Checkbox launchers tutorial

Checkbox launchers are INI files that customize checkbox experience. The customization includes:

  • choosing what jobs will be run
  • how to handle machine restart
  • what type of UI to use
  • how to handle the results

Each section in the launcher is optional, when not supplied, the default values will be used.

This tutorial describes Launchers version 1.

External configuration files

Launcher can specify external file(s) to load values from.

[config]

Beginning of the configuration section.

config_filename

Name of the configuration file to look for. Default value: checkbox.conf

The directories that will be searched for the file are /etc/xdg/ and ~/.config/.

Example:

[config]
config_filename = testing.conf

This will make checkbox look for /etc/xdg/testing.conf and ~/config/testing.conf files.

The config_filename may be an absolute path, and may use environment variables

Example:

[config]
config_filename = $MYCONFIGS/testing.conf

[config]
config_filename = /home/ubuntu/next-testing.conf

For more details about value resolution order see configs

Launcher meta-information

Launcher meta-information helps to provide consistent checkbox behaviour in the future.

[launcher]

Beginning of the launcher meta-information section.

app_id

This fields helps to differentiate between checkbox front-ends. This way sessions started with launcher with one app_id won’t interfere with sessions started with a different launcher (provided it has app_id set to other value). The app_id should be in a IQN form. Default value: com.canonical:checkbox-cli

app_version

This field is purely informational.

launcher_version

Version of the launcher language syntax and semantics to use.

api_flags

API flags variable determines optional feature set. List of API flags that this launcher requires. Items should be separated by spaces or commas. The default value is an empty list.

api_version

API version determines the behaviour of the launcher. Each checkbox feature is added at a specific API version. Default behaviours don’t change silently; explicit launcher change is required. Default value: 0.99

stock_reports

Stock reports are shortcuts in creating common reports. Instead of having to specify exporter, transport and a report section in a launcher, you can use any number of the stock ones. In launchers version 1 there are 4 stock reports you may use:

  • text - print results as text on standard output
  • submission_files - write html, xlsx, json and tar.xz files to $XDG_DATA_HOME directory (or to ~/.local/share/ if $XDG_DATA_HOME is not defined.
  • certification - send results to certification site
  • certification-staging - send results to staging version of certification site

This field is a list; use commas or spaces to separate stock reports. The default value: text, certification, submission_files.

When using certification stock report, secure_id might be overridden by the launcher. To do this define secure_id in a transport:c3 section (this is the transport that’s used by the certification stock reports).

Launcher section example:

[launcher]
app_id = com.foobar:system-testing
launcher_version = 1
stock_reports = text

Launcher using all defaults with overridden secure_id:

[transport:c3]
secure_id = 001122334455667788

Providers section

This section provides control over which providers are used by the launcher.

[providers]

Beginning of the providers section.

use

A list of globs, from which a provider id must match at least one in order to be used. By default all providers are used.

Providers section example:

[providers]
use = provider1, provider2, provider-*

Test plan section

This section provides control over which test plans are visible in the menus and optionally forces the app to use particular one.

[test plan]

Beginning of the test plan section.

unit

An ID of a test plan that should be selected by default. By default nothing is selected.

filter

Glob that test plan IDs have to match in order to be visible. Default value: *

forced

If set to yes, test plan selection screen will be skipped. Requires unit field to be set. Default value: no.

Test selection section

This section provides lets forcing of test selection.

[test selection]

Beginning of the test selection section

forced

If set to yes, test selection screen will be skipped and all test specified in the test plan will be selected. Default value: no

User Interface section

This section controls which type of UI to use.

[ui]

Beginning of the user interface section

type

Type of UI to use. This has to be set to interactive, silent, converged, or converged-silent. Default value: interactive, which runs the Checkbox command line version. Note: the converged and converged-silent UI types will launch the QML interface and requires checkbox-converged to be installed on your system. Note: using silent or converged-silent UI types requires forcing test selection and test plan selection.

dont_suppress_output

Note

This field is deprecated, use ‘output’ to specify which jobs should have their output printed to the screen.

