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7.7 Testing

Automake also includes simple support for testing your program.

The most simple form of this is the ‘TESTS’ variable. This variable holds a list of tests which are run when the user runs make check. Each test is built (if necessary) and then executed. For each test, make prints a single line indicating whether the test has passed or failed. Failure means exiting with a non-zero status, with the special exception that an exit status of ‘77(2) means that the test should be ignored. make check also prints a summary showing the number of passes and fails.

Automake also supports the notion of an xfail, which is a test which is expected to fail. Sometimes this is useful when you want to track a known failure, but you aren’t prepared to fix it right away. Tests which are expected to fail should be listed in both ‘TESTS’ and ‘XFAIL_TESTS’.

The special prefix ‘check’ can be used with primaries to indicate that the objects should only be built at make check time. For example, here is how you can build a program that will only be used during the testing process:

check_PROGRAMS = test-program
test_program_SOURCES = ...

Automake also supports the use of DejaGNU, the GNU test framework. DejaGNU support can be enabled using the ‘dejagnu’ option:


The resulting ‘Makefile.in’ will include code to invoke the runtest program appropriately.

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