TDL step constructs

Overview

TDL step constructs are used to capture a test case’s core testing logic. They are used in test cases and also in Scriptlets to define their sequence of test steps. The available test steps are described in the sections that follow, organised in four main categories:

  • Messaging steps used to exchange information between actors.

  • Processing steps to perform complex arbitrary processing.

  • Flow steps to manage the execution flow of the test case.

  • Support steps to introduce support features to test cases.

Messaging steps

Messaging steps allow the test case to handle the exchange of messages between actors. The actual implementation allowing content to be sent or received is implemented by a messaging handler (see Messaging handlers).

btxn

The btxn step stands for “Begin transaction”. Its purpose is to define a scope around a set of messaging steps that have a logical relation to each other. This scope remains active until a etxn element is encountered to end it. Apart from wrapping together related messaging steps, the key purpose of the btxn step is to declare the messaging handler that is used and the involved actors.

Use of a messaging transaction is not necessary as you can also define the handler and involved actors on the individual messaging steps. It could nonetheless still be interesting to use transactions to avoid repeating the handler’s definition.

The structure of the btxn element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@txnid

yes

A string ID for the transaction.

@from

yes

The ID of the actor that acts as the messaging source (see Actors). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@to

yes

The ID of the actor that acts as the messaging target (see Actors). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@handler

yes

A string value or variable reference identifying the messaging handler to use for the transaction (see Specifying the handler implementation).

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

property

no

Zero or more elements to provide configuration regarding the setup of the messaging handler call that are not passed to the handler. Each property element has a name attribute and a text content or variable reference as value.

config

no

Zero or more elements to provide configuration when creating the transaction. Each config element has a name attribute and a text content or variable reference as value.

Executing the btxn step results in a call to the messaging handler specified by the handler attribute. This gives it an opportunity to take any actions needed for the upcoming transaction and apply specific configurations for its related send and receive calls.

<btxn from="Actor1" to="Actor2" txnId="t1" handler="SoapMessaging"/>
<send id="dataSend" desc="Send data" from="Actor1" to="Actor2" txnId="t1">
    <input name="soap_message">$soapMessage</input>
</send>
<receive id="dataReceive" desc="Receive data" from="Actor2" to="Actor1" txnId="t1"/>
<etxn txnId="t1"/>

Note that btxn steps are not presented to the user.

etxn

The etxn step stands for “End transaction” and acts as the counterpart to a btxn element by referencing its transaction ID. It is structured as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@txnid

yes

The identifier of the transaction to end.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

Executing the etxn results in a call to the transaction’s messaging handler to take necessary actions such as resource clean-up.

<btxn from="Actor1" to="Actor2" txnId="t1" handler="SoapMessaging"/>
<send id="dataSend" desc="Send data" from="Actor1" to="Actor2" txnId="t1">
    <config name="soap.version">1.2</config>
    <input name="soap_message">$soapMessage</input>
</send>
<receive id="dataReceive" desc="Receive data" from="Actor2" to="Actor1" txnId="t1"/>
<etxn txnId="t1"/>

Note that etxn steps are not presented to the user.

listen

The listen step is used to instruct the test bed to act as a proxy between messages sent to and from two actors defined as SUTs. Similar to the send and receive steps, this step is expected to take place within a transaction created by btxn, the identifier of which it references. The structure of the listen element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@txnid

no

The ID of the transaction this listen belongs to. If not specified (for non-transactional messaging) the handler attribute is required.

@from

yes

The ID of the actor that will be sending the message (see Actors). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@to

yes

The ID of the actor that will be receiving the message (see Actors). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@handler

no

The messaging handler to use for this messaging step. If not specified (for transactional messaging) the txnid attribute is required.

@id

no

The ID for the step. This is also the name of a map variable in the session context in which output will be stored.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is false). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

@reply

no

A boolean flag indicating that this communication should be presented as a reply (default is false). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

documentation

no

Rich text content that provides further information on the current step.

property

no

Zero or more elements to provide configuration regarding the setup of the messaging handler call that are not passed to the handler. Each property element has a name attribute and a text content or variable reference as value.

config

no

Zero or more elements containing configuration values pertinent to the message exchange. Each config element has a name attribute and a text content or variable reference as value.

input

no

Zero or more elements for for the messaging handler to consider. See Handler inputs and outputs for details.

output

no

Zero or more elements for the output values reported back to the test case. See Handler inputs and outputs for details.

Note

GITB software support: The listen step is currently not supported. As a general note, interoperability tests involving multiple actors as SUTs are not currently possible.

receive

The receive step is the counterpart of send signalling that an actor is expected to receive a message from another. This operation may be defined as part of a transaction created by btxn, in which case it references the transaction’s identifier. Alternatively, it may work without a transaction by specifying directly the messaging handler implementation to use.

The structure of the receive element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@txnid

no

The ID of the transaction this receive belongs to. If not specified (for non-transactional messaging) the handler attribute is required.

@from

yes

The ID of the actor that will be sending the message (see Actors). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@to

yes

The ID of the actor that will be receiving the message (see Actors). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@handler

no

The messaging handler to use for this messaging step. If not specified (for transactional messaging) the txnid attribute is required.

@desc

no

A description for this step to display to the user and to include in the test session log. Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@id

no

The ID for the step. This is also the name of a map variable in the session context in which output will be stored.

@timeout

no

An optional timeout (in milliseconds) on the time to wait for a message to be received. This is provided as a number or a variable reference.

@timeoutFlag

no

An optional name for a boolean flag to record whether or not the timeout was triggered that will be stored in the result map named using the id attribute. This is provided as a string or a variable reference.

@timeoutIsError

no

Whether or not a timeout being triggered should be considered as an error or success (the default). This is provided as a boolean or a variable reference.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is false). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

@reply

no

A boolean flag indicating that this communication should be presented as a reply (default is false). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

documentation

no

Rich text content that provides further information on the current step.

property

no

Zero or more elements to provide configuration regarding the setup of the messaging handler call that are not passed to the handler. Each property element has a name attribute and a text content or variable reference as value.

config

no

Zero or more elements containing configuration values pertinent to receiving. Each config element has a name attribute and a text content or variable reference as value.

input

no

Zero or more elements for the signal’s input parameters. See Handler inputs and outputs for details.

output

no

Zero or more elements for the resulting output values. See Handler inputs and outputs for details.

When the test bed executes the receive step it performs two actions:

  1. It signals the transaction’s messaging handler that content is expected to be received.

  2. It blocks waiting for a call-back from the messaging handler that will contain the received data, or until the configured timeout has elapsed.

Regarding the input elements provided these act as information provided to the messaging handler that are relevant to the message’s reception. They act as a counterpart to config elements whose purpose is more to signal parameters for the communication setup rather than the involved message. The output elements provided are optional and serve only to restrict the messaging handler’s output (returned via its call-back to the test bed) to the specified values. If not specified all available output values are returned.

<btxn from="Actor1" to="Actor2" txnId="t1" handler="SoapMessaging"/>
<receive id="dataReceive" desc="Receive data" from="Actor2" to="Actor1" txnId="t1">
    <config name="soap.version">1.2</config>
</receive>
<!--
    Example using timeouts (that are considered as an error).
-->
<receive
  id="dataReceiveTimeout" desc="Receive data with timeout" from="Actor2" to="Actor1" txnId="t1"
  timeout="$maxWaitTime" timeoutFlag="timeoutOccurred" timeoutIsError="true">
    <config name="soap.version">1.2</config>
</receive>
<etxn txnId="t1"/>
<!--
    Check to see if timeout took place or not and inform the user.
-->
<interact desc="Check timeout status">
    <instruct desc="Timeout occurred:" with="Actor2">$dataReceiveTimeout{timeoutOccurred}</instruct>
</interact>

You may also choose to define a receive step without defining a transaction (via btxn). The following is an example of such a step that makes use of an external service handler (a messaging service) to carry out the messaging:

<receive id="dataReceive" desc="Receive data" from="Actor1" to="Actor2" handler="$DOMAIN{messagingService}">
    <input name="expectedMessageId">$messageId</input>
</receive>

Note

Parallel receives: In case you use the receive step within a flow step’s threads and a custom messaging service, you need to make sure your service manages the specific receive call’s identifier. Check the messaging service documentation for details on how to do this.

send

The send step allows the test bed to signal that content needs to be sent from one actor to another. This operation may be defined as part of a transaction created by btxn, in which case it references the transaction’s identifier. Alternatively, it may work without a transaction by specifying directly the messaging handler implementation to use.

The structure of the send element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@txnid

no

The ID of the transaction this send belongs to. If not specified (for non-transactional messaging) the handler attribute is required.

@from

yes

The ID of the actor that will be sending the message (see Actors). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@to

yes

The ID of the actor that will be receiving the message (see Actors). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@handler

no

The messaging handler to use for this messaging step. If not specified (for transactional messaging) the txnid attribute is required.

@desc

no

A description for this step to display to the user and to include in the test session log. Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@id

no

The ID for the step. This is also the name of a map variable in the session context in which output will be stored.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is false). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

@reply

no

A boolean flag indicating that this communication should be presented as a reply (default is false). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

documentation

no

Rich text content that provides further information on the current step.

property

no

Zero or more elements to provide configuration regarding the setup of the messaging handler call that are not passed to the handler. Each property element has a name attribute and a text content or variable reference as value.

config

no

Zero or more elements containing configuration values pertinent to sending. Each config element has a name attribute and a text content or variable reference as value.

input

no

Zero or more elements for the input parameters. See Handler inputs and outputs for details.

