Difference between revisions of "Tests"

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Writing tests for function is an important thing that is usually overlooked. It helps a lot in preventing regression.  There's a section in the Octave manual on [http://www.gnu.org/software/octave/doc/interpreter/Test-Functions.html#Test-Functions Test Functions].
+
Having a thorough [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Test_suite test suite] is something very important which is usually overlooked. It is an incredible help in preventing regression bugs and quickly assess the status of old codeFor example, many packages in Octave Forge become deprecated after losing their maintainer simply because they have no test suite.
 +
 
 +
GNU Octave has multiple tools that help in creating a comprehensive test suite, accessible to both developers and end-users, as detailed on the [http://www.gnu.org/software/octave/doc/interpreter/Test-Functions.html Octave manual].  Basically, test blocks are {{codeline|%!test}} comment blocks, typically at the end of a source file, which are ignored by the Octave interpreter and only read by the {{manual|test}} function.
 +
 
 +
== Running tests ==
 +
 
 +
To run all the tests of a specific function, simply use the {{manual|test}} command at the Octave prompt.  For example, to run the tests of the Octave function {{manual|mean}} type:
 +
 
 +
>> test mean
 +
PASSES 17 out of 17 tests
 +
 
 +
These tests are written in the Octave language [http://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave/file/6443693a176f/scripts/statistics/base/mean.m#l130 at the bottom of <code>mean.m</code>] which defines the {{manual|mean}} function.  It is important that these tests are also available for the end users so they can test the status of their installation.  The whole Octave test suite can be run with:
 +
 
 +
>> __run_test_suite__
 +
 +
Integrated test scripts:
 +
 +
[...]
 +
 +
Summary:
 +
 +
  PASS    11556
 +
  FAIL        3
 +
  XFAIL        6
 +
  SKIPPED    38
 +
 +
See the file test/fntests.log for additional details.
 +
 
 +
To run tests in a specific file, one can simply specify the path instead of a function name:
 +
 
 +
  test /full/path/to/file.m
  
 
== Writing tests ==
 
== Writing tests ==
  
Octave provides for robust testing of functionsThe manual includes a section on the [http://www.gnu.org/software/octave/doc/interpreter/Test-Functions.html#Test-Functions Test Functions]Several examples are included.
+
Tests appear as <code>%!</code> blocks at the bottom of the source file, together with <code>%!demo</code> blocksA typical m function file, will have the following structure:
 +
 
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="Octave">
 +
## Copyright
 +
##
 +
## A block with the copyright notice
 +
 
 +
## -*- texinfo -*-
 +
##
 +
## A block with the help text
 +
 
 +
function [x, y, z] = foo (bar)
 +
  ## some amazing code
 +
endfunction
 +
 
 +
%!assert (foo (1))
 +
%!assert (foo (1:10))
 +
%!assert (foo ("on"), "off")
 +
%!error <must be positive integer> foo (-1)
 +
%!error <must be positive integer> foo (1.5)
 +
 
 +
%!demo
 +
%! ## see how cool foo() is:
 +
%! foo([1:100])
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
 
 +
Tests can be added to oct functions in the C++ sources just as easily, see
 +
[http://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave/file/f5ad7470d957/libinterp/corefcn/find.cc#l566 find.cc]
 +
for example.  The syntax is exactly the same, but done within C comment blocks.
 +
During installation, these lines are automatically extracted from the sources
 +
and special test scripts are generated.  A typical C++ source file has the
 +
following structure:
 +
 
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="c++">
 +
// Copyright
 +
//
 +
// A block with the copyright notice
 +
 +
DEFUN_DLD (foo, args, ,
 +
"-*- texinfo -*-\n\
 +
A block with the help text")
 +
{
 +
  // some amazing code
 +
}
 +
 +
/*
 +
%!assert (foo (1))
 +
%!assert (foo (1:10))
 +
%!assert (foo ("on"), "off")
 +
%!error <must be positive integer> foo (-1)
 +
%!error <must be positive integer> foo (1.5)
 +
*/
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
 
 +
=== Assert ===
 +
 
 +
{{codeline|%!assert}} lines are the simplest tests to write and also the most
 +
common:
 +
 
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="Octave">
 +
%!assert (foo (bar))      # test fails if "foo (bar)" returns false
 +
%!assert (foo (bar), qux) # test fails if "foo (bar)" is different from "qux"
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
 
