Mocking Static Methods in Android: Let’s Wrap it up

When writing local unit tests in Android, one of the limitiations that you face is that the tests are run against a version of android.jar that does not have any code. As the documentation explains, any dependency on Android code must be mocked.

A quick example of a simple unit test:

public class ClassUnderTest {

public String methodUnderTest(String str)
    if (PhoneNumberUtils.isGlobalPhoneNumber(str))
      return "yes";
      return "no";

public class TestThatFails {

private ClassUnderTest classUnderTest;

  public void setup() {
    classUnderTest = new ClassUnderTest();

  public void testTheClass() {
    String result = classUnderTest.methodUnderTest("1234");
    assertEquals("yes", result);

When this test is run, it will fail with the following error:

java.lang.RuntimeException: Method isGlobalPhoneNumber in android.telephony.PhoneNumberUtils not mocked. See for details

The class we are testing has a dependency on the Android utility library PhoneNumberUtils. In order for the test to run successfully, this Android dependency must be mocked.

All the example code for this post is available at this gist.

Mockito: No to Static Methods

Google’s suggested way to mock Android dependencies is to use Mockito. This would generally be fine, however in our example this will not work because Mockito does not support mocking static methods.

This discussion shows that the Mockito contributors consider static methods to be an anti-pattern for various reasons, e.g.

  • The dependency on the static method becomes hard wired in the code.
  • This makes mocking and testing difficult.

Hence they do not support it as they don’t want to encourage poor design.

So what are some other way to make our test work?

  • If this was plain old Java instead of Android, I could have used PowerMockito to mock the static methods. However I have found using PowerMock to be problematic in Android.
  • If you only use a few static methods, you could just copy the code into your app assuming the the source was available. Of course this means more code to maintain, and is not sustainable if you use a lot of static methods.
  • You could wrap the static method call and internally delegate to the static method. The wrapper could then be mocked. This is the option we will be discussing.

Wrapper Classes

One solution is to create a wrapper class for the Android classes that have the static method, and add that wrapper as a dependency.

public class PhoneNumberUtilsWrapper {

  public boolean isGlobalPhoneNumber(String phoneNumber)
    return PhoneNumberUtils.isGlobalPhoneNumber(phoneNumber);

public class ClassUnderTestWithWrapper {

  private PhoneNumberUtilsWrapper wrapper;

  public ClassUnderTestWithWrapper(PhoneNumberUtilsWrapper wrapper) {
    this.wrapper = wrapper;

  public String methodUnderTest(String str)
    if (wrapper.isGlobalPhoneNumber(str))
      return "yes";
      return "no";

Here I have created a wrapper class for PhoneNumberUtils which is now a dependency of the class under test.

public class TestWithWrapper {

  PhoneNumberUtilsWrapper wrapper;

  private ClassUnderTestWithWrapper classUnderTest;

  public void setup() {

    classUnderTest = new ClassUnderTestWithWrapper(wrapper);

  public void testTheClass() {

    String result = classUnderTest.methodUnderTest("1234");
    assertEquals("yes", result);

Because the wrapper class can be mocked, and the method call in the class under test is not static, the test can now pass.

One problem with this solution is when the class under test depends on static methods from many Android libraries. For instance, what happens if the class under test also needs to use TextUtils, DateUtils, etc. Suddenly you end up with lots more boilerplate code, more constructor parameters, etc.

Wrapper Methods

Another way is to wrap the static method call in a non-static method in the class under test.

public class ClassUnderTestWithWrappedMethod {

  public String methodUnderTest(String str)
    if (isGlobalPhoneNumber(str))
      return "yes";
      return "no";

  // can't be private access
  boolean isGlobalPhoneNumber(String phoneNumber)
    return PhoneNumberUtils.isGlobalPhoneNumber(phoneNumber);

In order for this to work, in the test we have to use Mockito spy. Also note that the wrapped methods have to be accessible in the test, and therefore can’t be private.

public class TestWithWrappedMethod {

  private ClassUnderTestWithWrappedMethod classUnderTest;

  private ClassUnderTestWithWrappedMethod classUnderTestSpy;

  public void setup() {

    classUnderTest = new ClassUnderTestWithWrappedMethod();
    classUnderTestSpy = Mockito.spy(classUnderTest);

  public void testTheClass() {

    String result = classUnderTestSpy.methodUnderTest("1234");
    assertEquals("yes", result);

Here we are running the test on the spy class, which will delegate method calls to the real class under test. However we can create stubs for the methods that wrap the static method calls to Android libraries.

