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Service Testing Tutorial

As blockchain technology is focused on security, a natural desire after creating an Exonum service is to test it. This tutorial shows how to accomplish this task with the help of the testkit library.

Preparing for Integration Testing

Recall that an Exonum service is typically packaged as a Rust crate. Correspondingly, service testing could be performed with the help of integration tests, in which the service is treated like a black or gray box. In the case of the cryptocurrency service, which we created in the previous tutorial, it would be natural to test how the service reacts to overcharges, transfers from or to the unknown wallet, transfers to self, and other scenarios which may work not as expected.

Exonum has a handy tool in its disposal to test services in this manner – the exonum-testkit crate. To use it, we need to add the following lines to the project’s Cargo.toml:

exonum-testkit = "0.6.0"

Testing Kinds

There are two major kinds of testing enabled by exonum-testkit:

  • Transaction logic testing treats the service as a gray box. It uses the service schema to read information from the storage, and executes transactions by sending them directly to the Rust API of the testkit. This allows for fine-grained testing focused on business logic of the service.
  • API testing treats the service as a black box, using its HTTP APIs to process transactions and read requests. A good idea is to use this kind of testing to verify the API-specific code.

In both cases tests generally follow the same pattern:

  • Initialize the testkit
  • Introduce changes to the blockchain via transactions
  • Use the service schema or read requests to check that the changes are as expected

We cover both kinds of testing in separate sections below.

Testing Transaction Logic

Let’s create tests/, a file which will contain the tests for transaction business logic.


The created file is executed separately from the service code, meaning that we need to import the service crate along with exonum and exonum-testkit:

extern crate exonum;
extern crate exonum_cryptocurrency as cryptocurrency;
#[macro_use] extern crate exonum_testkit;

Just like with the service itself, we then import the types we will use:

use exonum::blockchain::Transaction;
use exonum::crypto::{self, PublicKey, SecretKey};
use exonum_testkit::{TestKit, TestKitBuilder};
// Import datatypes used in tests from the crate where the service is defined.
use cryptocurrency::schema::{CurrencySchema, Wallet};
use cryptocurrency::transactions::{TxCreateWallet, TxTransfer};
use cryptocurrency::service::CurrencyService;

Creating Test Network

To perform testing, we first need to create a network emulation – the eponymous TestKit. TestKit allows recreating behavior of a single full node (a validator or an auditor) in an imaginary Exonum blockchain network.


Unlike real Exonum nodes, the testkit does not actually start a web server in order to process requests from external clients. Instead, transactions and read requests are processed synchronously, in the same process as the test code itself. For example, once a new block is created with a TxCreateWallet transaction, it is executed as defined by the service.

Since TestKit will be used by all tests, it is natural to move its constructor to a separate function:

fn init_testkit() -> TestKit {

That is, we create a network emulation, in which there is a single validator node, and a single CurrencyService. TestKit supports testing several services at once, as well as more complex network configurations, but this functionality is not needed in our case.

Wallet Creation

Test: test_create_wallet

Our first test is very simple: we want to create a single wallet with the help of the corresponding API call and make sure that the wallet is actually persisted by the blockchain.

fn test_create_wallet() {
    let mut testkit = init_testkit();
    let (pubkey, key) = crypto::gen_keypair();
        TxCreateWallet::new(&pubkey, "Alice", &key),
    let wallet = {
        let snapshot = testkit.snapshot();
            "No wallet persisted",
    assert_eq!(*wallet.pub_key(), pubkey);
    assert_eq!(, "Alice");
    assert_eq!(wallet.balance(), 100);

Per Rust conventions, the test is implemented as a zero-argument function without a returned value and with a #[test] annotation. This function will be invoked during testing; if it does not panic, the test is considered passed.

We use one of create_block* methods defined by TestKit to send a transaction to the testkit node and create a block with it (and only it). Then, we use the service schema to check that the transaction has led to the expected changes in the storage.

To run the test, execute cargo test in the shell:

$ cargo test
# (Some output skipped)
running 1 test
test test_create_wallet ... ok

test result: ok. 1 passed; 0 failed; 0 ignored; 0 measured; 0 filtered out

If we remove or comment out the create_block* call, the test will expectedly fail because the wallet is no longer created:

running 1 test
test test_create_wallet ... FAILED


---- test_create_wallet stdout ----
  thread 'test_create_wallet' panicked at 'No wallet persisted'

Successful Transfer

Test: test_transfer

Let’s test a transfer between two wallets. First, we need to create the testkit and the wallets:

let mut testkit = init_testkit();
let (alice_pubkey, alice_key) = crypto::gen_keypair();
let (bob_pubkey, bob_key) = crypto::gen_keypair();
    TxCreateWallet::new(&alice_pubkey, "Alice", &alice_key),
    TxCreateWallet::new(&bob_pubkey, "Bob", &bob_key),
        &alice_pubkey, // sender
        &bob_pubkey, // receiver
        10, // amount
        0, // seed
        &alice_key, // private key used to sign the transaction