 +
These are actually a shorthand version of
 +
{{codeline|%!test assert (foo (bar))}}, and {{codeline|assert}} is simply
 +
an Octave function that throws an error when two arguments fail to compare.
 +
 
 +
=== Test ===
 +
 
 +
While single {{codeline|%!assert}} lines are the most common used tests, {{codeline|%!test}} blocks offer more features and flexibility.  The code within {{codeline|%!test}} blocks is simply processed through the Octave interpreter.  If the code generates an error, the test is said to fail.  Often {{codeline|%!test}} blocks end with a call to {{codeline|assert}}:
 +
 
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="Octave">
 +
%!test
 +
%! a = [0 1 0 0 3 0 0 5 0 2 1];
 +
%! b = [2 5 8 10 11];
 +
%! for i = 1:5
 +
%!  assert (find (a, i), b(1:i))
 +
%! endfor
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
 
 +
==== Test for no failure ====
 +
 
 +
In a few cases, there is the situation where a function returns nothing,
 +
and the only thing to test is that it causes no errorThis can be tested
 +
simply with:
 +
 
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="Octave">
 +
%!test foo (bar)
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
  
===Declaring Functions Inside a Test Block===
+
=== Error / Warning ===
  
Octave's ''test'' function automatically inserts the contents of each test block into a function. Although it is admittedly hacky/ugly, this implies that addition functions may be declared within a test blockFor example, the empty function below named {{Codeline|experience}} is accompanied by a single test block which includes two function definitions.
+
It is also important to test that a function performs its checks correctly
 +
and throws errors (or warnings) when it receives garbageThis can be done with
 +
{{codeline|error}} (or {{codeline|warning}}) blocks:
  
function experience ()
+
<syntaxhighlight lang="Octave">
%!test
+
%!error foo ()  # test that causes any error
%! experience_design_mat
+
%!error <BAR must be a positive integer> foo (-1.5) # test that throws specific error message
%! experience_obs_eqs
+
%!error id=Octave:invalid-fun-call foo ()  # test that throws specific error id
%! assert (experience_design_mat == pi);
 
%! assert (experience_obs_eqs == exp(1));
 
  %!
 
%! endfunction  % this is a trick.
 
  %! % now we can declare functions to be used by the test above.
 
%!
 
%! function a = experience_design_mat
 
%!    a = pi;
 
%! endfunction
 
%!
 
%! function b = experience_obs_eqs
 
%!    b = exp(1);
 
  %! % endfunction: don't add it here. Let test() do it.
 
  
== Running Tests ==
+
%!warning foo ()  # test that causes any warning
 +
%!warning <negative values might give inaccurate results> foo (-1.5)  # test that triggers a specific warning message
 +
%!warning id=BAR:possibly-inaccurate-result foo (-1.5)  # test that triggers a specific warning id
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
  
Tests are run tests in m-files by using the {{Codeline|test}} function/command.  For example, to test the {{Codeline|experience}} above use the command below.
+
=== Shared functions ===
  
  test experience
+
It is often useful to share a function among multiple tests.  Sometimes
 +
these are only small helper functions, but more often these are just simpler
 +
low performance implementations of the function being tested.  These are
 +
created in {{codeline|%!function}} blocks:
  
Or alternatively, use the functional form
+
<syntaxhighlight lang="Octave">
 +
%!function x = slow_foo (bar)
 +
%!  ## a simple implementation of foo, definitely correct, but
 +
%!  ## unfortunately too slow for anything other than tests.
 +
%!endfunction
  
  test ("experience")
+
%!assert (foo (bar), slow_foo (bar))
  
To run tests in .cc files, the path to the file must be provided.
+
%!test
 +
%! for i = -100:100
 +
%!  bar = qux (i);
 +
%!  assert (foo (bar), slow_foo (bar))
 +
%! endfor
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
  
  test /full/path/to/file.cc
+
[[Category:Testing]]
 +
[[Category:Development]]

Latest revision as of 06:15, 18 March 2018

Having a thorough test suite is something very important which is usually overlooked. It is an incredible help in preventing regression bugs and quickly assess the status of old code. For example, many packages in Octave Forge become deprecated after losing their maintainer simply because they have no test suite.