The send step results in the transaction’s messaging handler to be notified that it needs to send content. Recall that the actual sending always takes place through the message handler implementation. The send step simply acts as the signal to do so.

<btxn from="Actor1" to="Actor2" txnId="t1" handler="SoapMessaging"/>
<send id="dataSend" desc="Send data" from="Actor1" to="Actor2" txnId="t1">
    <config name="soap.version">1.2</config>
    <input name="soap_message">$soapMessage</input>
</send>
<etxn txnId="t1"/>

You may also choose to define a send step without defining a transaction (via btxn). The following is an example of such a step that makes use of an external service handler (a messaging service) to carry out the messaging:

<send id="dataSend" desc="Send data" from="Actor1" to="Actor2" handler="$DOMAIN{messagingService}">
    <input name="messageId">$messageId</input>
    <input name="messagePayload">$messagePayload</input>
</send>

Processing steps

Processing steps are used to handle complex manipulations on information in the test session context that are domain-specific or too elaborate to be implemented using simple constructs such as the assign step. The actual implementation that carries out operations is implemented by a processing handler (see Processing handlers).

Note that processing steps are not presented to the user.

bptxn

Similar to Messaging steps, processing occurs in the context of a transaction that acts as a grouping mechanism over related operations. The bptxn step (the name stands for “Begin processing transaction”) is the construct used to signal that a processing transaction should be considered as started and is assigned an identifier. Subsequent relevant operations will be accompanied by this transaction ID to allow their processing handler to carry them out accordingly.

Use of a processing transaction is not always required. For processing steps that are simple in nature and don’t require state to be maintained across calls, you may skip the definition of a transaction and simply refer to the processing handler from the process step itself (see process for details). Whether or not skipping a transaction’s definition is supported depends on the specific processing handler; typically however, even if a processing handler doesn’t require a transaction and is signalled to create one this will simply be ignored. In terms of whether you need or not to define a processing transaction you can consider this rule of thumb:

  • Transaction needed: When the processing handler is expected to maintain state across individual process calls and eventually perform some clean up operations.

  • Transaction not needed: When the processing handler is stateless.

The structure of the bptxn element (defined when a processing transaction is needed) is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@txnid

yes

A string identifier for the transaction.

@handler

yes

A string value or variable reference identifying the the processing handler for the transaction (see Specifying the handler implementation).

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

property

no

Zero or more elements to provide configuration regarding the setup of the processing handler call that are not passed to the handler. Each property element has a name attribute and a text content or variable reference as value.

config

no

Zero or more elements to provide configuration when creating the transaction. Each config element has a name attribute and a text content or variable reference as value.

The bptxn step results in a call to the configured processing handler to signal that a new transaction is going to start.

<bptxn txnId="t1" handler="https://PROCESSING_SERVICE?wsdl"/>
<process id="result" txnId="t1">
    <operation>action</operation>
    <input name="anInput">$aValue</input>
</process>
<eptxn txnId="t1"/>

eptxn

The eptxn step (the name stands for “End processing transaction”) is the counterpath of the bptxn step and is used to close a transaction the ID of which it references. The structure of the eptxn element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@txnid

yes

A string identifier for the processing transaction to end.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

The eptxn step results in a call to the transaction’s processing handler to signal that it should consider the transaction as completed and proceed with any needed actions such as resource clean-up.

<bptxn txnId="t1" handler="https://PROCESSING_SERVICE?wsdl"/>
<process id="result" txnId="t1">
    <operation>action</operation>
    <input name="anInput">$aValue</input>
</process>
<eptxn txnId="t1"/>

process

The process step is where the actual processing work takes place. This may be defined within the context of a processing transaction started by a bptxn step, the ID of which is referenced. Alternatively, if a transaction is not required by the underlying processing handler, the transaction ID reference can be skipped and the handler can be defined on the process step itself (see also bptxn for additional details).

The structure of the process element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@txnId

no

The ID of the transaction to which this processing step belongs. Can be omitted if a transaction is not needed but in this case the handler attribute must be defined.

@id

no

The ID for the step. This is also the name of a map variable in the session context in which output will be stored.

@desc

no

A description for this step to display to the user (meaningful if hidden is false) and to include in the test session log. Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@handler

no

A string value or variable reference identifying the processing handler for this step (see Specifying the handler implementation). This is omitted in favour of the txnId in case a transaction is referenced.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is true). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

@input

no

An alternative to input elements to provide a single input when the processing handler expects a single input or (if multiple) a single mandatory input. See also Simplified processing steps.

@operation

no

An alternative to the operation element providing the operation to carry out by the processing handler. See also Simplified processing steps.

@output

no

The name to use for the session context variable to store the processing output as an alternative to using the id. See also Simplified processing steps.

documentation

no

Rich text content that provides further information on the current step (meaningful if hidden is false).

property

no

Zero or more elements to provide configuration regarding the setup of the processing handler call that are not passed to the handler. Each property element has a name attribute and a text content or variable reference as value.

operation

no

An optional string to identify an operation the handler is expected to perform.

input

no

Zero or more elements for the input parameters to the processing step. See Handler inputs and outputs for details.

Setting an operation is relevant for processing handlers that can support more than one task. Use of multiple operations under the same transaction renders processing services quite powerful in that they can perform any number of related operations and be extended with additional ones if needed. The operation to perform can be provided either via child element or attribute. If both are provided, the child element takes precedence.

The output of processing steps can be leveraged in two ways:

  • If the output attribute is defined, its value is used to name the variable in which the results are stored. If multiple results are produced this will be a map, but for a single result this will be directly recorded.

  • If there is no output attribute, the step’s id is used instead. Its value will be used as the name of a map that will include all outputs, using the names defined by the processing handler.

Using the output attribute is meant as a simplification when doing simple processing. It allows you to control the resulting variable’s name which could be interesting if you need it as part of template processing when replacing similarly named placeholders. For further ways to simplify basic processing steps see Simplified processing steps.

Processing transactions

For a processing handler that retains state, carrying out operations in a transaction is important as it provides an opportunity to manage correctly its resources. Moreover, for processing handlers supporting more than one operation for the same data, a transaction provides much needed context to logically connect operations. As an example consider a processing service that is used to read the contents from a ZIP archive. If the test case needs to read multiple files at different points in its execution it would be possible but very inefficient to pass the ZIP archive in each call. Defining a transaction allows the test case to pass the archive once allowing the processing handler to cache it and ultimately remove it upon transaction end. In addition, the presence of a transaction provides context and makes operations such as “initialize” (to pass the archive to consider), “extract” (to get a file’s contents), “checkExistence” (to check if a file exists but not return it) possible. Use of such a transaction-aware processing service is illustrated in the following example:

<!--
    Create a processing transaction named "t1".
-->
<bptxn txnId="t1" handler="https://ZIP_PROCESSING_SERVICE?wsdl"/>
<!--
    Call the "initialize" operation to pass the archive to the service.
    The service handler can read and cache the archive for the transaction.
-->
<process id="init" txnId="t1">
    <operation>initialize</operation>
    <input name="zip">$zipContent</input>
</process>
<!--
    Call the "checkExistence" operation to see if a given entry exists.
-->
<process id="exists" txnId="t1">
    <operation>checkExistence</operation>
    <input name="path">'file1.xml'</input>
</process>
<!--
    Call the "extract" operation to get an entry.
-->
<process id="output" txnId="t1">
    <operation>extract</operation>
    <input name="path">'file1.xml'</input>
</process>
<!--
    End the transaction.
    The service handler can remove the archive.
-->
<eptxn txnId="t1"/>

For cases where processing operations are simple, one-off actions, defining a transaction results in superfluous and unnecessary test steps. A good example of such a case is the TokenGenerator embedded processing handler that is used to generate text tokens such as a random UUID. In this case, although possible, defining a processing transaction is not needed, and is skipped in favour of simplification. In this case however, the handler attribute must be defined on the process step itself (replacing the txnId reference) as illustrated in the following example:

<!--
    Generate a UUID. The handler is defined without referencing a transaction ID.
-->
<process id="uuid" handler="TokenGenerator">
    <operation>uuid</operation>
</process>
<!--
    Display to the user the generated UUID.
-->
<interact desc="Generated UUID">
    <instruct desc="Value:">$uuid{value}</instruct>
</interact>

Process step visibility

The process step is by default considered to be internal and not meaningful to present to users. You could nonetheless choose to include the step in the test session presentation by setting its hidden attribute to false (the default value is true for process steps). An example case where this could be useful is when you use a custom processing service to transform content between syntaxes. Making the process step visible could serve to better inform users of the conversion process and its output. In addition, keep in mind that when presenting the step you should also consider providing a description (via the desc attribute) and additional documentation (via the documentation element).

The following TDL snippet illustrates setting this information for a custom processing step:

<!--
    Setting "hidden" to false makes this step visible.
-->
<process id="conversion" hidden="false" desc="Convert input to syntax B" handler="$DOMAIN{conversionServiceAddress}">
    <documentation import="docs/conversionDoc.html"/>
    <operation>convert</operation>
    <input name="input">$inputContentSyntaxA</input>
</process>

A process step that is displayed will present its overall result and additional information linked to the processing. Regarding this additional information:

  • In the case of embedded processing handlers the step’s visible output will be any output values produced by the processing.

