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CII Best Practices

TriBITS: Tribal Build, Integrate, and Test System

The Tribal Build, Integrate, and Test System (TriBITS) is a framework designed to handle large software development projects involving multiple independent development teams and multiple source repositories which is built on top of the open-source CMake set of tools. TriBITS also defines a complete software development, testing, and deployment system supporting processes consistent with modern agile software development best practices.


See TriBITS Documentation on

Developing on TriBITS

In order to make changes and enhancements to TriBITS (see Contributing to TriBITS and the role TriBITS System Developer), one must be able to build, run, and extend the automated TriBITS test suite. To develop on TriBITS, one must minimally have CMake 3.17.0 (or newer) and a working C and C++ compiler. (A Fortran compiler is also desired to test Fortran-specific features of TriBITS but it can be disabled, see below).

To set up to develop on TriBITS:

  1. Clone the TriBITS repository
$ cd <some-base-dir>/
$ git clone
  1. Create and set up a build/test directory
$ cd <some-base-dir>/
$ mkdir BUILD
$ cd BUILD/
$ ln -s ../TriBITS/dev_testing/generic/do-configure-serial-debug-gcc \

NOTE: Other do-configure scripts are also in that directory (e.g. for MPI).

  1. Configure, build and run the TriBITS test suite
$ ./do-configure
$ make
$ ctest -j12


  • If you don't have a working and compatible Fortran compiler, then pass -DTriBITS_ENABLE_Fortran=OFF into the do-configure script as:

    $ ./do-configure -DTriBITS_ENABLE_Fortran=OFF
  • On Mac OSX systems, one has to manually set the path the the TriBITS project base dir TRIBITS_BASE_DIR such as with:

    $ env TRIBITS_BASE_DIR=.. ./do-configure [other options]
  • Use as many processes as you have with ctest (-j12 is just used as an example).
  • All of the tests should pass on your machine before beginning any development work. If there are any failures, then please report them. To help show the failures you are seeing, do:

    $ ./do-configure -DCTEST_PARALLEL_LEVEL=12
    $ make dashboard

    and then provide the link to the CDash results in the TriBITS Issue when you report them.

Any change (refactoring) of TriBITS (minimally) requires that the automated test suite run with ctest pass 100%. To add new features (in most cases) new automated tests must be added to define and protect those features (again, see Contributing to TriBITS).