Testing akka: turn on debug

Testing is easier when you can see what messages are received by your actors. To do this, add logging to your real code, and then change your configuration. This post shows how to hard-code some debugging configuration for testing purposes.

Step 1: put logging into your receive method, by wrapping your existing receive definition in LoggingReceive:

import akka.event.LoggingReceive
def receive = LoggingReceive({ case _ => “your code here” })

Step 2: In actor system creation, put some hard-coded configuration in front of the default configuration.

val config: Config = ConfigFactory.parseString(“””akka {
         loglevel = “DEBUG”
         actor {
           debug {
             receive = on
             lifecycle = off
val system = ActorSystem(“NameOfSystem”, config)

Now when you run you’ll see messages like:

[DEBUG] [01/03/2014 16:41:57.227] [NameOfSystem-akka.actor.default-dispatcher-4] [akka://Seqosystem/user/$c] received handled message Something

Step 3: This is a good time to add names for your actors at creation, so you’ll see them in the log. 

val actor = system.actorOf(Props(new MyActor()), “happyActor”)

[DEBUG] [01/03/2014 16:41:57.227] [NameOfSystem-akka.actor.default-dispatcher-4] [akka://Seqosystem/user/happyActor] received handled message Something

Now at least you have some indication of messages flying around during your tests. Do you have any other pointers for debugging actor systems?