  • In the case of custom processing handlers the visible output will be what is set as context on the step’s report (which can replicate or differ from the actual outputs).

Note

Hidden steps: The hidden attribute is supported for all steps that can be presented to users. The process step however is the only case where the default value is assumed to be true. For further information on the steps’ hidden attribute check the Hide test steps section.

Simplified processing steps

Test cases often include basic processing steps as utilities that don’t need transactions and multiple inputs, or produce only single output values. To reduce the verbosity of the process step in such cases, you can make use of three syntax alternatives:

  • The input attribute to provide a single input.

  • The operation attribute to define the operation.

  • The output attribute to directly name the result rather than use an intermediate map.

In case the process step’s handler expects multiple parameters, the single input attribute is assigned to a parameter as follows (rules listed with decreasing priority):

  1. The first mandatory parameter matching the input’s type.

  2. The first mandatory parameter regardless of type.

  3. The first optional parameter matching the input’s type.

  4. The first optional parameter regardless of type.

  5. An unnamed parameter set to the input’s value.

Note

To avoid ambiguity, use of the simplified process syntax should be preferred when a single input is expected, or in case of multiple expected inputs, there is one mandatory one.

In the case of inputs and operations, defining them both as attributes and child elements is superfluous. If nonetheless both are defined, the child elements take precedence.

The following example illustrates how these alternatives can be used to simplify your test definitions. We consider here that we are generating two messages based on a template that includes a placeholder for an identifier (named “messageId”). For the first message we use a verbose syntax whereas for the second one we use the simplifications discussed here. In both cases the TokenGenerator is used to generate UUIDs as alphanumeric strings with a length of ten characters.

<!--
    Verbose approach.
-->
<process id="tokenStep" handler="TokenGenerator">
    <operation>string</operation>
    <input name="format">"[a-zA-Z\d]{10}"</input>
</process>
<!--
    The output is stored in a map named using the step's id. As the template defines
    a "messageId" placeholder we need to create such a variable from the result map.
-->
<assign to="messageId">$tokenStep{value}</assign>
<assign to="message1" asTemplate="true">$messageTemplate</assign>

<!--
    Simplified approach.
-->
<process output="messageId" handler="TokenGenerator" input="[a-zA-Z\d]{10}" operation="string"/>
<assign to="message2" asTemplate="true">$messageTemplate</assign>

Note

The call step also offers similar syntax simplifications. This simplified syntax is available for process and call steps as these typically represent utilities that are frequently used.

Flow steps

Flow steps are used to control the processing flow of a test case. The constructs available are similar to the flow control structures available in programming languages.

exit

The exit step is used to immediately exit the test case from any execution branch. The structure of the exit element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@desc

no

A description for the step to display to the user and to include in the test session log. Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@success

no

Whether or not this step should be considered as a success or failure (the default). This is provided as a boolean or a variable reference.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is false). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

documentation

no

Rich text content that provides further information on the current step.

The following example shows a test case that exits as a success based on the user’s input:

<assign to="$inputValue">'NO'</assign>
<interact desc="Provide your choice" with="User">
    <request desc="Enter 'YES' to end the test" with="User">$inputValue</request>
</interact>
<if>
    <cond>$inputValue = 'YES'</cond>
    <then>
        <exit desc="Terminate test" success="true"/>
    </then>
    <else>
        <interact desc="You chose to continue" with="User">
            <instruct desc="Test continues" with="User" type="string">""</instruct>
        </interact>
        <verify handler="XSDValidator" desc="Validate content">
            <input name="xmldocument">$document</input>
            <input name="xsddocument">$schemaFile"</input>
        </verify>
    </else>
</if>

The result type of the exit step can also be determined via variable reference. The example that follows exits as a success or failure depending on whether or not the user provides a “true” of “false” input:

<interact desc="Decide outcome">
    <request desc="Succeed?">$choice</request>
</interact>
<exit desc="Finished" success="$choice"/>

flow

The flow step is used to perform sequences of steps in parallel rather that sequentially as is the default. This can be useful in scenarios where you want to process data in parallel or trigger messaging to actors concurrently. The flow of execution will be joined at the end of the flow step to continue sequential execution. The structure of the flow element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@title

no

A short title to display for this step (default is “flow”). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@desc

no

A description for this thread fork to display to the user and to include in the test session log. Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is false). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

@collapsed

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed as initially collapsed (default is false). See also Collapse sets of test steps.

documentation

no

Rich text content that provides further information on the current step.

thread

yes

One or more elements containing as children any sequence of steps to execute in the thread (including other flow steps).

The following example sends a SOAP request to two actors in parallel and proceeds to send a third one when both actors have replied.

<flow desc="Contact actor ReceiverA and ReceiverB in parallel">
    <thread>
        <!--
            Send message to ReceiverA and wait for response.
        -->
        <btxn from="Sender" to="ReceiverA" txnId="t1" handler="SoapMessaging"/>
        <send id="dataSend" desc="Send data to A" from="Sender" to="ReceiverA" txnId="t1">
            <config name="soap.version">1.2</config>
            <input name="soap_message">$soapMessageForA</input>
        </send>
        <receive id="dataReceive" desc="Receive data from A" from="ReceiverA" to="Sender" txnId="t1"/>
        <etxn txnId="t1"/>
    </thread>
    <thread>
        <!--
            Send message to ReceiverB and wait for response.
        -->
        <btxn from="Sender" to="ReceiverB" txnId="t2" handler="SoapMessaging"/>
        <send id="dataSend" desc="Send data to B" from="Sender" to="ReceiverB" txnId="t2">
            <config name="soap.version">1.2</config>
            <input name="soap_message">$soapMessageForB</input>
        </send>
        <receive id="dataReceive" desc="Receive data from B" from="ReceiverB" to="Sender" txnId="t2"/>
        <etxn txnId="t2"/>
    </thread>
</flow>
<!--
    After ReceiverA and ReceiverB have responded send a message to ReceiverC.
-->
<btxn from="Sender" to="ReceiverC" txnId="t3" handler="SoapMessaging"/>
<send id="dataSend" desc="Send data to C" from="Sender" to="ReceiverC" txnId="t3">
    <config name="soap.version">1.2</config>
    <input name="soap_message">$soapMessageForC</input>
</send>
<etxn txnId="t3"/>

A flow separate threads can also be individually hidden through use of their hidden attribute. This could be useful if you need to execute and display a set of parallel test branches, but at the same time carry out a parallel operation that shouldn’t be displayed. The following example illustrates a scenario where two messages are sent in parallel, with an additional notification that is hidden.

<flow desc="Send messages">
    <thread>
        <log>"Sending message to A"</log>
        <send id="dataSendA" desc="Send data to A" from="Sender" to="ReceiverA" txnId="t1"/>
    </thread>
    <thread>
        <log>"Sending message to B"</log>
        <send id="dataSendB" desc="Send data to B" from="Sender" to="ReceiverB" txnId="t2"/>
    </thread>
    <thread hidden="true">
        <log>"Notifying controller node"</log>
        <send id="cleanUp" from="Sender" to="Controller" txnId="t3"/>
    </thread>
</flow>

Note

Parallel receives: In case you use the receive step within a flow step’s threads and a custom messaging service, you need to make sure your service manages the specific receive call’s identifier. Check the messaging service documentation for details on how to do this.

foreach

The foreach step allows you to execute a sequence of steps for a specific number of iterations. Its structure is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@title

no

A short title to display for this step (default is “loop”). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@desc

no

A description for this loop to display to the user and to include in the test session log. Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@start

yes

A number to initialise the iteration index to. This is provided as a constant or as a variable reference.

@end

yes

A number that is considered as the maximum iteration count plus 1. This is provided as a constant or as a variable reference.

@counter

no

A name for the variable through which to expose the iteration counter (default is “i”).

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is false). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

@collapsed

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed as initially collapsed (default is false). See also Collapse sets of test steps.

documentation

no

Rich text content that provides further information on the current step.

do

yes

Contains as children any sequence of steps to execute for a loop iteration.

The start and end values define the number of iterations to perform. Specifically, the loop will continue as long as start is less than end with start getting incremented by one at the end of each iteration.

<!--
    The loop will execute 2 times (start must be less than end). The currentIndex variable will be 5 in the first
    iteration and then 6. Note that referring to this is done as a variable reference (if not specified the variable
    would be named "i" and referred to as "$i").
-->
<foreach desc="Do iteration" counter="currentIndex" start="5" end="7">
    <do>
        <interact desc="Message to user" with="User">
            <instruct desc="Iteration: " with="User" type="string">concat("Iteration ", $currentIndex)</instruct>
        </interact>
    </do>
</foreach>
<!-- In the following case the loop's boundaries are set dynamically. -->
<assign to="$start">5</assign>
<assign to="$end">$start + 2</assign>
<foreach desc="Do iteration" counter="currentIndex" start="$start" end="$end">
    <do>
        <interact desc="Message to user" with="User">
            <instruct desc="Iteration: " with="User" type="string">concat("Iteration ", $currentIndex)</instruct>
        </interact>
    </do>
</foreach>

if

The if step is used to run one of more steps if a condition is met. Its structure is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@title

no

A short title to display for this step (default is “decision”). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@desc

no

A description for this check to display to the user and to include in the test session log. Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is false). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

@collapsed

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed as initially collapsed (default is false). See also Collapse sets of test steps.

