[java] Using Mockito to test abstract classes

3 Answers

If you just need to test some of the concrete methods without touching any of the abstracts, you can use CALLS_REAL_METHODS (see Morten's answer), but if the concrete method under test calls some of the abstracts, or unimplemented interface methods, this won't work -- Mockito will complain "Cannot call real method on java interface."

(Yes, it's a lousy design, but some frameworks, e.g. Tapestry 4, kind of force it on you.)

The workaround is to reverse this approach -- use the ordinary mock behavior (i.e., everything's mocked/stubbed) and use doCallRealMethod() to explicitly call out the concrete method under test. E.g.

public abstract class MyClass {
    public abstract MyDependency getDependency();

    public void myMethod() {
        MyDependency dep = getDependency();

public class MyClassTest {
    public void myMethodDoesSomethingWithDependency() {
        MyDependency theDependency = mock(MyDependency.class);

        MyClass myInstance = mock(MyClass.class);

        // can't do this with CALLS_REAL_METHODS


        verify(theDependency, times(1)).doSomething();

Updated to add:

For non-void methods, you'll need to use thenCallRealMethod() instead, e.g.:


Otherwise Mockito will complain "Unfinished stubbing detected."


I'd like to test an abstract class. Sure, I can manually write a mock that inherits from the class.

Can I do this using a mocking framework (I'm using Mockito) instead of hand-crafting my mock? How?

What really makes me feel bad about mocking abstract classes is the fact, that neither the default constructor YourAbstractClass() gets called (missing super() in mock) nor seems there to be any way in Mockito to default initialize mock properties (e.g List properties with empty ArrayList or LinkedList).

My abstract class (basically the class source code gets generated) does NOT provide a dependency setter injection for list elements, nor a constructor where it initializes the list elements (which I tried to add manually).

Only the class attributes use default initialization: private List dep1 = new ArrayList; private List dep2 = new ArrayList

So there is NO way to mock an abstract class without using a real object implementation (e.g inner class definition in unit test class, overriding abstract methods) and spying the real object (which does proper field initialization).

Too bad that only PowerMock would help here further.

You can extend the abstract class with an anonymous class in your test. For example (using Junit 4):

private AbstractClassName classToTest;

public void preTestSetup()
    classToTest = new AbstractClassName() { };

// Test the AbstractClassName methods.

Mocking frameworks are designed to make it easier to mock out dependencies of the class you are testing. When you use a mocking framework to mock a class, most frameworks dynamically create a subclass, and replace the method implementation with code for detecting when a method is called and returning a fake value.

When testing an abstract class, you want to execute the non-abstract methods of the Subject Under Test (SUT), so a mocking framework isn't what you want.

Part of the confusion is that the answer to the question you linked to said to hand-craft a mock that extends from your abstract class. I wouldn't call such a class a mock. A mock is a class that is used as a replacement for a dependency, is programmed with expectations, and can be queried to see if those expectations are met.

Instead, I suggest defining a non-abstract subclass of your abstract class in your test. If that results in too much code, than that may be a sign that your class is difficult to extend.

An alternative solution would be to make your test case itself abstract, with an abstract method for creating the SUT (in other words, the test case would use the Template Method design pattern).