# Maven Surefire Plugin Understanding

Maven Surefire Plugin is used during the "test" phase of Maven build lifecycle to execute unit tests. It can be used with JUnit, TestNG or other frameworks. This article explains what is Surefire p...

## Overview

Maven Surefire Plugin is used during the test phase of the build lifecycle to execute the unit tests of an application. It can be used with JUnit, TestNG or other testing frameworks. In this article, I’ll explain what is Surefire plugin and its common use cases.

Without any configuration, Surefire plugin can already be triggered by Maven. However, if you want to benefit the latest features, you need to update the plugin in you POM:

By default, the Surefire Plugin will automatically include all test classes with the following wildcard patterns, and execute them as unit tests:

Pattern Description
**/Test*.java Includes all of its subdirectories and all Java filenames that start with “Test”.
**/*Test.java Includes all of its subdirectories and all Java filenames that end with “Test”.
**/*Tests.java Includes all of its subdirectories and all Java filenames that end with “Tests”.
**/*TestCase.java Includes all of its subdirectories and all Java filenames that end with “TestCase”.

## Using JUnit 4

In this section, we will talk about how to write and run JUnit 4 tests. The first step is to add JUnit as Maven dependency:

Then, write your tests as follows in test source directory (src/test/java). For class name, make sure it matches the testing patterns mentioned before, so starts with Test, ends with Test or any other matching pattern. As for the assertion methods, use those in class org.junit.Assert. IDEs might propose methods in class junit.framework.Assert, please don’t use them, they are deprecated.

Finally, trigger the Maven build. Any command which invokes phase test should work, for example:

mvn clean install
mvn clean test


## Using JUnit 5

Now, let’s take a look how to write and run JUnit 5 tests. As before, the first step is to add JUnit 5 as Maven dependency. This will pull all required dependencies:

Then, write your tests in Java. Note that the import statements have been changed. Assertion methods are now in class org.junit.jupiter.api.Assertions:

Compared to JUnit 4, JUnit 5 provides more ways to write assertions. They are not covered in this article. For more information about JUnit 5 in Maven Surefire Plugin, please visit the official documentation page: Maven - Using JUnit 5 Platform.

## Testing Reports

After test execution, Maven Surefire Plugin generates reports in two different file formats:

• Plain text files (*.txt)
• XML files (*.xml)

By default, these files are generated in target/surefire-reports directory. These files are useful for tracking the execution logs, having exception stack trace, execution statistics and more. Some CI platforms, like Jenkins, might read Surefire reports to provide information in their UI.

## Skip Tests

Skip tests can be done by providing property skipTests. You can do it in Maven POM, or from command line.

From POM:

From command line:

When this flag is set, Maven Surefire Plugin will be triggered without running tests. The output looks like:

[INFO] --- maven-surefire-plugin:2.22.0:test (default-test) @ maven-surefire-junit4 ---
[INFO] Tests are skipped.


## Running a Single Test

Running a single test case (a single class):

mvn -Dtest=MyTest test


Running test methods of a single test case:

mvn -Dtest=MyTest#testOne test
mvn -Dtest=MyTest#test* test
mvn -Dtest=MyTest#testOne+testTwo test


For more information, see official documentation page Maven - Running a Single Test.

## Conclusion

In this post, we learnt Maven Surefire Plugin, a plugin for unit tests execution in Maven. We saw the unit tests discovery mechanism, JUnit 4 integration and JUnit 5 integration, test reports generation, how to skip tests and how to run a single test. As usual, the source code is available on GitHub: mincong-h/maven-surefire-plugin-demo.