As I have mentioned, one disadvantage is that the wrapped methods cannot be private, which is not ideal from an OO design point of view. But then you have to make similar compromises if you are using libraries such as Dagger or Butterknife.


Both of these wrapping solutions can work, but it’s probably a good idea to be consistent and stick with doing it one way if you can. Which method works better may depend on your app architecture, e.g. are you using dependency injection.

Static Methods: Good or Bad? Does it matter?

In this post I am not getting into the argument about whether static methods are good or bad design (although my personal opinion is that their use should be limited). There are plenty of arguments about this issue on the internet already.

However, in the Java world they are a fact of life.

Many utility classes in Java, Android and many popular libraries are not real OO classes, but collections of procedural functions. The functions are often written as static methods and grouped by functionality.

Whether you like static methods or not, we all have to learn to deal with them in a pragmatic way.

Android Studio 3.0 – Initial Impressions of Tool Support

I have been using Android Studio 3.0 since since the alpha versions, and it is good to see it finally released.

This is just some initial comments on using some common and new Android tools and libraries with the 3.0 version of Android Studio and the associated Android Gradle plugin.

Hopefully this will be useful for anyone thinking of upgrading from Android Studio 2.x.

Java 8 Finally, Maybe

Java 8 was released back in 2014, and with Android Studio 3.0 it is finally supported in Android. Finally I can say goodbye to RetroLambda (although many thanks to the authors for this very useful library).

Just be aware that many of the Java 8 language features will only be available if the minSkdVersion is 24.

Since devices running Nougat or Oreo are still in the minority, supporting older versions will continue to be an issue for a while if you want to use Java 8. Some ideas floated around to support older API version, are to have min API version flavors or  do Build.VERSION checks for the API version in the code to provide alternative code paths.


The Jack tool chain has been replaced with the desugar tranformation process to support Java 8. Some older libraries and code may have some problems with this build stage.

JUnit 5

JUnit 5 has also been released recently, and with the help of this plugin you can use it for unit testing in Android Studio.

However if you use JUnit 4 Rules in your tests, there is limited support in JUnit 5 as they are meant to be replaced with extensions. Some Rules may be supported with the JUnit 5 migration support, but if not you will have to wait until the Rules are rewritten as extensions or not use the Rules at all.

Of course this is only for unit testing. Instrumentation tests still depend on JUnit 4 and the AndroidJUnitRunner.

Update (7 Dec 2017)

The authors of the JUnit5 plugin have stated that they now have support for JUnit 5 in instrumentation tests. I won’t be using it for a while since it requires the minSkdVersion to be 26. If anyone has tried this, please let me know how well it works.

Architecture Components, RxJava

I have also been using some of Google’s Architecture Components, but only the ViewModel and LiveData. This is another alternative to design patterns such as MVP or MVVM with Databinding.

If you use RxJava, then this will of course continue to work as it is compatible with Java 6. You may consider replacing RxJava with the more light weight LiveData for activities and fragments, and they can be adapted to each other.

Dependency Injection with Dagger

I have had no problems with Google’s Dagger, but be aware of the API changes for the Android Gradle plugin 3.0 in the gradle build file (e.g. implemention instead of compile, annotationProcessor instead of apt, etc).

See the Android Gradle plugin 3.0 migration guide.

Butterknife, Timber

Some common utilities like Butterknife and Timber for logging are working fine. I’m also using the slf4j binding for Timber without any trouble.

