Test Suite Design

The vast majority of the test suite is formed of HTML pages, which can be loaded in a browser and either programmatically provide a result or provide a set of steps to run the test and obtain the result.

The tests are, in general, short, cross-platform, and self-contained, and should be easy to run in any browser.

Test Layout

Each top level directory in the repository corresponds to tests for a single specification, with the exception of css/ which contains test suites for CSS WG specifications. For W3C specs, these directories are typically named after the shortname of the spec (i.e. the name used for snapshot publications under /TR/); for WHATWG specs, they are typically named after the subdomain of the spec (i.e. trimming .spec.whatwg.org from the URL); for other specs, something deemed sensible is used. In any case, there are occasional exceptions for historic reasons.

Within the specification-specific directory there are two common ways of laying out tests: the first is a flat structure which is sometimes adopted for very short specifications; the alternative is a nested structure with each subdirectory corresponding to the id of a heading in the specification. The latter provides some implicit metadata about the part of a specification being tested according to its location in the filesystem, and is preferred for larger specifications.

Test Types

Tests in this project use a few different approaches to verify expected behavior. The tests can be classified based on the way they express expectations:

  • Rendering tests ensure that the browser graphically displays pages as expected. There are a few different ways this is done:
    • Reftests render two (or more) web pages and combine them with equality assertions about their rendering (e.g., A.html and B.html must render identically), run either by the user switching between tabs/windows and trying to observe differences or through automated scripts.
    • Visual tests display a page where the result is determined either by a human looking at it or by comparing it with a saved screenshot for that user agent on that platform.
  • testharness.js tests verify that JavaScript interfaces behave as expected. They get their name from the JavaScript harness that’s used to execute them.
  • wdspec tests are written in Python and test the WebDriver browser automation protocol
  • Manual tests rely on a human to run them and determine their result.