Testing DAOs and Business Facades

One of the tough decisions many people face regularly with DAOs and business facades is how best to test them. At work our current solution is that we let DAOs interact with the database which we've prepopulated with DBUnit and in many cases we let business facades interact with real DAOs. However, you could correctly argue that the test is no longer a unit test. Terminology aside though, the question remains, which approach is better for testing your DAO and business layer.

On the positive side, as long as your DAO and business facade tests can interact with the database it makes writing tests much easier and therefor I believe encourages developers to write more tests which is a good thing.

The downside though is that as your unit tests add up, running the full test suite can take a very long time. In terms of speed, having the majority of your JUnit tests be true “unit” tests that only test the unit of work you are concerned with is optimal. However, in cases where you have numerous or complex dependencies as is common in a business facade, your unit tests can get quite unruly and lengthy just to mock the dependencies.

Therefore the guidelines I work by are:

1. DAOs always get to interact with a real database prepopulated with DBUnit. I just don't have it in me to mock a Jdbc layer or Hibernate session and quite frankly I don't think it makes for as useful of a test when those layers are mocked.
2. The business layer should use a mocked DAO layer when it's not too dificult and reasonable. However, when dealing with a complex object graph or dependencies that would require undo amounts of mock setup, then I prefer to just use the real thing to keep the JUnit code simple and readable.

How do you approach testing your DAO and business layer?

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