Saturday, March 10, 2018

JUnit Hamcrest Matcher for JSON

This post shows how you can write JUnit tests to check if an object matches a JSON string. This is important if you are implementing REST services and want to test if your service produces the expected JSON response.

A useful library for comparing JSON objects is JSONassert. First, you have to convert your Java object into a JSON string (using Jackson, for example) and then compare it with your expected JSON string using JSONassert. (You could also convert your Java object into a JSONObject but I find that it's much easier to convert it into a string.)

The following snippet shows how you can compare an object (a List, in this case) against its JSON representation using JSONassert.

import org.skyscreamer.jsonassert.JSONAssert;
import com.fasterxml.jackson.databind.ObjectMapper;

List<String> fruits = Arrays.asList("apple", "banana");
String fruitsJSON = new ObjectMapper().writeValueAsString(fruits);
String expectedFruitsJSON = "[\"apple\", \"banana\"]";
JSONAssert.assertEquals(expectedFruitsJSON, fruitsJSON, true);

In order to make it simpler to write such unit tests, I have written a Hamcrest Matcher called IsEqualJSON for comparing JSON objects. It still uses JSONassert but allows you to express your tests in a more fluent way.

The following code shows how IsEqualJSON is used:

import static org.junit.Assert.*;
import static testutil.IsEqualJSON.*;

assertThat(Arrays.asList("apple", "banana"),
           equalToJSON("[\"apple\", \"banana\"]"));

// you can also have your expected JSON read from a file
assertThat(Arrays.asList("apple", "banana"),

Here is the code for IsEqualJSON (also available in my GitHub Repository):

import java.nio.charset.StandardCharsets;
import java.nio.file.*;
import org.hamcrest.*;
import org.skyscreamer.jsonassert.*;
import com.fasterxml.jackson.core.JsonProcessingException;
import com.fasterxml.jackson.databind.ObjectMapper;

 * A Matcher for comparing JSON.
 * Example usage:
 * <pre>
 * assertThat(new String[] {"foo", "bar"}, equalToJSON("[\"foo\", \"bar\"]"));
 * assertThat(new String[] {"foo", "bar"}, equalToJSONInFile("/tmp/foo.json"));
 * </pre>
public class IsEqualJSON extends DiagnosingMatcher<Object> {

  private final String expectedJSON;
  private JSONCompareMode jsonCompareMode;

  public IsEqualJSON(final String expectedJSON) {
    this.expectedJSON = expectedJSON;
    this.jsonCompareMode = JSONCompareMode.STRICT;

  public void describeTo(final Description description) {

  protected boolean matches(final Object actual,
                            final Description mismatchDescription) {
    final String actualJSON = toJSONString(actual);
    final JSONCompareResult result = JSONCompare.compareJSON(expectedJSON,
    if (!result.passed()) {
    return result.passed();

  private static String toJSONString(final Object o) {
    try {
      return o instanceof String ?
          (String) o : new ObjectMapper().writeValueAsString(o);
    } catch (final JsonProcessingException e) {
      throw new RuntimeException(e);

  private static String getFileContents(final Path path) {
    try {
      return new String(Files.readAllBytes(path), StandardCharsets.UTF_8);
    } catch (final IOException e) {
      throw new RuntimeException(e);

  public static IsEqualJSON equalToJSON(final String expectedJSON) {
    return new IsEqualJSON(expectedJSON);

  public static IsEqualJSON equalToJSONInFile(final Path expectedPath) {
    return equalToJSON(getFileContents(expectedPath));

  public static IsEqualJSON equalToJSONInFile(final String expectedFileName) {
    return equalToJSONInFile(Paths.get(expectedFileName));

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