How to use Kiwi TCMS plugins, Pt. 1

In release notes for v6.5 we announced several plugins which will fetch test names and execution results from your automated test suite.

Plugins can be controlled via environment variables which will affect how test results are recorded in the Kiwi TCMS database! This blog post is an introduction how that works and what you can do with it! For this purpose I will be using the plugin-demo repository, which simulates real development work.

Full documentation and list of available plugins is available in chapter Automation Frameworks Plugins!

Always create new TestRun by default

The default behavior is always to create a new TestRun if controlling variables are not overridden! Product name, version and build will receive default values if tests are running in Travis CI or Jenkins. For example Travis Build #2 for commit d455fb4 creates TR-12 and TP-10!

Product=kiwitcms/plugin-demo
Version=d455fb42fb7c2aedadfd5f66de7d131109c03350
Build=2

Next we convert the README file from Markdown to reStructuredText which triggers Travis Build #3 for commit 418b80b. This build again creates a new TestRun and new TestPlan for it. Respectively TR-14 and TP-12!

Product=kiwitcms/plugin-demo
Version=418b80b3bbb65a799f695dc59d488c76f560fa2b
Build=3

Important: we can see that version is different which will affect how artifacts are organized in Kiwi TCMS, possibly affect how you will report status to stakeholders!

Override ENV variables for more control

Let's say the QA team has decided that all test results must be reported under the same TestPlan. This means version must be the same between various builds in Travis CI! To control this we export TCMS_PRODUCT_VERSION=master in CI before executing the TAP plugin! Checkout the commit on GitHub to see how it is done!

This triggers Travis Build #4 for commit e484e59. Because this is the first time where Version == master the plugin creates TP-14 and reports the results under TR-16.

Product=kiwitcms/plugin-demo
Version=master
Build=4

Right after that I realized we can make this configuration a bit more generic because our team is planning to support multiple versions of the product and development will be done in separate branches! Travis Build #5 for commit f1f2878 still ends up with Version == master because we are still working on the master branch! That is to say, the product is in active mode of development.

Results are reported in TR-18 which is again part of TP-14.

Product=kiwitcms/plugin-demo
Version=master
Build=5

Travis Build #6 for commit df6153b adds the new functionality README badges and reports test results in TR-20 which is again part of TP-14.

More ENV overrides

While giving status reports back to stakeholders and developers the information that we have in the TestRun is Build number! This follows the numbering scheme in Travis CI (or Jenkins job number) and isn't very useful.

Let's define TCMS_BUILD to be the first 7 characters of the commit hash! When QA tells devel that something isn't working and redirects them to the TestRun they can immediately use the Build information and git checkout the offending variant of the product for investigation.

This results in Travis Build #7 for commit bf75d0a, TR-22, TP-14.

Product=kiwitcms/plugin-demo
Version=master
Build=bf75d0a

Report results in pre-existing TestRun

There are many reasons you may want to do this:

To do so I've created TR-24 beforehand and configured TCMS_RUN_ID=24 in my CI environment. TR-24 also contains TC-57: Verify we can report results from several plugins into the same TR. this was created and added via the web interface.

Note: mixing additional test cases can be done either before or after automation results are reported with the plugin!

Important: when reporting results to an existing TestRun Kiwi TCMS plugins don't care in which TestPlan this TR is! In theory it is possible to report the results for Product=kiwitcms/plugin-demo into any TP/TR pair! However we don't want to do this crazy thing and instead I've created TR-24 inside the already existing TP-14!

Note: because I don't know what is the git commit beforehand I've configured TR-24 with Build=unspecified. If I wanted I could update this with the correct value once I know the commit hash for the related changes I am testing.

Important: the plugin-demo repository uses both kiwitcms-tap-plugin and kiwitcms-junit.xml-plugin at the same time! They differ in the way test names are compiled! Both are reported in TR-24. See TC-57 text for information how to distinguish between the two.

See Travis Build #8 for commit 85ad939, TR-24, TP-14.

Product=kiwitcms/plugin-demo
Version=master
Build=unspecified

Also check-out comments in TR executions to see when and who had executed the test case.

So far there have been some tests which were failing (although Travis reports PASS) so I decided to fix them. Travis Build #9 for commit a25b384 is still configured with TCMS_RUN_ID=24. This means results will be reported in TR-24, effectively overwriting previous results.

Check-out Change Log under each individual execution and you will see several time stamps when status was updated! In other words, as long as TCMS_RUN_ID is pointing to an existing TestRun this TR will keep the results of the last test suite execution!

Continue development, restore ENV configuration

Travis Build #10 for commit c4f1ae5 removes TCMS_RUN_ID! Results are reported in TR-25, TP-14.

Product=kiwitcms/plugin-demo
Version=master
Build=c4f1ae5

Branch out for an LTS version

Our team has decided to make the first LTS release of the product. We branch out into lts-v0 branch in git and cut the first NVR. This results in Travis Build #11 for commit 9f1ef71 TR-27, TP-16.

Product=kiwitcms/plugin-demo
Version=lts-v0
Build=9f1ef71

Because this is the first time we are running tests for this product version we end up with the newly created TP-16!