@static

no

A boolean flag determining whether the step’s conditions is evaluated at test case load time (true) or at runtime (false - the default). See also Dynamic steps within scriptlets.

documentation

no

Rich text content that provides further information on the current step.

cond

yes

The condition to verify in order to execute the then set of steps (if true) or else (if false). This is provided as an expression (see Expressions).

then

yes

Contains as children any sequence of steps to execute if the condition results to true.

else

no

Contains as children any sequence of steps to execute if the condition results to false.

The following example illustrates use of the if step to conditionally validate received content based on a condition.

<if desc="Check process type">
    <cond>$processType = 'process1'</cond>
    <then>
        <assign to="$formatType">'XML'</assign>
        <verify handler="https://VALIDATOR?wsdl" desc="Validate as XML">
            <input name="source" source="$document"/>
            <input name="validationType">$formatType</input>
        </verify>
    </then>
    <else>
        <assign to="$formatType">'CSV'</assign>
    </else>
</if>

Displaying contained steps without a boundary

Aside from using an if step to represent logical branches to users, we can also use it as an internal control structure for our testing logic. In such a case, we may want to only present the step’s included child steps, and not the boundary structure, title and description of the if step itself.

Displaying only an if step’s children is possible via two approaches:

  • Use of the if step’s static attribute.

  • Use of the hidden attribute on the if step and its contained then block.

The first approach, defining a static if, means that the step’s condition is evaluated when the test case is loaded as opposed to a runtime evaluation when the step is executed. The result of this is the inclusion of either the step’s then or else block in the test case without the if step’s overall boundary. Using this feature is meaningful for if steps within scriptlets as it allows their content to be dynamically adapted based on the needs of the given test case. For more details on this check how scriptlets can dynamically define their steps.

The second approach, using the hidden attribute, achieves a similar effect as the static flag but with the key difference that the if condition is evaluated at runtime. To use this approach you need to set the if step as hidden but also specify its then block as explicitly visible (hidden set to true). This results in hiding the if step’s boundary and displaying directly the steps contained within the then block. These steps may subsequently be skipped (and displayed as such) if the if step’s condition evaluates to false. Displaying steps directly, only to potentially mark them as skipped may seem confusing but could be useful for single optional steps. An example scenario is including a check to stop execution which me way want to display as an exit step that ends up getting skipped. In such a case, whether you show or not such a step’s containing if structure is effectively the same, and only affects the display you want to achieve.

The following example illustrates exactly this use case of including an exit step directly and displaying it as skipped if the exit condition is not met.

<!-- Validate content. -->
<receive id="receiveData" from="Actor1" to="Actor2" handler="..."/>

<!--
    Check and exit if needed. We set 'hidden' to 'true' to hide the if step's boundary.
-->
<if hidden="true">
    <cond>$receiveData{messageType} != $expectedType</cond>
    <!--
        Only the 'exit' step will be displayed and skipped if the condition is not matched.
        This is achieved by setting 'hidden' explicitly to 'false'.
    -->
    <then hidden="false">
        <exit desc="Stop due to unexpected message type"/>
    </then>
</if>

Note

A hidden if step can only have a visible then block. If an else block is defined it will never be displayed although it may be executed in case the if condition evaluates to false. If you want to conditionally include and display either the then or the else block, you should check out how a static if can be used within scriptlets.

repuntil

The repuntil step allows you to execute a sequence of steps at least once, checking at the end a condition to see if another iteration should take place. The structure of the repuntil element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@title

no

A short title to display for this step (default is “loop”). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@desc

no

A description for this loop to display to the user and to include in the test session log. Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is false). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

@collapsed

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed as initially collapsed (default is false). See also Collapse sets of test steps.

documentation

no

Rich text content that provides further information on the current step.

do

yes

Contains as children any sequence of steps to execute at least once and then again if the condition in cond is true.

cond

yes

The condition to verify in order to execute again the steps contained in do. This is provided as an expression (see Expressions).

<assign to="$iteration">1</assign>
<assign to="$maxIteration">3</assign>
<repuntil desc="Do iteration">
    <do>
        <interact desc="Message to user" with="User">
            <instruct desc="Iteration: " with="User" type="string">concat($iteration, " of ", $maxIteration)</instruct>
        </interact>
        <assign to="$iteration">$iteration + 1</assign>
    </do>
    <cond>$iteration &lt;= $maxIteration</cond>
</repuntil>

Note

Do-while: Step repuntil stands for “repeat until”. Considering this you could assume that the steps in do will be executed until the condition in cond is true. This is actually not the case currently as steps are executed while the condition in cond remains true (i.e. the logic is actually inversed). The naming of this step is thus unfortunate; it would be more appropriate if this was named dowhile reflecting accurately how the condition is considered.

while

The while step is the most useful looping construct. It allows a sequence of steps to be continuously executed as long as a condition continues to be true. The structure of the while element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@title

no

A short title to display for this step (default is “loop”). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@desc

no

A description for this loop to display to the user and to include in the test session log. Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is false). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

@collapsed

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed as initially collapsed (default is false). See also Collapse sets of test steps.

documentation

no

Rich text content that provides further information on the current step.

cond

yes

The condition to verify in order to execute the contained steps. This is provided as an expression (see Expressions).

do

yes

Contains as children any sequence of steps to execute if the loop’s condition results to true.

The following example validates the name of each attachment defined in an XML document using a while loop:

<!--
    Initialise maximum iteration count based on the number of "Attachment" nodes in the document.
-->
<assign to="$iterationCount" source="$document">count(//*[local-name() = "Attachment"]</assign>
<assign to="$iteration">1</assign>
<while desc="Validate attachment names">
    <cond>$iteration &lt;= $iterationCount</cond>
    <do>
        <verify handler="XPathValidator" desc="The attachment is named as expected">
            <input name="xmldocument" source="$document"/>
            <!--
                Construct the XPath expression to apply using the iteration variable.
            -->
            <input name="xpathexpression">concat("//*[local-name() = 'Attachment'][", $iteration, "]/text() = 'file_", $iteration, ".xml'")</input>
        </verify>
        <!--
            Increment iteration counter.
        -->
        <assign to="$iteration">$iteration + 1</assign>
    </do>
</while>

Support steps

Support steps are those that perform specific actions not related to messaging, processing or flow control.

assign

The assign step is a frequently used construct in GITB TDL. It is a step that is not visible to the user, used for the manipulation of data in the test session’s context. It can be used to assign values to variables but also as a means of performing simple processing or conversion between data types (see Type conversions). The processing and assignment result is determined by an expression provided as the text content of the assign element (see Expressions). The element’s structure is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@to

yes

The target variable to assign the result of the expression to.

@append

no

Used if the to variable is a list to append the result to. Can be “true” or “false”.

@type

no

Used to explicitly specify the type of variable to create (e.g. if the to is an entry in a map).

@lang

no

The expression language prefix to use to evaluate the contained expression (see Defining alternative expression languages and Expressions).

@source

no

A variable reference to identify a source object variable upon which the expression should be evaluated.

@asTemplate

no

Whether or not the result will be considered as a template for placeholder replacement (see Expressions and templates). By default this is “false”.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

The following example illustrates assigning a value to a number variable and also counting the nodes in an XML document:

<assign to="value">1</assign>
<assign to="nodeCount" source="$document">count(//*[local-name() = "Attachment"]</assign>

The to attribute of an assign step determines the target variable to which the expression’s output will be assigned to. This can be:

  • An existing variable, defined as part of the test case’s variables section or from previous steps.

  • A new variable that will be created once this step completes.

When defining a new variable its type is determined based on the result of the expression. This can also be affected by additional context information from the way the assign step is used, specifically the append attribute that would suggest a list, as well as the to expression that could suggest a map (e.g. if this defines $myMap{myKey}).

Numerous examples of the assign step can be found in the documentation on expressions. Examples are also provided here on how variables are dynamically created if not already defined.

Note

Using ‘$’ to define the assignment target: In the provided examples the to attribute of an assign step is always prefixed by a $ given that these are variable references. In the case of assign steps this is optional given that the to can only ever refer to a variable. As such, a to value of myVariable is valid and considered the same as $myVariable.

call

The call step is used to invoke a set of steps defined as a scriptlet (see Scriptlets). If we consider that a scriptlet resembles a function with input, output and local variables, the call step can be considered as the function’s invocation. Its purpose is to identify the scriptlet to call, pass its required input parameters and receive its output. The structure of the call element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@id

no

The ID for the step. This is also the name of a map variable in the session context in which output will be stored.

@path

yes

The identifier scriptlet to call. The value provided here depends on the whether the scriptlet is external to the test case or defined within it.

@from

no

The identifier of the test suite from which the scriptlet will be loaded. If not provided this is assumed to be the current test suite.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is false). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

@input

no

An alternative to input elements to provide a single input when the scriptlet expects a single input or (if multiple) a single mandatory input. See also Simplified call steps.

@output

no

The name to use for the session context variable to store the scriptlet output as an alternative to using the id. See also Simplified call steps.

input

no

Zero or more elements for the scriptlet’s input parameters. See Handler inputs and outputs for details.

output

no

Zero or more elements for the scriptlet’s output parameters to specify which outputs you require.

