Thymeleaf testing infrastructure


Thymeleaf Testing Library

[Please make sure to select the branch corresponding to the version of Thymeleaf you are using]


This is an auxiliary testing library, not directly a part of the Thymeleaf core but part of the project, developed and supported by the Thymeleaf Team.

Current versions:

  • 3.0.2.RELEASE - for Thymeleaf 3.0 (requires 3.0.3+)
  • 2.1.4.RELEASE - for Thymeleaf 2.1 (requires 2.1.2+)


This software is licensed under the Apache License 2.0.

Requirements (3.0.x)

  • Thymeleaf 3.0.3+
  • Attoparser 2.0.2.RELEASE+

Maven info

  • groupId: org.thymeleaf
  • artifactId: thymeleaf-testing


  • Works as an independent library, callable from multiple testing frameworks like e.g. JUnit.
  • Tests only the view layer: template processing and its result.
  • Includes benchmarking facilities: all tests are timed, times are aggregated.
  • Highly extensible and configurable
  • Versatile testing artifacts: test sequences, iteration, concurrent execution...
  • Based on interfaces. Out-of-the-box standard test resolution allows:
    • Easy specification of tests as simple text files, sequences as folders.
    • Advanced test configuration.
    • Test inheritance.
    • Lenient result matching, ignoring excess unneeded whitespace etc.
  • Spring Framework and Spring Security integration.


The testing framework can be used with just two lines of code:

final TestExecutor executor = new TestExecutor();

Note how here we are only specifying the name of the testable to be resolved: "classpath:test", which is a folder called test in classpath. (more on testables later). But anyway this is only two lines, and therefore we are accepting some defaults, namely:

  • Dialects. By default only the Standard Dialect will be enabled.
  • Resolvers. By default the standard test resolution mechanism will be used (more on it later).
  • Reporters. By default a console reporter will be used.

Let's see the whole TestExecutor configuration process:

final List<IDialect> dialects = ...
final ITestableResolver resolver = ...
final ITestReporter reporter = ...

final TestExecutor executor = new TestExecutor();

The meaning and working of the dialects property is pretty obvious and straightforward. As for the resolvers and reporters, we will see more on them in next sections.


The Thymeleaf testing framework is based on interfaces, and therefore defines an API that specifies the diverse artifacts involved in the testing process:

Test artifacts at the org.thymeleaf.testing.templateengine.testable package:

Interface Description Base Impl Default Impl
ITestable Implemented by objects designed for being tested, be it a simple test or an aggregating structure of any kind. Every other interface in this package extends this one. AbstractTestable
ITest Represents tests, the basic unit for testing and simplest ITestable implementation. Tests are in charge not only of containing test data, but also of evaluating/checking test results. AbstractTest Test
ITestSequence Represents sequences of tests, test structures or any combination of theses (sequences of objects implementing the ITestable interface). TestSequence
ITestIterator Represents objects capable of iterating (executing a number of times) other test structures. TestIterator
ITestParallelizer Represents objects capable of using several threads for executing the same test structure in each thread, concurrently. TestParallelizer
ITestResult Represents the results of executing a test and evaluating its results. TestResult

Interfaces at the org.thymeleaf.testing.templateengine.resolver package:

Interface Description
ITestableResolver Implemented by objects in charge of resolving testables, this is, of creating the ITestable objects and structures that will be executed. A standard test resolution implementation is provided out of the box that builds these testable structures from text files and their containing folders in disk.

Interfaces at the org.thymeleaf.testing.templateengine.resource package:

Interface Description
ITestResource Implemented by objects representing test resources like testable artifact locations, test input text, test output text, etc.
ITestResourceResolver Implemented by objects in charge of resolving test resources, used by testable resolvers. For example, a testable resolver (ITestableResolver) will use an ITestResourceResolver implementation for converting the resource name "classpath:test" into a valid ITestResource object.

Interfaces at the package:

Interface Description
ITestReporter Implemented by objects in charge of reporting the results of executing tests, sequences, etc. along with their associated execution times.

Interfaces at the org.thymeleaf.testing.templateengine.context package:

Interface Description
ITestContext Implemented by objects representing the context (variables, locale, etc.) to be used for executing tests.
IProcessingContextBuilder Implemented by objects in charge of creating the IContext to be used for test excecution from the resolved ITestContext.

