This book is organised as three sub-books; getting started, writing tests and reference.

    Copyright 2006-2017, Matthew Welland.

    This document is part of Megatest.

    Megatest is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
    it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
    the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
    (at your option) any later version.

    Megatest is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
    but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
    GNU General Public License for more details.

    You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
    along with Megatest.  If not, see <>.

Why Megatest?

The Megatest project was started for two reasons, the first was an immediate and pressing need for a generalized tool to manage a suite of regression tests and the second was the fact that I had written or maintained several such tools at different companies over the years. I thought a single open source tool, flexible enough to meet the needs of any team doing continuous integrating and or running a complex suite of tests for release qualification would solve some problems for me and for others.

-- Matt Welland, original author of the Megatest tool suite.

Megatest Design Philosophy

Megatest is a distributed system intended to provide the minimum needed resources to make writing a suite of tests and tasks for implementing continuous build for software, design engineering or process control (via owlfs for example) without being specialized for any specific problem space. Megatest in of itself does not know what constitutes a PASS or FAIL of a test or task. In most cases megatest is best used in conjunction with logpro or a similar tool to parse, analyze and decide on the test outcome.

  • Self-checking - make it as easy as possible to write self-checking tests (as opposed to using deltas, i.e. tests that compare with a previous measurement to deterine PASS/FAIL).

  • Traceable - environment variables, host OS and other possibly influential variables are captured and kept recorded.

  • Immutable - once a test is run it cannot be easily overwritten or modified accidentally.

  • Repeatable - test results can be recreated in the future using all the original variables.

  • Relocatable - the testsuite or automation area can be checked out and the tests run anywhere in the disk hierarchy.

  • Encapsulated - the tests run in self-contained directories and all inputs and outputs to the process can be found in the run areas.

  • Deployable - a testsuite is self-contained and can be bundled with a software project and easily used by others with little to no setup burden.

Megatest Architecture

Data separation

All data to specify the tests and configure the system is stored in plain text config files. All system state is stored in an sqlite3 database.

Distributed Compute

Tests are launched using the launching system available for the distributed compute platform in use. A template script is provided which can launch jobs on local and remote Linux hosts. Currently megatest uses the network filesystem to call home to your master sqlite3 database. Megatest has been used with the Intel Netbatch and lsf (also known as openlava) batch systems and it should be straightforward to use it with other similar systems.


Stand-alone Megatest Area

A single, stand-alone, Megatest based testsuite or "area" is sufficient for most validation, automation and build problems.


Megatest is designed as a distributed or decoupled system. This means you can run the areas stand-alone with no additional infrastructure. I.e. there are no databases, web servers or other centralized resources needed. However as your needs grow you can integrate multiple areas into a bigger system.

Component Descriptions

  1. Multi-area dashboard and xterm. A gui (the dashboard) is usually the best option for controlling and launching runs but all operations can also be done from the commandline. Note: The not yet released multi-area dashboard replaces the old dashboard for browsing and controlling runs but for managing a single area the old dashboard works very well.

  2. Area/testsuite. This is your testsuite or automation definition and consists of the information in megatest.config, runconfigs.config and your testconfigs along with any custom scripting that can’t be done with the native Megatest features.

  3. If your testsuite or build automation is too large to run on a single instance you can distribute your jobs into a compute server pool. The only current requirements are password-less ssh access and a network filesystem.

Full System Architecture




Chicken scheme and a number of "eggs" are required for building Megatest. See the script in the utils directory of the source distribution for an automated way to install everything needed for building Megatest on Linux.

Getting Started

Getting started with Megatest
Creating a testsuite or flow and your first test or task.

After installing Megatest you can create a flow or testsuite and add some tests using the helpers. Here is a quickstart sequence to get you up and running your first automated testsuite.

Creating a Megatest Area

Choose Target Keys

First choose your "target" keys. These are used to organise your runs in a way that is meaningful to your project. If you are unsure about what to use for keys just use a single generic key such as "RUNTYPE". These keys will be used to hand values to your tests via environment variables so ensure they are unique. Prefixing them with something such as PROJKEYS_ is a good strategy.

Examples of keys:

Table 1. Example keys
Option Description


This example is used by Megatest for its internal QA.