Scriptlets can be defined in separate XML files, in which case they can be used by any test case, or as internal to a specific test case, in which case they are considered private. How a scriptlet is looked up depends on its type, which defines how the path and from attributes are used. Specifically:

  • Internal scriptlet: The path attribute is set with the id value of the scriptlet to call and the from attribute is omitted.

  • External scriptlet: The from attribute is set with the id of the test suite to load the scriptlet from, and the path is set with the file path to the scriptlet’s XML file (relative to the test suite’s root).

If the from attribute is not specified, the test engine first attempts to load the scriptlet from the ones defined within the test case, by matching the path value against the defined scriptlets’ id. If no match is found a further lookup is made within the test case’s containing test suite, in which case the path value is considered as the path to the scriptlet’s XML file. When the from attribute is specified the scriptlet is always considered to be external to the test case, and its value is considered to be a test suite’s id. The lookup in this case proceeds as follows:

  1. If the value matches the current test suite id, the lookup is made within the current test suite.

  2. If not found, the lookup for a matching test suite continues within the current test suite’s specification.

  3. If not found, the lookup for a matching test suite continues within the current test suite’s overall domain.

Note

Non-unique test suite IDs: If multiple test suites are matched during a scriptlet’s lookup, an arbitrary test suite will be considered. Ensure that test suites sharing common resources have a unique id. A test suite’s id is always unique within a specification but not necessarily across specifications (i.e. within the overall domain).

The following example call steps, illustrate different cases of scriptlet lookup:

<!--
    Look for a scriptlet with id "script1" within the test case.
    If not found look for a file "script1" within the test case's test suite.
-->
<call id="call1" path="script1"/>
<!--
    Look for the scriptlet in test suite "test_suite_1" and load it from file "scriptlets/script1.xml".
-->
<call id="call2" from="test_suite_1" path="scriptlets/script1.xml"/>

Once the target scriptlet has been located, the call step will calculate and pass any inputs it requires. The approach to pass inputs is identical to the case of inputs to handlers. Values can be provided as constants or results of expressions, and can optionally be considered as templates with placeholder substitutions. It is important to note that all scriptlet inputs are required; failure to provide one or more inputs will result in a test session error.

Once a scriptlet completes, its outputs are recorded in a map stored in the test session’s context, that is named using the call step’s id. Individual outputs can then be referred to from within this map using their name.

A call step may choose to ignore specific scriptlet outputs. This can be done by listing the specific outputs you are interested in, naming them as part of the call step’s output elements. Any outputs that don’t match the listed ones will then be discarded. Note that when the call step does not define specific output elements, all scriptlet outputs are returned by default.

The following example illustrates potential uses of the call step:

<!--
    Call a scriptlet defined within the test case and retrieve all its output.
-->
<call id="internalCall" path="script1">
    <input name="docToValidate">$fileContent1</input>
</call>
<!--
    Call a scriptlet defined in test suite "test_suite_1" and retrieve only its "outputMessage" output.
-->
<call id="externalCall" from="test_suite_1" path="scriptlets/script1.xml">
    <input name="docToValidate">$fileContent1</input>
    <output name="outputMessage"/>
</call>

Further information on defining and using scriptlets is provided in the scriptlet documentation. For scriptlets specifically defined within test cases (i.e. private scriptlets) refer to the test case’s scriptlets element.

Simplified call steps

Test cases often include scriptlets as utilities that don’t need multiple inputs or produce only single output values. To reduce the verbosity of the call step in such cases, you can make use of two syntax alternatives:

  • The input attribute to provide a single input. This is possible when the scriptlet expects only a single input.

  • The output attribute to directly name the result rather than use an intermediate map.

Defining an input both as an attribute and child element is superfluous. If nonetheless both are defined, the child elements take precedence. On the other hand, the output attribute is complementary to the output child elements. When defining output child elements these result in limiting the produced results to only the ones specified. The results are first filtered as such before using the output attribute’s value to name the resulting variable.

The following example illustrates how these alternatives can be used to simplify your test definitions. We consider here that we are generating two messages based on a template that includes a placeholder for a signature (named “signature”). For the first message we use a verbose syntax whereas for the second one we use the simplifications discussed here. In both cases the signature value is created through a scriptlet that expects an input named “valueToSign” and produces an output named “signedValue”.

<!--
    Verbose approach.
-->
<call id="signatureCall" path="signatureScript">
    <input name="valueToSign">$aValue</input>
</call>
<!--
    The output is stored in a map named using the step's id. As the template defines
    a "signature" placeholder we need to create such a variable from the result map.
-->
<assign to="signature">$signatureScript{signedValue}</assign>
<assign to="message1" asTemplate="true">$messageTemplate</assign>

<!--
    Simplified approach.
-->
<call output="signature" path="signatureScript" input="$aValue"/>
<assign to="message2" asTemplate="true">$messageTemplate</assign>

Note

The process step also offers similar syntax simplifications. This simplified syntax is available for process and call steps as these typically represent utilities that are frequently used.

group

The group step is a construct used to visually group together a sequence of steps. It has no effect on the test execution adding only a visual grouping and label to the display. Its structure is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@title

no

A short title to display for this step (default is “group”). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@desc

no

A description for this group to display to the user and to include in the test session log. Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is false). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

@collapsed

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed as initially collapsed (default is false). See also Collapse sets of test steps.

documentation

no

Rich text content that provides further information on the current step.

The children of the group element can be any number of steps supported by GITB TDL. The following example creates a group around a set of related validations.

<group desc="Validate document">
    <verify handler="XSDValidator" desc="Against schema">
        <input name="xmldocument">$document</input>
        <input name="xsddocument">$schema"</input>
    </verify>
    <verify handler="SchematronValidator" desc="Against Schematron 1">
        <input name="xmldocument">$document</input>
        <input name="schematron">$schematron1"</input>
    </verify>
    <verify handler="SchematronValidator" desc="Against Schematron 2">
        <input name="xmldocument">$document</input>
        <input name="schematron">$schematron2"</input>
    </verify>
</group>

Using a group can provide a useful means of structuring a test case’s presentation. In addition, it allows several steps to be considered together and determine how they are presented. Specifically:

  • Used with the hidden attribute, to completely hide a set of steps.

  • Used with the collapsed attribute, to define the group’s display as initially collapsed.

Use of these attributes is illustrated in the following TDL snippet:

<!--
    Hide both validations. This could be interesting to make an internal check to drive subsequent control flow.
-->
<group id="checkResult" hidden="true">
    <verify handler="XSDValidator" desc="Against schema" level="WARNING">...</verify>
    <verify handler="SchematronValidator" desc="Against Schematron" level="WARNING">...</verify>
</group>
<!--
    Show the two validations in a group and present as initially collapsed.
-->
<group desc="Validate document" collapsed="true">
    <verify handler="XSDValidator" desc="Against schema">...</verify>
    <verify handler="SchematronValidator" desc="Against Schematron">...</verify>
</group>
<!--
    Show the two validations in a group and present it fully (the default).
-->
<group desc="Validate document">
    <verify handler="XSDValidator" desc="Against schema">...</verify>
    <verify handler="SchematronValidator" desc="Against Schematron">...</verify>
</group>

interact

The interact step is used to exchange information with the user executing the test case. Interactions can be of two types:

  • Instructions: Informative messages or data to be presented to a user.

  • Requests: Prompts to a user to provide input.

Both instructions and requests can be included in the same interact step to display and/or request multiple sets of information in one go. The structure of the interact element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@id

no

Used as the name of a map variable that will be used to store provided input (if no per-input assignment is provided).

@title

no

A short title to display for this step (default is “interact”). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@desc

no

A description for the user interaction to display to the user and to include in the test session log. Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@with

no

The ID of the actor this interaction refers to. If not specified is is assumed to be the test case actor defined as the SUT. Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@inputTitle

no

A custom text to display as the title of the user input popup (default is “Server interaction”). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is false). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

@collapsed

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed as initially collapsed (default is false). See also Collapse sets of test steps.

documentation

no

Rich text content that provides further information on the current step.

instruct

no

Zero or more elements to appear as instructions to the user.

request

no

Zero or more information requests for the user.

The instruct elements define what is going to presented to the user. They have the following structure:

Name

Required?

Description

@desc

yes

The label to display to the user.

@with

no

The ID of the actor this interaction refers to. If not specified this is taken from the interact parent element (which itself defaults to the test case’s SUT actor). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@name

no

In case of instruct elements that used to share binary content, this is used as the name of the file presented for download.

@type

no

The type to consider for the displayed value. If this is not specified the type will be inferred from the referred variable (if defined) or default to string.

@mimeType

no

A mime type value (e.g. text/xml) provided as a string or a variable reference, to hint how this value should be highlighted when displayed. In case an invalid or unsupported mime type is provided no such highlighting will be applied.

@source

no

A pure variable reference identifying a source variable. Used as the target upon which to evaluate the contained expression.

@asTemplate

no

Whether or not the result will be considered as a template for placeholder replacement (see Expressions and templates). By default this is “false”.

@forceDisplay

no

Whether the content should be always displayed inline rather than in an editor. By default this is “false”.

The request elements define how information shall be requested from the user. Their structure is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@desc

yes

The label to display to the user.

