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Trail is a node module that provides concurrent testing with strong dependency support. Each test consists of bits that look quite a lot like the perl Test::More bits. Becuase they are asynchronous, it works a tad differently.


Each test consists of:

  • test // a function that runs the tests.
  • name // arbitrary user test name
  • plan // number of tests you intend to run
  • requires // array of named requirements
  • provides // array of named satisfications

Like typical tap tests, a test would look something like this:

function() {
  this.ok(true, "this better pass");, 3, "adding sorta works in javascript");
  this.ok(false, "this test will certainly fail");

A test that includes this test must have a plan equal to 3. Due to the asynchronous nature of many tests, the framework will wait until three tests checks report back before considering the test complete. If you trigger too few, it will hang waiting (as expected). If you trigger too many, the world will end (and it's your fault).

As tests run, they can stash things in a trial-accessible key value store by calling this.stash("mykey", myvalue). Tests can retrieve this data by calling this.fetch("mykey").

A test can depend on another test by leveraging the requires and provides arrays. If the "createuser" test has a provides: ['test_user_id'] and other tests in the system have a requires: ['test_user_id'], then the dependent tests will wait until the "createuser" test completes before beginning. This combined with the stash/fetch provides a simple way to synchronize complex and dependent tests while still maximizing concurrency.

Each test is run in a new vm sandbox.


var trial = new Trial([params])

creates a new trial object that respects the following param keys:

  • verbose [false] : be verbose
  • brief [false] : be brief
  • summary [true] : summarize the trial
  • incremental_reporting [false] : don't wait until each test finishes
  • tap [false] : use TAP output (above are ignored)
  • suppress [{}] : keys of test names to suppress (not run)
  • require : an optional replacement for require() maintain sandboxing

Node, if verbose, brief, summary, or incremental_reporting are not specified, then they are taken from the environment variables TEST_VERBOSE, TEST_BRIEF, TEST_SUMMARY, or INCREMENTAL_REPORTING, respectively.

will start the trial executing all tests as the dependency graph dictates. Upon completion a report will be issued. Verbose details will be shown if TEST_VERBOSE environment variable is set (or the verbose attribute is passed to the Trial creation).


informs the trial that upon completion it should not exit (node) with a status code that indicates the overall trial sucess (0 for good, 1 for bad).

If critical errors are encountered during test build or run, node will exit with a value of 2.

trial.add(new Test(params))

Adds a new test to a trial.


Will recursively load all .tjs files and create tests will full dependencies. .tjs files are javascript source files that have each attribute of the Test (above) as global assignable variables:


name = "dumb test"
plan = 1
provides = ['no value']
test = function() { this.ok(true, 'eureka'); }

Larger integrations

The simple case can be solved using the runtests helper.

var runtests = require('trial').runtests;
var trial = runtests("./tests");

Junit output for CI integration

# var trial = new Trial()
var runtests = require('trial').runtests;
var trial = runtests("./tests");
new Junit(trial, "test_detail.xml");


Asynchronous, dependency-supporting test framework



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