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Waiting is hard... but just Persevere(JS)

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Wooden clocks of various shapes and sizes piled with their faces showing

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Working with technologies that are asynchronous in nature, such as messaging queues like Apache Kafka and RabbitMQ, brings not only some new interesting mechanisms for communication but also a few challenges to deal with in terms of verifying they are working as expected.

I'm a big fan of what I like to call 'shallow integration tests', these are tests that cover the integration around a single slice of your application, without testing the whole thing (a full integration test). Let's explore this a little further as it'll help with context.

Shallow Integration Testing

In order to properly explain what I mean by 'shallow integration tests', it's somewhat important to touch on those either side of them, namely unit and integration tests.

When I refer to a 'shallow integration test' what I am referring to is a test that sits at a boundary of your application and tests the integration between your code that interacts with an external system (or is interacted with). Most commonly this will either be at the repository or controller layer.

  • A repository is a class that is responsible for handling data exchange between your application and an external system, this could be a database, HTTP service, message queue or even something like a printer.
  • A controller is a class that handles the interaction into your application, this could be a set of HTTP endpoints, a console/terminal prompt a consumer of a messaging queue or even a physical button that someone might press.

Imagine that we have an application that serves a HTTP API for a library, one of the functions that this API performs is allowing patrons to check if books are available to borrow. The API is backed by a MongoDB database which it can use to track and update the availability of books.


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