For a software project targeting multiple platforms


Microcontroller project with different controllers running same software

Create Area Config Files

You will need to choose locations for your runs (the data generated every time you run the testsuite) and link tree. For getting started answer the prompts with "runs" and "links". We use the Unix editor "vi" in the examples below but you can use any plain text editor.

Using the helper to create a Megatest area
megatest -create-megatest-area

# optional: verify that the settings are ok
vi megatest.config
vi runconfigs.config

Creating a Test

Choose the test name for your first test and run the helper. You can edit the files after the initial creation. You will need to enter names and scripts for the steps to be run and then edit the tests/<testname>/testconfig file and modify the logpro rules to properly process the log output from your steps. For your first test just hit enter for the "waiton", "priority" and iteration variable prompts.

Hint: for geting started make your logpro rules very liberal. expect:error patterns should match nothing and comment out expect:required rules.

Using the helper to create a Megatest test
megatest -create-test myfirsttest

# then edit the generated config
vi tests/myfirsttest/testconfig

Running your test

First choose a target and runname. If you have a two-place target such as RELEASE/ITERATION a target would look like v1.0/aff3 where v1.0 is the RELEASE and aff3 is the ITERATION. For a run name just use something like run1.

Running all tests (testpatt of "%" matches all tests)
megatest -run -target v1.0/aff3 -runname run1 -testpatt % -log run1.log

Viewing the results

Start the dashboard and browse your run in the "Runs" tab.

Starting dashboard
dashboard -rows 24

Study Plan

Megatest is an extensive program with a lot to learn. Following are some paths through the material to smooth the learning path.

Basic Concepts (suggest you pick these up on the way)

  • Components of automation; run, test, iteration

  • Selectors; target, runname, and testpatt

Running Testsuites or Automation

  • Using the dashboard gui (recommended)

    • Using the "Runs" panel.

    • Using the "Run Control" panel.

    • Using a test control panel

    • The Right Mouse Button menu

    • Debug features

      • xterm

        • pstree

        • log files; mt_copy.log, mt_launch.log

        • variables; megatest.csh,

        • testconfig dump, *testconfig

      • State/status buttons

      • Run, Clean, KillReq

      • ReRunClean

  • Using the command line

    • Getting help; megatest -h, megatest -manual

    • Starting runs; megatest -run

      • Selection controls; -target, -runname and -testpatt

Writing Tests and Flows

  • environment variables (table 5)

  • tests/testname/testconfig testconfig details

    • ezsteps and logpro section

    • iteration (one test applied to many inputs), items, itemstable test iteration

    • dependencies, waiton, itemmatch, itemwait test requirements

    • miscellaneous; mode toplevel, runtimelim, skip on file or on running, waiver propagation

  • megatest areas

    • megatest.config

    • runconfigs.config

    • config language features; include, shell, system, scheme, rp|realpath, getenv, get, rget, scriptinc config file helpers

Advanced Topics

  • Removing and keeping runs selectively managing runs

  • Subruns nested runs

  • Config file features config file features

  • HTML output with -generate-html

  • Triggers, post run, state/status


  • flexilauncher

  • env delta and testconfig

  • capturing test data, extracting values from logpro and using them for pass/fail

  • mtutil, postgres connection, packets for cross-site/cross-user control (e.g. mcrun).

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

  • cleanup-db, database structure of Megatest 1.6x

  • archiving

  • homehost management

  • show-runconfig

  • show-config

  • show with -debug 0,9

  • load management

Writing Tests

Creating a new Test

The following steps will add a test "yourtestname" to your testsuite. This assumes starting from a directory where you already have a megatest.config and runconfigs.config.

  1. Create a directory tests/yourtestname

  2. Create a file tests/yourtestname/testconfig

Contents of minimal testconfig

# test_meta is a section for storing additional data on your test
author myname
owner  myname
description An example test
reviewed never

This test runs a single step called "stepname1" which runs a script "". Note that although it is common to put the actions needed for a test step into a script it is not necessary.

How To Do Things

Process Runs

Remove Runs

From the dashboard click on the button (PASS/FAIL…) for one of the tests. From the test control panel that comes up push the clean test button. The command field will be prefilled with a template command for removing that test. You can edit the command, for example change the argument to -testpatt to "%" to remove all tests.

