Perform built-in self-tests from the first file in the loadpath matching name.
test can be called in either command or functional form. The exact
operation of test is determined by a combination of mode (interactive or
batch), reporting level (
"verbose"), and whether a logfile or summary output variable is
The default mode when
test is called from the command line is
interactive. In this mode, tests will be run until the first error is
encountered, or all tests complete successfully. In batch mode, all tests
are run regardless of any failures, and the results are collected for
reporting. Tests which require user interaction, i.e., demo blocks,
are never run in batch mode.
Batch mode is enabled by either 1) specifying a logfile using the third argument fname or fid, or 2) requesting an output argument such as success, n, etc.
The optional second argument determines the amount of output to generate and
which types of tests to run. The default value is
Requesting an output argument will suppress printing the final summary
message and any intermediate warnings, unless verbose reporting is
Print a summary message when all tests pass, or print an error with the results of the first bad test when a failure occurs. Don’t run tests which require user interaction.
Display warning messages about skipped tests or failing xtests during test execution. Print a summary message when all tests pass, or print an error with the results of the first bad test when a failure occurs. Don’t run tests which require user interaction.
Display tests before execution. Print all warning messages. In interactive mode, run all tests including those which require user interaction.
The optional third input argument specifies a logfile where results of the
tests should be written. The logfile may be a character string
(fname) or an open file descriptor ID (fid). To enable batch
processing, but still print the results to the screen, use
When called with just a single output argument success,
returns true if all of the tests were successful. If called with more
than one output argument then the number of successful tests (n),
the total number of tests in the file (nmax), the number of xtest
failures (nxfail), the number of tests failed due known bugs
(nbug), the number of tests skipped due to missing features
(nskip), the number of tests skipped due to run-time
conditions (nrtskip), and the number of regressions
(nregression) are returned.
test sind ⇒ PASSES 5 out of 5 tests [n, nmax] = test ("sind") ⇒ n = 5 nmax = 5
Additional Calling Syntaxes
If the second argument is the string
"grabdemo", the contents of
any built-in demo blocks are extracted but not executed. The text for all
code blocks is concatenated and returned as code with idx being
a vector of positions of the ends of each demo block. For an easier way to
extract demo blocks from files, See
If the second argument is
"explain" then name is ignored and
an explanation of the line markers used in
test output reports is
written to the file specified by fname or fid.
test scans the named script file looking for lines which start
with the identifier ‘%!’. The prefix is stripped off and the rest
of the line is processed through the Octave interpreter. If the code
generates an error, then the test is said to fail.
eval() will stop at the first error it encounters, you must
divide your tests up into blocks, with anything in a separate
block evaluated separately. Blocks are introduced by valid keywords like
assert immediately following ‘%!’.
A block is defined by indentation as in Python. Lines beginning with
‘%!<whitespace>’ are part of the preceding block.
%!test error ("this test fails!") %!test "test doesn't fail. it doesn't generate an error"
When a test fails, you will see something like:
***** test error ("this test fails!") !!!!! test failed this test fails!
Generally, to test if something works, you want to assert that it produces a correct value. A real test might look something like
%!test %! a = [1, 2, 3; 4, 5, 6]; B = [1; 2]; %! expect = [ a ; 2*a ]; %! get = kron (b, a); %! if (any (size (expect) != size (get))) %! error ("wrong size: expected %d,%d but got %d,%d", %! size (expect), size (get)); %! elseif (any (any (expect != get))) %! error ("didn't get what was expected."); %! endif
To make the process easier, use the
assert function. For example,
assert the previous test is reduced to:
%!test %! a = [1, 2, 3; 4, 5, 6]; b = [1; 2]; %! assert (kron (b, a), [ a; 2*a ]);
assert can accept a tolerance so that you can compare results
absolutely or relatively. For example, the following all succeed:
%!test assert (1+eps, 1, 2*eps) # absolute error %!test assert (100+100*eps, 100, -2*eps) # relative error
You can also do the comparison yourself, but still have assert generate the error:
%!test assert (isempty ()) %!test assert ([1, 2; 3, 4] > 0)
assert is so frequently used alone in a test block, there
is a shorthand form:
which is equivalent to:
%!test assert (…)
Occasionally a block of tests will depend on having optional
functionality in Octave. Before testing such blocks the availability of
the required functionality must be checked. A
block will only be run if Octave was compiled with functionality
‘HAVE_XXX’. For example, the sparse single value decomposition,
svds(), depends on having the ARPACK library. All of the tests
svds begin with
Review config.h or
to see some of the possible values to check.
