Simple test framework

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Abraham Aguilar


Abraham Aguilar



Cardiogram ᾞ1

A framework for impromptu testing in Common Lisp.

WARNING: Work in progress.


The main objects in cardiogram are tests. To define a test use the deftest macro. It's syntax is:

(deftest <name> (<options>*) <docstring>* <form>*)

<options> := | :before <symbol> | <list-of-symbols>
             | :after <symbol> | <list-of-symbols>
             | :around <symbol> | <list-of-symbols>
             | :depends-on <dependency-c-d>
             | :time-limit <number>

<dependency-c-d> := ([or and] [<symbol> <dependency-c-d>]+)

To run a test, call it by name. For example:

(deftest myfunction-test ()
  (true (myfunction))


This will run the code inside the test, then save the result. The second time you call (myfunction-test) the code won't be run, rather the test result will be printed. To run the test again, call it with the :run keyword like so:


(myfunction-test :run)


Chaining tests

You can combine tests using the :before, :around, and :after options. For example:

(deftest myotherfunction-test (:after myfunction-test)
  (false (myotherfunction (myfunction)))

(deftest myvariable-test (:around (myfunction-test myotherfunction-test))
  (of-type myvariable 'string))

(myfunction-test :run)

;=> Running test myvariable-test...
;   Running test myfunction-test...
;   Running test myvariable-test...
;   Running test myotherfunction-test...
;   Running test myvariable-test...

(myotherfunction-test :run)

;=> Running test myvariable-test...
;   Running test myotherfunction-test...
;   Running test myvariable-test...

(myvariable-test :run)

;=> Running test myvariable-test...

You can also tell a test to skip any test in it's combination by specifying it's name when you call it:


(myfunction-test :run :skip `(myvariable-test))

;=> Running test myfunction-test...
;   Running test myotherfunction-test...

Test dependencies

To define dependencies for a test, use the :depends-on option.

(deftest myotherfunction-test (:after myfunction-test :depends-on (myvariable-test))

(myfunction-test :run)

;=> Running test myvariable-test...
;   Skipping myfunction-test. Failed dependencies.

Additionally you can use the :dependency-of option to add the test being defined to another's dependencies.

(deftest myotherfunction-test (:dependency-of myfunction-test)


;=> Running test myotherfunction-test
; Test myotherfunction-test failed
; ... Dependency error... skipping test myfunction-test

Both :dependency-of and :depends-on accept dependency disjunctions and conjunctions of the form:

<dependency-expr>  := (<operator-keyword> <symbol>* <dependency-expr>*)
<operator-keyword> := :and :or

Tests are funcallable, so you can programatically call tests with Lisp's own funcall. For example:

(loop for sy being each symbol in *package* doing
      (when (tboundp sy)
        (funcall (symbol-test sy))))

Furthermore, tests will return t or nil whenever they pass or fail respectively.

; silly example

(when (myfunction-test)
  (asdf:make :mypackage))

Anonymous Tests

Sometimes you need to test something without being sure about how to test it. The test macro is a lambda form analog that returns an anonymous test[^1]. Tests defined anonymously can be used in combination with other named tests.

(test (:after myfunction-test)

(funcall *)

;=> Running test TEST872...


;=> Running test MYFUNCTION-TEST...
;   Running test TEST872...

(deftes myvar-test (:depends-on (test (:after myfunction-test) ...))


A global variable called *ignore-errors* controls if a test invokes the debugger on error or not. It's set to nil by default. When set to t, errors will be ignored but sill reported. A test with an error is a failed test.

(setf *ignore-errors* t)

(deftest a ()
(+ 'a 1))


;=> Running test A...
;   Test A took 0.0s to run.
;   Test A FAIL
;   Value of 'A in (+ 'A 1) is A, not a NUMBER. 'A(+ 'A 1)NUMBER
;   NIL

Comparisons, valuations and formats.

Cardiogram provides the following valuations to be used inside a test's forms.

(true form)
; Tests if form is true

(false form)
; Tests if form is false

(fail form)
; Will always fail form

(pass form)
; Will always pass form

(is form expected)
; To test if form is eql to expected

(isnt form expected)
; To test if form isn't eql to expected

(is-values form expected)
; To test if the values of form are eql to the values of expected

(isnt-values form expected)
; Tests if  the falues of form aren't eql to de values of expected

(is-print form expected)
; Tests if form prints the same as expected

(eql-types form1 form2)
; Tests if form1 and form2 are of eql types

(of-type form expected)
; Tests if form is of type expected

(expands-1 form expected)
; Tests if form macroexpand-1s to expected

You can define new valuations by a two step process. First use the define-valuation macro. The body in define-valuation corresponds to the test used when calling a valuation. It should return true or false.

; (define-valuation valuation-name args &body body)

(define-valuation my-is (form expected)
  (my-eql form expected))

Next you need to define a reporter function for your valuation. To do this, use the define-format macro. The body in this macro should be either a string or the body of a function taking two arguments. The first argument is a list of the arguments passed to the valuation. The second is the result of the valuation. When defining a function. It should return a report string.

; (define-format valuation-name format-name args &body body)

(define-format my-is simple (args result)
  (with-output-to-string (s)
    (destructuring-bind (form expected) args
      (if result (princ form s) (princ "NOPE" s))))

The format simple is the default format in cardiogram and binary is the fall-back format. You can define new formats by individually adding your format to each valuation name. Then to use it do (setf *default-format* 'myformat).

(ql:quickload :alexandria)
(ql:quickload :cl-yaml)

(define-format fail myformat (args result)
  (declare (ignore args result))
    (alexandria:alist-hash-table '(("result" . "failed")
                                   ("reason" . "Always Fails"))))

Cardiogram outputs report strings to a stream called *test-output* which defaults to *standard-output*. You can change it to whatever stream you like.


Sometimes you need to run a test that changes an aspect of the environment. To fix the environment again, cardiogram has a few macros wrapping unwind-protect. The main one is with-fixes.

;=> 4

;=> 3

(with-fixes (var1 var2)
  (setf var1 3)
  (setf var2 4) ...)

;=> 4

;=> 3

Environments with automatic fixes

Also there are macros that automatically compute fixes for symbols whose symbol-name starts with f!. They are f!let, f!let*, f!block and f!labels


;=> 4

(f!let (...)
  (setf *global-var* 'symbol)
  (setf f!*global-var* "something else"))


;=> 4º

Notice how preppending the variable name anywhere inside the f!let is sufficient.

You can define your own fixes with the defix macro.

; (defix name args &body body)
; where args must be a list of 1 element

(defix my-symbol-p (s)
  (when (my-symbol-p s)
    (setf s 5))

[^1]: Or rather a test bound to a symbol.

Dependencies (2)

  • cl-annot
  • closer-mop

Dependents (0)

    • GitHub
    • Quicklisp