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§Testing your application with ScalaTest

Writing tests for your application can be an involved process. Play provides helpers and application stubs, and ScalaTest provides an integration library, ScalaTest + Play, to make testing your application as easy as possible.


The location for tests is in the “test” folder.

You can run tests from the Play console.

Testing in Play is based on SBT, and a full description is available in the testing SBT chapter.

§Using ScalaTest + Play

To use ScalaTest + Play, you’ll need to add it to your build, by changing projects/Build.scala like this:

val appDependencies = Seq(
  // Add your project dependencies here,
  "org.scalatestplus" %% "play" % "1.1.0" % "test"

You do not need to add ScalaTest to your build explicitly. The proper version of ScalaTest will be brought in automatically as a transitive dependency of ScalaTest + Play. You will, however, need to select a version of ScalaTest + Play that matches your Play version. You can do so by checking the Versions, Versions, Versions page for ScalaTest + Play.

In ScalaTest + Play, you define test classes by extending the PlaySpec trait. Here’s an example:

import collection.mutable.Stack

class StackSpec extends PlaySpec {

  "A Stack" must {
    "pop values in last-in-first-out order" in {
      val stack = new Stack[Int]
      stack.pop() mustBe 2
      stack.pop() mustBe 1
    "throw NoSuchElementException if an empty stack is popped" in {
      val emptyStack = new Stack[Int]
      a [NoSuchElementException] must be thrownBy {

You can alternatively define your own base classes instead of using PlaySpec.

You can run your tests with Play itself, or in IntelliJ IDEA (using the Scala plugin) or in Eclipse (using the Scala IDE and the ScalaTest Eclipse plugin). Please see the IDE page for more details.


PlaySpec mixes in ScalaTest’s MustMatchers, so you can write assertions using ScalaTest’s matchers DSL:

"Hello world" must endWith ("world")

For more information, see the documentation for MustMatchers.


You can use mocks to isolate unit tests against external dependencies. For example, if your class depends on an external DataService class, you can feed appropriate data to your class without instantiating a DataService object.

ScalaTest provides integration with Mockito via its MockitoSugar trait.

To use Mockito, mix MockitoSugar into your test class and then use the Mockito library to mock dependencies:

case class Data(retrievalDate: java.util.Date)

trait DataService {
  def findData: Data
import org.scalatest._
import org.scalatest.mock.MockitoSugar

import org.mockito.Mockito._

class ExampleMockitoSpec extends PlaySpec with MockitoSugar {

  "MyService#isDailyData" should {
    "return true if the data is from today" in {
      val mockDataService = mock[DataService]
      when(mockDataService.findData) thenReturn Data(new java.util.Date())

      val myService = new MyService() {
        override def dataService = mockDataService

      val actual = myService.isDailyData
      actual mustBe true

Mocking is especially useful for testing the public methods of classes. Mocking objects and private methods is possible, but considerably harder.

§Unit Testing Models

Play does not require models to use a particular database data access layer. However, if the application uses Anorm or Slick, then frequently the Model will have a reference to database access internally.

import anorm._
import anorm.SqlParser._

case class User(id: String, name: String, email: String) {
   def roles = DB.withConnection { implicit connection =>

For unit testing, this approach can make mocking out the roles method tricky.

A common approach is to keep the models isolated from the database and as much logic as possible, and abstract database access behind a repository layer.

case class Role(name:String)

case class User(id: String, name: String, email:String)
trait UserRepository {
  def roles(user:User) : Set[Role]
class AnormUserRepository extends UserRepository {
  import anorm._
  import anorm.SqlParser._

  def roles(user:User) : Set[Role] = {

and then access them through services:

class UserService(userRepository : UserRepository) {

  def isAdmin(user:User) : Boolean = {

In this way, the isAdmin method can be tested by mocking out the UserRepository reference and passing it into the service:

class UserServiceSpec extends PlaySpec with MockitoSugar {

  "UserService#isAdmin" should {
    "be true when the role is admin" in {
      val userRepository = mock[UserRepository]
      when(userRepository.roles(any[User])) thenReturn Set(Role("ADMIN"))

      val userService = new UserService(userRepository)

      val actual = userService.isAdmin(User("11", "Steve", "[email protected]"))
      actual mustBe true

§Unit Testing Controllers

Controllers are defined as objects in Play, and so can be trickier to unit test. In Play this can be alleviated by dependency injection using getControllerInstance. Another way to finesse unit testing with a controller is to use a trait with an explicitly typed self reference to the controller:

trait ExampleController {
  this: Controller =>

  def index() = Action {

object ExampleController extends Controller with ExampleController

and then test the trait:

import scala.concurrent.Future

import org.scalatest._

import play.api.mvc._
import play.api.test._
import play.api.test.Helpers._

class ExampleControllerSpec extends PlaySpec with Results {

  class TestController() extends Controller with ExampleController

  "Example Page#index" should {
    "should be valid" in {
      val controller = new TestController()
      val result: Future[SimpleResult] = controller.index().apply(FakeRequest())
      val bodyText: String = contentAsString(result)
      bodyText mustBe "ok"

§Unit Testing EssentialAction

Testing Action or Filter can require to test an an EssentialAction (more information about what an EssentialAction is)

For this, the test can be used like that:

class ExampleEssentialActionSpec extends PlaySpec {

  "An essential action" should {
    "can parse a JSON body" in {
      val action: EssentialAction = Action { request =>
        val value = (request.body.asJson.get \ "field").as[String]

      val request = FakeRequest(POST, "/").withJsonBody(Json.parse("""{ "field": "value" }"""))

      val result = call(action, request)

      status(result) mustEqual OK
      contentAsString(result) mustEqual "value"

Next: Writing functional tests with ScalaTest