JUnit 5.6 Makes Testing Easy with New Features

New features such as the ability to define test execution order and run tests in parallel make this an important release.

May 4, 2020

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JUnit, the widely used Java unit testing framework, had a major milestone release with JUnit 5 in 2017, which provided a complete rewrite of the whole framework after 10 years of evolution on version 4.x. After the big 5.0.0 release, the JUnit team set a rapid development pace with new minor releases every four to five months; the latest minor version was 5.6.0 on January 20, 2020, which was updated to 5.6.1 on March 22.

I’ll revisit the framework, showcasing the newest features it brings to the table by demonstrating them with code samples. I have also annotated the descriptions of relevant features with “(since 5.x)” to highlight in which version those features were introduced into the framework.

First, a quick terminology definition: JUnit 5 is composed of three separate modules.

  • JUnit Platform is the foundation for launching testing frameworks in the JVM; it is supported by many IDEs and build tools.
  • JUnit Jupiter is the newest programming model as well as the TestEngine for JUnit 5 tests.
  • Finally, there’s JUnit Vintage, which is the TestEngine for older JUnit 3 and JUnit 4 tests.

(Editor’s note: If you have JUnit 4 tests in your toolbox, read Brian McGlauflin’s “Migrating from JUnit 4 to JUnit 5: Important Differences and Benefits.”)

If you are using Maven, the dependency for JUnit 5.6 can be easily added as shown in Listing 1.

Listing 1.


If you are using Gradle, the dependency can be added as shown in Listing 2.

Listing 2.

testCompile group: 'org.junit.jupiter', name: 'junit-jupiter-api', version: '5.6.0'

Let’s move on to the new features!

Defining the Order of Test Execution

You can define an execution order between the test methods of a given class alphanumerically, randomly, with a given @Order annotation (since 5.4), or with a custom order definition. The @TestMethodOrder annotation (since 5.4) that is placed on the class level will do the trick to enable the order that you’d like to apply.

Executing test methods according to method names alphanumerically is shown in Listing 3.

Listing 3.

class OrderedTest {

    void testC() {
        System.out.println("Test C");

    void testZ() {
        System.out.println("Test Z");

    void testA() {
        System.out.println("Test A");

In Listing 3, the execution order will be as follows: testA() -> testC() -> testZ().

It’s also possible to define a random order with the definition @TestMethodOrder(MethodOrderer.Random.class), where execution of the methods will be selected randomly. This would be meaningful when there is no inter-test dependency and you want to make sure to keep it that way, so no unnecessary relationships are built between your tests in upcoming stages.

If you want to explicitly define the order of the tests, you can use @Order annotation, as shown in Listing 4.

Listing 4.

class OrderedTest {

    void testZ() {
        System.out.println("Test Z");

    void testC() {
        System.out.println("Test C");

In Listing 4, the lowest value will have the highest precedence, so the testZ() method will execute before the testC() method. The methods that are not annotated with @Order will have the default value Integer.MAX_VALUE / 2 (since 5.6).

It’s also possible to define a custom ordering mechanism and provide it to the @TestMethodOrder annotation. The implementation given in Listing 5 orders the test methods according to the length of the method name, so short method names execute before long ones.

Listing 5.

class CustomOrder implements MethodOrderer {

    public void orderMethods(MethodOrdererContext context) {
            methodDescriptor -> methodDescriptor.getMethod()

The CustomOrder implementation should be provided to the @TestMethodOrder annotation, as shown in Listing 6.

Listing 6.

class OrderedTest {

    void a_very_long_test_method() {

    void short_mthd() {

The execution order will be short_mthd() -> a_very_long_test_method().

Defining Declarative Timeouts

JUnit has the option to mark any test as failed if it takes more time than permitted by a specified threshold. This is very helpful for diagnosing any long-running tests; beginning with JUnit 5.5, it’s possible to define a timeout limit with the @Timeout annotation. Listing 7 shows the usage.

Listing 7.

@Timeout(value = 1)
void checkJobDoesNotExceedLimit() 
             throws InterruptedException {

In the checkJobDoesNotExceedLimit() test method, the timeout value is set to 1 second, which is the default time unit. Obviously, this test will fail since its execution lasts for 1,500 milliseconds. A different unit can be specified as shown in Listing 8.

Listing 8.

@Timeout(value = 500, unit = TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS)

It’s also possible to define the timeout value with system properties. Listing 9 defines the timeout limit as 100 milliseconds for each test that runs.

