Writing integration tests in Java with Arquillian

Arquillian is a JBoss project that focuses on integration testing for Java. It’s an Open Source project I’m contributing to and using on the current project I’m working on. It let’s you write integration tests just as you would write unit tests, but it adds some very important features into the mix. Arquillian actually lets you execute your test cases inside a target runtime, such as your application server of choice! It also lets you make use of dependency injection to let you test your services directly in your integration test. Arquillian comes with a whole bunch of adapters to different runtimes, such as JBoss 7,6,5, Glassfish 3, Weld, WebSphere and even Selenium. So if you’re working with a common runtime, it is probably already supported! If your runtime is not supported, you could contribute with an adapter for it! What Arquillian basically needs to know is how to manage your runtime, how to start and stop the runtime and how to do deployments and undeployments. Just put the adapter for your runtime on your classpath and Arquillian will handle the rest.

Let’s get down to business. What does an Arquillian test look like? Image that we have a very basic EJB which we want to integration test:

public class WeekService {
  public String weekOfYear() {
      return Integer.toString(Calendar.getInstance().get(Calendar.WEEK_OF_YEAR));

This EJB provides one single method which returns what week of the year it is. Sure, we could just as well unit test the functionality of this EJB, but imagine that we might want to extend this bean with more functionality later on and that we want to have a proper integration test already in place. What would an Arquillian integration test look like that asserts the behaviour of this bean? With JUnit, it would look something like this:

public class WeekServiceTest {

    public static Archive deployment() {
        return ShrinkWrap.create(JavaArchive.class, "week.jar")

    @EJB WeekService service;

    public void shouldReturnWeekOfYear() {
        Assert.assertEquals("" + Calendar.getInstance().get(Calendar.WEEK_OF_YEAR),

The first thing you notice is the @RunWith annotation at the top. This tells JUnit to let Arquillian manage the test. The next thing you notice is the static method that is annotated with @Deployment. This method creates a Java Archive (jar) representation containing the WeekService class which we want to test. The archive is created using ShrinkWrap, which let’s you assemble archives through a fluent Java API. Arquillian will take this archive and deploy it to the target runtime before executing the test cases, and will after the test execution undeploy the same archive from the runtime. You are not forced to have a deployment method, as you might as well want to test something that is already deployed or available in your runtime. If you have a runtime that is already running somewhere, you can setup Arquillian to run in remote mode, which means that Arquillian expects the runtime to already be running, and just do deployments and undeployments in the current environment. You could also tell Arquillian to run in managed mode, where Arquillian expects to be able to start the runtime before the test execution, and will also shutdown the runtime when the test execution completes. Some runtimes also comes with an embedded mode, which means that Arquillian will run an own isolated runtime instance during the test execution.

Probably the biggest difference to a standard unit test in the above example is the @EJB annotation on the WeekService property. This actually lets you specify that you want an EJB dependency injected into your test case when executing your tests, and Arquillian will handle that for you! If you want to make sure that is the case, just remove the @EJB annotation and you will indeed get a NullPointerException when calling service.weekOfYear() in your test method. A feature which is going to be added to a feature version of Arquillian is to fail fast if dependencies can’t be fullfilled (instead of throwing NPE’s).

The @Test annotated method handles the actual test logic, just like a unit test. The difference here is that the test is actually executed within your target runtime!

This was just a basic example of what you can do with Arquillian. The more you work with it, the more you will start to recognize different use cases where integration tests becomes a natural way of testing the intended behaviour.

The full source code of the above example is available on GitHub: https://github.com/tommysdk/showcase/tree/master/arquillian/. It also contains a more sophisticated example which uses CDI and JPA within an integration test. The examples runs on a JBoss 7.0.2 runtime, which comes bundled with the example. For more details and a deeper dive into Arquillian, visit the project website at http://arquillian.org.


Tommy Tynjä