pytest Integration

For building a large testsuite, it makes sense to leverage existing frameworks for driving the tests and generating reports. One popular framework for Python is pytest. This guide shows how you can use tbot to run hardware tests in pytest:

General Concept

The idea is to make the tbot context available as a fixture to pytest testcases. These can then request machines as they need to interact with the hardware.

To not make the test-runs excruciatingly slow, machines should be “kept alive” between individual tests. This means, for example, that the board should not be powered off after each test just for the next test to power it on again.

There is challenge here, though: When a test fails, the board probably should be powercycled anyway, to make sure the following test will not be affected by the previous test failure.

tbot’s tbot.Context has a mechanism to allow implementing exactly that. You will see how it works below: is pytest’s configuration file. We need to define a fixture for tbot’s context here. We also need to provide a mechanism to allow selecting the tbot configuration. This can be done by adding custom command-line parameters and loading the configuration when pytest runs its configuration hook. All in all, this is a good skeleton to start from:

import pytest
import tbot
from tbot import newbot

def pytest_addoption(parser, pluginmanager):
    parser.addoption("--tbot-config", action="append", default=[], dest="tbot_configs")
    parser.addoption("--tbot-flag", action="append", default=[], dest="tbot_flags")

def pytest_configure(config):
    # Only register configuration when nobody else did so already.
    if not tbot.ctx.is_active():
        # Register flags
        for tbot_flag in config.option.tbot_flags:
        # Register configurations
        for tbot_config in config.option.tbot_configs:
            newbot.load_config(tbot_config, tbot.ctx)

@pytest.fixture(scope="session", autouse=True)
def tbot_ctx(pytestconfig):
    with tbot.ctx:
        # Configure the context for keep_alive (so machines can be reused
        # between tests).  reset_on_error_by_default will make sure test
        # failures lead to a powercycle of the DUT anyway.
        with tbot.ctx.reconfigure(keep_alive=True, reset_on_error_by_default=True):
            # Tweak the standard output logging options
            with tbot.log.with_verbosity(tbot.log.Verbosity.STDOUT, nesting=1):
                yield tbot.ctx


After writing the pytest config, you can start writing testcases. You should probably read the pytest Getting Started guide first if you are not familiar with pytest.

Testcases can just use tbot.ctx like usual as the fixture will be activated automatically (due to autouse=True). Here is an example:

import tbot

def test_encabulator():
    with tbot.ctx.request(tbot.role.BoardLinux) as lnx:
        lnx.exec0("systemctl", "status", "turbo-encabulator.service")

Now you are ready to run it! You have to translate your newbot commandline parameters to pytest like this:

$ # This newbot commandline...
$ newbot -c config.my_lab -c config.board1 -f foo ...
$ # becomes this pytest commandline:
$ pytest --tbot-config config.my_lab --tbot-config config.board1 --tbot-flag foo ...

You can call pytest with -vs to see the tbot logging output during the tests.

keep_alive Notes

As mentioned above, we use the keep_alive context mode to speed up the test-run. This comes with a number of gotchas, though. You need to design your testcases accordingly so the keep_alive mode does not lead to problems.

  • A testcase must leave all machines in the same state that it found them in. If this is not possible, for example when running a crash test, the relevant machines should be requested with exclusive=True to make sure the machine is powercycled before the next testcase accesses it.

  • Testcases by default must assume that the machine was already active before they got it. If this is not wanted, the relevant machines should be requested with reset=True to enforce a powercycle before the testcase accesses the machine.

  • If some machines may prevent requesting some other machine (like BoardLinux prevents BoardUBoot), testcases requiring the prevented one should use teardown_if_alive() to deactivate the offending machine first.

Here are a few examples of such testcases:

import time
import tbot
from tbot.machine import linux

def test_watchdog_timeout():
    with tbot.ctx.request(tbot.role.BoardLinux, exclusive=True) as lnx:
        wdt = lnx.fsroot / "dev" / "watchdog0"
        lnx.exec0("echo", "1", linux.RedirStdout(wdt))

        # And now we expect the U-Boot header within 60 seconds
        ch =
        with tbot.log.EventIO(
            ["board", "wdt-timeout"],
            tbot.log.c("Waiting for the watchdog reset... ").bold,
        ) as ev, ch.with_stream(ev):
            ev.verbosity = tbot.log.Verbosity.STDOUT
            ev.prefix = "   <> "
            ch.expect("U-Boot 2022.", timeout=60)

def test_uboot_can_echo():

    with tbot.ctx.request(tbot.role.BoardUBoot) as ub:
        ub.exec0("echo", "Hello World")