JRebel for Android

During the Android Studio alpha and beta process, JRebel for Android was always playing catch up with the latest version. I still have issues with the current version (2.4.14) of their free edition, so I am using instant run instead at the moment.

I’m a big fan of JRebel so I’m hoping they will have a stable version of their android plugin for Android Studio 3.0 soon.

AOP with AspectJ

There are various AspectJ plugins for Android,  and the one I have been using in Android Studio 2.x was this one. Unfortunately it doesn’t support the Android plugin for Gradle 3.0 yet, but the author seem to be working on it so hopefully the support will be there soon.

Update (15 Nov 2017)

Version 3.2.0 of the GradleAspectJ-Android plugin now supports the Android plugin for Gradle 3.0. I like this plugin because it supports both aj files and annotation style aspects.

Things will get better

Of course since Android Studio 3.0 has only recently got general release, we should expect tool and library support to improve going forward.

I have only scratched the surface with some common Android tools and libraries, and there are many more around. Please let me know of your experiences with others.

Android UI Test: Mocking the ViewModel with or without Dagger? Part 2

In the first part of this post, I explored the approach of setting up a UI test with a mock ViewModel without using Dagger 2 for dependency injection. I used the GithubBrowserSample app from the Architecture Components sample code to demonstrate disabling Dagger for UI testing, even though the app itself uses Dagger.

Now, using Dagger

There are various ways of using Dagger to provide fake or mock version of dependencies for testing. Generally they involve writing test versions of the component and module classes.

Then when the Espresso test is run, somehow the Dagger object graph that is built (incorporating the mock dependencies provided by the test module) is used instead of the one used just for the app. Some of the ways to do this includes:

  • Include a hook into the application class to replace the Dagger components with the test versions.

  • Once again create a test version of the application class in the androidTest directory. Here the test application would be a subclass of the app application class where the code to build the Dagger graph is overriden with the test version.

Of course, this would mean writing a custom test runner to use instead of AndroidJUnitRunner in the gradle build file.

public class YourApp extends Application implements hasActivityInjector {

  DispatchingAndroidInjector<Activity> dispatchingAndroidInjector;
  public DispatchingAndroidInjector<Activity> activityInjector() {
    return dispatchingAndroidInjector;

// The test app in the androidTest directory
public class TestApp extends YourApp {

  public AndroidInjector<Activity> activityInjector() {
    return new AndroidInjector<Activity>() {
      public void inject(Activity instance) {
        // inject the fake / mock dependencies into the activity
        // e.g.
        ((YourActivity)instance).viewModelFactory = ...

Other options I came across in my research include:

  • There is the DaggerMock library that uses a JUnit Rule to override Dagger objects. This is a nice idea, but currently DaggerMock only has limited support for Dagger Android. In particular it does not handle abstract modules and methods which some of the Dagger Android annotations depend on.
  • Include a hook in the activity to set dependencies.

Disadvantages, again

As I mentioned in the previous post, any of these approaches that uses a custom test application class for instrumentation testing would apply the same Dagger object graph to all the tests. This is not suitable for my situation where I only want to mock the ViewModel for the UI tests, but use the real one for other tests.

Other ways require making code changes to the app just to accommodate testing. This is a bit of a hack and not good design.

One Possible Solution

The solution I decided to use was based on this gist. The test module was used to create a AndroidInjector that would inject a custom ViewModel factory into the test activity. In turn the custom ViewModel factory would provide the mock ViewModel.

return new AndroidInjector<MyActivity>() {
  public void inject(MyActivity instance) {
    // create the viewmodel mocks
    MyViewModel viewModel = Mockito.mock(MyViewModel.class);

    // create the livedata used to return results
    MutableLiveData<Data> returnedData = new MutableLiveData<>();

    // set test data
    Data expectedData = ...

    // set the custom viewmodel factory that just returns the mocks
    instance.viewModelFactory = ViewModelUtil.createFor(viewModel);

This approach did have the downside of requiring a lot of boilerplate code. But it also allowed me to only mock the ViewModel for the UI tests, without affecting the other tests.


