How to Run the JUnit Testing Framework Using Apache Ant

How to Run the JUnit Testing Framework Using Apache Ant

This article will discuss the build tool Apache Ant and the unit testing framework JUnit. Both of these have become an integral part of Java development and are widely used in the Java world because many customers like to see the unit test log before exposing the code for system testing and functional testing.


Apache Ant is a generic build tool. The name Ant is abbreviation for ‘Another Neat Tool’. This tool is similar to the ‘Make’ utility in UNIX but is implemented using Java. It is primarily used for building the binaries of a Java-based source code and deploying the generated binary to an application server which is pre-defined. It can also be used to generate Javadocs for a code base and to execute the unit test suite for the whole codebase. Ant in collaboration with JUnit helps developers to follow the test-driven development approach.

Ant requires a Java compiler to be installed with the environment variable JAVA_HOME set with its adequate value. Ant uses an XML file to define the build procedure. The default name of this file is build.xml. Some developers also use a properties file, namely, to define some properties – including the build version number and other environmental parameters that are required to change from time to time based on need.

Installation on Different Operating Systems

Fedora– On RHEL, Ant can be installed using the command – yum install Ant or it can be installed using the rpm – i command. In this case you should download the Ant package first.

Debian– On Ubuntu, Ant can be installed using the command – apt-get install ant.

Windows– On a Windows environment we need to download the file. This zip bundle should be extracted in a folder. This folder should be defined as an environment variable ANT_HOME. A sample build.xml file is shown below:

LISTING 1: Sample build.xml file

                                                                                                                                                            Main target  

Ant with JUnit

Ant provides a great help to Java developers who use the test-driven development approach. As we know in the test-driven development methodology JUnit is compulsory, it is always an added advantage if we have an automated script that runs all the JUnit test cases in one go. Not only that, but this script can also be used if we have a continuous integration tool like Hudson. Our following sample code illustrates how to use Ant with JUnit.

LISTING 2: A Sample Java file

package com.home.junit;public class SampleAdd {		public int add(int x, int y) {		return x + y;	}}

LISTING 3: The corresponding JUnit file

package com.home.junit;import org.junit.After;import org.junit.Assert;import org.junit.Before;import org.junit.Test;public class SampleAddTest  {		private SampleAdd sampleClass;		@Before	public void setUp() {		sampleClass = new SampleAdd();	}		@Test	public void testAdd() {		Assert.assertEquals(5, sampleClass.add(3, 2));	}		@After 	public void settleDown() {		sampleClass = null;	}	}

LISTING 4: The Ant script to compile and run the JUnit test

																																																																    			  																												Main target	

When we run this script, it first compiles the code base and then runs the JUnit tests on the compiled code and finally generates a test report. The test report can be generated in any format. For convenience we have generated this in XML format.

LISTING 5: The Generated test report in XML format

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So after discussing all the above theory and implementation details we can conclude with the following highlights.

  • Apache Ant is a Java based utility used by the Java developers for the following purpose
    • To generate the binaries from the source code
    • To generate Javadocs for the source code
    • To run JUnit test cases on a code base
  • Ant in collaboration with JUnit, helps the Java developers to follow the Test Driven Development methodology

Hope you have enjoyed the article and got a clear understanding about the tool and its implementation. If you have any questions, send me an email.


About the Author

Kaushik Pal is a technical architect with 15 years of experience in enterprise application and product development. He has expertise in web technologies, architecture/design, Java/J2EE, Open source and big data technologies. You can find more of his work at

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