Sometimes during development there is a test that should work but is
known to fail. You still want to leave the test in because when the
final code is ready the test should pass, but you may not be able to
fix it immediately. To avoid unnecessary bug reports for these known
failures, mark the block with
xtest rather than
%!xtest assert (1==0) %!xtest fail ("success=1", "error")
In this case, the test will run and any failure will be reported.
However, testing is not aborted and subsequent test blocks will be
processed normally. Another use of
xtest is for statistical
tests which should pass most of the time but are known to fail
Each block is evaluated in its own function environment, which means
that variables defined in one block are not automatically shared
with other blocks. If you do want to share variables, then you
must declare them as
shared before you use them. For example, the
following declares the variable a, gives it an initial value (default
is empty), and then uses it in several subsequent tests.
%!shared a %! a = [1, 2, 3; 4, 5, 6]; %!assert (kron ([1; 2], a), [ a; 2*a ]) %!assert (kron ([1, 2], a), [ a, 2*a ]) %!assert (kron ([1,2; 3,4], a), [ a,2*a; 3*a,4*a ])
You can share several variables at the same time:
%!shared a, b
You can also share test functions:
%!function a = fn (b) %! a = 2*b; %!endfunction %!assert (fn(2), 4)
Note that all previous variables and values are lost when a new shared block is declared.
%!function begins a new block and that
%!endfunction ends this block. Be aware that until a new block
is started, lines starting with ‘%!<space>’ will be discarded as comments.
The following is nearly identical to the example above, but does nothing.
%!function a = fn (b) %! a = 2*b; %!endfunction %! assert (fn(2), 4)
Because there is a space after ‘%!’ the
assert statement does
not begin a new block and this line is treated as a comment.
Error and warning blocks are like test blocks, but they only succeed
if the code generates an error. You can check the text of the error
is correct using an optional regular expression
%!error <passes!> error ("this test passes!")
If the code doesn’t generate an error, the test fails. For example:
%!error "this is an error because it succeeds."
***** error "this is an error because it succeeds." !!!!! test failed: no error
It is important to automate the tests as much as possible, however
some tests require user interaction. These can be isolated into
demo blocks, which if you are in batch mode, are only run when
demo or the
verbose option to
The code is displayed before it is executed. For example,
%!demo %! t = [0:0.01:2*pi]; x = sin (t); %! plot (t, x); %! # you should now see a sine wave in your figure window
funcname example 1: t = [0:0.01:2*pi]; x = sin (t); plot (t, x); # you should now see a sine wave in your figure window Press <enter> to continue:
Note that demo blocks cannot use any shared variables. This is so that they can be executed by themselves, ignoring all other tests.
If you want to temporarily disable a test block, put
# in place
of the block type. This creates a comment block which is echoed
in the log file but not executed. For example:
%!#demo %! t = [0:0.01:2*pi]; x = sin (t); %! plot (t, x); %! # you should now see a sine wave in your figure window
The following trivial code snippet provides examples for the use of fail, assert, error, and xtest:
function output = must_be_zero (input) if (input != 0) error ("Nonzero input!") endif output = input; endfunction %!fail ("must_be_zero (1)") %!assert (must_be_zero (0), 0) %!error <Nonzero> must_be_zero (1) %!xtest error ("This code generates an error")
When putting this in a file must_be_zero.m, and running the test, we see
test must_be_zero verbose ⇒ >>>>> /path/to/must_be_zero.m ***** fail ("must_be_zero (1)") ***** assert (must_be_zero (0), 0) ***** error <Nonzero> must_be_zero (1) ***** xtest error ("This code generates an error") !!!!! known failure This code generates an error PASSES 3 out of 4 tests (1 expected failure)
Check that entire block is correct. If
<MESSAGE> is present, the
test block is interpreted as for
%!testif HAVE_XXX, HAVE_YYY, …
%!testif HAVE_XXX, HAVE_YYY …; RUNTIME_COND
%!testif … <MESSAGE>
Check block only if Octave was compiled with feature
RUNTIME_COND is an optional expression to evaluate to check
whether some condition is met when the test is executed. If
RUNTIME_COND is false, the test is skipped. If
is present, the test block is interpreted as for
Check block, report a test failure but do not abort testing. If
<MESSAGE> is present, then the text of the message is displayed
if the test fails, like this:
!!!!! known bug: MESSAGE
If the message is an integer, it is interpreted as a bug ID for the Octave bug tracker and reported as
!!!!! known bug: https://octave.org/testfailure/?BUG-ID
in which BUG-ID is the integer bug number. The intent is to allow clearer documentation of known problems.
