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

For more information, please explore the Attic.

Current scope and status of Cactus

Cactus has the ability to unit test the following kind of components running in a Servlet/EJB container:

Scope and Status

Support for testing the View layer is done through integration with HttpUnit. This is functional unit testing (see the What is Cactus page, for a description of the different kinds of unit tests). EJB unit testing is currently done by calling the EJB to unit test as you would if you were writing code to call an EJB from a servlet (See the EJB Howto page for more details). We are working on providing an EJB Redirector.

General design features

  • Cactus gives you a very good confidence that your code is going to run fine on the server it will be deployed on (thanks to Cactus in-container approach that executes the test inside the container),
  • Cactus let you test container interactions. This is essential in a world where containers are providing more and more features for their components every day,
  • Cactus let you test and automate the deployment process to your server (using powerful Integration Modules with different build tools and IDEs),
  • Cactus does not mandate any change to your classes to test, although it helps think about writing better code and do some refactoring,
  • Cactus provides a good middle ground in term of test granularity: too fine-grained tests are hard to write (like Mock Objects tests that completely simulates the domain objects and focus exclusively on unit testing your code logic) and need complementary tests. Too coarse-grained tests (like functional tests) are not enough to easily uncover bugs and work in a iterative development process where tests are run very often to ensure everything is working. We believe Cactus provides a good compromise.

Detailed feature list

New in Cactus 1.7 = New in Cactus 1.7
  • Integrates seamlessly with the JUnit testing framework. Any tool that works with JUnit will work with Cactus because a Cactus test is a JUnit test! See the TestCase Howto tutorial for details.
  • Provides a ServletTestCase class that your test case can extend for unit testing Servlets or any java classes that make use of Servlet API objects.
  • Provides a JspTestCase class that your test case can extend for unit testing Taglibs or any java classes that make use of JSP API objects. In addition, provides a TestJspTagLifecycle extension to help test JSP Taglibs.
  • Provides a FilterTestCase class that your test case can extend for unit testing Filters or any java classes that make use of Filter API objects.
  • Allows to run existing JUnit Test Case classes on the server side. This is provided by special Cactus TestSuite classes that wrap your existing Test Cases.
  • Ability to unit test EJBs (including local interfaces) by calling them from a ServletTestCase, JspTestCase or FilterTestCase class (see the EJB Howto).
  • Extends JUnit by defining two additional (and optional) methods that can be implemented for each test case (i.e. for each testXXX() method): beginXXX() and endXXX(). See the TestCase Howto tutorial for details.
  • It is possible to set up the following in beginXXX():
    • HTTP cookies,
    • Servlet Session Cookie,
    • HTTP parameters (GET and POST),
    • HTTP Headers,
    • Whether an HTTP Session will be created or not on the server side,
    • BASIC and Form-based Authentication parameters,
    • Send any data as POST data
  • It is possible to verify the following in endXXX():
    • Returned data (as String or using HttpUnit),
    • Returned cookies,
    • Returned HTTP headers,
    • Returned response code
  • Handles setUp() and tearDown() methods which work the same as for JUnit except that they are run on the server side before and after calling each testXXX() method
  • Extends JUnit by providing a global begin() and end() which are run on the client side before and after each test. They are the equivalent of JUnit's setUp() and tearDown() which are run on the Server side.
  • Provides several Integration Module for easily running Cactus tests:
    • Ant Integration Module: generic and directly usable scripts to run Cactus tests (start and stop containers automatically, package and deploy a Cactify webapp and run the tests).
    • Browser Integration: It is possible to run Cactus tests from a Browser. Results can be displayed either in XML or in HTML (either server-side XSLT or Browser XSLT for the Browsers which support it)
    • Maven Integration: Complete end to end Cactus test automation with minimal setup. It's probably currently the easiest way to run Cactus tests (provided you have Maven installed on your machine).
    • Several other integration provided by third parties.
  • The Ant integration module and the Maven integraton one support the containers that are currently supported by Cargo.More on how to integrate Cactus and Cargo could be found in the ingration section
  • Tested with all versions of JUnit up to the current one in JUnit SVN.
  • Support for Servlet API 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4 (Support for Servlet API 2.1 is no longer provided)
  • Works with JDK 1.4+
  • Wraps some of the standard API objects in order to provide additional methods to help write unit tests. See the TestCase Howto tutorial for details.
  • Internal logging using Jakarta Commons Logging facade framework to help debug problems.
  • HttpUnit integration. See the HttpUnit Howto tutorial for details. This enables Cactus to provide strong and integrated functional unit testing features.
  • Uses Jakarta Commons HttpClient for HTTP connections.
  • Support for BASIC and Form-based authentication methods. You can test code that uses the Servlet security API (see the Security Howto).
  • Ability to specify, per test case, what redirector to use. Useful, for example, when you want to test some code that is using the Servlet Security API at the same time as other code that should not be protected.
  • Provides a JettyTestSetup JUnit TestSetup class to automatically start Jetty before a test suite starts executing. (* Jetty integration works with version 5.0 of Jetty)
  • Provide a sample application that demonstrates how to write Cactus tests for Servlet, Taglibs and Filters. It also show how to use the Ant Integration Module to automate the full process.
  • Provide a sample application that demonstrates how to use the JettyTestSetup feature to run Cactus tests.
  • Provide a sample application that demonstrates how to write Cactus tests for EJBs. It also show how to use the Ant Integration Module to automate the full process.
  • Supports internationalization.