2011/08/05 - Jakarta Cactus has been retired.

For more information, please explore the Attic.

JSP Testing in Cactus

This tutorial explains how Cactus can be used to test JSP.

There are different kibds of tests that you can implement with Cactus for testing JSP:

  • type 1: You may simply want to verify the result of the JSP processing, i.e. the HTML, XML or other format it returns.
  • type 2: You may want to unit test your JSP taglibs.
  • type 3: You may want to test your JSP in isolation by being able to execute it without the java logic being present. This is often the case when the team is split into 2: one group for page development and another group for the java logic.

Type 1: verifying JSP result

This is easily done by implementing a endXXX(WebResponse) method as described in the TestCase tutorial. Your test case class will also need to extend ServletTestCase and forward the request to your JSP page, as in the following example:
public class MyTest extends ServletTestCase
    public void testXXX()
        RequestDispatcher rd = theConfig.getServletContext().
        rd.forward(theRequest, theResponse);
    public void endXXX(WebResponse)
        // Assert result

Type 2: testing JSP taglibs

This is easily done by creating a test case class that extends JspTestCase. See the Taglib TestCase tutorial.

Type 3: testing JSP in isolation

This type of testing depends mostly on your architecture. The general idea is that you would normally have an MVC implementation with a controller (usually a Servlet) that inspect the HTTP request, potentially gather some other data from the Session, ServletContext or some storage and based on this information decides to call some business code logic, and then forward the call to a given JSP page.

Thus, one solution to unit test your JSP in isolation is to succeed in either bypassing the controller altogether or in telling it to use some mock code logic that you would write for your tests.


public class MyTestCase extends JspTestCase

    public void beginXXX(WebRequest webRequest)
        webRequest.addParameter("cacheId", "1");
    public void testXXX() throws Exception 
        PageBean bean = new PageBean();
        request.setAttribute("pageBean", bean);
    public void endXXX(com.meterware.httpunit.WebResponse theResponse)
        WebTable table = theResponse.getTables()[0];
        assertEquals("rows", 4, table.getRowCount());
        assertEquals("columns", 3, table.getColumnCount());
        assertEquals("links", 1, table.getTableCell(0, 2).getLinks().length);

In testXXX(), we populate a bean with values for our test and put this bean in the request. Normally this would have been performed by the controller but we're bypassing it for the test. Then we call our JSP page, which looks like:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
      <jsp:useBean id="pageBean" class="PageBean" scope="request"/>
      <%= pageBean.getName() %>
    Place test.jsp's content here

Example2: Struts application

See the StrutsTestCase project.