Testing with minitest

Introduction

This article describes a tool that we use to test minimega: minitest. minitest provides a framework to run a series of minimega commands and compare the output against a known-correct version. Since release 2.1, we've been adding more test cases for minitest to run to help ensure that minimega behaves correctly.

Overview

minitest is a simple program: it attaches to a running minimega instance, reads a series of commands from a test case, and then compares the output against the expected output (.want files). Any differences are reported. There is no output by default.

Test case

A test case consists of two files: one containing the commands to run and the other containing the expected output. minitests looks in a directory for tests (by default /tests/ in the current directory). Test cases are files without a .want or .got extension. As mentioned above, the .want files contain the expected output from executing a test. For convenience, minitest records the output from the most recent execution of a test in .got. When developing a new test case, a developer may simply copy the .got file and change the extension to .want when the output is as expected.

For demonstration purposes lets look at a test case that checks whether minimega correctly rejects VMs with the same UUID:

$ cat tests/vm_uuid
# Launch VM with specified UUID
vm config uuid a5082fed-bc6f-4f77-8c1b-692ce5ef6302
vm launch kvm 1

# Try to launch another without clearing the UUID
vm launch kvm 1

# Try to launch two VMs with the same UUID
vm config uuid f3b8b039-2f26-43d0-908c-b0de030a44ed
vm launch kvm 2

Here we can see that the test case looks exactly like a minimega script. Below is the expected output:

$ cat tests/vm_uuid.want
## # Launch VM with specified UUID
## vm config uuid a5082fed-bc6f-4f77-8c1b-692ce5ef6302
## vm launch kvm 1

## # Try to launch another without clearing the UUID
## vm launch kvm 1
E: vm launch duplicate UUID: a5082fed-bc6f-4f77-8c1b-692ce5ef6302

## # Try to launch two VMs with the same UUID
## vm config uuid f3b8b039-2f26-43d0-908c-b0de030a44ed
## vm launch kvm 2
E: cannot launch multiple VMs with a pre-configured UUID

For reference, minitest includes the input line prefixed by `## ` above the command output. minitest prefixes the output from commands that return an error with `E: `. Blank lines are preserved.

prolog/epilog

Before and after running each test case, minitest runs the commands in prolog and epilog, respectively.

prolog contains commands that prepare minimega to run the test. Currently, this is limited to turning off the hostname annotations so that tests are more consistent across machines.

epilog contains commands that reset minimega after running a test. Ideally, minimega would restart after each test but our current framework is not sophisticated enough to do so. Instead, we try to clean up all state such as flushing all VMs and deleting all taps. Some state is not reset such as the IDs for VMs. Test cases should be written to exclude these fields, if possible.

Gotchas

Writing new test cases can be tricky because some values are dynamically allocated. For example, if a test included the full output from `vm info` it would be very unlikely to be useful because of the dynamically allocated fields such as tap names and the UUID, which may change on each run. For this reason, tests should be very specific -- take advantage of .filter and .columns to limit the output to just the fields of interest. See tests/tap_lifecycle and tests/vm_lifecycle for examples of this.

Authors

Jon Crussell

22 Mar 2016