Interfaces at the org.thymeleaf.testing.templateengine.messages package:

Interface Description
ITestMessages Implemented by objects representing the set of externalized (or internationalized) messages to be used for executing tests.

In addition to these interfaces, this testing API also includes the org.thymeleaf.testing.templateengine.engine.TestExecutor class, in charge of executing the test structures.

Test Reporters

Test Reporters implement the interface and allow the engine to report when a test has been executed, the execution result, and also the execution time (aggregated in the case of a structure).

Out of the box, thymeleaf-testing provides two implementations at the package:

  • AbstractTextualTestReporter, an abstract text-based implementation suitable for easily creating reporters that output text.
  • ConsoleTestReporter, extending the former, which writes these text report items to the console.

Console reporting looks like this:

[2013-04-19 02:23:29][KE1OMC][main] [sequence:start][maintests]
[2013-04-19 02:23:29][KE1OMC][main]   [test:end][text.test][175729614][OK] Test executed OK.  Time: 175729614ns (175ms).
[2013-04-19 02:23:29][KE1OMC][main]   [test:end][utext.test][3365839][OK] Test executed OK.  Time: 3365839ns (3ms).
[2013-04-19 02:23:29][KE1OMC][main] [sequence:end][maintests][2][2][179095453] Tests OK: 2 of 2. Sequence executed in 179095453ns (179ms)

It's easy to create new reporters that could write test results to different formats like CSV, Excel, etc. or even write results to a database.

Integrating with JUnit

The easiest way to integrate with JUnit is to use JUnit tests to launch sets of tests, using afterwards JUnit's assertion mechanism to check results:

final TestExecutor executor = new TestExecutor();

...or the equivalent, more convenient:

final TestExecutor executor = new TestExecutor();

Note that this test set can be a single test:

final TestExecutor executor = new TestExecutor();

You can reuse your test executor by resetting its reporter after each execution:

final TestExecutor executor = new TestExecutor();

...or the equivalent, more convenient:

final TestExecutor executor = new TestExecutor();

So you can use your executor for executing several test sets (or single tests) in the same JUnit test method:

final TestExecutor executor = new TestExecutor();

Note that each execution of executor.execute(...) will create its own TemplateEngine instance and resolvers, an so no templates will be cached from one execution to the next.

Testable Resolvers

Standard test resolution is provided by means of an implementation of the org.thymeleaf.testing.templateengine.resolver.ITestableResolver interface called org.thymeleaf.testing.templateengine.resolver.StandardTestableResolver.

The Standard Resolution mechanism

The standard test resolution mechanism works like this:

  • Tests are specified in text files, following a specific directive-based format.
  • Folders can be used for grouping tests into sequences, iterators or parallelizers.
  • Test ordering and sequencing can be configured through the use of index files.

Let's see each topic separately.

Test file format

A test file is a text file with a name ending in .thtest It can look like this:

# ------------ separator comment -----------
onevar = 'Goodbye,'
# ------------------------------------------
one.msg = Crisis
# ------------------------------------------
<!DOCTYPE html>
      <span th:text="${onevar}">Hello,</span>
      <span th:text="#{one.msg}">World!</span>
# ------------------------------------------
<!DOCTYPE html>

We can see there that tests are configured by means of directives, and that these directives are specified in the form of %DIRECTIVENAME. The available directives are:

Test Configuration:

Name Description
%NAME Name of the test, in order to make it identifiable in reports/logs. This is optional. If not specified, the file name will be used as test name.
%CONTEXT Context variables to be made available to the tested template. These variables should be specified in the form of properties (same syntax as Java .properties files), and property values are parsed and executed as OGNL expressions. Specifying context variables is optional and they can be inherited from parent tests.
You can read more about the specification of context variables below.
%MESSAGES Default (no locale-specific) externalized/internationalized messages to be made available to the tested template. These variables should be specified in the form of properties (same syntax as Java .properties files). Specifying messages is optional and they can be inherited from parent tests.
%MESSAGES[es] Same as %MESSAGES, but specifying messages for a specific locale: es, en_US, gl_ES, etc.

