BigAl1992 BigAl1992 - 1 year ago 66
Java Question

Suggestions on how to test a BufferedReader and FileReader that takes in strings and puts them into an ArrayList

I have a class which has a method that reads a text file line by line and then puts each line into an

of Strings. Here is my code:

public class ReadFile {

public List<String> showListOfCourses() throws IOException {
String filename = "countriesInEurope.txt";
FileReader fr = new FileReader(filename);
BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(fr);
List<String> courseList = new ArrayList<>();

while (true) {
String line = br.readLine();
if (line == null) {


return courseList;


I was hoping for a few suggestions on how to test this method through
involving Arrange/Act/Assert. I have heard readers which involve text files can be tricky to test and that creating a temporary file for is not best practice as it uses up memory? Any suggestions will be really appreciated.

Answer Source

As the filename countriesInEurope.txt is hardcoded in your implementation, this is not testable. A good way to make this testable would be to refactor the method to take a Reader as parameter:

public List<String> showListOfCourses(Reader reader) throws IOException {
    BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(reader);
    List<String> courseList = new ArrayList<>();

    // ...

    return courseList;

Your main implementation could pass a FileReader to this. On the other hand when testing, your test method could pass a StringReader instance, which is easy to create with a sample content as a simple string, no temporary files needed, for example:

public void showListOfCourses_should_read_apple_orange_banana() {
    Reader reader = new StringReader("apple\norange\nbanana");
    assertEquals(Arrays.asList("apple", "orange", "banana"), showListOfCourses(reader));

Btw the name of the method is not good, as it doesn't "show" anything. readListOfCourses would make more sense.

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