@with

no

The ID of the actor this interaction refers to. If not specified this is taken from the interact parent element (which itself defaults to the test case’s SUT actor). Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@contentType

no

Defines how the specified variable’s value is to be set (“STRING”, “BASE64” or “URI”). The default is “STRING”.

@encoding

no

Used in case of text binary input to specify the character encoding to consider. The default is “UTF-8”.

@name

no

In case of request elements this name is the key to be used for the map entry to hold the provided data.

@options

no

Used to render a dropdown list by providing the option values to consider (comma-separated values, a reference to a string variable of comma-separated values, or a reference to a list variable of strings).

@optionLabels

no

Used as the labels for the option values (comma-separated values, a reference to a string variable of comma-separated values, or a reference to a list variable of strings). If provided the number of values needs to match the options. If not provided the option values are used.

@multiple

no

A boolean value to determine whether the dropdown list (if the options attribute is defined) shall be a single or multiple selection list (default is false for single selection).

@inputType

no

The input control type to use when prompting users for the relevant value. By default a value of TEXT is assumed unless this input is mapped to an existing binary variable.

@mimeType

no

In case the inputType is set as CODE (i.e. a code editor) this is the content’s expected mime type (e.g. text/xml), provided as a string or a variable reference, to be considered for presenting appropriate syntax highlighting.

@asTemplate

no

Whether or not the result will be considered as a template for placeholder replacement (see Expressions and templates). By default this is false.

@report

no

Whether or not this value will be included in the presentation of the test step’s report (by default true). When set to false the requested value will be stored in the test session context but not displayed in the step’s report.

@timeout

no

An optional timeout (in milliseconds) on the time to wait for the interaction to be completed. This is provided as a number or a variable reference.

Interactions are by default presented to the tester, but can also be reserved for an administrator through the admin flag in the interact element. This could be useful in case you need to pause a test session while an administrator makes a manual verification. In such cases, you can also fine tune which of the administrator’s inputs are presented in the report (via the report flag on request elements), and even hide the overall step if preferable (via the interact element’s hidden attribute). Note that all interactions can be minimised and completed at a later time, and support the setting of a configurable timeout to avoid a simple notification message blocking the test session’s execution.

Note

For a test session running in the background, administrator interactions block until completed unless a timeout is set. Tester interactions are in contrast completed immediately with a log warning, unless configured with a timeout.

The content of the instruct and request elements is expected to be an expression (see Expressions) that takes different meaning depending on the specific element type. In the case of providing information to the user through a instruct element the contained value is a complete expression that will be evaluated to produce the value to display. In this case the contentType and encoding attributes are not used and are ignored if specified. What is important is the type attribute that defines how the element’s expression result is to be interpreted (see Types):

  • A binary, object or schema type results in the calculated expression being computed as BASE64 content. The user will have the option to download the content as a file or open it in a code editor.

  • All other cases result in the value being displayed inline as text. This is also the default case if the type attribute is not specified.

  • Note that in case the text is too long to be displayed the user will instead be provided with controls to download it as a file or open it in a code editor (as in the case of e.g. binary content).

As a complement to the type attribute you can also specify the mimeType attribute. This is meaningful for binary or large text content as it serves two purposes: it allows you to specify the content type and file extension to use when the content is downloaded as a file, and it provides a hint for appropriate syntax highlighting when displaying the content in a code editor.

Concerning request elements, the content of the expression is expected to be a pure variable reference that identifies the variable that will receive the input. You can also leave this empty and specify a name instead, in which case the value will be recorded in a map in the test session context. This map is named using the interact step’s id and in which the specific input value is added with a key matching its name. These two approaches are illustrated in the snippet that follows:

<interact id="data" desc="Provide inputs">
    <!-- Approach 1, stored in variable aValue. -->
    <request desc="Enter a text value:">$aValue</request>
    <!-- Approach 2, stored in variable data{value}. -->
    <request desc="Enter another text value:" name="value"/>
</interact>

To determine the type of input control to present to the user you use the inputType attribute. The supported values for this are:

  • TEXT for a simple text field (the default if not specified).

  • UPLOAD for a file upload control.

  • MULTILINE_TEXT for a textarea supporting input of multiple lines.

  • SECRET for a control to add a secret value such as a password.

  • CODE for input via a code editor. To complement this you can also specify the mimeType attribute with a mime type (e.g. text/xml) to have appropriate syntax highlighting.

  • SELECT_SINGLE for a single-select dropdown list, specifying the options via the options and optionLabels attributes.

  • SELECT_MULTIPLE for a multi-select dropdown list using similarly the options and optionLabels attributes.

Prior to GITB TDL version 1.14.0, the way to determine the input control to use was the contentType attribute. Although less expressive, this approach is still supported as follows:

  • Specifying “BASE64” results in a file upload presented to the user.

  • Specifying “STRING” (the default) or “URI” results in a simple text input. Note that only “STRING” can be used in case the request is defined as a dropdown list (i.e. the options attribute is defined).

It is interesting to note that any available context information is always considered to reduce the configuration you need to provide. For example, if for a request you are referencing an already defined binary variable, you can skip the inputType or contentType definitions as this will anyway result in a file upload. Similarly, if for a request you define options and the multiple attribute, you don’t need to define the inputType as well as this is considered to be by default SELECT_MULTIPLE.

The following examples illustrate user interactions presenting instructions and also requesting information:

<interact desc="Some information and inputs">
    <!-- type="string" omitted as default. Displays the text as a message to the user. -->
    <instruct desc="This is a simple message"/>
    <instruct desc="A text value:">"A text value " || $aTextValue</instruct>
    <!-- Present a download button and XML editor for file "schema.xsd" (not specifying a name would produce a "downloadedFile" file). -->
    <instruct name="schema.xsd" desc="A file to download:" mimeType="text/xml">$schemaFile</instruct>
    <!-- Present an instruction forcing an inline display rather than using an editor. -->
    <instruct desc="Message:" forceDisplay="true">"A long text such as detailed instructions, that would otherwise be displayed in an editor rather than follow an inline display."</instruct>
    <!-- Present a text input field storing the result in variable aStringInputValue. -->
    <request desc="Enter a text value:" inputType="TEXT">$aStringInputValue</request>
    <!-- Present a text area input storing the result in variable aLongStringInputValue. -->
    <request desc="Enter a long text value:" inputType="MULTILINE_TEXT">$aLongStringInputValue</request>
    <!-- Present a secret value input storing the result in variable aSecretValue. -->
    <request desc="Enter a secret value:" inputType="SECRET">$aSecretValue</request>
    <!-- Present a single selection dropdown list storing the result in variable aSelectedInputValue. -->
    <request desc="Enter a text value:" options="v1, v2" optionLabels="Value 1, Value 2">$aSelectedInputValue</request>
    <!-- Present a file upload storing the result in variable aBinaryVariable. -->
    <request desc="Upload a file:">$aBinaryVariable</request>
</interact>

<!-- Example storing all provided input in a map. This uses the "id" and "name" attributes. -->
<interact id="userInput" desc="Some information and inputs">
    <!-- Present a text input field storing the result in variable userInput{text} (a type of "string" is assumed as the default). -->
    <request name="text" desc="Enter a text value:"/>
    <!-- Present a code editor for XML content, storing the result in variable userInput{xml} -->
    <request name="xml" desc="Enter XML content:" inputType="CODE" mimeType="text/xml"/>
    <!-- Present a code editor for JSON content, storing the result in variable userInput{json} -->
    <request name="json" desc="Enter JSON content:" inputType="CODE" mimeType="application/json"/>
    <!-- Present a file upload storing the result in variable userInput{file}. -->
    <request name="file" desc="Upload a file:" type="binary"/>
    <!-- Equivalent to the above but using the inputType -->
    <request name="anotherFile" desc="Upload another file:" inputType="UPLOAD"/>
</interact>

To better illustrate how dropdown selections can be defined, the following code sample presents the different ways to define them:

<steps>
    <!-- Assign options and labels (you may predefine variables or create them on the fly as follows) -->
    <assign to="input3_options">"v1, v2, v3"</assign>
    <assign to="input3_labels">"Value 1, Value 2, Value 3"</assign>
    <assign to="input4_options" append="true">"x1"</assign>
    <assign to="input4_options" append="true">"x2"</assign>
    <assign to="input4_options" append="true">"x3"</assign>
    <assign to="input4_labels" append="true">"VAL 1"</assign>
    <assign to="input4_labels" append="true">"VAL 2"</assign>
    <assign to="input4_labels" append="true">"VAL 3"</assign>

    <interact id="data" desc="Enter data">
        <!-- Single selection with options provided in the attribute values (stored as data{input1}). -->
        <request desc="Select one" options="o1, o2, o3" optionLabels="Option 1, Option 2, Option 3" name="input1"/>
        <!-- Multiple selection with options provided in the attribute values (stored as data{input2}). -->
        <request desc="Select multiple" options="o1, o2, o3" optionLabels="Option 1, Option 2, Option 3" multiple="true" name="input2"/>
        <!-- Single selection with options provided by referring to string variables (stored as data{input3}). -->
        <request desc="Select one (use string reference)" options="$input3_options" optionLabels="$input3_labels" name="input3"/>
        <!-- Single selection with options provided by referring to list variables (stored as data{input4}). -->
        <request desc="Select one (use list reference)" options="$input4_options" optionLabels="$input4_labels" name="input4"/>
    </interact>
</steps>

Finally the following code sample illustrates some of the more advanced interaction features, considering an information step to the tester followed by an administrator-level verification:

<steps>

    <!--
        Display an information prompt to the tester, closing it automatically after 10 seconds. The timeout could also be set
        via configuration using for example a domain parameter ($DOMAIN{infoTimeout}).

