FATE Under New Management

At any given time, I have between 20-30 blog posts in some phase of development. Half of them seem to be contemplations regarding the design and future of my original FATE system and are thus ready for the recycle bin at this point. Mans is a man of considerably fewer words, so I thought I would use a few words to describe the new FATE system that he put together.

Here are the distinguishing features that Mans mentioned in his announcement message:

  • Test specs are part of the ffmpeg repo. They are thus properly versioned, and any developer can update them as needed.
  • Support for inexact tests.
  • Parallel testing on multi-core systems.
  • Anyone registered with FATE can add systems.
  • Client side entirely in POSIX shell script and GNU make.
  • Open source backend and web interface.
  • Client and backend entirely decoupled.
  • Anyone can contribute patches.

The FATE build/test client source code is contained in tests/fate.sh in the FFmpeg source tree. The script — as the extension implies — is a shell script. It takes a text file full of shell variables, updates source code, configures, builds, and tests. It’s a considerably minor amount of code, especially compared to my original Python code. Part of this is because most of the testing logic has shifted into FFmpeg itself. The build system knows about all the FATE tests and all of the specs are now maintained in the codebase (thanks to all who spearheaded that effort– I think it was Vitor and Mans).

The client creates a report file which contains a series of lines to be transported to the server. The first line has some information about the configuration and compiler, plus the overall status of the build/test iteration. The second line contains ‘./configure’ information. Each of the remaining lines contain information about an individual FATE test, mostly in Base64 format.

The server source code lives at http://git.mansr.com/?p=fateweb. It is written in Perl and plugs into a CGI-capable HTTP server. Authentication between the client and the server operates via SSH/SSL. In stark contrast to the original FATE server, there is no database component on the backend. The new system maintains information in a series of flat files.