Grails equals and hashCode testing (Osoco test gallery, part 2)

If you work with GORM and your objects are held in collections, you should implement equals and hashCode methods. As everything, they should be thouroughly tested if they obey equals-hashCode contract. At Osoco we created a equals-hashcode-test Grails plugin that provides a base Spock specification for that. In your equals and hashCode tests you simply have to extend the EqualsHashCodeSpec and provide at least two methods:

  • a factory method createDomainObjectToCompare that will create a fresh object for the comparison
  • a map of modified properties included in equals and hashCode
  • optionally a map of modified properties ignored in both methods

Additionally in case of inheritance, we check whether the equals method complies with the symmetry rule. We do it in an extra feature method added to the spec:

def 'equals relation must be symmetric with inheritance'() {
    given:
    def content = new Content()

    and:
    def book = new Book()

    expect:
    (content == book) == (book == content)
}

You may say, in Grails 2.0 and Groovy 1.8 there are @Equals and @HashCode AST transformations and you don’t need to write tests of them. I agree to some point. I think you can trust Groovy developers and you don’t have to test the methods for reflexivity, symmetry, transivity, consistency, and ‘non-nullity’. Anyway, you have to test the annotation configuration if it includes the properties that actually account for the logical equality between objects.

In the future releases of the plugin we will surely simplify the base specification and remove some checks but we will surely continue testing both methods (with our plugin it’s dirt-cheap!)


This post series present the best of Osoco tests – tests that were tricky or we are just proud of. You can find a runnable source code for this test and more in the Grails Test Gallery project shared on GitHub.

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