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18.1.1 `testsuite' Scripts
Generating testing or validation suites using Autotest is rather easy.
The whole validation suite is held in a file to be processed through
`autom4te', itself using GNU M4 under the scene, to produce a
stand-alone Bourne shell script which then gets distributed. Neither
`autom4te' nor GNU M4 are needed at the installer's end.
Each test of the validation suite should be part of some test group.
A "test group" is a sequence of interwoven tests that ought to be
executed together, usually because one test in the group creates data
files than a later test in the same group needs to read. Complex test
groups make later debugging more tedious. It is much better to keep
only a few tests per test group. Ideally there is only one test per
For all but the simplest packages, some file such as `testsuite.at'
does not fully hold all test sources, as these are often easier to
maintain in separate files. Each of these separate files holds a single
test group, or a sequence of test groups all addressing some common
functionality in the package. In such cases, `testsuite.at' merely
initializes the validation suite, and sometimes does elementary health
checking, before listing include statements for all other test files.
The special file `package.m4', containing the identification of the
package, is automatically included if found.
A convenient alternative consists in moving all the global issues
(local Autotest macros, elementary health checking, and `AT_INIT'
invocation) into the file `local.at', and making `testsuite.at' be a
simple list of `m4_include' of sub test suites. In such case,
generating the whole test suite or pieces of it is only a matter of
choosing the `autom4te' command line arguments.
The validation scripts that Autotest produces are by convention
called `testsuite'. When run, `testsuite' executes each test group in
turn, producing only one summary line per test to say if that
particular test succeeded or failed. At end of all tests, summarizing
counters get printed. One debugging directory is left for each test
group which failed, if any: such directories are named
`testsuite.dir/NN', where NN is the sequence number of the test group,
and they include:
* a debugging script named `run' which reruns the test in "debug
mode" (Note: testsuite Invocation). The automatic generation of
debugging scripts has the purpose of easing the chase for bugs.
* all the files created with `AT_DATA'
* a log of the run, named `testsuite.log'
In the ideal situation, none of the tests fail, and consequently no
debugging directory is left behind for validation.
It often happens in practice that individual tests in the validation
suite need to get information coming out of the configuration process.
Some of this information, common for all validation suites, is provided
through the file `atconfig', automatically created by
`AC_CONFIG_TESTDIR'. For configuration informations which your testing
environment specifically needs, you might prepare an optional file
named `atlocal.in', instantiated by `AC_CONFIG_FILES'. The
configuration process produces `atconfig' and `atlocal' out of these
two input files, and these two produced files are automatically read by
the `testsuite' script.
Here is a diagram showing the relationship between files.
Files used in preparing a software package for distribution:
subfile-1.at ->. [local.at] ---->+
... \ \
subfile-i.at ---->-- testsuite.at -->-- autom4te* -->testsuite
Files used in configuring a software package:
[atlocal.in] --> config.status* --<
Files created during the test suite execution:
atconfig -->. .--> testsuite.log
>-- testsuite* --<
[atlocal] ->' `--> [testsuite.dir]
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