Developing and Testing Spring Boot Applications


Spring Boot provides Developer Tools which feature options like automatic restart and live reload during the development of an application.

Spring Developer Tools and Classloading

An additional process engine plugin (ApplicationContextClassloaderSwitchPlugin) will be loaded in case your application is in a development mode:

  • Spring Developer tools (spring-boot-devtools library) are on the class path and
  • the tools are enabled, e.g., the application is started in IDE

The plugin ensures exchanging the application context classloader with the classloader used for the process engine to prevent issues during deserialization.


Spring offers extensive support for automated testing. This is covered through dedicated mocking packages, test runners and annotations. When testing Spring and Spring Boot applications, a significant amount of time is required to load the ApplicationContext. That is why Spring caches an ApplicationContext after a test is finished. This allows for it to be reused in later tests with the same configuration.

Context Caching with Process Engines

To use ApplicationContext caching with the Process Engine requires some additional configuration. This is because the Process Engine needs a statically defined name (if no name is defined, “default” is used), which leads to Spring attempting to create multiple ApplicationContexts with Process Engines with the same name. This will cause tests to behave incorrectly, or in the worst case, completely fail to load the ApplicationContext.

Using unique Process Engine/Application names

To make context caching work properly with Process Engines and Process Applications, they need to have unique names for every different test configuration.

When defining a new test configuration, the easiest way to ensure that the new ApplicationContext uses a new Process Engine (and Process Application) is to enable to following properties in your @SpringBootTest annotation:

  // ...other parameters...
  properties = {
    // this is only needed if a SpringBootProcessApplication 
    // is used for the test
    // additional properties...
  • The camunda.bpm.generate-unique-process-engine-name=true property will generate a unique name for the Process Engine (ex. ‘processEngine2Sc4bg2s1g’).
  • The camunda.bpm.generate-unique-process-application-name=true property will generate a unique name for the Process Application (ex. ‘processApplication2Sc4bg2s1g’). This is useful if you want to deploy and test a Process Application multiple times with multiple configurations.
  • The spring.datasource.generate-unique-name=true property will generate a new datasource for each new ApplicationContext. Reused (cached) ApplicationContexts will use the same datasource.

Be aware that the generate-unique-process-engine-name and process-engine-name properties are mutually exclusive. Setting them both will result in an exception.

If a static accessor needs to be used (e.g. processEngines.getProcessEngine(name)) in a given test, then the following properties can be used:

  // other parameters
  properties = {
    // this is only needed if a SpringBootProcessApplication 
    // is used for the test
    // additional properties

Here, the camunda.bpm.process-engine-name=foo will set (a unique name) “foo” as the Process Engine name.

Disabling Telemetry

Telemetry reports are introduced with Camunda 7.14.0. To prevent sending data generated during testing, we encourage you to disable the telemetry reporter. Please read more about the topic in the dedicated page for Telemetry.

Example of disabling the reporter in Spring Boot setups:

    telemetry-reporter-activate: false

Camunda Assertions

The Camunda 7 Assertions library is integrated with the Camunda Spring Boot Starter in order to make testing processes in your Spring Boot application easier.

Using Assertions with Context Caching

Out of the box, the Camunda 7 Assertions library tries to use the default engine or the (single) one that is available. Since when using Context Caching multiple engines are used in different contexts, binding the correct Process Engine to the Camunda Assertions library is required for both caching and assertions to work correctly. This can be done through the following initialization code in the test class:

  ProcessEngine processEngine;  

  public void setUp() {

This needs to be done in addition to the Unique Process Engine/Application names requirement described in the section above.

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