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From: David Abrahams (dave_at_[hidden])
Date: 2002-10-04 07:47:01

From: "Gennadiy Rozental" <gennadiy.rozental_at_[hidden]>

> > However, I'm a little nervous about having expected failure tests for
> > certain compiler versions unless we can get information about what
> actually
> > works and what doesn't into the docs or the status tables. I don't
> > it's acceptable to say "this passes the test, but if you want to know
> > actually works you need to look at our regression test source".
> Ok. Here another proposition. More complex, but I think it will work
> in a long-term outlook.
> Let say we introduce notion of 'results pattern file' that will store the
> information about expected result of every assertions in every test cases
> for every compiler.

Expected results is an important feature of any testing system. Not just
for assertions, but also for printed output.

> Exact format is not important. It will be the Boost.Test
> details. Then let introduce method
> void results_pattern( string const& file_name )
> to the class unit_test_result interface. Finally let introduce parameter
> recognized by the framework named
> --results_pattern <value>
> where value = check|save|report_short|report_detailed
> 'check' - is the default value. It will make the test program to validate
> testing results vs. result pattern file (if one is supplied)
> 'save' - will make the test program to save the results pattern for the
> current compiler into file (if one is supplied)
> 'report_short' - will generate the test results report based on
> in a file supplied (cause an error if one not supplied) in a human
> (or XML but "XML output" is completely separate topic that I will discuss
> later) format. This report contain the test case based information like
> this:
> Compiler1:
> test_is_same ..... pass
> test_is_array........ fail
> ....
> Compiler2:
> test_is_same ..... fail
> test_is_array........ pass
> ....
> 'report_detailed' - will do the same what report_short is doing but will
> print assertion based report.

I like the above very much. However, it's going to be difficult to use for
some cases, like those in the type traits library, which run a suite of
checks with a variety of types. The problem is that on some compilers, a
given trait will work fine, e.g., for everything but pointers to
const-volatile-qualified member functions. That doesn't make the trait
completely broken on that platform -- not at all. The problem is that type
traits are SO useful for getting around the limitations of broken compilers
that we don't want to just say "this one works"/"this one doesn't".
Instead, it's important to tease apart just what the behavior of each one

Another similar example you can find in call_traits. Part of the problem is
with the docs: it's nearly impossible to understand what types it's
actually generating for any given case. When you add compiler limitations
to the mix, it gets to be really unpredictable.

> > It also seems to me that we're likely to find that some compilers just
> > can't compile some of the tests. When that happens, I guess we need to
> > factor the tests into a separate file.
> Now about failing compilation. Unfortunately there is no way to put
> inside the macro definition. Separating the test program onto several
> also be very inconvenient. Especially if you have one assertion in one
> case and two in another failing for one compiler and different set of
> assertions fail for another. There is one way though to solve it.
> Let say we introduce the unique numeric configuration id for EVERY
> configuration we support. By configuration I mean specific compiler, it's
> version, maybe something else. The best place for this would be the
> boost::config headers, though I could place them info Boost.Test config.
> example (all names further are tentative):
> #define BOOST_CONFIG_GCC_291 1
> #define BOOST_CONFIG_GCC_295 2
> #define BOOST_CONFIG_GCC_301 3
> #define BOOST_CONFIG_MSVC_65 4
> #define BOOST_CONFIG_MSVC_70 5
> #define BOOST_CONFIG_MSVC_71 6
> ....
> Now I can introduce the tool into Boost.Test and define it like this
> code)
> BOOST_CHECK_EXCLUDE_COMPILER( predicate, exclusion_list ) =
> if( current config id in an exclusion_list ) <= I think BOOST_PP should
> allow me to do this
> BOOST_ERRROR( #predicate does not compile )
> else
> BOOST_CHECK( predicate )
> Using this tool I could specify configurations that does not compile the
> code under test. For those configurations error will be generated that
> signal that code does not compile.
> BTW these unique IDs would also be helpful for the first part of my
> proposition.

I'm not as fond of this part of your proposal. One problem is that if
something happens which causes a previously-non-compiling test to start
compiling, nothing will tell you because nothing ever tries to compile it.
I think we'd better deal with this differently, and it we'll need to take a
long-term view. Probably some kind of script-driven system will be most
appropriate... but let's see if we can deal with the other issues first.

           David Abrahams * Boost Consulting
dave_at_[hidden] *

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