Using Pandokia with Existing Tests

Step One: Just use it

If you already have existing python tests that can be recognized and run by nose, then you can take advantage of Pandokia’s reporting features as soon as you have installed and configured it.

Place a file named pandokia_top at the top of your test tree, and then issue the command:

pdk run -r <dirname>

This will recursively search through the directory, discovering tests and running them with nose, and using the included nose plugin to write the test results to a log file. Default values for the project (taken from the current directory) and log file (taken from the user and timestamp) will be used, and printed to stdout. Then:

pdk import <logfilename>

will import the results into the Pandokia database, and then you can use the browsable report generator to examine your reports.

Step Two: Environment, notification, and disabling

To take advantage of more of Pandokia’s features, add some special files to your test tree.

Customizing the environment

A file named pdk_environment can be placed in test directories to define the environment in which your tests will run.

A [default] section defines environment variables applicable to all test environments, and optional named [osver], [mach], and [hostname] sections can customize the environment to be used when the tests are run on different machines. These customizations will override the values in the default section.

For example, suppose Arthur has a set of tests that require a resource that is located in different places on different machines. Then his pdk_environment file would look something like this:

PDK_PROJECT = odyssey
monolith = black
doors = $podbay/doors/

podbay = /data/discovery/podbay

podbay = /usr/local/moonbase/podbay

Now the tests that run on hal will run in an environment that includes the variables:

PDK_PROJECT = odyssey
monolith = black
podbay = /data/discovery/podbay
doors = /data/discovery/podbay/doors/

while the tests that run on mycroft will run in an environment that includes the variables:

PDK_PROJECT = odyssey
monolith = black
podbay = /usr/local/moonbase/podbay
doors = /usr/local/moonbase/podbay/doors/

Note that the default section may refer to variables defined in the custom sections.

Environment files are applied hierarchically. Suppose Arthur has a test directory tree laid out like this:


Arthur can place the file described above in the odyssey directory, and its values will apply to all tests in the tree. But he can place an additional pdk_environment file in odyssey/jupiter that contains only the following:


and this value will override the value of $doors for tests in the jupiter directory only (and any subdirectories it may have).

Disabling tests

The presence of a file named sometest.disable will prevent a corresponding file in the same directory from being examined for tests. This can be useful to disable chronically failing tests (although this feature should be used with caution!), or in test-driven development mode, to disable tests that you know will fail because you haven’t fixed the bug or written the code for them yet.

You can also disable a test for just one context by creating a *.CONTEXT.disable file. For example, if you want to disable a test named foo only in the orange context, then you would create a file named in the same directory as foo.

Enabling tests

Support for enable files was added to compliment the disable functionality. The presense of an enable file supercedes any disable files for a particular test. The enable files work just like disable files: for some test foo, you can have foo.enable which means that it always runs, or you can have foo.whatever.enable, which means that foo only runs when $PDK_CONTEXT has the value of “whatever”. If foo.enable or foo.*.enable exists, all foo.disable and foo.*.disable files are ignored by Pandokia.

Email notifications

You can use Pandokia to send customized email notifications of failed, error, or disabled tests. A special file named pdk_contacts can be placed in each test directory. This file should contain the usernames or email addresses, one per line, of people who should be notified when tests in this directory fail.

The contact files are applied hierarchically but cumulatively. For example, consider the following directory layout with pdk_contacts files populated as follows:

film/pdk_contacts: stanley
   odyssey/pdk_contacts: arthur
      jupiter/pdk_contacts: hal
   clockwork/pdk_contacts: anthony

Then Stanley will receive an email containing information about all failed tests; Arthur will receive email containing information about the odyssey project, including all of its subprojects, and Anthony will receive email about only the clockwork project. Hal will receive mail only about the jupiter subproject of odyssey.

Unlike the previous two features, you will have to issue a couple of commands in order to update the contact fields in the database. On the test machine, run:

pdk_gen_contact projectname /directory/name > contact_list.txt

will construct a table of contact information from the contact files in your test tree. “projectname” is the name of the project that you are processing and /directory/name is the path to the root of a test tree. (That is the directory that has the file pandokia_top in it.)

The assumption is that the project contains the same set of tests on all machines, so it is only necessary (or even useful) to run pdk_gen_contact on a single machine.

(b.t.w. pdk_gen_contact is a hack; it will be replaced by “pdk gen_contact” in a future release.)

On the server machine,

pdk import_contact < contact_list.txt

will update the database with that information, so it will be available when you run:

pdk notify

after importing the results of a test run.

The contact names are also shown in the summary report available in the browsable report, which can be useful information for a release manager or someone assigning help desk calls.

Step 3: Add attributes to your tests

Pandokia can collect and report additional information about your tests through the population of test attributes.

Test definition attributes (TDAs) are typically populated by values that are known when the test is being written. It can be used to record input parameters, reference values, thresholds, or descriptive information about the test that would be useful to have when analyzing failures.

Test result attributes (TRAs) can be used to record more detailed results than a simple pass/fail status, such as computed values and discrepancies. They are typically populated by values that are computed during the execution of the test.

Making use of test attributes requires modifying your tests. For tests that inherit from unittest.TestCase, you can add:


to the setUp() method of your test class; then populate the dictionaries as desired.

For test functions, declare the dictionaries as global variables in your function, then populate them (but do not redefine them) in your tests:


def test1():

The Pandokia plugin will take care of clearing the dictionary contents between tests to avoid cross-test contamination.

Additional examples of how to add attributes to your test cases and functions can be seen in and

Step 4: Use helper functions to write new tests

Pandokia provides some helper classes and functions to facilitate writing some kinds of tests.

File comparisons

The file doc/ contains examples of how to subclass from and use the FileTestCase class in your own tests. This class pre-defines several methods:

  • command() executes a shell command
  • check_file() compares a file to a reference file
  • tearDown() cleans up any compared files for tests that passed.

Both the .command() and .check_file() methods automatically populate the tda and tra dictionaries with useful values.

These methods use the helper functions in helpers/, which can also be called independently.

Functions with attributes

Adding TDAs and TRAs to test functions can be done by implementing the dictionaries as global variables. (See for an example)

Alternatively, a developer can inherit from the FunctionHolder, and write methods for it as if they were functions. This class pre-defines the tda and tra dictionaries in its setUp.

ok-ify tests

section here about the TDA _okfile and what to put in an okfile