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From George Harley <george.c.har...@googlemail.com>
Subject Re: [classlib] Testing conventions - a proposal
Date Fri, 14 Jul 2006 09:05:05 GMT

If annotations were to be used to help us categorise tests in order to 
simplify the definition of test configurations - what's included and 
excluded etc - then a core set of annotations would need to be agreed by 
the project. Consider the possibilities that the TestNG "@Test" 
annotation offers us in this respect.

First, if a test method was identified as being broken and needed to be 
excluded from all test runs while awaiting investigation then it would 
be a simple matter of setting its enabled field like this:

    public void myTest() {

Temporarily disabling a test method in this way means that it can be 
left in its original class and we do not have to refer to it in any 
suite configuration (e.g. in the suite xml file).

If a test method was identified as being broken on a specific platform 
then we could make use of the groups field of the "@Test" type by making 
the method a member of a group that identifies its predicament. 
Something like this:

    public void myOtherTest() {

The configuration for running tests on Windows would then specifically 
exclude any test method (or class) that was a member of that group.

Making a test method or type a member of a well-known group (well-known 
in the sense that the name and meaning has been agreed within the 
project) is essentially adding some descriptive attributes to the test. 
Like adjectives (the groups) and nouns (the tests) in the English 
language. To take another example, if there was a test class that 
contained methods only intended to be run on Windows and that were all 
specific to Harmony (i.e. not API tests) then  one could envisage the 
following kind of annotation:

@Test(groups={"type.impl", "os.win.IA32"})
public class MyTestClass {

    public void testOne() {

    public void testTwo() {

    public void brokenTest() {

Here the annotation on MyTestClass applies to all of its test methods.

So what are the well-known TestNG groups that we could define for use 
inside Harmony ? Here are some of my initial thoughts:

* type.impl  --  tests that are specific to Harmony

* state.broken.<platform id>  --  tests bust on a specific platform

* state.broken  --  tests broken on every platform but we want to decide 
whether or not to run from our suite configuration

* os.<platform id>  --  tests that are to be run only on the specified 
platform (a test could be member of more than one of these)

What does everyone else think ? Does such a scheme sound reasonable ?

Thanks for reading this far.

Best regards,

George Harley wrote:
> Hi,
> Just seen Tim's note on test support classes and it really caught my 
> attention as I have been mulling over this issue for a little while 
> now. I think that it is a good time for us to return to the topic of 
> class library test layouts.
> The current proposal [1] sets out to segment our different types of 
> test by placing them in different file locations. After looking at the 
> recent changes to the LUNI module tests (where the layout guidelines 
> were applied) I have a real concern that there are serious problems 
> with this approach. We have started down a track of just continually 
> growing the number of test source folders as new categories of test 
> are identified and IMHO that is going to bring complexity and 
> maintenance issues with these tests.
> Consider the dimensions of tests that we have ...
> Harmony-specific
> Platform-specific
> Run on classpath
> Run on bootclasspath
> Behaves different between Harmony and RI
> Stress
> ...and so on...
> If you weigh up all of the different possible permutations and then 
> consider that the above list is highly likely to be extended as things 
> progress it is obvious that we are eventually heading for large 
> amounts of related test code scattered or possibly duplicated across 
> numerous "hard wired" source directories. How maintainable is that 
> going to be ?
> If we want to run different tests in different configurations then 
> IMHO we need to be thinking a whole lot smarter. We need to be 
> thinking about keeping tests for specific areas of functionality 
> together (thus easing maintenance); we need something quick and simple 
> to re-configure if necessary (pushing whole directories of files 
> around the place does not seem a particularly lightweight approach); 
> and something that is not going to potentially mess up contributed 
> patches when the file they patch is found to have been recently pushed 
> from source folder A to B.
> To connect into another recent thread, there have been some posts 
> lately about handling some test methods that fail on Harmony and have 
> meant that entire test case classes have been excluded from our test 
> runs. I have also been noticing some API test methods that pass fine 
> on Harmony but fail when run against the RI. Are the different 
> behaviours down to errors in the Harmony implementation ? An error in 
> the RI implementation ? A bug in the RI Javadoc ? Only after some 
> investigation has been carried out do we know for sure. That takes 
> time. What do we do with the test methods in the meantime ? Do we push 
> them round the file system into yet another new source folder ? IMHO 
> we need a testing strategy that enables such "problem" methods to be 
> tracked easily without disruption to the rest of the other tests.
> A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the TestNG framework [2] seemed 
> like a reasonably good way of allowing us to both group together 
> different kinds of tests and permit the exclusion of individual 
> tests/groups of tests [3]. I would like to strongly propose that we 
> consider using TestNG as a means of providing the different test 
> configurations required by Harmony. Using a combination of annotations 
> and XML to capture the kinds of sophisticated test configurations that 
> people need, and that allows us to specify down to the individual 
> method, has got to be more scalable and flexible than where we are 
> headed now.
> Thanks for reading this far.
> Best regards,
> George
> [1] 
> http://incubator.apache.org/harmony/subcomponents/classlibrary/testing.html 
> [2] http://testng.org
> [3] 
> http://mail-archives.apache.org/mod_mbox/incubator-harmony-dev/200606.mbox/%3c44A163B3.6080005@googlemail.com%3e


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