        The step is hidden as it is not interesting to include in the graphical execution diagram, and the message is set as being
        forced to display as-is, to avoid it being presented in a code editor if it exceeds the inline display limit.
    -->
    <interact hidden="true" desc="Test information" timeout="10000">
        <instruct desc="Message:" forceDisplay="true">"Please wait until the administrator validates your results."</instruct>
    </interact>

    <!--
        Display an interaction prompt to an administrator to provide inputs.

        The administrator is also expected to provide an internal code that will not be presented in the step's report but can
        be subsequently used in other test steps.
    -->
    <interact id="adminData" desc="Confirm results" admin="true">
        <request desc="Comments" inputType="MULTILINE_TEXT" name="comments"/>
        <!-- The "code" input will be recorded but not added to reports. -->
        <request desc="Internal code" name="code" report="false"/>
    </interact>

    <log>$adminData{code}</log>

</steps>

Note

The value received from a request element defined as a multiple selection list will be a comma-separated string in which the individual parts match the selected values. This value is recorded in the test session context as a variable of type string that can be passed as input to handlers or be processed with relevant XPath functions.

log

The log step is used to add information to the test session’s log output at various severity levels. The step itself is not visible on a test case’s diagram but users can inspect its output in the recorded test session log. This step can be used both as a development utility for test case developers and also as a means of providing additional information to testers. The latter case can be valuable in providing e.g. technical details to complement a validation step if needed to inspect further details.

The log output is determined by an expression provided as the text content of the log element (see Expressions). The element’s structure is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@lang

no

The expression language prefix to use to evaluate the contained expression (see Defining alternative expression languages and Expressions).

@source

no

A variable reference to identify a source object variable upon which the expression should be evaluated.

@asTemplate

no

Whether or not the result will be considered as a template for placeholder replacement (see Expressions and templates). By default this is “false”.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@level

no

The severity level to consider for the log entry. This can be (in increasing severity) DEBUG, INFO (the default level), WARNING or ERROR. It can also be provided as a variable reference.

The following example illustrates the various ways the log step can be used, considering in this case input provided by the user by means of a user interaction step:

<!-- Add a static message to the log. -->
<log>'Starting execution of test case'</log>
<!-- Request certain information from the user. -->
<interact id="input" desc="User input">
    <request desc="Provide a boolean flag" name="flag" options="true,false"/>
    <request desc="Provide an XML file" contentType="BASE64" name="file"/>
</interact>
<!-- Log the provided flag value. -->
<log>$input{flag}</log>
<!-- Log a message including the provided flag value. -->
<log>concat('You selected: ', $input{flag})</log>
<!-- Print the id attribute of the XML file's root element. -->
<log source="$input{file}">string(/*[local-name() = "myRootElement"]/@id)</log>
<!-- Define a template text. -->
<assign to="message">'A value of ${input{flag}} was provided.'</assign>
<!-- Will process 'message' as a template to produce the log output. -->
<log asTemplate="true">$message</log>
<!-- Will process 'message' as a simple text and log its contents without replacing placeholders. -->
<log>$message</log>
<!-- Equivalent to the previous case (template processing is disabled by default). -->
<log asTemplate="false">$message</log>
<!-- Log a message at a different severity level (a warning in this case). -->
<log level="WARNING">'The value should normally be received by your service directly.'</log>
<!-- Log a message at a dynamically defined severity level. -->
<assign to="logLevel">'WARNING'</assign>
<log level="$logLevel">'The value should normally be received by your service directly.'</log>

Using the log step provides flexibility to test developers for conveying information to users that may be difficult to present on the test execution diagram. When considering such log contributions, the log step is complemented by the logging capabilities of custom test services used as remote service handlers for messaging (send, receive), processing (process) and validation (verify) steps. Such custom services can contribute to the test session log via service call to the test bed.

Note

Test case log level: You can configure the minimum log level for a test case to control which log messages are included in the session log.

verify

The verify step is used to trigger validation of content. Similar to Messaging steps and Processing steps, validation takes place using a validation handler implementation that can either be an embedded test bed component or a remote service that implements the GITB validation service API. The content to validate is provided by the test case to the handler in terms of configuration and input, for which a test report is returned in the GITB TRL (Test Reporting Language) format. The structure of the verify element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

@id

no

The ID for the step. This is also the name of a boolean variable in the session context in which the validation result will be recorded (true for success).

@desc

no

A description for this validation to display to the user and to include in the test session log. Within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference.

@handler

yes

A string value or variable reference identifying the the validation handler (see Specifying the handler implementation).

@level

no

The severity level to be considered when this step fails validation. Can be set to ERROR (the default) or WARNING, or be defined dynamically via variable reference.

@stopOnError

no

A boolean flag determining whether the test session should end if this step fails (default is false). See also Stop a test session upon errors.

@output

no

A string value determining the name of the variable to be set with the output of the step (if any). If this is not set the output is displayed but is not recorded in the test session context.

@hidden

no

A boolean flag determining whether or not the step is displayed to users (default is false). Note that within scriptlets this can also be a variable reference. See Hide test steps for further details.

documentation

no

Rich text content that provides further information on the current step.

property

no

Zero or more elements to provide configuration regarding the setup of the validation handler call that are not passed to the handler. Each property element has a name attribute and a text content or variable reference as value.

config

no

Zero or more elements to provide configuration for the validation. Each config element has a name attribute and a text content or variable reference as value.

input

yes

One more elements for the validation’s input parameters. See Handler inputs and outputs for details.

A verify step that is set at warning level (through attribute level) will never result in an overall failure for the test session. If validation fails, the result will be indicated as a warning but without further impact. Note that a validation service returning a detailed validation report for a verify step at warning level may have its resulting report adapted accordingly. The report will be set as WARNING (if it was FAILURE) and any error-level report items will be listed as warnings.

The following example includes three verify steps, the first one using an XSDValidator, followed by a second one at warning level which uses a remote validation service. The third verify step replicates the previous one but defines its level dynamically:

<!--
    Validation using the embedded XSDValidator.
-->
<verify handler="XSDValidator" desc="Validate invoice against schema">
    <input name="xmldocument">$document</input>
    <input name="xsddocument">$schema"</input>
</verify>
<!--
    Warning-level validation using a remote validation service.
-->
<verify handler="https://VALIDATION_SERVICE_ADDRESS?wsdl" level="WARNING" desc="Validate against remote service">
    <input name="aDocument">$document</input>
</verify>
<!--
    Validation using a remote validation service with a dynamically set severity level.
-->
<assign to="levelToUse">'WARNING'</assign>
<verify handler="https://VALIDATION_SERVICE_ADDRESS?wsdl" level="$levelToUse" desc="Validate against remote service">
    <input name="aDocument">$document</input>
</verify>

Note

Remote or local validators: Simple validations such as those evaluating an XPath expression against a document can be implemented using Built-in validation handlers. When validation logic however is complex it is always best to decouple this into an external validation service. This is the case even when validating XML content since this usually involves multiple validation steps using an XSD and one or more Schematron files. It is more concise to present this as a single validation step with one report. This also enhances maintainability of the test cases considering that use of the embedded XSDValidator and SchematronValidator means that you need to bundle (and maintain) the validation artefacts in each test suite. When decoupled as a service artefacts can be updated without needing new test suite versions aside from the benefit that your service can also be invoked outside the test bed using any SOAP client.

It may be the case that the verify step also produces output that needs to be leveraged further on in the test session. This could be interesting in case an embedded validation handler is used, the inputs of which are determined dynamically via an expression. Usually however you would want to record output if validation is done via a custom service which, apart from returning a validation report, calculates and returns additional information. As an example consider a validator that checks the integrity of a provided file and also returns its hash code which is used in further processing. Recording a verify step’s output is done by means of the output attribute which defines the name of the variable to set. Once validation completes, this variable will be set to anything returned as the validation report context.

<!--
    Validate and return as the report's context a map containing data with the key "identifier".
    The map is recorded in the session context under "validationOutput".
-->
<verify output="validationOutput">
    ...
</verify>
<log>$validationOutput{identifier}</log>

If no output attribute is set, the context data from the step’s report will be displayed but not recorded in the session context.

Common step concepts

The following section documents common concepts that apply to all test steps.

Rich documentation per step

Test steps that are meant to be presented to users can be defined with an additional documentation element to include extended rich text documentation as HTML. This complements the limited label attached to each step (via attribute desc), allowing further instructions, context and references to be provided. The structure of this element is as follows:

Name

Required?

Description

import

no

A reference to a separate file within the test suite archive that defines the documentation content.

from

no

The identifier of a test suite from which the import file will be loaded. If unspecified the current test suite is assumed.

encoding

no

In case an import reference is defined this can be used to specify the file’s encoding. If not provided UTF-8 is considered.