Remove the test diskperf and all it’s items
megatest -remove-runs -target ubuntu/nfs/none -runname ww28.1a -testpatt diskperf/% -v
Remove all tests for all runs and all targets
megatest -remove-runs -target %/%/% -runname % -testpatt % -v

Archive Runs

Megatest supports using the bup backup tool ( to archive your tests for efficient storage and retrieval. Archived data can be rapidly retrieved if needed. The metadata for the run (PASS/FAIL status, run durations, time stamps etc.) are all preserved in the megatest database.

For setup information see the Archiving topic in the reference section of this manual.

To Archive

Hint: use the test control panel to create a template command by pushing the "Archive Tests" button.

Archive a full run
megatest -target ubuntu/nfs/none -runname ww28.1a -archive save-remove -testpatt %
To Restore
Retrieve a single test
megatest -target ubuntu/nfs/none -runname ww28.1a -archive restore -testpatt diskperf/%

Hint: You can browse the archive using bup commands directly.

bup -d /path/to/bup/archive ftp

Submit jobs to Host Types based on Test Name

In megatest.config
general ssh #{getbgesthost general}

general cubian xena

envsetup general
xor/%/n 4C16G
% nbgeneral

launcher bsub
# if defined and not "no" flexi-launcher will bypass launcher unless there is no
# match.
flexi-launcher yes


This section is a compendium of a various useful tricks for debugging, configuring and generally getting the most out of Megatest.

Limiting your running jobs

The following example will limit a test in the jobgroup "group1" to no more than 10 tests simultaneously.

In your testconfig:

jobgroup group1

In your megatest.config:

group1 10
custdes 4

Debugging Tricks

Examining The Environment

Test Control Panel - xterm

From the dashboard click on a test PASS/FAIL button. This brings up a test control panel. Aproximately near the center left of the window there is a button "Start Xterm". Push this to get an xterm with the full context and environment loaded for that test. You can run scripts or ezsteps by copying from the testconfig (hint, load up the testconfig in a separate gvim or emacs window). This is the easiest way to debug your tests.

During Config File Processing

It is often helpful to know the content of variables in various contexts as Megatest does the actions needed to run your tests. A handy technique is to force the startup of an xterm in the context being examined.

For example, if an item list is not being generated as expected you can inject the startup of an xterm as if it were an item:

Original items table
CELLNAME [system]
Items table modified for debug
DEBUG [system xterm]
CELLNAME [system]

When this test is run an xterm will pop up. In that xterm the environment is exactly that in which the script "" would run. You can now debug the script to find out why it isn’t working as expected.

Organising Your Tests and Tasks

The default location "tests" for storing tests can be extended by adding to your tests-paths section.

parent #{shell dirname $(readlink -f .)}

1 #{get misc parent}/simplerun/tests

The above example shows how you can use addition sections in your config file to do complex processing. By putting results of relatively slow operations into variables the processing of your configs can be kept fast.

Alternative Method for Running your Job Script

Directly running job in testconfig
runscript main.csh

The runscript method is essentially a brute force way to run scripts where the user is responsible for setting STATE and STATUS and managing the details of running a test.

Debugging Server Problems

Some handy Unix commands to track down issues with servers not communicating with your test manager processes. Please put in tickets at if you have problems with servers getting stuck.

sudo lsof -i
sudo netstat -lptu
sudo netstat -tulpn


Megatest Use Modes

Table 2. Base commands
Use case Megatest command mtutil

Start from scratch



Rerun non-good completed



Rerun all non-good and not completed yet

-set-state-status KILLREQ; -rerun-



Continue run



Remove run



Lock run



Unlock run




-set-state-status KILLREQ; -kill-run

Config File Helpers

Various helpers for more advanced config files.

