Akka testing helpers that help you test the relationships between your actors
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This NuGet package offers helper classes for both unit testing and integration testing with Akka.NET.

Install-Package ConnelHooley.AkkaTestingHelpers

dotnet add package ConnelHooley.AkkaTestingHelpers

paket add ConnelHooley.AkkaTestingHelpers

For a detailed explanation as to why I created the package, along with some explained examples, see my blog post.

Unit testing

The UnitTestFramework class in the package allows you to test an Actor in full isolation. The framework creates the actor to be tested (referred to by the framework as SUT: System Under Test) with a TestProbe as its parent. It also replaces its children with TestProbe objects.

It can be used to test the following scenarios:

  • That an actor sends the correct messages to its children
  • That an actor sends the correct messages to its parent
  • That an actor processes replies from its children correctly
  • What names an actor gives to its children
  • What types an actor creates as its children
  • What supervisor strategies an actor creates its children with

The framework replaces children with TestProbe objects by using Akka.DI. This means you must use IOC in your solution for this to work correctly. If you're not creating your child actors like below then this framework will not be able to replace the children with TestProbe objects:

var child = Context.ActorOf(Context.DI().Props<ChildActor>(), "child-1");


Here's an example unit test using the framework:

public void ParentActor_ReceivesString_SendsChildUpperCaseValue()
    var framework = UnitTestFrameworkSettings
        .CreateFramework<ParentActor>(this, 1);

    framework.Sut.Tell("hello world");

        .ExpectMsg("HELLO WORLD");

To see some more examples on how to use the UnitTestFramework. See the examples folder. These example are explained in my blog post.

Usage guide

Initiating the unit test framework

To create an instance of the UnitTestFramework you must first create an UnitTestFrameworkSettings object. This is done using the Empty property of the settings object:

var settings = UnitTestFrameworkSettings.Empty;

The settings object allows you to register message handlers against it. A message handler is a method that is ran when a particular type of child actor receives a particular type of message. The return value of the method is then sent back to the actor that sent the message.

The following example registers a handler that is invoked whenever any children of the type ExampleActor receive a message of the type int. The handler doubles the int and sends it back to the actor who sent it the original message.

var settings = UnitTestFrameworkSettings
    .RegisterHandler<ExampleActor, int>(i => i * 2));

You can then create the framework object from the settings object by using the CreateFramework method. When creating the framework you must specify the type of actor you wish to test along with a TestKit instance. If the actor you wish to test (the SUT actor) does not have a default constructor you must give a Props object to create the actor with. If the SUT actor creates children in its constructor you must specify how many children it creates. The CreateFramework method only returns once all the children have been created. This will be explained later.

The example below creates a framework with ParentActor as the SUT actor and waits for the ParentActor's constructor to create 2 child actors. Note that this in the example is an instance of TestKit.

var framework = UnitTestFrameworkSettings
    .RegisterHandler<ExampleActor, int>(i => i * 2))
    .CreateFramework<ParentActor>(this, Props.Create(() => new ParentActor(), 2));

Using the unit test framework

Note: some of these examples use the FluentAssertions NuGet package.

Once you have created a framework you can send messages to your SUT actor by using the Sut property. The following example sends a message of the type string to the sut actor.

framework.Sut.Tell("hello world");

If the SUT actor sends messages to its parent/supervisor you can test this like so:

framework.Sut.Tell("hello world");
framework.Supervisor.Expect("hello world");

If the SUT actor creates a child actor of the type ExampleActor with the name "child-1" then you can test this like so:


Note: this is the reason the CreateFramework waits for children to be resolved before returning. If it did not then the child may not had been resolved when we did our assertion.

If the SUT actor sends int messages to a child actor with the name "child-2" then you can test this like so:


If the SUT actor creates a child with a SupervisorStrategy of the type OneForOneStrategy with a retry limit of 5, then you can test this like so:


If a child actor is created using a Props object that specifies a SupervisorStrategy then that will be returned (E.g. Context.DI.Props<ChildActor>().WithSupervisorStrategy(new AllForOneStrategy(exception => Directive.Escalate))). If it is not, the private SupervisorStrategy property of the SUT is returned (E.g. Context.DI.Props<ChildActor>())

If the SUT actor creates 2 new children when it receives a string message, you can wait for those children to be created like so:

framework.TellMessageAndWaitForChildren("hello", 2);

This means you can then go on use the ResolvedType, ResolvedTestProbe and ResolvedSupervisorStrategy methods safely knowing the new actors have been created.

Integration testing

The BasicResolverSettings class in the package allows you configure Akka.DI. This means you can test a series of concrete actors whilst also still being able to limit the scope of your tests to not include every actor in your hierarchy.


Here's an example integration test using the resolver:

public void ParentActorReceivesMessage_SendsMessageToChild_ChildSendsMessageToGrandChild_GrandChildSavesMessageInRepo()
    Mock<IRepo> repoMock = new Mock<IRepo>();
        .RegisterActor(() => new GrandChildActor(repoMock.Object))
    var sut = ActorOfAsTestActorRef<ParentActor>();

    AwaitAssert(() =>
            repo => repo.Save("hello"),

To see some more examples on how to use the BasicResolverSettings. See the examples folder.

Usage guide

Initiating the resolver

To register the resolver you must first configure one using the BasicResolverSettings object. This is done using the Empty property of the settings object:

var settings = BasicResolverSettings.Empty;

The settings object allows you to register actor factories against it. An actor factory is a method that creates an Actor. When registering an actor factory you must specify which actor type you want to assign the factory against. The type of actor you register the factory against, and the type of actor the factory returns, do not have to be the same.

The example below registers a factory that returns a StubExampleActor whenever an actor asks Akka.DI for an instance of ExampleActor:

    .RegisterActor<ExampleActor>(() => new StubExampleActor());

You can then register the resolver from the settings object by using the RegisterResolver method. When registering the resolver you must pass in a TestKit instance to register the resolver against.

The example below registers a resolver. Note that this in the example is an instance of TestKit.

    .RegisterActor<ExampleActor>(() => new StubExampleActor())

Once the resolver is registered any calls to Context.DI().Props<ExampleActor>() will be intercepted by the factory that was registered and an StubExampleActor will be constructed.