Using the above attributes to specify a reference to a separate file is not mandatory. The documentation’s content can also be provided as the element’s text content, typically enclosed within a CDATA section if this includes HTML elements (in which case the from, import and encoding attributes are omitted). When loading documentation from a separate file, it is also possible to lookup this file from another test suite. This is done by specifying as the value of the from attribute the id of the target test suite. This is used to lookup the target test suite as follows:

  1. Look for the test suite in the same specification as the current test case.

  2. If not found in the same specification, look for the test suite in the other specifications of the test case’s domain. If across specifications multiple matching test suites are found, one of them will be arbitrarily picked. To avoid such a scenario it is obvious that you should ensure test suites used to load shared resources can be uniquely identified.

This documentation can provide further information on the context of the test step, diagrams or reference information that are useful to understand how it is to be completed. The content supplied supports several HTML features:

  • Structure elements (e.g. headings, text blocks, lists).

  • In-line styling.

  • Tables.

  • Links.

  • Images.

The simplest way to provide such information is to enclose the HTML content in a CDATA section to ensure the test case XML remains well-formed. The example that follows illustrates two examples, one defining a simple additional text, and another with more comprehensive HTML content.

<!-- Additional documentation as simple text. -->
<verify handler="XSDValidator" desc="Validate invoice against UBL 2.1 Invoice Schema">
    <documentation>This is an extra documentation item.</documentation>
    <input name="xmldocument">$file_content</input>
    <input name="xsddocument" source="$UBL_Invoice_Schema_File"/>
</verify>
<!-- Additional documentation as rich HTML content. -->
<verify handler="SchematronValidator" desc="Validate invoice against BII RULES" level="WARNING">
    <documentation><![CDATA[
    <p>This is <b>important information!</b> Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. </p>
    <div style="width:100%; text-align:center"><img src="https://www.itb.ec.europa.eu/docs/services/latest/_images/ValidationService.png"/></div>
    <b><u>Steps for testing:</u></b>
    <p>
        <ol>
            <li>Prepare correctly</li>
            <li>Submit the correct file</li>
            <li>Validate results</li>
        </ol>
    </p>
    <p>
        <table style="border: 1px solid black; width:100%">
            <tr style="border: 1px solid black; font-weight: bold;">
                <td>COL1</td><td>COL2</td><td>COL3</td><td>COL4</td><td>COL5</td>
            </tr>
            <tr>
                <td>1</td><td>2</td><td>3</td><td>4</td><td>5</td>
            </tr>
            <tr>
                <td>test1</td><td>test2</td><td>test3</td><td>test4</td><td>test5</td>
            </tr>
        </table>
    </p>
    <p>After this make sure to check the docs <a href="https://www.itb.ec.europa.eu/docs/tdl/latest">here</a>.</p>
    ]]></documentation>
    <input name="xmldocument">$file_content</input>
    <input name="schematron" source="$BII_RULES_Invoice_Schematron_File"/>
</verify>

Note

Documentation such as this is also supported for the overall test suite and the test cases included in the test suite.

Stop a test session upon errors

During the course of a test session you will need to consider step failures and define how these are to affect the overall test execution. Such failures can broadly be classified as:

  • Expected errors resulting from validations and message exchanges due to violations of the specifications’ requirements.

  • Unexpected errors due to services being unavailable or unforeseen processing problems.

Any step failure that occurs will ultimately result in the overall test session to fail. However, whether or not you want to continue a test session once a failure has occurred depends on the design of your test case. For example, if a test case involves constructing a message, validating it, and then using it to start a series of message exchanges, it is probably meaningless to proceed with messaging steps if the message is invalid to begin with. In such a case, any failure when validating the message should immediately fail the test session.

Immediately stopping execution may however not always be desired. Consider a case where you receive a message from a system and then proceed to use it for a series of validations, each focusing on a different complementary aspect (e.g. integrity, syntax and business rules). In such a scenario you want any failures to be recorded but not prevent subsequent steps so that the user receives a complete validation outcome.

By default a test session will continue processing all steps regardless of failures (allowing the second case described above). If you want to stop test execution upon a failure you can use the stopOnError flag. This flag expects a boolean value (true or false) and can be set on:

  • Individual steps, to stop the test for failures on the step in question, or any nested step.

  • Step sequences, to stop the test for failures on any of the sequence’s steps (or nested step). Examples of step sequence elements are the then or else blocks of an if step.

  • The complete test case, to stop the test on any failure. This is done by setting the stopOnError attribute on the test case’s steps element.

The following GITB TDL snippets illustrates all these cases:

<!-- Stop on any failure. -->
<steps stopOnError="true">
    ...
</steps>

<!-- Stop if this step fails -->
<verify stopOnError="true">
    ...
</verify>

<!-- Stop if any step within the "if" fails. -->
<if stopOnError="true">
    ...
</if>

<!-- Stop if any step within the "then" block fails (but continue for failures under the else block). -->
<if>
    <cond>...</cond>
    <then stopOnError="true">
        ...
    </then>
    <else>
        ...
    </else>
</if>

It is interesting to note that stopping a test execution could also be achieved by means of the if and exit steps. The following snippet illustrates such a case:

<verify id="check" desc="Make an important validation">
...
</verify>
<if desc="check to stop the test">
    <cond>not($STEP_SUCCESS{check})</cond>
    <then>
        <exit desc="Stop the test"/>
    </then>
</if>

Doing this simply to prevent subsequent test steps is overly verbose and, moreover is displayed as part of the test execution diagram. It could still be interesting to follow this approach however if you want to include additional processing or user interaction steps before the session ends.

Hide test steps

The purpose of most test steps, apart from carrying out their respective actions, is to also communicate progress and results to the user. Depending on how specific steps are rendered, they can present the test session’s control flow and reports that include a step’s input, output and validation results (in case of a verify step).

Depending on the purpose of a given step it could nonetheless be preferrable to hide it from the test session’s display. Doing so could be interesting in case this step is used as a complementary action that is not important from a testing perspective but is required to e.g. clean up resources or make internal updates. Examples of such cases include:

Hiding an otherwise visible test step is supported by means of the hidden attribute. This takes a boolean value that determines whether the step should be included in the test session’s display. When set to false, the step is not presented but is executed by the test engine as expected. In other words, hiding a step affects only its visual representation, not its processing.

The following example includes a verify step that is not meant to be displayed to the user but is used to determine subsequent processing. Note how the verification is forced at warning level to not impact the test session’s result:

<!-- This check will not be presented in the test session display. -->
<verify id="internalCheck" handler="StringValidator" hidden="true" level="WARNING">
    <input name="actualstring">$valueToCheck</input>
    <input name="expectedstring">'CASE1'</input>
</verify>
<!-- Conditional branch based on previous (hidden) check result. -->
<if>
    <cond>$internalCheck</cond>
    <then>
        ...
    </then>
</if>

In case you need to take multiple internal actions that you want to hide, a good approach is to use the group step. To do so place all such internal steps within a group and set the group itself to be hidden. Any steps included in a step that takes child steps (e.g. group, if, foreach, flow) which is set as hidden will be altogether removed from the display. This is the case regardless of how the hidden attibute may be set on child steps.

The following example illustrates how to hide a group of steps:

<group hidden="true">
    <verify id="internalCheck" handler="StringValidator" level="WARNING">
        ...
    </verify>
    <process>
        ...
    </process>
    <send>
        ...
    </send>
</group>

The hidden attribute is supported on all test steps that can be visually represented. Check the documentation of each step to see whether displaying or hiding it is applicable.

Note

Visible process steps: The default value for the hidden attribute is true, resulting in the relevant steps being displayed. The exception is the process step that is hidden by default. Setting hidden to false on a process step will result in it being displayed, providing a report that includes the step’s output.

Collapse sets of test steps

Test cases that include numerous test steps may appear as complex to users. Introducing grouping of related steps can provide better visual structuring and make them easier to follow. If further simplification is needed a good approach is to additionally define such groups as being by default collapsed by setting their collapsed attribute to true.

Collapsing a group of steps results in them being presented as initially minimised and displaying only:

  • Their description (if defined).

  • Their documentation link (if defined).

  • Their overall progress status and result.

After a group is diplayed as collapsed, the user can always expand it to view its details and child steps. However, the initial minimised display helps significantly in reducing the amount of visual information on steps that you may not want to prominently display. Good examples are actions to provide acknowledgements for received messages or sets of validations that are not the test case’s main focus. It may also be interesting to display as collapsed sets of steps that repeat in several locations to avoid visual clutter.

The collapsed attribute is not only applicable to group steps, but also to any other step that is presented as a block with contained details. It can be set on:

The default value for the collapsed attribute is always false, meaning that all relevant steps will by default be presented as fully expanded.

The following example illustrates how a set of tests on XML content can be displayed as initially collapsed to simplify the display:

<!--
    The three verify steps will be initially hidden, showing instead only their containing group.
    The group can be at any point expanded to view internal details (e.g. if a validation error is reported).
-->
<group desc="Validate XML message" collapsed="true">
    <verify handler="XSDValidator" desc="Validate message structure">...</verify>
    <verify handler="SchematronValidator" desc="Validate core business rules">...</verify>
    <verify handler="SchematronValidator" desc="Validate additional contraints">...</verify>
</group>

Note

Collapsed vs Hidden: Apart from collapsing a group of steps, steps can also be set as hidden. Use collapsed when you want to still include steps in the test session display but simplify their presentation. Use hidden for purely internal steps that you want to completely remove from the display. In case hidden is set to true the collapsed attribute is effectively ignored.