Use Mocks in Testing? Choose the Lesser Evil!

Use Mocks in Testing? Choose the Lesser Evil!

Here, I explain best practices around mocking and why it might be better to avoid mocking in order to have real code quality.

Mocking Test Methodology 

The key idea of mocking is to replace real code (e.g. calls to a database or service) with artificial functionality that has the same return type. There are different approaches in this practice. Here, I explain best practices and why it might be better to avoid mocking in order to have real code quality.

User Service - Example to Be Tested With Mocks

Let's write simple application that fetch users from http service. 


public Optional<User> createUser(String name) {
        try {
            //Preparation of request: auth, body and media type of request
            HttpHeaders headers = new HttpHeaders();
            headers.set("auth", "mySecretKey");
            //Specifying body
            HttpEntity<String> request =
              new HttpEntity<String>("{\"name\":" + name + "}", headers)
            //Making request with and deserializing response into User object
            User newUser = (new RestTemplate()).postForEntity("/server/users",                                                      request, User.class).getBody();
            return Optional.of(newUser);
        } catch (Exception e) {
            System.out.println("Something went wrong! : " + e.getMessage());
            Return Optional.empty();
class User {
    private Integer id;
    private String name;
    private Date issueDate;

Implementation Details

The method, createUser, basically does 4 things: 

  1. Preparation of request: authentication, preparing body and media type of request (line 4-5 corresponding to 1, 2, 3 step on the diagram. 
  2. Making request to server with given url (line 11 or step 4).
  3. Receiving the response and deserializing it into an object. (line 11- yes the same line! and step 9 on diagram).
  4. Setting the current date to created user (line 12, or step 10).

The remaining actions are done on server-side and hidden from application:

   1. Server check that body has json type and correct auth key (step 5,6).

   2. Make business logic (create a user) (step 7).

   3. Generate response with new user id (step 8).

createUser workflow

performance testing spring mockito powermock mock http server http testing

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