Posts about technology and arts.

A comparison of TAP (Test Anything Protocol) and SubUnit

I have been playing with TAP for some time and even implemented a Java API to let TestNG, JUnit and other Test Frameworks to produce and consume TAP. TAP is a standard format for test output that first appeared with Perl 1 in 1987. It is human and machine readable, easy to be serialized, language independent and extensible1 through the use of YAML.

Some days ago while I was designing a plug-in to show TAP test results in Jenkins I stumbled across a message in Jenkins dev-list where Max Magee and Nick Wiesmueller were discussing about a way of showing more details about the test executions. I thought that the TAP Plug-in would fit perfectly, until one of the users, Robert Collins, mentioned SubUnit.

Shame on me, but I hadn't heard of SubUnit until that message. Max Magee and I exchanged some messages after that, talking about a initial design and analysis for the TAP Plug-in2. Here is the initial idea:

  • The plug-in will be able to parse one or more test formats (maybe SubUnit, TAP and the formats available in xUnit?).
  • The test results will be displayed the same way JUnit tests are displayed in Jenkins (I think Jenkins supports JUnit format by default, but you can use objects and create test results data, independently of the test framework that you are using).
  • There will be a table containing the Test Name, Description and Status and an expandable section.
  • Inside this expandable section will be available all the details about the test.
  • In case there are images within the test details, they should be displayed as a lightbox gallery.3

Although I have worked with TAP and spent some good time writing the tap4j port for Java, I am not convinced it is the best solution for this issue yet. Hence I am posting this initial comparison between TAP and SubUnit hoping that more people will contribute with the design of this solution. My goal is not only having a super cool plug-in for Jenkins, but ease integration of test results in different tools and collaborate with both TAP and SubUnit. Another objective that I have in mind is improving the way that test results are displayed in Jenkins and enabling it to be an alternative for tools like Smolder, TestRepository or Tribunal. Because I believe the tasks done by these tools could be all done in my favorite CI Server, and it would increase the productivity of Build & Release professionals :-))

Faça seus Testes Falarem TAP (Make your Tests Speak TAP) article published in MundoJ, issue 47, March/April 2011

This is my first article for a Brazilian magazine! :-D It was published in this month’s issue of MundoJ magazine (previously called MundoJava).

In this article Cesar Fernandes de Almeida, Anderson dos Santos and I discuss how to make your Java tests output TAP (Test Anything Protocol) Streams. This test protocol has been used by Perl developers since Perl’s first version (1983~) but hasn’t been used by many Java developers yet, unfortunately. We hope it incentives other Java developers to use TAP for their tests. There is an alternative to TAP too, SubUnit, which was pointed out for me by Robert Collins in the Jenkins dev-list few weeks ago. Now I am preparing a comparison between TAP and SubUnit as an analysis before developing a plug-in for Jenkins to show detailed test results (such as exception, images, raw test, error line, etc).

Throughout the article we explain how to use tap4j to generate TAP Streams with TestNG, however it is possible to use the same approach to generate TAP Streams with JUnit.

Now I will translate the article to send it to Patrick LeBoutillier, who contributed to this article answering patiently my questions by mail and writing metatap, a utility that lets you check if a TAP Stream is valid, according to the program parameters. This utility is being used in tap4j for integration tests between Perl and Java.

Unfortunately I’m not allowed to redistribute the article, not even an English version of it :-(

Cheers :)

Belgium Testing Days 2011 Pictures

Here are some pictures of the event. The presentation is available in

(Sorry, after migrating the server I lost some pictures. Will upload it again soon!)


TestLink and Hudson (now Jenkins) short tutorial in Automated Software Testing Magazine, issue March 2011

Hi there, a new article about TestLink and Hudson (now Jenkins) was published, now in Automated Software Testing Magazine, issue March 2011. In this article you will find a short tutorial to set up a TestNG test and a simple Job to execute your automated tests. Now we are writing a docbook document to explain with more details how the plug-in works and how you can play with it. We are also working in more samples, translation and video demos. Release 2.2 was planned for last Friday but I missed the date to add a new feature: TestLink platforms, this is the last known limitation in the plug-in.


Discussing the flexibility of TAP to cover information generated by TestNG

In today's post I am expanding the previous one regarding the use of TAP with TestNG. Let's discuss about the flexibility of TAP to cover information generated by TestNG, more specifically:

  • Expected Exceptions
  • Data Providers
  • Groups
  • Tests that get skipped
  • Dependencies

We will be addressing these bullet points using tap4j, a TAP implementation for Java. The integration between TAP and TestNG is done through the use of TestNG Listeners developed in tap4j project (a big thanks here to Cesar Fernandes de Almeida for all his help).

There are two listeners in tap4j, br.eti.kinoshita.tap4j.ext.testng.TestTAPReporter and br.eti.kinoshita.tap4j.ext.testng.SuiteTAPReporter. The first was created based on org.testng.reporters.TestHTMLReporter and the latter was created based on org.testng.reporters.SuiteHTMLReporter.

In this figure you have testing tools as TAP producers (left) and different types of applications as consumers (right)