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A POSIX conforming test framework

DejaGnu conforms to the POSIX standard for test frameworks.

POSIX standard 1003.3 defines what a testing framework needs to provide, in order to permit the creation of POSIX conformance test suites. This standard is primarily oriented to running POSIX conformance tests, but its requirements also support testing of features not related to POSIX conformance. POSIX 1003.3 does not specify a particular testing framework, but at this time there is only one other POSIX conforming test framework: TET.(3)

The POSIX documentation refers to assertions. An assertion is a description of behavior. For example, if a standard says "The sun shall shine", a corresponding assertion might be "The sun is shining." A test based on this assertion would pass or fail depending on whether it is daytime or nighttime. It is important to note that the standard being tested is never 1003.3; the standard being tested is some other standard, for which the assertions were written.

As there is no test suite to test testing frameworks for POSIX 1003.3 conformance, verifying conformance to this standard is done by repeatedly reading the standard and experimenting. One of the main things 1003.3 does specify is the set of allowed output messages, and their definitions. Four messages are supported for a required feature of POSIX conforming systems, and a fifth for a conditional feature. DejaGnu supports the use of all five output messages; in this sense a test suite that uses exactly these messages can be considered POSIX conforming. These definitions specify the output of a test case:

A test has succeeded. That is, it demonstrated that the assertion is true.
POSIX 1003.3 does not incorporate the notion of expected failures, so PASS, instead of XPASS, must also be returned for test cases which were expected to fail and did not. This means that PASS is in some sense more ambiguous than if XPASS is also used. For information on XPASS and XFAIL, see section Using runtest.
A test has produced the bug it was intended to capture. That is, it has demonstrated that the assertion is false. The FAIL message is based on the test case only. Other messages are used to indicate a failure of the framework. As with PASS, POSIX tests must return FAIL rather than XFAIL even if a failure was expected.
A test produced indeterminate results. Usually, this means the test executed in an unexpected fashion; this outcome requires that a human being go over results, to determine if the test should have passed or failed. This message is also used for any test that requires human intervention because it is beyond the abilities of the testing framework. Any unresolved test should resolved to PASS or FAIL before a test run can be considered finished. Note that for POSIX, each assertion must produce a test result code. If the test isn't actually run, it must produce UNRESOLVED rather than just leaving that test out of the output. This means that you have to be careful when writing tests, to not carelessly use tcl statements like return---if you alter the flow of control of the tcl code you must insure that every test still produces some result code. Here are some of the ways a test may wind up UNRESOLVED:
A test was not run. This is a placeholder, used when there is no real test case yet.

The only remaining output message left is intended to test features that are specified by the applicable POSIX standard as conditional:

There is no support for the tested case. This may mean that a conditional feature of an operating system, or of a compiler, is not implemented. DejaGnu also uses this message when a testing environment (often a "bare board" target) lacks basic support for compiling or running the test case. For example, a test for the system subroutine gethostname would never work on a target board running only a boot monitor.

DejaGnu uses the same output procedures to produce these messages for all test suites, and these procedures are already known to conform to POSIX 1003.3. For a DejaGnu test suite to conform to POSIX 1003.3, you must avoid the setup_xfail procedure as described in the PASS section above, and you must be careful to return UNRESOLVED where appropriate, as described in the UNRESOLVED section above.

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