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ATF(7)                 Miscellaneous Information Manual                 ATF(7)

     ATF - introduction to the Automated Testing Framework

     IMPORTANT: If you are here because you want to know how to run the tests
     in /usr/tests, you most likely want to read the tests(7) manual page

     The Automated Testing Framework (ATF) is a collection of libraries and
     utilities designed to ease unattended application testing in the hands of
     developers and end users of a specific piece of software.

     As regards developers, ATF provides the necessary means to easily create
     test suites composed of multiple test programs, which in turn are a
     collection of test cases.  It also attempts to simplify the debugging of
     problems when these test cases detect an error by providing as much
     information as possible about the failure.

     As regards users, it simplifies the process of running the test suites
     and, in special, encourages end users to run them often: they do not need
     to have source trees around nor any other development tools installed to
     be able to certify that a given piece of software works on their machine
     as advertised.

     If your operating systems distributes ATF, it is possible that it
     provides an introductory tests(7) manual page.  You are encouraged to
     read it now.

     ATF is distributed under the terms of the TNF License, a 2-clause BSD
     license.  For more details please see:


     ATF is a highly modular piece of software.  It provides a couple of
     libraries to ease the implementation of test programs: one for the C and
     C++ languages and another one for shell scripts.  It also includes
     multiple small utilities that follow the principle of doing a single
     thing but doing it right.  This section outlines which these components

     Public utilities:

     atf-check(1)           Executes a command and checks that its exit code,
                            its standard output and its standard error output
                            match pre-specified expected values.

     atf-config(1)          Queries static configuration information.

     atf-report(1)          Converts the output of atf-run to user-friendly
                            and/or machine-parseable reports.

     atf-run(1)             Automates the execution of a series of test
                            programs and collects their results in a unified

     atf-sh(1)              Shell interpreter for shell-based test programs.

     Programming interfaces:

     atf-c-api(3)           C programming interface for test programs.

     atf-c++-api(3)         C++ programming interface for test programs.

     atf-sh-api(3)          POSIX shell programming interface for test


     atf-formats(5)         Description of the machine-parseable data formats
                            used by the tools.

     atf-test-case(4)       Generic description of test cases, independent of
                            the language they are implemented in.

     atf-test-program(1)    Common interface provided by the test programs
                            written using the ATF libraries.

   Recommended reading order
     For end users wishing to run tests:
     1.   tests(7) (only if provided by your operating system).
     2.   atf-test-program(1)
     3.   atf-run(1)
     4.   atf-report(1)
     5.   atf-config(1)

     For developers wanting to write their own tests:
     1.   Everything recommended to users.
     2.   atf-test-case(4)
     3.   atf-c-api(3)
     4.   atf-c++-api(3)
     5.   atf-sh-api(3)
     6.   atf-sh(1)
     7.   atf-check(1)

     For those interested in ATF internals:
     1.   Everything recommended to users.
     2.   Everything recommended to developers.
     3.   atf-formats(5)


     ATF started as a Google Summer of Code 2007 project mentored by The
     NetBSD Foundation.  Its original goal was to provide a testing framework
     for The NetBSD Operating System, but it grew as an independent project
     because the framework itself did not need to be tied to a specific
     operating system.

     For more details on this subject, please see:


     For more details on the people that made ATF possible, please see:


NetBSD 10.99                    August 28, 2010                   NetBSD 10.99