Check that wallets are committed to the blockchain and have expected balances:

let wallets = {
    let snapshot = testkit.snapshot();
    let schema = CurrencySchema::new(&snapshot);
    (schema.wallet(&alice_pubkey), schema.wallet(&bob_pubkey))
if let (Some(alice_wallet), Some(bob_wallet)) = wallets {
    assert_eq!(alice_wallet.balance(), 90);
    assert_eq!(bob_wallet.balance(), 110);
} else {
    panic!("Wallets not persisted");

Transfer to Non-Existing Wallet

Test: test_transfer_to_nonexisting_wallet

Unlike in a real Exonum network, you can control which transactions the testkit will include into the next block. This allows testing different orderings of transactions, even those that would be hard (but not impossible) to reproduce in a real network.

Let’s test a case when Alice sends a transaction to Bob while Bob’s wallet is not committed. The test is quite similar to the previous one, with the exception of how the created transactions are placed into the block. Namely, the create_block_with_transactions call is replaced with

    TxCreateWallet::new(&alice_pubkey, "Alice", &alice_key),
    TxTransfer::new(&alice_pubkey, &bob_pubkey, 10, 0, &alice_key),
    TxCreateWallet::new(&bob_pubkey, "Bob", &bob_key),

That is, although Bob's wallet is created, this occurs after the transfer is executed.

We should check that Alice did not send her tokens to nowhere:

assert_eq!(alice_wallet.balance(), 100);
assert_eq!(bob_wallet.balance(), 100);

Testing API

API-focused tests are placed in a separate file, tests/ It is structurally similar to the integration test file we have considered previously (including tests), so we will concentrate on differences only.

API Wrapper

The testkit allows accessing service endpoints with the help of the TestKitApi struct. However, calls to TestKitApi may be overly verbose and prone to errors for practical purposes, as the struct does not know the type signatures of the endpoints of a specific service. To improve usability, let’s create a wrapper around TestKitApi with the wrapper’s methods corresponding to service endpoints:

struct CryptocurrencyApi {
    inner: TestKitApi,

impl CryptocurrencyApi {
    fn create_wallet(&self, name: &str) -> (TxCreateWallet, SecretKey) {
        // Code skipped...

    fn transfer(&self, tx: &TxTransfer) {
        // Code skipped...

    fn get_wallet(&self, pubkey: &PublicKey) -> Wallet {
        // Code skipped...

create_wallet returns a secret key along with the created transaction because it may be needed to sign other transactions authorized by the wallet owner.

Inside, all wrapper methods call the inner API instance; for example, get_wallet is implemented as

fn get_wallet(&self, pubkey: &PublicKey) -> Wallet {
        &format!("v1/wallet/{}", pubkey.to_string()),

That is, the method performs an HTTP GET request with the URL address corresponding to a service with the specified name and a v1/wallet/… path within the service API. When we created the service, we defined that invoking such a request would return information about a specific wallet.

Waiting for Errors

CryptocurrencyApi has a separate method to assert that there is no wallet with a specified public key:

fn assert_no_wallet(&self, pubkey: &PublicKey) {
    let err = self.inner.get_err(
        &format!("v1/wallet/{}", pubkey.to_string()),

        ApiError::NotFound(ref body) if body == "Wallet not found"

Note that this method uses the TestKitApi::get_err method instead of TestKitApi::get. While get will panic if the returned response is erroneous (that is, has non-20x HTTP status), get_err acts in the opposite way, panicking if the response does not have a 40x status.

Creating Blocks

While it is possible to send transactions via HTTP API, they are not automatically committed to the blockchain; they are only put to the pool of candidates for inclusion into future blocks. To fully process transactions, one needs to use create_block* methods, which we have used in the business logic tests.

As an example, the test_create_wallet variation for HTTP API testing is as follows:

let (mut testkit, api) = create_testkit();
let (tx, _) = api.create_wallet("Alice");
let wallet = api.get_wallet(tx.pub_key());
assert_eq!(wallet.pub_key(), tx.pub_key());
assert_eq!(wallet.balance(), 100);

Note that we call create_block after sending a transaction via HTTP API. The create_block method creates a block with all uncommitted transactions, which is just what we need.

For an example of more fine-grained control, consider the test for transferring tokens from a non-existing wallet:

Test: test_transfer_from_nonexisting_wallet

let (tx_alice, key_alice) = api.create_wallet("Alice");
let (tx_bob, _) = api.create_wallet("Bob");

This code results in the testkit not committing Alice’s transaction, so Alice’s wallet does not exist when the transfer occurs later.


Testing is arguably just as important in software development as coding, especially in typical blockchain applications. The testkit framework allows streamlining the testing process for Exonum services and testing both business logic and HTTP API.