Setting this field to yes disables hiding of command output for jobs of type local, resource and attachment. Default value: no.

output

This setting lets you hide output of commands run by checkbox. It can be set to one of the following values:

  • show - output of all jobs will be printed
  • hide-resource-and-attachment - output of resource and attachment jobs will be hidden, output of other job types will be printed
  • hide-automated - output of shell jobs as well as attachment and resource jobs will be hidden. Only interactive job command’s output will be shown
  • hide - same as hide-automated. This value is deprecated, use hide-automated

Default value: show

Note

Individual jobs can have their output hidden by specifying ‘suppress-output’ in their definition.

verbosity

This setting makes checkbox report more information from checkbox internals. Possible values are:

  • normal - report only warnings and errors.
  • verbose - report important events that take place during execution (E.g. adding units, starting jobs, changing the state of the session)
  • debug - print out everything

Default value: normal

Note

You can also change this behavior when invoking Checkbox by using --verbose and --debug options respectively.

auto_retry

If set to yes, failed jobs will automatically be retried at the end of the testing session. In addition, the re-run screen (where user can select failed and skipped jobs to re-run) will not be shown. Default value: no.

max_attempts Defines the maximum number of times a job should be run in auto-retry mode. If the job passes, it won’t be retried even if the maximum number of attempts have not been reached. Default value: 3.

delay_before_retry The number of seconds to wait before retrying the failed jobs at the end of the testing session. This can be useful when the jobs relying on external factors (e.g. a WiFi access point) and you want to wait before retrying the same job. Default value: 1.

Warning

When auto_retry is set to yes, every failing jobs will be retried. This can be a problem, for instance, for jobs that take a really long time to run. To avoid this, you can use the auto-retry=no inline override in the test plan to explicitly mark each job you do not wish to see retried.

For example:

id: foo-bar-and-froz
_name: Tests Foo, Bar and Froz
include:
    foo
    bar     auto-retry=no
    froz

In that case, even if job bar fails and auto-retry is activated, it will not be retried.

Restart section

This section enables fine control over how checkbox is restarted.

[restart]

Beginning of the restart section

strategy

Override the restart strategy that should be used. Currently supported strategies are XDG and Snappy. By default the best strategy is determined in runtime.

Environment section

[environment]

Beginning of the environment section

Each variable present in the environment section will be present as environment variable for all jobs run.

Example:

[environment]
TESTING_HOST = 192.168.0.100

Generating reports

Creation of reports is govern by three sections: report, exporter, and transport. Each of those sections might be specified multiple times to provide more than one report.

Exporter

[exporter:exporter_name]

Beginning of an exporter declaration. Note that exporter_name should be replaced with something meaningful, like html.

unit

ID of an exporter to use. To get the list of available exporter in your system run $ plainbox dev list exporter.

options

A list of options that will be supplied to the exporter. Items should be separated by spaces or commas.

Example:

[exporter:html]
unit = com.canonical.plainbox::html

Transport

[transport:transport_name] Beginning of a transport declaration. Note that transport_name should be replaced with something meaningful, like standard_out.

type

Type of a transport to use. Allowed values are: stream, file, and certification.

Depending on the type of transport there might be additional fields.

transport type variables meaning example
stream stream which stream to use stdout or stderr

[transport:out]

type = stream

stream = stdout

file path where to save the file

[transport:f1]

type = file

path = ~/report

certification secure-id secure-id to use when uploading to certification sites

[transport:c3]

secure_id = 0123456789ABCD

staging = yes

staging determines if staging site should be used Default: no

Report

[report:report_name]

Beginning of a report declaration. Note that report_name should be replaced with something meaningful, like to_screen.

exporter

Name of the exporter to use

transport

Name of the transport to use

forced

If set to yes will make checkbox always produce the report (skipping the prompt). Default value: no.

Example of all three sections working to produce a report:

[exporter:text]
unit = com.canonical.plainbox::text

[transport:out]
type = stream
stream = stdout

[report:screen]
exporter = text
transport = out
forced = yes

Launcher examples

1) Fully automatic run of all tests from ‘com.canonical.certification::smoke’ test plan concluded by producing text report to standard output.

#!/usr/bin/env checkbox-cli

[launcher]
launcher_version = 1
app_id = com.canonical.certification:smoke-test
stock_reports = text

[test plan]
unit = com.canonical.certification::smoke
forced = yes

[test selection]
forced = yes

[ui]
type = silent

[transport:out]
type = stream
stream = stdout

[exporter:text]
unit = com.canonical.plainbox::text

[report:screen]
transport = outfile
exporter = text

2) Interactive testing of FooBar project. Report should be uploaded to the staging version of certification site and saved to /tmp/submission.tar.xz

#!/usr/bin/env checkbox-cli

[launcher]
launcher_version = 1
app_id = com.foobar:system-testing

[providers]
use = com.megacorp.foo::bar*

[test plan]
unit = com.megacorp.foo::bar-generic

[ui]
type = silent
output = hide

[transport:certification]
type = certification
secure-id = 00112233445566
staging = yes

[transport:local_file]
type = file
path = /tmp/submission.tar.xz

[report:c3-staging]
transport = certification
exporter = tar

[report:file]
transport = local_file
exporter = tar