Table 3. Helpers
Helper Purpose Valid values Comments

#{scheme (scheme code…)}

Execute arbitrary scheme code

Any valid scheme

Value returned from the call is converted to a string and processed as part of the config file

#{system command}

Execute program, inserts exit code

Any valid Unix command

Discards the output from the program

#{shell command} or #{sh …}

Execute program, inserts result from stdout

Any valid Unix command

Value returned from the call is converted to a string and processed as part of the config file

#{realpath path} or #{rp …}

Replace with normalized path

Must be a valid path

#{getenv VAR} or #{gv VAR}

Replace with content of env variable

Must be a valid var

#{get s v} or #{g s v}

Replace with variable v from section s

Variable must be defined before use

#{rget v}

Replace with variable v from target or default of runconfigs file

Replace with the path to the megatest testsuite area

Config File Settings

Settings in megatest.config

Config File Additional Features

Including output from a script as if it was inline to the config file:


If the script outputs:

A a b c
B d e f

Then the config file would effectively appear to contain an items section exactly like the output from the script. This is useful when dynamically creating items, itemstables and other config structures. You can see the expansion of the call by looking in the cached files (look in your linktree for megatest.config and runconfigs.config cache files and in your test run areas for the expanded and cached testconfig).

Wildcards and regexes in Targets



Will result in:


Can use either wildcard of "%" or a regular expression:


Disk Space Checks

Some parameters you can put in the [setup] section of megatest.config:

# minimum space required in a run disk
minspace 10000000

# minimum space required in dbdir:
dbdir-space-required 100000

# script that takes path as parameter and returns number of bytes available:

Trim trailing spaces

[configf:settings trim-trailing-spaces yes]

Job Submission Control

Submit jobs to Host Types based on Test Name

In megatest.config
general   nbfake
remote    bsub

runfirst/sum% remote
% general

launcher bsub
# if defined and not "no" flexi-launcher will bypass launcher unless
# there is no host-type match.
flexi-launcher yes

List of host types and the commandline to run a job on that host type.

host-type ⇒ launch command
general nbfake
test/itempath ⇒ host-type
runfirst/sum% remote
Miscellaneous Setup Items

Attempt to rerun tests in "STUCK/DEAD", "n/a", "ZERO_ITEMS" states.

In megatest.config
reruns 5

Replace the default blacklisted environment variables with user supplied list.


Add a "bad" variable "PROMPT" to the variables that will be commented out

in the and megatest.csh files:

Run time limit
# this will automatically kill the test if it runs for more than 1h 2m and 3s
runtimelim 1h 2m 3s

Tests browser view

The tests browser (see the Run Control tab on the dashboard) has two views for displaying the tests.

  1. Dot (graphviz) based tree

  2. No dot, plain listing

The default is the graphviz based tree but if your tests don’t view well in that mode then use "nodot" to turn it off.


Capturing Test Data

In a test you can capture arbitrary variables and roll them up in the megatest database for viewing on the dashboard or web app.

In a test as a script
$MT_MEGATEST -load-test-data << EOF
foo,bar,   1.2,  1.9, >
foo,rab, 1.0e9, 10e9, 1e9
foo,bla,   1.2,  1.9, <
foo,bal,   1.2,  1.2, <   ,     ,Check for overload
foo,alb,   1.2,  1.2, <=  , Amps,This is the high power circuit test
foo,abl,   1.2,  1.3, 0.1
foo,bra,   1.2, pass, silly stuff
faz,bar,    10,  8mA,     ,     ,"this is a comment"

Alternatively you can use logpro triggers to capture values and inject them into megatest using the -set-values mechanism:

Megatest help related to -set-values
Test data capture
  -set-values             : update or set values in the testdata table
  :category               : set the category field (optional)
  :variable               : set the variable name (optional)
  :value                  : value measured (required)
  :expected               : value expected (required)
  :tol                    : |value-expect| <= tol (required, can be <, >, >=, <= or number)
  :units                  : name of the units for value, expected_value etc. (optional)

Dashboard settings

Runs tab buttons, font and size
btn-height x14
btn-fontsz 10
cell-width 60

Database settings

Table 4. Database config settings in [setup] section of megatest.config
Var Purpose Valid values Comments


Prevent concurrent access issues

yes|no or not defined

Default=no, may help on some network file systems, may slow things down also.


