mockobject mockobject - 3 years ago 86
Java Question

Can I use mockito to match an object with an auto updated timestamp?

What would be the best way to something like this where a timestamp is updated automatically before making the mocked call?

Here is some dummy code of what I am trying to test:

public class ThingWithATimestamp {
public Long timestamp;
public String name;

public ThingWithATimestamp(String name) { = name;

public class TheClassThatDoesStuff {
private ThingConnector connector;

public TheClassThatDoesStuff(ThingConnector connector) {
this.connector = connector;

public void updateTheThing(MyThingWithATimestamp thing) {
thing.timestamp = currentTimestamp();

Here is what I want to test:

public class TheClassThatDoesStuffTests {
public void canUpdateTheThing() {
ThingConnector connector = mock(ThingConnector.class);
TheClassThatDoesStuff doer = new ThisClassThatDoesStuff(connector);

doer.updateTheThing(new ThingWithATimestamp("the name"));

verify(connector, times(1)).update(SomeMatcherThatICantFigureOut);

I know this code is pretty dumbed down but I think it accurately portrays what I am trying to verify. I basically need a matcher to fill in the test to verify that the timestamp is within X of the current time so I know it got updated correctly and that
was called with the proper timestamp for the object.

Answer Source

I find the most robust way to deal with time-critical code is to wrap up all of your time-critical functions in their own class. I usually call it TimeHelper. So this class might look like the following.

import java.util.Date;
public class TimeHelper{
    public long currentTimeMillis(){
        return System.currentTimeMillis();
    public Date makeDate(){
        return new Date();

and it might have more methods of the same type. Now, any class that uses such functions should have (at least) two constructors - the normal one that you'll use in your application, plus a package-private one in which a TimeHelper is a parameter. This TimeHelper needs to be stored away for later use.

public class ClassThatDoesStuff {
    private ThingConnector connector;
    private TimeHelper timeHelper;

    public ClassThatDoesStuff(ThingConnector connector) {
        this(connector, new TimeHelper());

    ClassThatDoesStuff(ThingConnector connector, TimeHelper timeHelper) {
        this.connector = connector;
        this.timeHelper = timeHelper;

Now, within your class, instead of writing System.currentTimeMillis(), write timeHelper.currentTimeMillis(). This will, of course, have exactly the same effect; except now, your class has magically become much more testable.

When you test your class, make a mock of TimeHelper. Configure this mock (using Mockito's when and thenReturn, or alternatively doReturn) to return any time values you like - whatever you need for your test. You can even return multiple values here, if you're going to have multiple calls to currentTimeMillis() in the course of the test.

Now use the second constructor to make the object that you're going to test, and pass in the mock. This gives you perfect control of what time values will be used in the test; and you can make your assertions or verifications assert that precisely the right value has been used.

public class ClassThatDoesStuffTest{
    @Mock private TimeHelper mockTime;
    @Mock private ThingConnector mockConnector;
    private ClassThatDoesStuff toTest;

    public void doesSomething(){
        // Arrange
        when(mockTime.currentTimeMillis()).thenReturn(1000L, 2000L, 5000L);
        toTest = new ClassThatDoesStuff(mockConnector, mockTime);

        // Act

        // Assert
        // ... ???

If you do this, you know that your test will always work, and never be dependent on the time slicing policies of your operating system. You also have the power to verify the exact values of your timestamps, rather than asserting that they fall within some approximate interval.

Recommended from our users: Dynamic Network Monitoring from WhatsUp Gold from IPSwitch. Free Download