByKey, and persist. The persist was a bit tricky because I wanted it to just return the answer that was passed as an argument to ensure that the controller was creating the answer correctly. Here’s the code to do that.

        when( surveyService.persist( any( SurveyAnswer.class ))).thenAnswer(
                new Answer<SurveyAnswer>()
                    public SurveyAnswer answer( InvocationOnMock invocation ) throws Throwable
                        Object[] args = invocation.getArguments();
                        return (SurveyAnswer) args[0];
        when ( surveyService.findReasonsByKey( anyCollectionOf( Long.class ))).thenReturn( getReasons() );

I put it in my @Before annotated setup method in my unit test. I didn’t come up with it myself, I adapted it from an excellent answer to this question on That snippet allows me to just return the argument passed to the method, which is basically what JPA would do, other than setting the key and version, which I don’t really need for my test anyway. The mocked out findReasonsByKey just returns a list of objects that I’m creating elsewhere for testing purposes only.

So, on to the test. Here’s the code:

    public void testNewAnswerWithReasons()
        ResponseEntity<String> response = controller.newAnswer(, answerText,
                true, getReasonKeys() );
        assertEquals( "application/json", response.getHeaders().get( "Content-Type" ).get( 0 ));
        SurveyAnswer answer = gson.fromJson( response.getBody(), SurveyAnswer.class );
        assertEquals( getSingleAnswerWithReasons(), answer );

There are some helper methods that create the object graph needed for the SurveyAnswer. It then calls the method on the controller (which is also initialized in the @Before setup method) and checks the result. I’m really looking for two things. First, that the response has the Content-Type set correctly to application/json, and second, that I get an answer that corresponds to the values I passed in. Here again, I use Google’s GSON library for converting from my JSON string to my Java object. Once that is done, I can just test for equality with the answer I’m expecting. Obviously, for that to work, you’ll need to make sure your equals method is correct, but that’s an issue well addressed elsewhere on the internet and well beyond the scope of this post.

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