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An xUnit Testing Framework for Perl Language

Tool Information


Tool Summary

PerlUnit PerlUnit - an xUnit Testing Framework for Perl language. PerlUnit is now a project on sourceforge. 

Last Release Year ['Active'=Current]: 
Since (maturity): 


 an xUnit TestingFramework for PerlLanguage Tool Scope Testing Tool
Application Rights Free Use, Opensource
Since 2005
Company Sourceforge
Support Tool Support link HERE
Download Download HERE
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Media & Files

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How Perl Module Testing Works

This section assumes you're already familiar with perlmodinstall, having installed a module manually. After the perl Makefile.PL and make stages, make test runs any tests shipped with the module, either or all files in the t/ directory that end in ``.t.'' The blib/ directories are added to @INC, and Test::Harness runs the test files, captures their output and provides a short summary of the results, including success and failure.

At its heart, a test either prints ``ok'' or ``not ok.'' That's it. Any test program or testing framework that prints results to standard output can use Test::Harness. If you're feeling epistemological (a good trait to cultivate for writing tests), you could ask ``What is truth?'':

print "1..1\n"; if (1) { print "ok\n"; } else { print "not ok\n"; }

Basic? Yes. Bogus? Not really. This is a variant of an actual Perl core test. If you understood that code, then you can write tests. Ignoring the first line for now, simply stick it in a file (truth.t) and run either the command line:

perl -MTest::Harness -e "runtests 'truth.t'";

or the program:

#!/usr/bin/perl -w use strict; use Test::Harness; runtests 'truth.t';

This should produce a message saying that all tests succeeded. If not, then something is broken, and many people would be interested in fixing it.

The first line of the test corresponds to Test::Harness' handy test-numbering feature. The harness needs to know how many tests to expect, and each individual test within a group can have its own number. This is for your benefit. If one test in a 100 mysteriously fails, then it's much easier to track down number 93 than it is to run through the debugger, comment out large swaths of the test suite or rely on intuitively placed print statements.

Knowing truth is good, and so is discerning falsehood. Let's extend truth.t slightly. Note the addition of test numbers to each potential printable line. This is both a boon and a bane.

print "1..2\n"; if (1) { print "ok 1\n"; } else { print "not ok 1\n"; } if (0) { print "not ok 2\n"; } else { print "ok 2\n"; }

Besides the increasingly duplicate code, keeping test numbers synchronized is painful. False laziness is painful -- Test::Harness emits warnings if the number of actual tests run does not meet its expectations. Test writers may not mind, but spurious warnings will confuse end users and healthily lazy developers. As a rule, the simpler the output, the more people will believe that things succeeded. The stuffed, smiling Pikachu (hey, it was a birthday present from an attractive female Web designer) perched atop my monitor makes me think that a giant yellow smiley face would be even better than a simple ``ok'' message. ASCII artists, fire up your editors!

Unfortunately, the truth test is repetitive and fragile. Adding a third test between the first two (the progression from ``truth'' to ``hidden truth'' to ``falsehood'' makes sense) means duplicating the if/else block and renumbering the previously second test. There's also room for a subtle bug:

print "1..2\n";

if (1) { print "ok 1\n"; } else { print "not ok 1\n"; }

if ('0 but true') { print "ok 2\n"; } else { print "not ok 2\n"; }

if (0) { print "not ok 3\n"; } else { print "ok 3\n"; }

Forgetting to update the first line is common. Two tests were expected; three tests ran. The confused Test::Harness will report strange things, like negative failure percentages. Baby Pikachu may cry. Smarter programmers eventually apply good programming style, writing their own ok() functions:

print "1..3\n";

my $testnum = 1; sub ok { my $condition = shift; print $condition ? "ok $testnum\n" : "not ok $testnum\n"; $testnum++; }

ok( 1 ); ok( '0 but true' ); ok( ! 0 );

The lowest levels of the Perl core test suite use this approach. It's simpler to write and handles numbering almost automatically. It lacks some features, though, and is little easier to debug.

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