Tips on the effective use of PropEr
Tips on testing stateful code
When writing properties for stateful systems, we should not forget to include some clean-up code that will be executed after a command sequence is run. This is important because side-effects from previous tests may cause subsequent tests to behave non-deterministically.
When specifying a model for the system under test, we should not forget to validate it. That is, think about what is actually tested in the properties and, also, how often each operation is tested. One suggestion is to use the
proper_gen:pick/2function so as to inspect the content of generated testcases for different values of the
sizeparameter. When tests start to pass, it is important to collect statistics about testcase distribution using functions such as
Parallel testing with PropEr is currently not fully automated. The abstract state machine that we use for sequential testing can also be used to generate command sequences that will be executed in parallel to test for race conditions. However, the actual command interleavings depend on the Erlang scheduler, which is too deterministic. For PropEr to be able to detect race conditions, the code of the system under test should be instrumented with
erlang:yield/0calls to the scheduler.
Abstract state machines that will be used for parallel testing should not contain very strict preconditions. When generating a parallel testcase, PropEr has to ensure that preconditions are satisfied in all possible interleavings of the concurrent command sequences. Otherwise, an (uncaught) exception might be raised during parallel execution and lead to test failure. It is usually possible to move constraints from preconditions to postconditions. When removing a constraint from a precondition, we need to catch the exceptions raised from invalid operations. Then, when adding the constraint to a postcondition, we should check that when executing an invalid operation, the expected kind of exception is indeed raised.