What are the contents of a test result?

There is one test_result each time we run a specific test. The fields can be categorized as follows

Type: This set of fields identifies a type of test::
project test_runner test_name
Identity: this set of fields identifies a single test_result record::
test_run host context project test_name
Required: This set of fields is required::
test_run project test_name status
Optional: All other recognized fields::
location (of the test file) test_runner (used to run the test) log (stdout/stderr logs) start_time end_time tda_* tra_*

An unrecognized field will not cause an error, but will not be imported into the database.

What are the meanings of the fields in a report record?

( test_run, project, host, context, test_name ) identify the specific instance of a test result.

  • test_run identifies a specific instance of running the test. If you run a test suite more than once, you need some way to distinguish which run a result came from. Each time you run it, you report it as a different test_run. Normally, you would find the same test name with many different host/context values, indicating that you ran the same test in many environments.

    The reporting system displays the name of the test_run that a result came from. It can also compare the results of multiple test runs. e.g. This test failed today, but it passed yesterday.

  • project is an arbitrary way of grouping tests. The authors have many separate projects that are tested each night as part of our continuous integration. In the morning, we look at a single report that provides a summary of the results from all the projects.

  • host identifies the machine where this test ran.

  • context identifies some specific configuration. For example, if we run the same test in two different versions of python, we use a different context to report each. The context can identify versions of interpreters or shared libraries, cpu type, available memory – it means whatever you want it to mean. You say the name of the context when you run the test, and you read the name of the context in the reports.

  • test_name identifies the test. A test name is unique within a project. The test name is the same every day and in every execution environment, so that you can compare results from day to day or across environments.

These fields uniquely identify a test result. It is an error to report the same result again, but if you run the test again, the test is part of a different test_run so you have a different test result.

Other than the identity, there is only one required field:

  • status tells us what happened with the test
    P = passed
    the test observed whatever it expected
    F = fail
    we ran the test, but it failed
    E = error
    For some reason, we could not complete the test. We distinguish this from Fail because an error may indicate a problem with the test, not a problem with the software being tested.
    D = disabled
    We asked not to run the test. We report this so that the test is not Missing.
    M = missing
    We did not receive a report, but expected one. You don’t normally report Missing in a test result file, but this condition can be detected later in the database.

There are various optional fields:

  • test_runner tells us which software ran the test. Since we can accept reports from many test systems, this tells us which one produced this result.

  • start_time

  • end_time The cumulative run time of some of our test suites is many hours. It helps to know when a particular test ran.

    Two formats are supported for these timestamps:

    - time_t (seconds since 1970)
      may be floating point for fractions of a second
    - YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS.sss
      The output from
         date '+%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S'
      matches this format.  All times in this format are assumed
      to be local time.
  • location is information for a developer who has to diagnose a problem with a test. Since we have 5 projects spread over 8 test environments, and a total of nearly 5000 tests, it is helpful for the report to display the location of the one you are looking at. The location is normally the fully qualified file name of the test.

  • log is the stdout/stderr from a test. If the test fails, it helps to see what it said.

  • tda_* tra_*

    TDA/TRA (test definition/result attributes) are further information that the test explicitly reports. The test author can make up names for as many TDA or TRA fields as they want. The names will be converted to lower case on import to the database.

    The meaning of a TDA or TRA field is only defined for a specific test, though as test author you are free to use the same meanings for a group of tests. It is information for the developer to analyze what was happening. An attribute may be useful even for a test that passed, if it tells you something about how/why/how-well it passed.