Please note that the opinions expressed in this post are not meant to apply to all instrumentation testing with Dagger.

They are only for the specific use case of trying to mock the ViewModel for my UI tests, while not affecting other instrumentation tests.


Android UI Test: Mocking the ViewModel with or without Dagger?

An Android app I’m currently working on has the following architecture:

When it came to testing the views , I wanted to write some UI tests using Espresso. These would just test just the activities and fragments with a mock backend.

With the Architecture Components I thought this would be fairly simple since all the interactions between the view and the backend services should be done through the ViewModel. Hence all I would need to do is to provide a mock ViewModel (in my case using Mockito).

Additionally I wanted to find a solution that:

  • was simple and straightforward, without the need for workarounds or hacks if possible
  • did not require any changes or additional code in the app just to accommodate testing

Looking at the Google sample code – no Dagger for UI Tests!

Since Google provides sample code for the Architecture Components, that’s the first place I looked. In particular the GithubBrowserSample seemed to be what I was after, this is from the README:

UI Tests

The projects uses Espresso for UI testing. Since each fragment is limited to a ViewModel, each test mocks related ViewModel to run the tests.

However, when I looked at the sample code for their UI tests, I was in for a surprise. Although the sample app itself uses Dagger DI, the UI tests do not.

This differs from most examples of testing Dagger applications, where it is advocated to write additional Components and Modules to inject fake dependencies for testing.

How it is done? The Setup.

Since I couldn’t find any documentation for these UI tests , here is a quick summary of how the GithubBrowserSample apps mocks the ViewModel without using Dagger. This basically involves using test version of the application and activity classes which do not invoke the Dagger injection code.

ViewModel Factory

Although it is possible to inject a ViewModel into an activity or fragment with Dagger, I will be using a custom ViewModel factory and injecting that instead. This is done for the following reasons:

  • Injecting a ViewModel class is only possible for ViewModels that have a default (empty) constructor. If the ViewModel constructor has parameters, then you need to inject a factory class that implements ViewModelProvider.Factory.
  • It seems to be a common pattern when using Dagger with the ViewModel to create a Module to encapsulate the ViewModel injection code. This Module would bind the ViewModel classes used in the app into a map. It would also provide the ViewModel factory class, which in turn uses the map to create the ViewModel classes. This is the pattern used in the GithubBrowserSample.

Here is a brief description of the UI tests for the fragments in the sample code:

  • Create a test application class.

This is just a dummy application class that does not invoke the Dagger code that builds the object graph.

  • Create a test activity class.

This is just a dummy activity class to contain the fragment to be tested. It allows the fragment to be inserted into it.

This test runner will used the test application class instead of the application class for the app.

 public Application newApplication(ClassLoader cl, String className, Context context)
 throws InstantiationException, IllegalAccessException, ClassNotFoundException {
   return super.newApplication(cl, TestApp.class.getName(), context);
android {
  testInstrumentationRunner ""

How it is done? The UI Test.

The GithubBrowserSample has several UI tests for different fragments, but they follow the same basic pattern. Let’s use this one as an example:

Remember that when the UI tests are run, there is no Dagger dependency injection.

  • Use the test activity class to hold the fragment to be tested, instead of the activity used in the app. This is done in the ActivityTestRule used in setting up Espresso tests.
public ActivityTestRule&lt;SingleFragmentActivity&gt; activityRule =
new ActivityTestRule&lt;&gt;(SingleFragmentActivity.class, true, true);
  • Before the test is run, setup the mock ViewModel.
public void init() {
  viewModel = mock(UserViewModel.class);
  • Set the ViewModel factory field in the fragment (which would have been injected in the app) to a fake factory class that just passes the mocked ViewModel. Of course the field needs to be accessible from the test class for this to happen (i.e. public or default package access).
 public void init() {
  fragment.viewModelFactory = ViewModelUtil.createFor(viewModel);
  • Put the fragment into the test activity.
 public void init() {
  • Because this fragment uses LiveData to get data from the ViewModel, the test data is inserted into the LiveData returned from the mock ViewModel.
public void loadingWithUser() {
  User user = TestUtil.createUser("foo");

A simple approach

That’s it.