All direct file access to sqlite db files

yes|no or not defined

Default=yes, suggest no for central automated systems and yes for interactive use


Start servers on this host


Defaults to local host


Hostname to bind to


On multi-homed hosts allows binding to specific hostname


Start searching for a port at this portnum



Server required

yes|no or not defined

Default=no, force start of server always


Start server when queries take longer than this

number in milliseconds



http api timeout

number in hours

Default is 1 minute, do not change

The testconfig File

Setup section



The runscript method is a brute force way to run scripts where the user is responsible for setting STATE and STATUS

runscript main.csh


Sections for iteration
# full combinations
A x y
B 1 2

# Yields: x/1 x/2 y/1 y/2

# tabled
A x y
B 1 2

# Yields x/1 y/2

Requirements section


Wait on Other Tests

# A normal waiton waits for the prior tests to be COMPLETED
waiton test1 test2


The default (i.e. if mode is not specified) is normal. All pre-dependent tests must be COMPLETED and PASS, CHECK or WAIVED before the test will start

mode   normal

The toplevel mode requires only that the prior tests are COMPLETED.

mode toplevel

A item based waiton will start items in a test when the same-named item is COMPLETED and PASS, CHECK or WAIVED in the prior test. This was historically called "itemwait" mode. The terms "itemwait" and "itemmatch" are synonyms.

mode itemmatch

Overriding Enviroment Variables

Override variables before starting the test. Can include files (perhaps generated by megatest -envdelta or similar).

VAR1 value1

# Get some generated settings
[include ../generated-vars.config]

# Use this trick to unset variables
#{scheme (unsetenv "FOOBAR")}

Itemmap Handling

For cases were the dependent test has a similar but not identical itempath to the downstream test an itemmap can allow for itemmatch mode

example for removing part of itemmap for waiton test (eg: item foo-x/bar depends on waiton’s item y/bar)
mode itemwait
# itemmap <item pattern for this test>  <item replacement pattern for waiton test>
itemmap .*x/ y/
example for removing part of itemmap for waiton test (eg: item foo/bar/baz in this test depends on waiton’s item baz)
# ## pattern replacement notes
# ## Example
# ## Remove everything up to the last /
mode itemwait
# itemmap <item pattern for this test> <nothing here indicates removal>
itemmap .*/
example replacing part of itemmap for (eg: item foo/1234 will imply waiton’s item bar/1234)
# ## Example
# ## Replace foo/ with bar/
mode itemwait
# itemmap <item pattern for this test>  <item replacement pattern for waiton test>
itemmap foo/ bar/
example for backreference (eg: item foo23/thud will imply waiton’s item num-23/bar/thud
# ## Example
# ## can use \{number} in replacement pattern to backreference a (capture) from matching pattern similar to sed or perl
mode itemwait
# itemmap <item pattern for this test>  <item replacement pattern for waiton test>
itemmap foo(\d+)/ num-\1/bar/
example multiple itemmaps
# multi-line; matches are applied in the listed order
# The following would map:
#   a123b321 to b321fooa123 then to 321fooa123p
itemmap (a\d+)(b\d+) \2foo\1
  b(.*) \1p

Complex mapping

Complex mappings can be handled with a separate [itemmap] section (instead if an itemmap line in the [requirements] section)

Each line in an itemmap section starts with a waiton test name followed by an itemmap expression

eg: The following causes waiton test A item bar/1234 to run when our test’s foo/1234 item is requested as well as causing waiton test B’s blah item to run when our test’s stuff/blah item is requested
A foo/ bar/
B stuff/

Complex mapping example


We accomplish this by configuring the testconfigs of our tests C D and E as follows:

Testconfig for Test E has
waiton C
itemmap (\d+)/res \1/bb
Testconfig for Test D has
waiton C
itemmap (\d+)/res \1/aa
Testconfig for Test C has
waiton A B

A (\d+)/aa aa/\1
B (\d+)/bb bb/\1
Testconfigs for Test B and Test A have no waiton or itemmap configured

Walk through one item — we want the following to happen for testpatt D/1/res (see blue boxes in complex itemmaping figure above):
  1. eg from command line megatest -run -testpatt D/1/res -target mytarget -runname myrunname

  2. Full list to be run is now: D/1/res

  3. Test D has a waiton - test C. Test D’s itemmap rule itemmap (\d+)/res \1/aa → causes C/1/aa to run before D/1/res

  4. Full list to be run is now: D/1/res, C/1/aa

  5. Test C was a waiton - test A. Test C’s rule A (\d+)/aa aa/\1 → causes A/aa/1 to run before C/1/aa

  6. Full list to be run is now: D/1/res, C/1/aa, A/aa/1

  7. Test A has no waitons. All waitons of all tests in full list have been processed. Full list is finalized.


An alternative to defining items is the itemstable section. This lets you define the itempath in a table format rather than specifying components and relying on getting all permutations of those components.

