understanding JUnit Rule

Junit Rules are used to add extra functionality that can applied to all test methods in a test class. Rules can be used as an alternative to @Before/@After and @BeforeClass/@AfterClass.

Junit Rule works on the principle of AOP framework; it intercepts the test method calls and provides an opportunity to do some useful stuff before and after method execution.

Predefined Junit Rules

Junit provides some out-of-box helper classes that can be used as rules with our test class. Let's take an example of TemporayFolder helper class provided by Junit to understand rules better.

public class JunitRuleTest {

  public TemporaryFolder tempFolder = new TemporaryFolder();

  public void testRule() throws IOException {
    File newFolder = tempFolder.newFolder("Temp Folder");

On executing the above test class, the TemporayFolder rule will create a temporary folder named 'Temp Folder'. This folder is automatically deleted after the execution of the test method.

Testing Exception with Junit Rules

Junit rule provides a convenient way for testing exception conditions. The ExpectedException helper below shows how to use JUnit Rule for exception testing.

public class JunitExceptionRuleTest {

  public ExpectedException exception = ExpectedException.none();

  public void testExceptionRule(){
      Calculator calc = new Calculator();
      calc.divide(20, 0);

In the example above we define an ExpectedException rule, which says no exception should be thrown (ExpectedException.none()). If any test method throws some kind of an Exception, it would be marked as failed. However, with testExceptionRule() we explicitly specify that we are expecting an ArithmeticException. So, this method will be marked as successful only if it throws an ArithmeticException.

Creating Custom Rule

To create a custom rule, we need to implement the TestRule interface. TestRule defines a method as shown below:

public Statement apply(Statement stmt, Description desc).

The method has a Statement object and a Description object as its parameter. The statement represents a Junit test method which is used to run the test method. The description object provides information about the Junit test by applying java reflection.

The example below demonstrates how to create a Junit Rule.

public class HelloWorldRule implements TestRule{

    public Statement apply(Statement stmt, Description desc) {

        return new Statement() {
	    public void evaluate() throws Throwable {
	        System.out.println("Before executing method "+ desc.getMethodName());
	        System.out.println("After executing method "+ desc.getMethodName());
public class HelloWorldRuleTest {
    public HelloWorldRule rule = new HelloWorldRule();
    public void testHelloWorldRule(){
        System.out.println("Inside testHelloWorldRule");

The HelloWorldRuleTest above would generate the following output on console:

Before executing method testHelloWorldRule
Inside testHelloWorldRule
After executing method testHelloWorldRule

As we stated earlier rule can be used as an alternative to @Before/@After and @BeforeClass/@AfterClass, we can use @Rule annotation as an alternative to @Before/@After as demonstrated in the example above.

As an alternative to @BeforeClass/@AfterClass Junit provides the @ClassRule annotation.


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