Using NbModuleSuite & friends

Apache NetBeans Wiki Index

Note: These pages are being reviewed.

During development of the 6.5 series, an effort was made to improve testing by inherent support for tests in NetBeans build scripts (also known as the build harness). Therefore, unit and functional tests for platform applications are now supported out of the box in NetBeans 6.5 and later. This effort is sometimes called "simpletests" because it greatly simplifies the work necessary to do such tests on your application. More information about simpletests can be found in the Wiki.


Right API for starting the test inside NetBeans Runtime Container is provided in form of NbModuleSuite. Add suite method into your test class to fully emulate NetBeans environment:

   public static Test suite() {
     return NbModuleSuite.create(YourTest.class);

JUnit Version

NetBeans 6.5 now supports JUnit 4.x, via the JUnit 4 module in the platform cluster. If you’re not familiar with the difference, this helpful article explains the changes from JUnit 3 and JUnit 4. Put simply, the main difference from a user’s point of view is is one of syntax and style. The tests you’ve already written against 3.x will continue to run under 4.x. And although you could continue writing new tests using the 3.x syntax if you wanted, it’s much easier to have NetBeans generate the test stubs for you (Tools → Create JUnit Tests or Ctrl+Shift+U). Starting with NetBeans 6.5, any new tests will be generated using the JUnit 4.x style.

Code Coverage

Setting up functional tests for a Platform Application

The testing libraries are included as modules in the build harness, so you will need to include the harness cluster in your application before you can support tests. This is easily done through the IDE:

  • Right click your suite’s node in the project view

  • Choose "Properties"

  • Click "Libraries" on the left

  • Check the "harness" box and add the entire harness cluster.

  • Now click the platform cluster (was platform<number> for 6.8 and older releases)

  • Check the boxes against the MultiView Windows and Visual Library API.

Now you must set up the structure under your module:

  • Go to the 'file' view, and expand your modules node

  • In the test folder, create a folder named 'qa-functional'. Underneate that, create the folder src.

  • Under the test dir you should now have two folders, unit and qa-functional. Under each of those should be an src folder.

  • Restart the IDE, there should now be two new Nodes in that Module’s Project Tab: Functional Test Packages and Functional Test Libraries

  • Right-click the Functional Test Libraries –> Add Functional Test Dependencies, then add jemmy, nbjunit, jellytools platform, jellytools and junit4

It should now be possible to run a class that extends JellyTestCase, and for the IDE to display this correctly.

Support for functional tests on Maven-based NetBeans applications should be present from 7.0, with the resolution of For more information, see


  • Describe how to set up a new unit test from scratch

  • Describe how to set up a new functional test from scratch

  • Describe adding support for external testing libraries (e.g. FIT, TestNG or marathon)

  • Describe how to set up additional test types (e.g. performance)

  • Describe how to configure suite build.xml to remove harness from ZIP distribution

  • Describe how to run tests under automated build using Hudson


MockLookup and other classes mentioned on the Useful Test Classes in Modules are not available in the platform.

  • You can add additional libraries needed for unit tests by setting the test.unit.cp.extra property (e.g. in the module’s file) to point to those libraries. It does not matter where these libraries (JAR files) reside, and you can refer to them using a hardcoded path (BAD) or via a relative path — even using $suite.dir as a starting point in case they’re used by multiple modules in the suite. In the latter case, you can define the test.unit.cp.extra property in the suite’s (NOT file. Be aware that this may limit your ability to define additional things at the individual module level, so it might be better to define a standard suite-wide property like standard.unit.test.libs to point to things used throughout the suite, then have individual modules define test.unit.cp.extra to include this plus potentially some other things. Items defined in the test.unit.cp.extra property are used at both compile time and runtime, it seems.

  • The property works the same way for functional tests.

  • There is a property extra.test.libs.dir tersely described in the harness README that makes it sound like a great way to define a place for extra testing libraries that will be picked up automatically during tests, but I could not get it to work. Or at least things in that directory were not found at compile time.

Converting Tests for Applications Which Previously Used XTest

Essentially, you need only remove the XTest build and configuration files from your modules and replace them with a few lines of code in your tests' suite() method. More information is available in the XTest Replacement Cookbook