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Franziska Sauerwein Software Craftswoman at Codurance LTD

From Zero to Persistent Actors

How I test drove an Actor System from the ground up

Last summer, I started my journey to become a craftswoman - to get there, I would need to prove my knowledge in software design, Continuous Integration and Test Driven Development - all in one pet project.

I decided to also show how well I could teach myself new technologies and learned how to use Typesafe's actor framework Akka and Scala as a new programming language.

Actors allow us to use a new way structuring our applications with multiple, independently operating entities that are inherently ready for parallelism.

They are very popular and lots of resources can be found to get you started.

But just copying and pasting something was not the way I wanted my pet project to be build - I searched for a way to test drive it, even to the point of persistent actors.

I started out by building a walking skeleton, a proof that my application's parts were working together from commit to production, motivated by a failing end-to-end acceptance test.

Let me tell you the story of how it went and show you how you can do it yourself.


I noticed there was not much information out there about how to test drive Akka Actors.

As Akka and Akka Persistence are in wide use, this is very worrying to me.

I will also point out some concerns on how to design your application in a way to support the testability.

You can read on how I created my walking skeleton here: