Obviously, OpenEJB is great for unit testing EJBs, but I wondered whether I might also be able to use this embedded functionality to functionally test my application. You can use tools like Selenium, or HtmlUnit to run functional tests as if the user were sat at their browser typing text, and clicking links and buttons. This however means you have to have your app running on your app server, and you need to have consistent test data - otherwise a test might pass on one developers machine, but fail on another. Here's one approach that you could take to completely deploy your webapp within a test, and functionally test it with a tool like Selenium. There's also some sample code demonstrating this, available here .

Creating an embedded server

I created a class to start my embedded OpenEJB and Jetty instances and configure them to see the EJB and WAR modules of my application:

public class EmbeddedServer {
    private static EmbeddedServer instance = new EmbeddedServer();
    private Server server;

    private EmbeddedServer() {
    try {
        // initialize OpenEJB & add some test data
        Properties properties = new Properties();
        properties.put(Context.INITIAL_CONTEXT_FACTORY, "org.apache.openejb.client.LocalInitialContextFactory");
        InitialContext ic = new InitialContext(properties);
        PeopleFacade facade = (PeopleFacade) ic.lookup("PeopleFacadeEJBRemote");
        new TestFixture(facade).addTestData();

        // setup web app
        WebAppContext context = new WebAppContext();
        InitialContext initialContext = setupJndi(context);

        // start the server
        context.setServletHandler(new EmbeddedServerServletHandler(initialContext));
        server = new Server(9091);

    } catch (Exception e) {

    private InitialContext setupJndi(WebAppContext context) throws NamingException {
    // setup local JNDI
    InitialContext initialContext = new InitialContext();
    WebApp webApp = getWebApp(context);
    Collection<EjbRef> refs = webApp.getEjbRef();
    for (EjbRef ref : refs) {
        String ejbLink = ref.getEjbLink();

        // get enterprise bean info
        EnterpriseBeanInfo beanInfo = new EJBHelper().getEJBInfo(ejbLink);
        if (beanInfo.jndiNames != null && beanInfo.jndiNames.size() > 0) {
        String jndiName = "java:openejb/ejb/" + beanInfo.jndiNames.get(0);
        initialContext.bind("java:comp/env/" + ref.getEjbRefName(), new LinkRef(jndiName));
    return initialContext;

    private String computeWarPath() {
    String currentPath = new File(".").getAbsolutePath();
    String warPath;

        String[]  pathParts = currentPath.split("(\\\\|/)+");

    int webPart = Arrays.asList(pathParts).indexOf("PersonWEB");
    if (webPart == -1) {
        warPath = "PersonWEB/src/main/webapp";
    } else {
        StringBuffer buffer = new StringBuffer();

        for (int i = 0; i < webPart; i++) {

        warPath = buffer.toString();
    return warPath;

    public static EmbeddedServer getInstance() {
    return instance;

    public Server getServer() {
    return server;

    public static void main(String[]  args) {
    try {
    } catch (Exception e) {

    private WebApp getWebApp(WebAppContext context) {
    WebApp webApp = null;

    try {
        FileInputStream is = new FileInputStream(new File(context.getWar() + "/WEB-INF/web.xml").getAbsolutePath());
        webApp = (WebApp) JaxbJavaee.unmarshal(WebApp.class, is);
    } catch (Exception e) {
    return webApp;

This class sets up an embedded instance of Jetty, running on port 9091. You'll notice the setupJndi() method. This looks through the ejb-ref entries in web.xml (which we deserialize using the openejb-jee library), and adds relevant LinkRefs to the JNDI tree, so you can lookup beans using the java:comp/env/bean format. I've added a main() method here for convenience, so you can run this straight from an IDE, and record tests using tools like the Selenium Firefox plugin.

Supporting @EJB Dependency injection

In the last code sample, we also set up a custom ServletHandler in Jetty - this is to perform dependency injection. The custom ServletHandler looks like this:

public class EmbeddedServerServletHandler extends ServletHandler {
    private InitialContext initialContext;

    public EmbeddedServerServletHandler(InitialContext initialContext) {
    this.initialContext = initialContext;

    public Servlet customizeServlet(Servlet servlet) throws Exception {
    Class<? extends Servlet> servletClass = servlet.getClass();

declaredFields = servletClass.getDeclaredFields();

    for (Field declaredField : declaredFields) {

annotations = declaredField.getAnnotations();

        for (Annotation annotation : annotations) {
        if (EJB.class.equals(annotation.annotationType())) {
            // inject into this field
            Class<?> fieldType = declaredField.getType();
            EnterpriseBeanInfo beanInfo = getBeanFor(fieldType);
            if (beanInfo == null) {

            String jndiName = "java:openejb/ejb/" + beanInfo.jndiNames.get(0);
            Object o = initialContext.lookup(jndiName);

            declaredField.set(servlet, o);

    return super.customizeServlet(servlet);

    private EnterpriseBeanInfo getBeanFor(Class<?> fieldType) {
    return new EJBHelper().getBeanInfo(fieldType);

This looks up deployed beans that match the field type, and uses reflection to set the field.

Writing a Functional test

We can now write a functional test. I use a base abstract class to make sure the Embedded server is running, and start Selenium:

public abstract class FunctionalTestCase extends TestCase {
    protected DefaultSelenium selenium;

    protected void setUp() throws Exception {
    selenium = new DefaultSelenium("localhost", 4444, "*iexplore", "http://localhost:9091/");

    protected void tearDown() throws Exception {

and I can then I write a test like this:

public class AddPersonTest extends FunctionalTestCase {
    public void testShouldAddAPerson() throws Exception {
    selenium.type("firstname", "Jonathan");
    selenium.type("lastname", "Gallimore");
        selenium.click("//input[@name='add' and @value='Add']");
    selenium.type("filter", "gallimore");
        assertEquals(1, selenium.getXpathCount("//div[@id='people']/ul/li").intValue());
        assertEquals("Jonathan Gallimore", selenium.getText("//div[@id='people']/ul/li[1]"));


Sample code

I've made a sample project which demonstrates this, source is available here . You'll need Maven to build it, and you can build it and run the tests by running 'mvn clean install'. If want to run the tests from your IDE, you'll need to have a Selenium server running, which you can do by running 'mvn selenium:start-server'.