Listing 9.


If a value is also set by the annotation, that will override the value defined by the system property. Here’s a list of all the system property keys along with their explanations:

  • junit.jupiter.execution.timeout.default: Default timeout value for all testable and lifecycle methods
  • junit.jupiter.execution.timeout.testable.method.default: Default timeout value for all testable methods
  • junit.jupiter.execution.timeout.test.method.default: Default timeout value for methods annotated with @Test
  • junit.jupiter.execution.timeout.testtemplate.method.default: Default timeout value for methods annotated with @TestTemplate
  • junit.jupiter.execution.timeout.testfactory.method.default: Default timeout value for methods annotated with @TestFactory
  • junit.jupiter.execution.timeout.lifecycle.method.default: Default timeout value for all lifecycle methods
  • junit.jupiter.execution.timeout.beforeall.method.default: Default timeout value for methods annotated with @BeforeAll
  • junit.jupiter.execution.timeout.beforeeach.method.default: Default timeout value for methods annotated with @BeforeEach
  • junit.jupiter.execution.timeout.aftereach.method.default: Default timeout value for methods annotated with @AfterEach
  • junit.jupiter.execution.timeout.afterall.method.default: Default timeout value for methods annotated with @AfterAll

The @Timeout annotation can be placed at the class level to provide a default timeout value for each test method that class contains. Also, the @Timeout annotation can be used on the lifecycle methods annotated with @BeforeAll, @BeforeEach, @AfterEach, or @AfterAll. The @Timeout annotation is marked as experimental with JUnit 5.6, so it may be subject to change in the upcoming releases.

Conditional Test Execution

As of JUnit 5.1, it’s possible to either enable or disable test executions programmatically based on a condition with annotations defined. In this section, I will list these annotations from different categories along with their usage.

JRE conditions. It’s possible to enable or disable a test execution according to the version of the JRE. The @EnabledOnJre annotation (since 5.1) enables the execution of a test only on a specified JRE version. The test method in Listing 10 will only execute on Java version 8.

Listing 10.

@EnabledOnJre(value = JRE.JAVA_8)
void shouldOnlyPassOnJava8() {
       // ...

The @DisabledOnJre annotation (since 5.1) does the opposite and disables the test execution on a given JRE version. It’s possible to define JRE versions ranging from 8 to 15 with JUnit version 5.6.

@EnabledForJreRange and @DisabledForJreRange (both since 5.6) are the two annotations for defining the execution conditions where the annotated method will either be enabled or disabled on a specific range of JREs. An example for enabling a test execution on a specific JRE version range is shown in Listing 11.

Listing 11.

@EnabledForJreRange(min = JRE.JAVA_9, max = JRE.JAVA_11)
void shouldRunBetweenJava8AndJava11() {
    // ...

Operating system conditions. A test execution can also be enabled or disabled according to the version of the operating system (OS). The @EnabledOnOs annotation (since 5.1) enables a test execution on macOS, as shown in Listing 12.

Listing 12.

@EnabledOnOs(value = OS.MAC)
void shouldOnlyRunOnMacOs() {
    // ...

The @DisabledOnOS annotation (since 5.1) does the opposite and disables the test execution on a given OS version. Possible values for the OS versions are AIX, LINUX, MAC, SOLARIS, WINDOWS, and OTHER.

Environment variable conditions. A test execution can be enabled or disabled according to the existence of an environment variable. The @EnabledIfEnvironmentVariable annotation (since 5.1) enables a test execution if the environment variable with the specified name matches the given regular expression. The @DisabledIfEnvironmentVariable annotation (since 5.1) does the opposite by disabling test execution. Listing 13 shows an example where the test gets executed if the HOME environment variable is set to either /Users/mcaliskan or /Users/mertcaliskan.

Listing 13.

@EnabledIfEnvironmentVariable(named = "HOME", 
      matches = "/Users/mcaliskan|/Users/mertcaliskan")
void shouldOnlyRunOnSpecifiedHOMEDirectory() {
    // ...

System property conditions. A test execution can be enabled or disabled according to the existence of a system property. The @EnabledIfSystemProperty annotation (since 5.1) enables a test execution if the system property with the specified name matches the given regular expression. The @DisabledIfSystemProperty annotation (since 5.1) does the opposite by disabling test execution. Listing 14 demonstrates enabling a test according to the existence of the os.arch system property. The test will run only if the underlying JRE is a 64-bit version.

