Interesting Mockito / reflection feature & workaround

So, you have two interfaces:

interface SettingsProvider {
  Settings getSettings(String id);


interface InternalSettingsProvider extends SettingsProvider {
  InternalSettings getSettings(String id);

You mock one of the second, and you stub the method:

InternalSettingsProvider mockProvider =

You run some code that only knows about SettingsProvider, not InternalSettingsProvider. This code calls getSettings(“anId”). You’re expecting it to then make use of someSettings so…

…you get a NullPointerException.

It turns out that, with reflection, it actually makes a difference whether you call getSettings() on SettingsProvider or on InternalSettingsProvider. Each interface results in a separate Method object.

When the SettingsProvider#getSettings() call comes in, the matching code looks at the Methods it has registered for stubbing, and it finds one for InternalSettingsProvider#getSettings(), but none for SettingsProvider#getSettings(). So it returns the default value, which for an object is null.

Luckily, the first workaround you might think of does actually do the trick.

when(((SettingsProvider) mockProvider)

I ran into this with Mockito, but I imagine it’ll come up in some other reflection-related contexts too.

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