With this approach there is no need to worry about the Dagger configuration. Just mock the ViewModel to return the data you want for the Espresso test.


  1. Using a custom test runner and test application means that all of instrumentation tests in the androidTest directory will have Dagger disabled.

But what if you have other instrumentation tests where you do want to use the Dagger injected classes, in additition to the UI tests. You don’t have the flexibility of deciding whether to enable / disable the Dagger DI on a test by test basis.

2. If you are using the Dagger Android library, then this approach will work with fragments, but not with activities. This is because an AndroidInjector is used in the onCreate() method of the activity to inject the dependencies.

public void onCreate (Bundle savedInstanceState) {


In the next post, I will explore some of the options if we want to mock the ViewModel in the UI tests with Dagger.

Best RxJava Book, so far

These days I tend to read blogs to catch up on the latest programming techniques, although I still read the occasional book. But every now and then I come across a book that is absolutely brilliant, one such as Reactive Programming with RxJava.

This is a great book for learning about RxJava as it goes way beyond just repeating the API and documentation. As well as the usual marble diagrams, the authors help you to take a peek under the hood to explain things like:

  • Use cases about the why and when to use various RxJava constructs.
  • Design decisions about why RxJava does things in certain ways.
  • Comparison with non-Rx and alternative techniques to achieve asynchronous processing, e.g. imperative programming, Futures, manual threading, etc.
  • Integration with existing legacy code and 3rd party libraries.
  • The importance of flatMap operator for asynchronous processing as well as for flattening out nested Observables.

This just scratches the surface in terms of what this book offers, but these were particularly informative for me as a beginner/intermediate RxJava programmer.


The reason I put ‘so far’ in the title of this blog is that book documents RxJava 1,  and the downside is that RxJava 2 was released soon after the book was published.

Having said that, most of the contents of the book are still applicable, but you have to mentally translate the concepts and examples to the RxJava 2 API. Hopefully the authors will update the book to RxJava 2 in a future edition.

Groovy and Dagger 2 Android Example

I decided to use the Groovy language for an Android app I was working on. Luckily it was fairly straightforward, but I noticed that the number of blogs and examples available to demonstrate using Groovy for Android development are far fewer than Java ones. Not only that, but many of them were out of date.

This is particularly true if you want to use libraries that are not straightforward coding, such as Dagger 2.

I was intending to write a simple proof-of-concept app to start with, to verify that I could use Dagger 2 and Groovy together. Then I found this example app on Github.

However this simple Dagger 2 example did now show how to use the @Inject annotation (which is my preferred way to do Dependency Injection into activities), so I created a fork that did.

Note that you will need to use an up-to-date version of Groovy (2.4.x) to get Groovy and Dagger 2 working on Android.

Code Changes

I only had to make a few code changes to use @Inject, you can check the commits in the project to see what they were.

Firstly in the component interface (in the example, it is called demo.simplegroovyapp.component.VehicleComponent), I added a statement that would inject the dependency objects into the activity.

void inject(MainActivity mainActivity)

Then in the activity class (demo.simplegroovyapp.MainActivity) add the @Inject annotation to the field that was to be injected. The other important change I made was to add the public access modifier, I’ll explain later why this is necessary.

In other words, from this:

Vehicle vehicle

to this:

public Vehicle vehicle

In the onCreate() method, this line was added to inject the dependencies into the activity.


I also commented out the statement that was previously used to manually retrieve the Vehicle object, as it was no longer necessary.

//vehicle = vehicleComponent.provideVehicle()

That’s it!

Property or Field?

In Groovy it is quite common to see data in a class being defined without an access modifier (public, protected, private).

