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From "Anton Avtamonov" <anton.avtamo...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: [classlib] How to test serialization? (was: [classlib] Tests for serialization – which package, name?)
Date Tue, 02 May 2006 06:41:01 GMT
On 5/2/06, Stepan Mishura <stepan.mishura@gmail.com> wrote:
> Mikhail,
> You are right - I think I asked not proper question. The base issue is: how
> we are going to test serialization and what support from testing framework
> is required? So far we have two serialization frameworks. Roughly, the first
> framework provides utility class with set of static methods and the second
> one provides super class to be extended.
> Let's understand what kind of serialization tests are required.
> 1) Compatibility: testing scenario - serialize a number of a class' objects
> on RI to get a set of golden files, create test to verify that
> deserialization of golden files produces expected objects on Harmony
> implementation. I think that everybody agree that this scenario is required
> for every serializable class.

Agree. The only exception is those cases when serialization form is
not documented and cannot be implemented as in RI.

> 2) Self testing: testing scenario is to verify that an object can be
> serialized/deserialized smoothly on Harmony implementation. Again this
> scenario is also required for every serializable class.


> 3) Error: testing scenario is to check that deserialization of corrupted
> serial form results in IOException, for example, if a class has fields
> startDate and endDate then class implementation should verify that startDate
> < endDate after deserialization. This scenario is not required for every
> class.

Yes. This requires both corrupted ser forms and assertion customization.

> Are there any others testing scenarios?
> I think that this is obvious that 1 and 2 scenarios need support from
> testing framework. Let's review what support we currently have:
> --- compatibility testing scenario:
> If you use the first framework then you have explicitly add to each test for
> serializable class a separate method and use utility methods to perform
> testing, for example,
> public void serializationCompatibility() {
>    SerializationTester.assertCompabilityEquals(new MyClass(), "
> MyClassFile.ser");
> }
> In case of the second framework a test inherits method testGolden() that
> does standart testing routine: for each object returned by getData() method
> it finds corresponding golden file, deserializes it and compares with the
> object.

You forgot to mention the comparison method which may have to be
overriden as well in case:
 - RI serialzaition differ
 - you need to check the state of transient fields
 - equals() method is not defined for the type or not covers all the
fields. In this case you have to provide 'manual' comparison (very
often case, IMHO)

>  --- self testing scenario:
> Similar to compatibility scenario: using the first framework you have
> explicitly add a separate testing method:
> public void testSerialization() {
>    assertTrue(SerializationTester.assertEquals(new SomeSerializable()));
> }
> In case of the second framework a test inherits testSelf() does the
> following testing routine: for each object returned by getData() method it
> serializes/deserializes the object and compares with the initial object.

Again, you have to provide comparison customization. Besides, it may
differ from comparison for the golden form. So, to cover everything
you have to define two comparison methods in your framework: for
golden comparison and for self-comparison.

> To summarize: for the first framework it is required to add explicitly at
> least two testing methods to each test.

Yes. And allows to do all the particular asserions (fields comparison)
right in the test. At the other hand, if the comparison is 'default',
you just need assertEquals().

The second framework uses
> inheritance mechanism so two standart testing methods are inherited from
> super class and you only have to implement getData() abstract method.

This is really convenient for the simple cases when you don't have to
customize the assertion step.

> IMHO, as far as it is possible to unify serialization testing I think that
> inheritance appoach makes sense - two standart testing methods, less
> copied/pasted code that leads to more maintainable tests.

As I said before, second approach can result in less code since some
TestCases will just override one-two methods. However I disagree about
maintanability - the inheritance approach is much less flexible (see

Anton Avtamonov,
Intel Middleware Products Division

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