MESSAGE is an integer preceeded by an asterisk (e.g.,
*12345), it is interpreted as the id for a bug report that has
been closed. That usually means that the issue probed in this test has
been resolved. If such tests are failing, they are reported as
regressions by the
!!!!! regression: https://octave.org/testfailure/?BUG-ID
Check for correct error or warning message. If
supplied it is interpreted as a regular expression pattern that is
expected to match the error or warning message.
Demo only executes in interactive mode.
Comment. Ignore everything within the block
Declare variables for use in multiple tests.
Define a function for use in multiple tests.
Close a function definition.
%!assert (x, y, tol)
%!assert <MESSAGE> (x, y, tol)
%!fail (CODE, PATTERN)
%!fail <MESSAGE> (CODE, PATTERN)
%!test assert (x, y, tol) or
%!test fail (CODE, PATTERN). If
<MESSAGE> is present, the
test block is interpreted as for
When coding tests the Octave convention is that lines that begin with a block type do not have a semicolon at the end. Any code that is within a block, however, is normal Octave code and usually will have a trailing semicolon. For example,
## bare block instantiation %!assert (sin (0), 0)
## test block with normal Octave code %!test %! assert (sin (0), 0);
You can also create test scripts for built-in functions and your own C++
functions. To do so, put a file with the bare function name (no .m
extension) in a directory in the load path and it will be discovered by
test function. Alternatively, you can embed tests directly in your
/* %!test disp ("this is a test") */
#if 0 %!test disp ("this is a test") #endif
However, in this case the raw source code will need to be on the load
path and the user will have to remember to type
Produce an error if the specified condition is not met.
assert can be called in three different ways.
assert (cond, errmsg)
assert (cond, errmsg, …)
assert (cond, msg_id, errmsg, …)
Called with a single argument cond,
assert produces an error if
cond is false (numeric zero).
Any additional arguments are passed to the
error function for
assert (observed, expected)
Produce an error if observed is not the same as expected.
Note that observed and expected can be scalars, vectors, matrices, strings, cell arrays, or structures.
assert (observed, expected, tol)
Produce an error if observed is not the same as expected but equality comparison for numeric data uses a tolerance tol.
If tol is positive then it is an absolute tolerance which will produce
an error if
abs (observed - expected) > abs (tol).
If tol is negative then it is a relative tolerance which will produce
an error if
abs (observed - expected) >
abs (tol * expected).
If expected is zero tol will always be interpreted as an absolute tolerance.
If tol is not scalar its dimensions must agree with those of observed and expected and tests are performed on an element-by-element basis.
Return true if code fails with an error message matching pattern, otherwise produce an error.
code must be in the form of a string that is passed to the Octave
interpreter via the
evalin function, i.e., a (quoted) string constant
or a string variable.
Note that if code runs successfully, rather than failing, the error printed is:
expected error <.> but got none
If called with two arguments, the return value will be true only if code fails with an error message containing pattern (case sensitive). If the code fails with a different error than the one specified in pattern then the message produced is:
expected <pattern> but got <text of actual error>
The angle brackets are not part of the output.
When called with the
fail will produce an
error if executing the code produces no warning.