Vehicle vehicle

Likewise in many Dagger 2 Java examples I’ve seen, the @Inject annotation is used on fields without the access modifier.


MyPresenter mypresenter;

However when this is done in Groovy, you are specifying a property, not a field.

Hence Dagger can’t inject the Vehicle object into the activity, even with the @Inject annotation. Once the public access modifier is added, then Dagger works as expected.


Protractor Testing with Google Map Markers and Markerclusterers, Part 3

In this final part of this post, we will be locating the cluster markers (from the  Markerclusterer or MarkerclustererPlus library) in a Google map. This is in the context of e2e testing for an AngularJS web application using Protractor.

The first part of the post was a brief introduction , while part 2 showed how to locate Google maps markers.


The cluster markers have this DOM structure.

<div class="cluster">
    <img />

Once again it is just a case of finder the right xpath expression to use as the locator. If we were only interested in the number of cluster markers on the map, we could just use the count() utility method for the ElementArrayFinder as we did for getting a count of the Google maps markers.


However for the application I was working on, I needed the total number of markers represented by all the cluster markers.

The cluster marker div structure has an inner div that contains a number, this is the number of Google map markers that are not shown but are represented by the cluster. So here we have to get this number from all the cluster markers and add them up.

ElementArrayFinder has various functions such as each() and map() that would allow us to either iterate through the cluster markers and extract the information we need so that we can total the numbers. Luckily it also has a reduce() function that does exactly what we need, and here is an example of a spec test using it.

var checkClusterNumberCount = function(expectedCount) {
    element.all(By.xpath("//div[@class=\"cluster\"]/div")).reduce(function(accum, elem) {
    return elem.getText().then(function(text) {
    var num = parseInt(text);
    return accum + num;
}, 0).then(function(result) {

The explanation for this function:

1. The xpath expression is used to locate all the cluster markers in the DOM.


2. The function element.all() returns an ElementArrayFinder and the reduce() function is called. In this case it is passed our own reduce function that has 2 parameters:

  • accum holds the accumulated number, which is initially set to zero
  • elem is an ElementFinder from the ElementArrayFinder

3. For each ElementFinder we call the getText() to get the value from the inner div. This value is converted to a number and added to the accumulated number. Notice that since ElementFinder is also a promise, we need to use another callback from the getText() function.

4. We then use the expect() function to compare the final accumulated number to the number that we were expecting in order to pass the test.

Final Tip

Initially after I ran the code to count the markers (both the displayed markers and the ones contained in the cluster markers) I found that, although the code was working properly, some of the tests would occassionally fail. Eventually I worked out that even though in the callbacks the AngularJS code may have finished running, I still sometimes needed to wait for markers and markerclusterers to finish loading in the map.

I worked around this by added a small delay before trying to locate the markers, e.g.

This is a bit of a hack, but unfortunately I’m not aware of any way to get a notification from Google maps when markers have finished loading.

Protractor Testing with Google Map Markers and Markerclusterers, Part 2

Part 1 of this post was a brief introduction about the Protractor spec I was working on, where I had to locate markers and cluster markers in a Google map . In this second part, there are some tips on how to find those Google maps markers.

Firstly, I must give credit to this blog post which had similar ideas about finder Google maps markers for Selenium testing.

Configure the marker

Most importantly, when the marker is created it must be configured as being unoptimized. This means the markers are created as elements that can be located in the DOM.

 var marker = new google.maps.Marker({
   position: latLng,
   title: 'your title',
   optimized: false

Be aware that using unoptimized markers should only be done for development and testing, as it significantly affects performance.

In the spec test we can use xpath to find the div’s that represent the markers, but the specific xpath expression will vary depending on various factors, such as whether the marker has events attached to it. For example you may want to have a click event attached to the markers, so that something happens when the user clicks on the them.

google.maps.event.addListener(marker, 'click', function() {
  // do something

Another factor that affects how the DOM structure for a marker is rendered, is the platform and browser that the web page with the map is running on.