Dynamic Flow Dependency Tree

Autogeneration waiton list for dynamic flow dependency trees
# With a toplevel test you may wish to generate your list
# of tests to run dynamically
waiton #{shell}

Run time limit

runtimelim 1h 2m 3s  # this will automatically kill the test if it runs for more than 1h 2m and 3s


A test with a skip section will conditional skip running.

Skip section example
prevrunning x
# rundelay 30m 15s

Skip on Still-running Tests

# NB// If the prevrunning line exists with *any* value the test will
# automatically SKIP if the same-named test is currently RUNNING. The
# "x" can be any string. Comment out the prevrunning line to turn off
# skip.

prevrunning x

Skip if a File Exists

fileexists /path/to/a/file # skip if /path/to/a/file exists

Skip if test ran more recently than specified time

Skip if this test has been run in the past fifteen minutes and 15 seconds.
rundelay 15m 15s


A disks section in testconfig will override the disks section in megatest.config. This can be used to allocate disks on a per-test or per item basis.

Controlled waiver propagation

If test is FAIL and previous test in run with same MT_TARGET is WAIVED then apply the following rules from the testconfig: If a waiver check is specified in the testconfig apply the check and if it passes then set this FAIL to WAIVED

Waiver check has two parts, 1) a list of waiver, rulename, filepatterns and 2) the rulename script spec (note that "diff" and "logpro" are predefined)

###### EXAMPLE FROM testconfig #########
# matching file(s) will be diff'd with previous run and logpro applied
# if PASS or WARN result from logpro then WAIVER state is set
# logpro_file    rulename      input_glob
waiver_1         logpro        lookittmp.log


# This builtin rule is the default if there is no <waivername>.logpro file
# diff   diff %file1% %file2%

# This builtin rule is applied if a <waivername>.logpro file exists
# logpro diff %file1% %file2% | logpro %waivername%.logpro %waivername%.html


Example ezsteps with logpro rules
lookittmp   ls /tmp

lookittmp ;; Note: config file format supports multi-line entries where leading whitespace is removed from each line
  ;;     a blank line indicates the end of the block of text
  (expect:required in "LogFileBody" > 0 "A file name that should never exist!" #/This is a awfully stupid file name that should never be found in the temp dir/)

To transfer the environment to the next step you can do the following:

Propagate environment to next step
$MT_MEGATEST -env2file .ezsteps/${stepname}


In your testconfig or megatest.config triggers can be specified

Triggers spec

# Call script when test goes to state=RUNNING, status=PASS

# Call script any time state goes to RUNNING

# Call script any time status goes to PASS

Scripts called will have; test-id test-rundir trigger test-name item-path state status event-time, added to the commandline.


To start an xterm (useful for debugging), use a command line like the following:

Start an xterm using a trigger for test completed.
COMPLETED/ xterm -e bash -s --
Note There is a trailing space after the double-dash

There are a number of environment variables available to the trigger script but since triggers can be called in various contexts not all variables are available at all times. The trigger script should check for the variable and fail gracefully if it doesn’t exist.

Table 5. Environment variables visible to the trigger script
Variable Purpose


The directory where Megatest ran this test


Encoded command data for the test


Used to pass the debug mode to nested calls to Megatest


Megatest home area


The name of this testsuite or area


The name of this test


The variable and values for the test item


Which Megatest binary is being used by this area


The target variable values, separated by /


The base of the link tree where all run tests can be found


The values of the item path variables, separated by /


The name of the run

Override the Toplevel HTML File

Megatest generates a simple html file summary for top level tests of iterated tests. The generation can be overridden. NOTE: the output of the script is captured from stdout to create the html.

For test "runfirst" override the toplevel generation with a script ""
# Override the rollup for specific tests

Archiving Setup

In megatest.config add the following sections:

# where to get bup executable
# bup /path/to/bup


# Archives will be organised under these paths like this:
#  <testsuite>/<creationdate>
# Within the archive the data is structured like this:
#  <target>/<runname>/<test>/
archive0 /mfs/myarchive-data/adisk1

Environment Variables

It is often necessary to capture and or manipulate environment variables. Megatest has some facilities built in to help.

