Two Guys Arguing

Fixture Macros

Posted in clojure by youngnh on 11.13.10

A few months ago, at Revelytix, we put together a pretty large test-harness at work for putting Semantic Triplestores through their paces. The effort was highly dependant on setup and teardown of the external environment.

For instance, in order to run a single test that involves making a http request to a triplestore-backed web application, I had to write code to start the virtual machine my web application and triplestore images were installed on, restore that vm to a known-state snapshot, wait for the guest operating system to come online, login to the web application and establish a session, and oh yeah, actually make the http request to see the results I was really interested in.

Ultimately, we went with a design that passed a lot of maps around, but tonight I found myself reviewing some of the other possibilities we could have pursued. Clojure maintains great separation of concerns by allowing you to pass functions around. For example, here’s the function I originally wrote to setup and teardown a virtual machine, running some arbitrary function f in-between:

(defn vm-setup [vm snaphsot f]
  (restore-snapshot vm snapshot)
  (start-vm vm)
  (try
   (f)
   (catch Exception e
     (.printStackTrace e))
   (finally
    (save-vm-state vm))))

The function knows nothing about what f does and so f can be anything.

After the call to start-vm, VirtualBox launches immediately, but it often takes 10-15 seconds for the guest OS to start running and communicating. Executing f immediately after starting the vm will often fail if you don’t first wait for the guest OS to come online. I could write that sort of functionality into the vm-setup function, but that’s mixing concerns, and I could just as easily write another setup function that tries to ping the guest OS, executing it’s payload once the machine has started communicating:

(defn host-reachable? [host timeout f]
  (if (ping host timeout)
    (f)
    (throw (Exception. (str "Could not reach host: " host " within " timeout " ms")))))

This pattern goes on. Conceptually, I ended up with a single test being expressed like this:

(vm-setup "WebAppVM1" "CleanSnapshot"
  (host-reachable? "hostname" (* 30 1000)
    (webapp-login "hostname" "username" "password"
      (times 30
        (timethis
          (http-request "/some/webapp/path"))))))

Which is pretty readable and it’s structure matches it’s meaning. The test itself is the call to

(http-request "/some/webapp/path")

and it’s nested pretty deeply in an execution context.

If we needed to resuse all of those steps, we could make it into a composite setup function:

(defn start-vm-and-login [f]
  (vm-setup "WebAppVM1" "CleanSnapshot"
    (host-reachable? "hostname" (* 30 1000)
      (webapp-login "hostname" "username" "password"
        (times 30
          (timethis
            (f))))))

The code above, however, won’t run. The forms aren’t function objects, they’re function invocations that return values. We’d have to wrap each of them in (fn [] ) in order to lambda-ize them:

(vm-setup "WebAppVM1" "CleanSnapshot"
  (fn []
    (host-reachable? "hostname" (* 30 1000)
      (fn []
        (webapp-login "hostname" "username" "password"
          (fn []
            (times 30
              (fn []
                (timethis
                  (fn [] (http-request "/some/webapp/path")))))))))))

We can write our own macro to take the first version and expand into the second, and it helps if we notice how similar it is to the -> macro. In fact, we could write:

(->> (http-request "/some/webapp/path")
     (fn [])
     (timethis)
     (fn [])
     (times 30)
     (fn [])
     (webapp-login "hostname" "username" "password")
     (fn [])
     (host-reachable? "hostname" (* 30 1000))
     (fn [])
     (vm-setup "WebAppVM1" "CleanSnapshot"))

Which reads a little bit backwards, but provides a great target for our macro to generate:

(defmacro fixture [& forms]
  `(->> ~@(interpose '(fn []) (reverse forms))))

Allowing us to write:

(fixture (vm-setup "WebAppVM1" "CleanSnapshot")
         (host-reachable? "hostname" (* 30 1000))
     (webapp-login "hostname" "username" "password")
     (times 30)
     (timethis)
     (http-request "/some/webapp/path"))

Not bad

About these ads
Tagged with: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.