The best way to formulate the xpath expression you want to use as the locator for the markers, is to use a web inspection tool to have a look at the DOM element(s) for the marker. This should be done for the browsers and platforms that you want to support.

Markers without Map Areas

The first marker DOM structure has a div that looks like this.

<div title="your title" class="gmnoprint">
  <img />

Some examples of situations where the markers that have this structure include:

  • Chrome (Windows), markers without events
  • Firefox (Windows), markers without events
  • Chrome (Android), markers with events

In the example I’m using for this post, the test spec is locating the markers in order to get a count of all the markers in a map.

element.all(By.xpath("//div[@class=\"gmnoprint\" and @title]")).count();

Several things to note here:

1. The xpath expression is used to locate all the markers in the DOM.

By.xpath(“//div[@class=\”gmnoprint\” and @title]”)

2. The function element.all() returns an ElementArrayFinder and has various utility methods such as count().

3. Since ElementArrayFinder is a promise, if you need to get values from the marker elements you need to use a callback.

For instance if you wanted to get the titles from the markers:

var titles = element.all(By.xpath("//div[@class=\"gmnoprint\" and @title]")).map(function(elem, index) {
  return {
    index : index,
    title : elem.getAttribute('title')

Markers with Map Areas

Another marker structure is where the div contains an <area> tag inside a <map> tag.

<div class="gmnoprint">
  <img />
    <area title="your title" />

You may encounter this DOM structure in the following:

  • Chrome (Windows), markers with events
  • Firefox (Windows), markers with events

Once again we can get a count of the markers using a xpath expression to match the DOM structure for these markers.


In the final part of this post, I will show how to find the cluster markers in the map, and also how to find the number of Google maps markers represented by each cluster.

Protractor Testing with Google Map Markers and Markerclusterers, Part 1

While doing e2e testing on an AngularJS app using Protractor, I came across the need to find the markers in a google map within the app. This was further complicated by the fact that we were using MarkerclustererPlus, which meant on the map there could be a mixture of single markers and cluster markers.

This first part is just a bit of an introduction, so if you want, you can go straight to Part 2 which shows how to find the Google Maps markers in a Protractor spec or Part 3 for using markerclusterer.

What is a Markerclusterer?

If you are not familiar with markerclusterers, it is a google maps utility library which deals with maps that have too many markers or are too cluttered, by combining markers that are close together into cluster markers. Have a look at the example page:

Also note there are actually 2 libraries, markerclusterer and markerclustererplus.

I’m assuming that the reader is already familiar with setting up and using Protractor for testing AngularJS applications.

AngularJS and Google Maps

Being an AngularJS app, I decided to use a directive to create the Google map.

There are a few AngularJS map directive libraries around, but the one I decided upon was ng-map.  The advantage of this particular library was that although you can just use its tags to create the map, it also allows you to use the Google Maps V3 Javascript API directly. This is very useful, for instance even though there was a markerclusterer tag, I just wrote the code in Javascript which was more flexible and easier to debug (the author of the library also seems to recommend this approach for complicated code).

So for this application, the map libraries that were used were:

Count the Markers …

The spec file I was working on needed to count the number of markers that were displayed on the map. Now as I mentioned earlier, because I was using the markerclusterer library, the markers could appear as single markers (i.e. the default Google Maps markers) or as cluster markers, and the number of markers and clusters would vary depending on the zoom level of the map.

Therefore in the tests I needed code to find:

  • single markers
  • cluster markers
  • the number of markers contained in each cluster marker

In the next post, I will show how to find the single markers displayed on the map. All you will need are web tools that can inspect elements in a web page, such as Firebug or the Chrome Developer Tools.

Setup JRebel with Tomcat and Docker

It’s fairly straightforward to install JRebel to run on a local instance of Tomcat, here is one way of installing it on Tomcat running in a docker container instead. This article assumes a basic knowledge of using docker.

For this particular example I’m using:

  • the Eclipse IDE installation of JRebel
  • the ‘official’ Tomcat 8 image from the Docker hub

Install JRebel in the IDE

I’m using the Eclipse IDE, but there are instructions on the ZeroTurnaround website on using a different IDE or for installing it standalone.