Capture variables

# capture the current enviroment into a db called envdat.db under
# the context "before"
megatest -envcap before

# capture the current environment into a db called startup.db with
# context "after"
megatest -envcap after startup.db

# write the diff from before to after
megatest -envdelta before-after -dumpmode bash

Dump modes include bash, csh and config. You can include config data into megatest.config, runconfigs.config and testconfig files. This is useful for capturing a complex environment in a special-purpose test and then utilizing that environment in downstream tests.

Example of generating and using config data
megatest -envcap original
# do some stuff here
megatest -envcap munged
megatest -envdelta original-munged -dumpmode ini -o modified.config

Then in runconfigs.config

Example of using modified.config in a testconfig
[include modified.config]

Managing Old Runs

It is often desired to keep some older runs around but this must be balanced with the costs of disk space.

  1. Use -remove-keep

  2. Use -archive (can also be done from the -remove-keep interface)

  3. use -remove-runs with -keep-records

For each target, remove all runs but the most recent 3 if they are over 1 week old
# use -precmd 'sleep 5;nbfake' to limit overloading the host computer but to allow the removes to run in parallel.
megatest -actions print,remove-runs -remove-keep 3 -target %/%/%/% -runname % -age 1w -precmd 'sleep 5;nbfake'"

Nested Runs

A Megatest test can run a full Megatest run in either the same Megatest area or in another area. This is a powerful way of chaining complex suites of tests and or actions.

If you are not using the current area you can use ezsteps to retrieve and setup the sub-Megatest run area.

In the testconfig:


# Required: wait for the run or just launch it
#           if no then the run will be an automatic PASS irrespective of the actual result
run-wait yes|no

# Optional: where to execute the run. Default is the current runarea
run-area /some/path/to/megatest/area

# Optional: method to use to determine pass/fail status of the run
#   auto (default) - roll up the net state/status of the sub-run
#   logpro         - use the provided logpro rules, happens automatically if there is a logpro section
# passfail auto|logpro
# Example of logpro:
passfail logpro

# Optional:
logpro ;; if this section exists then logpro is used to determine pass/fail
  (expect:required in "LogFileBody" >= 1 "At least one pass" #/PASS/)
  (expect:error     in "LogFileBody"  = 0 "No FAILs allowed"  #/FAIL/)

# Optional: target translator, default is to use the parent target
target #{shell}

# Optional: runname translator/generator, default is to use the parent runname
run-name #{}

# Optional: testpatt spec, default is to first look for TESTPATT spec from runconfigs unless there is a contour spec
test-patt %/item1,test2

# Optional: contour spec, use the named contour from the megatest.config contour spec
contour contourname ### NOTE: Not implemented yet! Let us know if you need this feature.

# Optional: mode-patt, use this spec for testpatt from runconfigs
mode-patt TESTPATT

# Optional: tag-expr, use this tag-expr to select tests
tag-expr quick

# Optional: (not yet implemented, remove-runs is always propagated at this time), propagate these actions from the parent
#           test
#   Note// default is % for all
propagate remove-runs archive ...

Programming API

These routines can be called from the megatest repl.

Table 6. API Keys Related Calls
API Call Purpose comments Returns Comments

(rmt:get-key-val-pairs run-id)


Works only if the server is still reachable

(rmt:get-keys run-id)

( key1 key2 … )

Megatest Internals


Road Map

Note 1: This road-map continues to evolve and subject to change without notice.

Here is a smattering of ideas for Megatest 2.0


api legacy|new
  1. One big lesson from the 1.63-1.65 generation was that the main.db, 1.db … model was really good at scaling. I’d like to combine that model with the current also-very-good model. Obviously this is a disruptive change. I think making the old model the default and the new model an option for at least one generation would be fair.

  2. Rigorous megatest.config and runconfig.config caching.

    1. Cache the configs in $MT_RUNPATH

    2. Following invocations of –run, -rerun* will calculate the new config but only overwrite the cached file IF changed

  3. If the cached file changes ALL existing tests go from COMPLETED → STALE, I’m not sure what to do about RUNNING tests

  4. !VARS in runconfigs are not exported to the environment. They are accessed via rget as if the ! was not there.