Test input:

Name Description
%INPUT Test input, in the form of an HTML template or fragment. A resource name can also be specified between parenthesis, like %INPUT (file:/home/user/myproject/src/main/resources/templates/mytemplate.html). This parameter is required.
%INPUT[qualif] Additional inputs can be specified by adding a qualifier to its name. These additional inputs can be used as external template fragments in th:include="qualif", th:substituteby="qualif :: frag", etc.
%FRAGMENT Fragment specification (in the same format as used in th:include attributes) to be applied on the test input before processing. Optional.
%TEMPLATE_MODE Template mode to be used: HTML5, XHTML, etc.
%TEMPLATE_MODE[qualif] Additional template modes can be specified for additional inputs (matching those specified with %INPUT[qualif].
%CACHE Whether template cache should be on or off. If cache is on, the input for this test will be parsed only the first time it is processed.

Test expected output:

Name Description
%OUTPUT Test output to be expected, if we expect template execution to finish successfully. Either this or the %EXCEPTION directive must be specified. A resource name can also be specified between parenthesis, like %OUTPUT (file:/home/user/myproject/src/test/resources/results/mytemplate-res.html)
%EXACT_MATCH Whether exact matching should be used. By default, lenient matching is used, which means excess whitespace (ignorable whitespace) will not be taken into account for matching test results. Setting this flag to true will perform exact character-by-character matching.
%EXCEPTION Exception to be expected, if we expect template execution to raise an exception. Either this or the %OUTPUT directive must be specified.
%EXCEPTION_MESSAGE_PATTERN Pattern (in java.util.regex.Pattern syntax) expected to match the message of the exception raised during template execution. This directive needs the %EXCEPTION directive to be specified too.


Name Description
%EXTENDS Test specification (in a format understandable by the implementations of ITestableResolver and ITestResourceResolver being used) from which this test must inherit all its directives, overriding only those that are explicitly specified in the current test along with this %EXTENDS directive.
Examples: %EXTENDS classpath:test/bases/base1.test

Also, any line starting by # in a test file will be considered a comment and simply ignored.

More on resource resolution

The standard mechanism for resource resolution allows you to:

  • Specify resources in classpath: classpath:tests/mytest.thtest
  • Specify resources in the filesystem: file:/home/myuser/tests/mytest.thtest or file:C\Users\myser\tests\mytest.thtest.

Also, in some scenarios (like the %EXTENDS directive in test files) resource resolution can be relative to the current resource:

%EXTENDS ../../base-tests/base.thtest

Note that, when using resource resolution in an %INPUT or %OUTPUT directive, resource names must be specified between parenthesis:

%INPUT (file:/home/user/myproject/src/main/resources/templates/mytemplate.html)
More on context specification

As already said, context is specified like:

onevar = 'Goodbye!'
twovar = 'Hello!'

And those literals are specified between commas because all context values are in fact OGNL expressions, so we could in fact use previous variables in new ones:

onevar = 'Hello, '
twovar = onevar + 'World!'

We can also create objects, and set its properties:

user = new com.myapp.User()
user.firstName = 'John'
user.lastName = 'Apricot'

Also maps:

user = #{ 'firstName' : 'John', 'lastName' : 'Apricot' }

We can set request parameters (multivalued), request attributes, session attributes and servlet context attributes using the param, request, session and application prefixes:

session.userLogin = 'japricot'
param.selection = 'admin'
param.selection = 'manager'

Utility objects like #strings, #dates, #lists, etc. can be used:

request.timestamp = #calendars.createNow()

Finally, note that context variables are inherited when a test is set as an extension of another one by means of the %EXTENDS directive.

Selecting locale for execution

The locale to be used for execution can be selected by giving value to a context variable called locale:

locale = 'gl_ES'

Test folder format

The folders that contain tests will themselves be resolved as test structures, and their names will be used to indicate the existence of iterations or parallelizers.

Imagine we have this folder structure at our classpath:

 |   |
 |   +->testw1.thtest
 |   |
 |   +->testw2.thtest

When we ask the standard test resolver to resolve that folder called tests (with "classpath:tests"), it will create the following testable artifact structure:

  • A Test Sequence called tests, containing:
    • A Test Sequence called warmup containing:
      • Two tests: testw1.thtest and testw2.thtest.
    • A Test Iterator called expressions, iterated 10 times, containing:
      • One test: expression1.thtest.
      • A Test Parallelizer called expression-stress, executed by 3 concurrent threads, containing:
        • Two tests: expression21.thtest and expression22.thtest.

