How to wire your FitNesse fixtures with Spring

For testing my applications I like to use FitNesse and for writing my applications I tend to use Spring a lot. Since there is no way in FitNesse to override the mechanism how the Fixtures are instantiated you need to somehow load the Spring context and get the beans you want to test from the Spring context. You can of course do this by hand and retrieve the beans from the application context, but this kind of clutters your fixture code. Better is to let Spring take care of the wiring.

In order to let Spring wire your fixtures we can use the functionality offered by the AutowireCapableBeanFactory. If we create a ClassPathXmlApplicationContext we can obtain a reference to the AutowireCapableBeanFactory. The mechanism I describe here is actually also used in the AbstractDependencyInjectionSpringContextTests provided by Spring to inject you JUnit tests with Spring beans.

Here is the final code needed for injecting your fixtures:

Code to load spring context and wire fixtures:

public class FixtureWirer {
    private static AutowireCapableBeanFactory beanFactory;
    static {
        beanFactory = new ClassPathXmlApplicationContext("/applicationContext.xml").getAutowireCapableBeanFactory();
    public static void wire(Fixture fixture) {
        // make sure you AUTOWIRE_BY_NAME otherwise Spring will complain
        // about injecting the systemUnderTest property in the superclass which is of type object.
        beanFactory.autowireBeanProperties(fixture, AutowireCapableBeanFactory.AUTOWIRE_BY_NAME, false);

Code in a fixture: (in this case a SetupFixture).

public class ApplicationSetup extends SetUpFixture {
    private SomeRepository someRepository;
    protected void setUp() throws Exception {
    public void setSomeRepository(SomeRepository someRepository) {
        this.someRepository = someRepository;
    // rest of fixture code where you can use someRepository omitted...

Happy testing.

Comments (7)

  1. Nayan Hajratwala - Reply

    March 21, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Great tip, however, I can't seem to get it working. I think the problem must be in my applicationContext.xml .. can you post what should be in there?

    Should there be a bean definition for each fixture?

    Also, I'm using ColumnFixtures, for which there is no setUp() method. Should i put the call to FixtureWirer in the constructor?


  2. Lars Vonk - Reply

    March 21, 2008 at 9:35 pm


    What should be in you applicationContext.xml depends on the name of you property in the Fixture. In my case where the name of the property is someRepository I would have this in my applicationContext:

    bean id=\"someRepository\" class=\"SomeRepository\"

    You don\'t need to put your fixtures in applicationContext since you are going to wire them programmatically via beanFactory.autowireBeanProperties(..).

    If there is no setup you can put them in the constructor.

    Good luck,

  3. Integrating FitNesse with Spring - Reply

    March 25, 2008 at 3:56 am

    [...] Finally, we ran across How to wire your FitNesse fixtures with Spring. This seemed to hold the ticket, but something just didn’t jive. I left a question in the comments (which has since been answered, and may indeed also solve the problem), and continued the quest. [...]

  4. Duncan - Reply

    January 27, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    I want to only call FixtureWirer.wire(this) once in the SetUp() fixture and then when calling the class in other fixtures the spring managed items will already be initialized. I cannot see how to do this and would appreciate your advice.

  5. Luis Atencio - Reply

    July 16, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Amazing post!

  6. Antony - Reply

    August 20, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    This really helped me out. I've written a small framework from it that I'm thinking of open-sourcing. Is it ok to use your code? I'll credit it you in the javadoc 🙂

  7. Antony - Reply

    September 3, 2009 at 10:26 am

    And here it is - works great!

    I created a library that loads spring and wires in the fixture with very little code for the developer:

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