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proposal: x/tools/go/analysis/analysistest: improved, module-aware API #61336

adonovan opened this issue Jul 13, 2023 · 2 comments


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adonovan commented Jul 13, 2023

[Status: rough draft]
[Split out from preceding proposal #61324]

The analysistest package is too monolithic: if you don't like the Run function, you're on your own. Now that (assuming #61324 is accepted), it is possible to call checker.Analyze programmatically, it should be possible to break the task of testing down into three steps--load, analyze, assert--and allow clients to replace the first and/or third steps with their own logic if they prefer.

Also, the existing API requires GOPATH layout, and cannot use modules. (It is tempting to honor a go.mod file within testdata, but this causes the testdata tree to belong to its own separate module, leading to tests that don't work when run from the module cache, which is bad practice.)

We propose to add a new analysistest API--alongside its existing ("legacy") API--as follows:

package analysistest //

// Test loads packages from the directory tree specified by file using
// [Load], analyzes them using [checker.Analyze], then checks
// expectations of diagnostics and facts in comments using [Check].
// Finally it returns the result of [checker.Analyze]. Errors are
// reported through t.Fatal.
// The file may be:
//   - a directory,
//   - a .txtar archive file, which is unpacked somewhere beneath t.TempDir(), or
//   - a relative path to a .go file, which is loaded as an ad hoc package.
// This function is provided for convenience. Callers with more
// complicated requirements should call [Load], [checker.Analyze], and
// [Check] directly.
func Test(t *testing.T, file string, a *analysis.Analyzer) *checker.Result {
	// Create test data tree from file argument
	dir, pattern := expandFile(t, file)

	pkgs := Load(t, dir, pattern)

	result, err := checker.Analyze([]*analysis.Analyzer{a}, pkgs, &checker.Options{})
	if err != nil {

	// Check facts, diagnostics, and suggested fixes.
	for _, act := range result.Roots {
		if act.Err != nil {
			t.Errorf("error analyzing %s: %v", act, act.Err)

		Check(t, act, &CheckOptions{RootDir: dir})

	return result

// Check inspects a single completed checker action and
// verifies that all reported diagnostics and facts match those
// specified by the contents of "// want ..." comments in the
// package's source files, which must have been parsed with comments
// enabled, and that all suggested fixes match the contents
// of any .golden files adjacent to the source files.
func Check(t *testing.T, act *checker.Action, opts *CheckOptions)
type CheckOptions struct{
	// RootDir is the root directory of the test source tree.
	// It is stripped as a prefix of each filename before
	// they are compared for equality or presented in error messages.
	RootDir string

// Load loads packages, their tests, and dependencies
// from syntax using packages.Load with an appropriate mode.
// On success, it writes list/parse/type errors to t.Log
// as they may be helpful when debugging a failing test,
// but may be expected in test cases of error scenarios.
// Failures are reported through t.Fatal.
func Load(t *testing.T, rootdir string, patterns ...string) []*packages.Package

type LegacyResult struct{ ... } // same declaration as previous internal/checker.TestAnalyzerResult.
type Result = LegacyResult

I have shown the body of the Test function to indicate that it is largely a helper function, a recipe of four steps: (1) expand the file string to a directory tree; (2) load packages from it; (3) analyze; (4) apply assertions based on the source file tree. Users who decide that this function isn't sufficient for their needs can easily inline or fork it; steps 2-4 are all now public functions.

The LegacyResult declaration warrants some explanation. Previously, Result was an alias for internal/checker.TestAnalyzerResult, and the creation of the public alias accidentally published the internal type, which has several public fields. Unfortunately we can't retract it, so this proposal merely changes its name to LegacyResult, to emphasize its status. The Result alias is kept for compatibility, but we would prefer not to refer to it by this name as it may be easily confused with the new checker.Result type. contains a prototype of the new API. A few analyzers' tests have been updated to use the new API.

Questions still to resolve:

  • compatibility: will old testdata inputs continue to work? How can we automate the transition?
  • the load/analyze/check model wants the load step to result in a tree of files, either because it was already there in testdata, or because it was expanded from a txtar file. But the existing checkSuggestedFixes uses txtar files, and they don't nest. what to do?
@adonovan adonovan self-assigned this Jul 13, 2023
@gopherbot gopherbot added this to the Proposal milestone Jul 13, 2023
@adonovan adonovan changed the title proposal: improved, module-aware API proposal: improved, module-aware API Jul 13, 2023
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Change mentions this issue: go/analysis/analysistest: improved, module-aware API

@seankhliao seankhliao changed the title proposal: improved, module-aware API proposal: x/tools/go/analysis/analysistest: improved, module-aware API Jul 14, 2023
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jba commented Jul 16, 2023

The loop over result.Roots in Test seems unobjectionable, so in addition to (or instead of) Check, you could move it into its own function:

func CheckResult(t *testing.T, result *checker.Result, opts *CheckOptions)

You should comment on why you don't build the load functionality on top of go/packages/packagestest.

Perhaps the go tool should ignore go.mod files in testdata directories. Is there any reason to honor them?
As a workaround, you could accept an alternative filename, like _go.mod, and rename when you copy the tree into the temp dir.

txtar files nest if you make them nest. You could say that a line of the form -- BEGIN filename -- starts a txtar file that includes everything up to a line -- END --.

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