Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sending data to a server with Groovy

The Groovy language provides a lot of additions to existing Java classes that can make our jobs easier.

A couple of them we were able to take advantage of lately that use closures to make our coding simpler were:

Our use case: We have a service whose responsibility is to send "records" over a TCP/IP connection to a remote server.

Of course we want to include a test for this in our integration tests, but how can we do it? We cannot expect a client to leave a server available open to receive records sent by our tests. We could create our test server to accept and output the sent record.

We'll write a test server using Groovy that can be started at the beginning of the test run and shutdown at the end:

class TestServer {

    static defaultPort = 6666

    static ServerSocket start_on_default_port() {
        start_on defaultPort

    static ServerSocket start_on(port) {

        def server = new ServerSocket(port)
        String receivedRecord ''
        def done = false

        Thread.start { t ->
            while (!done) {
                server.accept { socket ->
                    socket.withStreams { input, output ->
                        done = false

                        while (!done) {
                            def block = new byte[128]
                            int size = block

                            if (size == -1) done = true // there is nothing left to have been received

                            block = trim(block as List)
                            receivedRecord += new String(block)

    /** Remove any empty or non-set bytes at the end of the array. */
    private static def trim(List block) {
        block.reverse().findAll { b -> b != 0 }.reverse() as byte[]

In our integration tests class, written with Spock, we start and stop the server at the beginning of the run:

class RecordDeliveryServiceIntegrationSpec extends Specification {

    RecordDeliveryService service

    static def server

    def setupSpec() {
        server = TestServer.start_on_default_port()

    def cleanupSpec() {

    def 'delivers a record to a server'() {
        expectedResponse == service.send 'localhost', TestServier.defaultPort, record


For reference to complete the example, here's what a simplified service implementation could look like, using a methodology similar to that the test server uses to accept the record:

dclass RecordDeliveryService implements DeliveryService {

    public def send(String host, long port, Record record) {

        def socket = new Socket(host, port)

        socket.withStreams { input, output ->
            output << record.toString()

}   //...

If you can think of any improvements, or a better approach to the problem, I would be glad to hear from you!

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