So, as can be extracted from the example above:

  • In general, folders will be resolved as test sequence
  • Folders with a name ending in -iter-X will be resolved as a test iterator iterating X times.
  • Folders with a name ending in -parallel-X will be resolved as a test parallelizer executing its contents with X concurrent threads.

Test index files

Index files are files with a name ending with .thindex. They allow developers to specify which tests and in which order they want to be executed, this is, in practice, create a test sequence. They also allow the specification of iteration or parallelization without having to change the name of a folder.

Example contents for a sample.thindex file:

text.thtest [iter-20]
test2 [parallel-3]

According to the above index, the text.thtest file will be executed in third position, 20 times. And the test2 folder will be considered a parallelizer, just as if it was called test2-parallel-3 instead.

Also, note that when a folder includes a special file named folder.thindex, this will be considered to specify the sequence in which the folder files have to be executed, even if this folder.thindex file isn't explicitly called.

Extending the standard test resolution mechanism

The standard resolution mechanism can be extended in several ways, by means of a series of setter methods in the StandardTestableResolver class which allow developers to configure how each step of test resolution is performed:

Setter Description
setTestReader(IStandardTestReader) Specifies the implementation that will be in charge of reading test files and return its raw data. Default implementation is the StandardTestReader class.
setTestEvaluator(IStandardTestEvaluator) Specifies the implementation that will be in charge of evaluating the raw data returned by the test reader into the different values that will be used for building the test object. Default implementation is StandardTestEvaluator.
setTestBuilder(IStandardTestBuilder) Specifies the implementation that will be in charge of actually building test objects from the values evaluated by the test evaluator in the previous step. Default implementation is StandardTestBuilder.
setTestResourceResolver(ITestResourceResolver) Specifies the implementation that will be in charge of actually resolving resources (including testable artifacts, %EXTENDS directives, .thindex entries, etc.).

Spring integration

In order to execute thymeleaf tests using the SpringStandard dialect in its entirety, we need to activate certain Spring mechanisms that support some Spring-integrated processors included in this dialect (like th:field).

Initialization would look like this:

final List<IDialect> dialects = new ArrayList<IDialect>();
dialects.add(new SpringStandardDialect());

final SpringWebProcessingContextBuilder springPCBuilder = new SpringWebProcessingContextBuilder();

final TestExecutor executor = new TestExecutor();


Pay special attention to that instantiation of org.thymeleaf.testing.templateengine.context.web.SpringWebProcessContextBuilder. That is the class which will activate the needed Spring mechanisms.

This Spring-based context builder will try to initialize a Spring application context from an applicationContext.xml file present in the classpath. The name of this file can be overridden or even set to null if we do not wish to initialize any beans:

final IProcessingContextBuilder springPCBuilder = new SpringWebProcessingContextBuilder();

Model binding

If we want to test a page including bound model objects like, for example, a form-backing bean (or command), we just have to declare and initialize it:

user = new = 'John'
user.surname = 'Apricot'

Initializing bindings: property editors

The SpringWebProcessContextBuilder class can be overridden if we need to initialize bindings in our own way, for example for registering property editors.

Let's see an example of this extension:

public class STSMWebProcessingContextBuilder 
        extends SpringWebProcessingContextBuilder {

    public STSMWebProcessingContextBuilder() {

    protected void initBinder(
            final String bindingVariableName, final Object bindingObject,
            final ITest test, final DataBinder dataBinder, final Locale locale, 
            final Map<String,Object> variables) {

        final String dateformat = test.getMessages().computeMessage(locale, "date.format", null);
        final SimpleDateFormat sdf = new SimpleDateFormat(dateformat);
        dataBinder.registerCustomEditor(Date.class, new CustomDateEditor(sdf, false));



Spring Security

The testing library can also be integrated with Spring Security. This allows the use of the thymeleaf-extras-springsecurity3 dialect and testing template rendering in different authentication/authorization scenarios.

Example of usage:

final SpringSecurityWebProcessingContextBuilder processingContextBuilder =
        new SpringSecurityWebProcessingContextBuilder();

final TestExecutor executor = new TestExecutor();
        Arrays.asList(new IDialect[] { new SpringStandardDialect(), new SpringSecurityDialect()}));

By default, authentication will be specified in a user/password basis, by means of the j_username and j_password.

j_username = 'ted'
j_password = 'demo'