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Adding Unit Tests

Premake includes an automated testing system that you can use the verify the behavior of your new module.

Add your first test

Within our Lucky module folder, create a new folder named tests.

Within that folder, create a new file named tests/test_lucky_numbers.lua with a simple failing test:

local suite = test.declare("lucky_numbers")

function suite.aFailingTest()
test.isequal(2, 3)

You'll also need a manifest to list all of your test files. Create another file in that same folder named _tests.lua:

lucky = require('lucky')  -- replace with name of your module, obviously

return {

When you're all done, your module should now look like:

|- lucky.lua
`- tests/
|- _tests.lua
`- test_lucky_numbers.lua

Enable the testing module

Premake's automated testing module is considered an advanced, developer-only feature which is not enabled by default. To enable it, you simply need to add the line test = require("self-test") somewhere it will be executed before your tests run.

The best place to put it is in your system script, which will make the testing action available to all of your projects. But if that isn't feasible for you or your users, you can also place it in your project or testing script.

Premake's own code makes use of the latter approach: its premake5.lua script defines a custom action named "test", which in turn enables the built-in testing module:

newaction {
trigger = "test",
description = "Run the automated test suite",
execute = function ()
test = require "self-test""self-test")

Run your test

Once the testing module is enabled, cd to your module folder and run the command premake5 self-test. You should see your simple failing test fail.

$ premake5 self-test
Running action 'self-test'...
lucky_numbers.aFailingTest: ...e/Premake/Modules/lucky/tests/test_lucky_numbers.lua:4: expected 2 but was 3
0 tests passed, 1 failed in 0.00 seconds

If developing new tests for premake itself, it is often beneficial to run smaller subsets of tests with the command-line option --test-only:

$ premake5 --test-only=lucky_numbers test

Passing a test

To complete the example, let's replace our failing test with one which actually calls our module.

local suite = test.declare("lucky_numbers")

function suite.makesEightLucky()
local x = lucky.makeNumberLucky(8)
test.isequal(56, x)

And give it a go:

$ premake5 self-test
Running action 'self-test'...
1 tests passed, 0 failed in 0.00 seconds

Next steps?

The tests folder in the Premake source code contains over 1,000 tests which you can use as examples. The ones in tests/actions/vstudio/vc2010 tend to be the most frequently updated and maintained, and generally make the best examples.

You can see the full set of test assertions (test.isequal(), test.capture(), etc.) in the Premake source code at modules/self-test/test_assertions.lua.