Listing 14.

@EnabledIfSystemProperty(named = "os.arch", 
    matches = ".*64.*")
void worksOnlyOn64BitArchitecture() {
    // ...

In JUnit 5.6, @EnabledIfEnvironmentVariable, @DisabledIfEnvironmentVariable, @EnabledIfSystemProperty, and @DisabledIfSystemProperty each support repetition, so they can be defined multiple times on a test method. With JUnit 5.6, the @EnabledIf and @DisabledIf annotations, which were already deprecated with previous releases, were removed from the codebase. It’s recommended to use the annotations defined in the categories above.

Programmatic Extension Registration

The main purpose for extensions is to provide the ability to extend behavior on test classes and methods and reuse that logic on multiple tests. JUnit 5 provided an elegant way by introducing an extension mechanism. Through the Extension API, it’s possible to pause at defined points in the lifecycle of a test’s execution and execute an extension that is hooked.

With the @RegisterExtension annotation (since 5.1), it’s possible to register extensions programmatically. A sample extension for logging test method execution times is listed in Listing 15.

Listing 15.

public class LogTestExecutionTime
        implements BeforeTestExecutionCallback,
                   AfterTestExecutionCallback {

    private long startTime;

    public void beforeTestExecution(ExtensionContext context) 
        startTime = System.currentTimeMillis();

    public void afterTestExecution(ExtensionContext context) {
        long elapsedTime = System.currentTimeMillis() 
- startTime;
        System.out.printf("Test Execution took %d ms", elapsedTime);

Registering the extension within a test class is shown in Listing 16.

Listing 16.

class ExtensionTest {

    LogTestExecutionTime logTestExecutionTime = 
                         new LogTestExecutionTime();

    void longRunningTest() {
        // …

With JUnit 5.5, some constraints are applied while registering an extension. One is that the field annotated with @RegisterExtension cannot be private. The other is that the extension class must implement at least one of the Extension APIs. Prior to version 5.4, misconfigured extensions were silently ignored.

Executing Tests in Parallel

By default, JUnit Jupiter runs tests sequentially in a single thread, but beginning with version 5.3, it’s possible to execute tests in parallel as well. There’s an important caveat: This is an experimental feature.

First, the configuration parameter junit.jupiter.execution.parallel.enabled should be set to true via the system property. The test method, or its containing class, should be annotated with @Execution(ExecutionMode.CONCURRENT) (since 5.3). A simple example test is shown in Listing 17, where an endpoint is tested five times concurrently. The implementation uses the @RepeatedTest annotation where it composes the @TestTemplate annotation.

Listing 17.

@RepeatedTest(value = 5, name = "{displayName} {currentRepetition}/{totalRepetitions}")
void testEndpointConcurrently() {
   // …

System property keys that were defined for parallel execution configuration—junit.jupiter.execution.parallel.mode.default (A) and junit.jupiter.execution.parallel.mode.classes.default (B)—can also be set to either concurrent or same_thread to enable parallel execution.

Figure 1 demonstrates how the execution will differ between all methods within one class and top-level classes, respectively. The first column has the notation of (A, B) with the specified values same_thread and concurrent.

 Example of executing tests in parallel.

Figure 1. Example of executing tests in parallel

See the documentation for more details on the parallel execution of tests.


The JUnit team is intensively working on 5.x branches with a four-to-five-month release cadence, and it’s great to have new features released with the redesigned version of JUnit.

I have described some of the major features shipped between releases 5.0 and 5.6, and there are more. One other thing worth mentioning is that the JUnit artifacts that are produced now contain OSGi metadata. You can easily use them within your favorite OSGi container as well. Another is that as of version 5.6, JUnit also publishes its Gradle module metadata, which is a fine-grained variant-aware dependency resolution mechanism for Gradle users.

Note that some of the JUnit 5 API is still subject to change; the team is annotating the public types with the @API annotation and assigning values such as Experimental, Maintained, and Stable.

Learn More

JUnit 5 official documentation

Mert Çalişkan

Mert Çalışkan (@mertcal) is a Java Champion and a coauthor of PrimeFaces Cookbook (Packt Publishing, 2013) and Beginning Spring (Wiley Publications, 2015). He currently is working on his latest book, Java EE 8 Microservices, and he works as a developer on the Payara Server inside the Payara Foundation.

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