Better Sharing of Test Code in Mozilla Projects

May 10, 2012 at 10:35 AM | categories: Mozilla, Firefox, testing

Just landed in mozilla-inbound (Firefox's integration tree) is support for test-only JavaScript modules. That is, JavaScript modules that are utilized by just test code. This is being tracked in bug 748490.

The use case for this feature is sharing common test code, mock types, etc between tests. For example, in the Services code, we have a number of mock types (like a JS implementation of the Sync HTTP server) that need to be utilized across sub-modules. With test-only modules, it is now possible to publish these modules to a common location and import them using the familiar Cu.import() syntax. Previously, you had to perform the equivalent of a #include (possibly by utilizing the [head] section of xpcshell.ini files). The previous method of importing is dirty because you pollute the global object. Furthermore, it is really inconvenient when you wish to utilize shared files from different directories. See this file for an example.

The new method of publishing and consuming test-only JavaScript modules is clean and simple. From your Makefile, define TESTING_JS_MODULES to a list of (JavaScript) files to publish. Optionally, define TESTING_JS_MODULE_DIR to the relative path they should be published to. If the directory variable is not defined, they will be published to the root directory. Here is an example

DEPTH     = ../..
topsrcdir = @top_srcdir@
srcdir    = @srcdir@

include $(DEPTH)/config/

TESTING_JS_MODULES = mockserver.js common.js

All test modules are installed to a common directory somewhere in the object directory. Where is not relevant. Just know it is outside the normal distribution directory, so the test modules aren't packaged. This common directory is registered with the resource manager under resource://testing/. So, once a build is performed, you can import these files via Components.utils.import():


I hope this feature facilitates better reuse of test code. So, next time you are writing test code, please consider writing writing and publishing it as a module so others can utilize it.

One more thing. Currently, integration with the resource manager is only implemented for xpcshell tests. I'd like to see this supported in all the test runners eventually. I implemented xpcshell support because a) that is the test harness I use almost exclusively and b) it is the only one I'm comfortable modifying. If you want to implement support in another test runner, please have a go at it!