1. For Eclipse, follow these instructions just to install and activate JRebel for the IDE:!/server-configuration

2. We need the JRebel agent (jrebel.jar) to install into Tomcat.

You can either get this from the JRebel plugin you have just installed into Eclipse (look for the section titled ‘Where do I find jrebel.jar?’);

OR you can get it from an archive

(Note that for Tomcat 8, please use the legacy version of jrebel.jar which is found in the lib sub-directory of the zip archive.)

Install JRebel in the Application Server

1. Get the base Tomcat docker image from the docker hub.

docker pull tomcat:xxx

Here xxx is the specific version of Tomcat you want to use as the base image, e.g. 8.0.23-jre7, 8-jre8, etc. You can find the list in the Tomcat docker repository:

2. Since we are using docker to run the application server, then we will need to run JRebel in remote mode. There are generic instructions on JRebel remoting, which we can adapt to do it in a docker environment. So what we want to do is to create a custom docker image, based on the Tomcat image, which incorporates the JRebel configuration.

2.1 Create an empty directory and copy the JRebel agent jrebel.jar to it.

2.2 Create a Dockerfile to build your custom Tomcat image, for example:

Note that for simplicity, I have just added the JRebel agent to the directory /jrebel. You can use a different directory, as long as the -javaagent configuration can find it.

Also you can take this opportunity to do further customizations on the Tomcat server, e.g. if you want to add your list of users, then copy the your version of tomcat-users.xml to the Tomcat config directory by adding this line to the Dockerfile:

ADD tomcat-users.xml /usr/local/tomcat/conf/

2.3 Build and run the customized Tomcat server (using your own repository name, image name and container name to replace the values in this example).

docker build -t your_repository/tomcat-jrebel .

docker run -i -t -d --name mytomcat -p 8080:8080 your_repository/tomcat-jrebel

We can verify that the JRebel configuration has been included in Tomcat by checking the startup logs.

docker logs mytomcat

We should be able to see the JRebel version and licensing information.

2015-05-22 10:38:40 JRebel:  #############################################################
2015-05-22 10:38:40 JRebel:  
2015-05-22 10:38:40 JRebel:  JRebel Legacy Agent 6.2.0 (201505201206)
2015-05-22 10:38:40 JRebel:  (c) Copyright ZeroTurnaround AS, Estonia, Tartu.
2015-05-22 10:38:40 JRebel:  
2015-05-22 10:38:40 JRebel:  Over the last 1 days JRebel prevented
2015-05-22 10:38:40 JRebel:  at least 0 redeploys/restarts saving you about 0 hours.
2015-05-22 10:38:40 JRebel:  
2015-05-22 10:38:40 JRebel:  Server is running with JRebel Remoting.
2015-05-22 10:38:40 JRebel:  
2015-05-22 10:38:40 JRebel:  
2015-05-22 10:38:40 JRebel:  #############################################################

Tip: Build Your Own
Of course you can combine these 2 steps for creating a custom image into 1, by creating your own Tomcat image from scratch instead of using the ‘official’ Tomcat image as a base.

 Configure the IDE

Finally we need to configure Eclipse to work with the Tomcat server that we have running in docker. You can do that by following these instructions.

This is a brief summary of the steps:

  1. In Eclipse, right-click on your project, select JRebel -> Add JRebel Nature
  2. Right-click on your project again, select JRebel -> Enable remote server support
  3. Right-click on your project again, select JRebel -> Advanced Properties
  4. In the dialog that pops up, click on “Edit” button next to the “Deployment URLs” text box
  5. Click on “Add” and enter the URL of the application, it will be something like “http://your_docker_host:8080/app_name”
  6. Click on “Continue”, “Apply”, and then “OK”.

Once the app is deployed, any changes you make in the IDE should now be reflected in the server running in the docker container.

No restarts, no redeploys, just code.