Checked exception is invalid for this method

Checked exception is invalid for this method

posted 3 min read

Sometimes when you are writing unit test for your world conquering Java program & using Mockito. The enigmatic "Checked exception is invalid for this method" error often raises its head, causing confusion and frustration. It comes When you attempt to instruct Mockito to throw a Custom Exception (checked), it contradicts the method signature defined leading to the error. Quick Fix: Throw Runtime Exception instead.

The Challenge of Checked Exceptions

The error message "Checked exception is invalid for this method" is a common problem when working with Mockito. It indicates that the code being tested invokes a method that throws a checked exception, and Mockito is unsure how to handle it. But why does this issue arise, and how can we resolve it?

Creating the Problem

Let's set the stage for this intriguing problem using a test example:

@Test(expectedExceptions = CustomException.class)
public void errorProneFunc() {
    List<String> list = mock(List.class);
    when(list.get(2)).thenThrow(new CustomException());
    String test = list.get(2);
}

public class CustomException extends Exception {
    // Define your exception here
}

In this test, we're trying to mock the list.get(0) method to throw our custom CustomException. However, this often leads to an error message, leaving developers puzzled.

The Error Message

The error message usually looks like this:

org.mockito.exceptions.misusing.MisplacedException: **Checked exception is invalid for this method**:

What's Wrong with the Code?

The issue at hand is that Mockito faces difficulties when dealing with methods that throw checked exceptions. It is essential to understand that the get(int index) method in the List interface, as per the List API, exclusively throws IndexOutOfBoundsException, which is an unchecked exception extending RuntimeException. When you attempt to instruct Mockito to throw a CustomException, it contradicts the method signature defined in the List API, leading to the error.

Solutions to the Dilemma

Solution 1: Throw Unchecked Exceptions

To overcome the "Checked exception is invalid for this method" error, it is often recommended to work with unchecked exceptions. The get(int index) method in the List API doesn't specify any checked exceptions, so Mockito works smoothly when we throw unchecked exceptions.

@Test
public void throwUncheckedException() {
    List<String> list = mock(List.class);
    when(list.get(0)).thenThrow(new ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException());
    String test = list.get(0);

    // Your testing logic here
}

By aligning your mock behaviour with the List API, you can avoid the error and create robust tests.

Solution 2: Utilize the willAnswer Technique

An alternative approach involves using willAnswer to achieve the desired behaviour. For instance, you can create a scenario where your code throws a checked exception upon invoking a specific method.

given(someObj.someMethod(stringArg1)).willAnswer(invocation -> {
    throw new Exception("Custom Exception Message");
});

This approach can be beneficial when working with complex scenarios that require fine-grained control over mock behaviour.

Solution 3: Kotlin's "given" Function

If you're working with Kotlin, you can leverage the "given" function for your Mockito tests. This function allows you to specify the behaviour of mocked methods, including throwing checked exceptions.

given(myObject.myCall()).willAnswer {
    throw IOException("Ooops")
}

This Kotlin-specific approach adds flexibility to your testing process, especially if your project is Kotlin-based.

Mockito's Handling of Checked Exceptions

It's crucial to note that Mockito does permit the throwing of checked exceptions as long as they are declared in the method signature. For example, if a method in your code declares a checked exception, you can instruct Mockito to throw it without any issues.

class FooException extends Exception {
    // This is a checked exception
}

interface SomeInterface {
    void eggs() throws FooException;
}

// It's legal to write:
CoolInterface coolInterface = mock(CoolInterface.class);
when(coolInterface.eggs()).thenThrow(FooException.class);

However, if you attempt to throw a checked exception that is not declared in the method signature, Mockito will produce a generic error message that may be misleading.

Note: When you tell Mockito to throw an invalid exception, a “checked” exception error will occur.

Conclusion

In the realm of Java testing with Mockito, the "Checked exception is invalid for this method" error may appear confounding at first. Nevertheless, by understanding the method signatures, utilizing unchecked exceptions when necessary, and exploring advanced techniques like willAnswer and Kotlin's "given" function, you can navigate this challenge and create more robust unit tests. Mockito, when used judiciously, is a powerful tool in your Java development arsenal. Happy coding!

References

  1. Mockito Documentation
  2. Java List Interface
  3. BDDMockito Documentation
  4. Kotlin's Mockito Documentation
  5. Java Checked and Unchecked Exceptions
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