Libraries need a pervasive testing for continuous improvement. Any problem found and behaviour described must be written down as test and integrated so that after running all tests in the build directory:

make run_all

and on the target (installed) system:

kdb run_all

assures that all these promises hold.

To run memcheck tests use:

make run_memcheck

In the build directory, internally ctest is used, so you can also call ctest with its options. On the target (installed) system our own scripts drive the tests.


All names of the test must start with test
No tests should run if ENABLE_TESTING is OFF.
All tests that access harddisc:
should be tagged with kdbtests
should not shall run, if ENABLE_KDB_TESTING is OFF.
should only write below /tests ans system/mountpoints

  • If your test has memleaks, e.g. because the library used leaks and that cannot be fixed, give them the label memleak with following command:

set_property(TEST testname PROPERTY LABELS memleak)


The testing must happen on every level of the software to achieve a maximum coverage with the available time. In the rest of the document we describe the different levels and where these tests are.


This is basically a bunch of assertion macros and some output facilities. It is written in pure C and very lightweight.

It is located here.

ABI Tests

C ABI Tests are written in plain C with the help of cframework.

The main purpose of these tests are, that the binaries of old versions can be used against new versions as ABI tests.

So lets say we compile Elektra 0.8.8 (at this version dedicated ABI tests were introduced) in the -full variant. But when we run the tests, we use (either by installing it or by setting LD_LIBRARY_PATH). You can check with ldd which version is used.

The tests are located here.

C Unit Tests

C Unit Tests are written in plain C with the help of cframework.

It is used to test internal data structures of libelektra that are not ABI relevant.

ABI tests can be done on theses tests, too. But by nature from time to time these tests will fail.

They are located here.

Module Tests

The modules, which are typically used as plugins in Elektra (but can also be available statically or in the -full variant), should have their own tests.

Use the Cmake macro add_plugintest for adding these tests.

C++ Unit Tests

C++ Unit tests are done using the gtest framework. See architecturaldecision".

Use the CMake macro add_gtest for adding these tests.

Script Tests

Script test are done using POSIX shell + CMake. See architecturaldecision".

The script tests have different purposes:

  • End to End tests (usage of tools as a user would do)
  • External Compilation tests (compile and run programs as a user would do)
  • Conventions tests (do internal checks that check for common problems)
  • Meta Test Suites (run other test suites)

Other kind of Tests

Bindings, other than C++ typically have their own way of testing.

Fuzz Testing

copy some import files to testcase_dir and run:

/usr/src/afl/afl-1.46b/./afl-fuzz -i testcase_dir -o findings_dir bin/kdb import user/tests