  5. Per test copy commands (crude example below is not correct).

%/iind% unison SRC DEST
% cp –r SRC DEST
  1. Test management via pkts (optional?)

    1. Control pkt types: run, kill, rerunclean, clean, archive, status?

    2. Status pkt types: ack, step, status_change

  2. Add nanomsg as a transport option .

RFC M01: Add ability to move runs to other Areas

Purpose: allow shrinking megatest.db data by moving runs to an alternate Megatest area with same keys.

Method: extend db sync to take a different megatest area as a destination.


  1. add param -destination [area|path]. when specified runs are copied to new area and removed from local db.

  2. the data move would involve these steps

    1. copy the run data to destination area megatest.db

    2. mark the run records as deleted, do not remove the run data on disk

  3. accessing the data would be by running dashboard in the satellite area

  4. future versions of Megatest dashboard should support displaying areas in a merged way.

  5. some new controls would be supported in the config

    1. [setup] ⇒ allow-runs [no|yes] ⇐= used to disallow runs

    2. [setup] ⇒ auto-migrate=[areaname|path] ⇐= used to automatically migrate data to a satellite area.

Branch: This work is taking place on branch v1.65-reduce-records

RFC M02: Move data into completed-runs.db

Purpose: shrink megatest.db data to enable lower load and higher performance.

Method: add a completed-runs.db and automatically move runs data from megatest.db to that db


  1. completed-runs.db is a full megatest database with complete schema

  2. the data move would involve these steps

    1. copy the run data to completed-runs.db

    2. remove the run data, first from /tmp/…/megatest.db and /tmp/…/megatest_ref.db, followed by megatest.db

  3. accessing the data would be unchanged for most operations.

  4. a mode -full-db will be added which when specified would attach the completed-runs.db to megatest.db before doing the query

  5. mechanisms for moving runs to/from the megatest.db would be added

    1. -reduce-records ⇒ move runs to completed-runs.db

    2. -restore-records ⇒ move runs from completed-runs.db to megatest.db

Branch: This work is taking place on branch v1.65-reduce-records

RFC M03: Automatic homehost migrations

Purpose: Automatically migrate homehost.

Method: Check that there are no tests running, launched or remotehoststart in past ½ hour then if not on homehost migrate the db to current host


  1. Check that the system is quiescent, i.e. that there are no runs in flight or recently run

  2. Create a lock

  3. Migrate the /tmp cache db to the current host

  4. Update the .homehost file

  5. Remove the lock

Branch: This work not yet started

Architecture Refactor


  1. Reduce load on the file system. Sqlite3 files on network filesystem can be a burden. [DONE]

  2. Reduce number of servers and frequency of start/stop. This is mostly an issue of clutter but also a reduction in "moving parts". [DONE]

  3. Coalesce activities to a single home host where possible. Give the user feedback that they have started the dashboard on a host other than the home host. [DONE]

  4. Reduce number of processes involved in managing running tests.

Changes Needed

  1. ACID compliant db will be on /tmp and synced to megatest.db with a five second max delay. [DONE]

  2. Read/writes to db for processes on homehost will go direct to /tmp megatest.db file. [DONE]

  3. Read/wites fron non-homehost processes will go through one server. Bulk reads (e.g. for dashboard or list-runs) will be cached on the current host in /tmp and synced from the home megatest.db in the testsuite area. [DONE]

  4. Db syncs rely on the target db file timestame minus some margin. [DONE]

  5. Since bulk reads do not use the server we can switch to simple RPC for the network transport. [DONE]

  6. Test running manager process extended to manage multiple running tests.

Current Items

ww05 - migrate to inmem-db

  1. Switch to inmem db with fast sync to on disk db’s [DONE]

  2. Server polls tasks table for next action

    1. Task table used for tracking runner process [Replaced by mtutil]

    2. Task table used for jobs to run [Replaced by mtutil]

    3. Task table used for queueing runner actions (remove runs, cleanRunExecute, etc) [Replaced by mtutil]

shifting, note that the preceding blank line is needed.