jtharness vs jtreg

Now that the source code for the OpenJDK Regression Test Harness (jtreg) is available, this provides an overview of how jtreg relates to JT Harness.

In the beginning, there was a need to run compatibility tests on all Java plaforms, and thus was born the "Java Compatibility Kit" (JCK), and the test harness to run those tests (JavaTest). Not long after, there was a need to run a different type of test, regression tests, for JDK. They are fundamentally a different style of test (think white box and black box), but rather than write another, different harness, we adapted JavaTest, and thus was born "jtreg". Eventually, we needed to be able to run tests on different types of platforms, such as Personal Java, a precursor to the J2ME platform. JavaTest evolved to fill the need, and gave rise to the basic architecture you see today.

As you can see, JavaTest, now open sourced under the name JT Harness, is composed of a number of distinct components

  • The core harness. This provides the general ability to represent tests, test results, and to sequence through the execution of a series of tests.
  • Utilities. These provide support to the other JT Harness components.
  • The user interface. JT Harness provides a rich graphical user interface, as well as a command line interface.

And, deliberately, there's a hole. By itself, JT Harness cannot directly run tests in any test suite. It needs to be given a plugin for each test suite, that define how to locate and read tests, how to configure and execute tests, and other additional information, often used by the GUI, to provide documentation specific to the test suite. The plugin code is not complicated and is often a direct use or simple extension of the utility classes provided by JT Harness. Note: most test suites do not need to use all of the JT Harness utility classes, which explains why JT Harness may have more build-time dependencies than are required to build and run any individual test suite.

Thus, the complete picture is more as follows:

This is the form used for most test suites, such as JCK and other TCKs. The code to plugin to the harness is bundled in the test suite, along with a copy of JavaTest or JT Harness itself. These test suites all leverage the user interfaces provided by the harness, both the CLI and GUI. When the user runs JT Harness, and tells it to open a test suite, the harness looks inside the test suite for details of the plugin to be used in conjunction with that test suite.

Because jtreg evolved from JavaTest early on, and specifically, before the JavaTest user interfaces evolved to what you see today, jtreg has a slightly different architecture.

jtreg still utilizes the harness' plugin architecture to configure how to read and execute the tests in the test suite, but it provides its own custom command line interface for setting up a test run. The jtreg CLI provides options tailored to running the JDK regression test suite. It can also invoke the JT Harness GUI, but this is just for monitoring a test run, and does not (yet) provide much support for reconfiguring a test run with different options from within the GUI, as you can do for other test suites.

jtreg is also different from other test suites in that jtreg is distributed separately from the tests that it gets to execute. TCKs are generally built and distributed as self-contained products in their own right, whereas the JDK regression tests do not get prebuilt: they exist and are executed in their source form in each JDK developer's repository. Per the The JDK Test Framework: Tag Language Specification, the tests are compiled and executed as needed.

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