GNU Octave has multiple tools that help in creating a comprehensive test suite, accessible to both developers and end-users, as detailed on the Octave manual. Basically, test blocks are %!test comment blocks, typically at the end of a source file, which are ignored by the Octave interpreter and only read by the test function.

Running tests[edit]

To run all the tests of a specific function, simply use the test command at the Octave prompt. For example, to run the tests of the Octave function mean type:

>> test mean
PASSES 17 out of 17 tests

These tests are written in the Octave language at the bottom of mean.m which defines the mean function. It is important that these tests are also available for the end users so they can test the status of their installation. The whole Octave test suite can be run with:

>> __run_test_suite__

Integrated test scripts:

[...]

Summary:

  PASS     11556
  FAIL         3
  XFAIL        6
  SKIPPED     38

See the file test/fntests.log for additional details.

To run tests in a specific file, one can simply specify the path instead of a function name:

 test /full/path/to/file.m

Writing tests[edit]

Tests appear as %! blocks at the bottom of the source file, together with %!demo blocks. A typical m function file, will have the following structure:

## Copyright
##
## A block with the copyright notice

## -*- texinfo -*-
##
## A block with the help text

function [x, y, z] = foo (bar)
  ## some amazing code
endfunction

%!assert (foo (1))
%!assert (foo (1:10))
%!assert (foo ("on"), "off")
%!error <must be positive integer> foo (-1)
%!error <must be positive integer> foo (1.5)

%!demo
%! ## see how cool foo() is:
%! foo([1:100])

Tests can be added to oct functions in the C++ sources just as easily, see find.cc for example. The syntax is exactly the same, but done within C comment blocks. During installation, these lines are automatically extracted from the sources and special test scripts are generated. A typical C++ source file has the following structure:

// Copyright
//
// A block with the copyright notice
 
DEFUN_DLD (foo, args, ,
"-*- texinfo -*-\n\
A block with the help text")
{
  // some amazing code
}
 
/*
%!assert (foo (1))
%!assert (foo (1:10))
%!assert (foo ("on"), "off")
%!error <must be positive integer> foo (-1)
%!error <must be positive integer> foo (1.5)
*/

Assert[edit]

%!assert lines are the simplest tests to write and also the most common:

%!assert (foo (bar))      # test fails if "foo (bar)" returns false
%!assert (foo (bar), qux) # test fails if "foo (bar)" is different from "qux"

These are actually a shorthand version of %!test assert (foo (bar)), and assert is simply an Octave function that throws an error when two arguments fail to compare.

Test[edit]

While single %!assert lines are the most common used tests, %!test blocks offer more features and flexibility. The code within %!test blocks is simply processed through the Octave interpreter. If the code generates an error, the test is said to fail. Often %!test blocks end with a call to assert:

%!test
%! a = [0 1 0 0 3 0 0 5 0 2 1];
%! b = [2 5 8 10 11];
%! for i = 1:5
%!   assert (find (a, i), b(1:i))
%! endfor

Test for no failure[edit]

In a few cases, there is the situation where a function returns nothing, and the only thing to test is that it causes no error. This can be tested simply with:

%!test foo (bar)

Error / Warning[edit]

It is also important to test that a function performs its checks correctly and throws errors (or warnings) when it receives garbage. This can be done with error (or warning) blocks:

%!error foo ()  # test that causes any error
%!error <BAR must be a positive integer> foo (-1.5)  # test that throws specific error message
%!error id=Octave:invalid-fun-call foo ()  # test that throws specific error id

%!warning foo ()  # test that causes any warning
%!warning <negative values might give inaccurate results> foo (-1.5)  # test that triggers a specific warning message
%!warning id=BAR:possibly-inaccurate-result foo (-1.5)  # test that triggers a specific warning id

Shared functions[edit]

It is often useful to share a function among multiple tests. Sometimes these are only small helper functions, but more often these are just simpler low performance implementations of the function being tested. These are created in %!function blocks:

%!function x = slow_foo (bar)
%!  ## a simple implementation of foo, definitely correct, but
%!  ## unfortunately too slow for anything other than tests.
%!endfunction

%!assert (foo (bar), slow_foo (bar))

%!test
%! for i = -100:100
%!   bar = qux (i);
%!   assert (foo (bar), slow_foo (bar))
%! endfor