Note: see how version was populated with the correct value for the git branch! This is because my CI config uses TCMS_PRODUCT_VERSION=$TRAVIS_BRANCH and no further changes were required! I made this change back in Travis Build #5 anticipating what will come in the future!

The product is now live and customers have reported critical bugs for it: URLs for the badges in README are wrong! I fix those and add more tests of course, see: Travis Build #12 for commit 2d72754, TR-29 for TP-16.

Product=kiwitcms/plugin-demo
Version=lts-v0
Build=2d72754

TR-29 contains the new TC-58!

cherry-pick between branches

In the lts-v0 branch customers have identified a serious issue. It doesn't exist on master but the test is still valid so I cherry-pick it! In git you can backport or forwardport very easily. Regardless of the direction Kiwi TCMS plugins will record the test results for you.

See Travis Build #13 for commit 31ae5b3, TR-31 for TP-14.

We can see that TC-58, which was originally implemented on the lts-v0 branch is now present!

Summary

This is a very basic example of how you can organize collection and reporting for your automation test suite results with Kiwi TCMS. The links here only refer to artifacts created by kiwitcms-tap-plugin while in the DB we keep others as well.

There are feature requests for more ENV variables which will allow you to control TestPlan creation and child/parent relationship between test plans. See https://github.com/kiwitcms/tap-plugin/issues and vote with a :+1: reaction to help us plan for these features.

Kiwi TCMS automation framework plugins are nothing more than result parsers which talk back to a database. It is up to you to decide how to organize the collection of test results and how to report on them later, when the need arises.

Future installments in this post series will take a look at workflows with feature branches and pull requests and discuss possible organization scenarios. You are welcome to share your ideas in the comments below.

Happy testing!

Project mission and goals for 2019

Hello testers, Kiwi TCMS has taken on a brave new mission! We would like to transform the testing process by making it more organized, transparent & accountable for everyone on your team. Our goal is to improve engineering productivity and participation in testing. The following blog post outlines how we would like to achieve this and what goals we put before ourselves for this year.

Complete the internal refactoring

Last year we took on the challenge to bring a legacy code base up to modern coding standard. We did not complete that effort but made very good progress along the way. This is not a small task and that's why our team will continue with it this year.

CodeClimate report

Redesign the UI templates with the help of Patternfly

There are 59 templates remaining to be converted to a modern look and feel. Along with them comes more refactoring and even redesign of the existing pages and the workflow around them. Together with refactoring this will make Kiwi TCMS easier to use and also to maintain.

Modernize reporting

We are planning to remove the existing reports feature because they are not well designed. We will re-implement existing functionality that our community finds useful, add new types of reports (incl. nicer graphics and UI) and make it possible for the reporting sub-system to be more easily extendable.

Phase out is planned to begin after 1st March 2019! Until then we are looking for your feedback. Please comment in Issue #657!

Plugins for 3rd party test automation frameworks

These will make it easier to collect results from automated test suites into Kiwi TCMS for later analysis. Instead of creating scripts that parse the results and talk to our API you will only have to install an additional package in your test environment and configure the test runner to use it! Automation test results will then appear inside Kiwi TCMS.

If you would like to use such functionality leave your vote inside GitHub issues! In case you would like to write a test-runner plugin you can find the specification here.

Redefine bug-tracker integration

Question: Does Kiwi TCMS integrate with JIRA?

Answer: Well, it does. How exactly do you want to integrate?

... silence ...

The following dialog happens every time someone asks me about bug-tracker integration, especially with JIRA. The thing is integration is a specified set of behavior which may or may not be desired in a particular team. As of now Kiwi TCMS is able to open a URL to your bug-tracker with predefined field values, add comments to bug reports and report a simple summary of bugs inside a TestRun.

We recognize this may not be enough and together with the community we really need to define what bug tracker integration means! The broader domain of application lifecycle management tools (of which TCMS is a sub-set) have an integrated bug tracking system. We can add something like this and save you the trouble of using JIRA, however many teams have already invested in integrating their infrastructure or just like other tools. For example we love GitHub issues and our team regularly makes public reports about issues that we find internally!

GitHub flow integration

Developers have their GitHub PR flow and if they have done the job of having unit tests then they will merge only when things are green! This leaves additional testing efforts kind of to the side and doesn't really help with transparency and visibility. I'm not going to mention having an automatically deployed staging environment for every change because very few teams actually have managed to do this effectively.

Kiwi TCMS statuses on GitHub PR

Agile integration with Trello

Speaking of modern engineering flow is your team truly agile? When and how do you plan your testing activities ? Before the devel sprint or afterwards? How many testers take part in refining product backlog and working on user stories?

Similar to GitHub flow lots of teams and open source projects are using Trello to effectively organize their development process. Testing should not be left behind and Kiwi TCMS may be able to help.

Improve engineering productivity

What makes a test engineer productive when they need to assess product risk and new features, when mapping product requirements documents (PRD) to test plans and test cases, when collaborating on user stories and behavior specification ? What makes developers, product owners, designers and other professionals productive when it comes to dealing with testing ?

For example consider the following workflow:

Later we iterate through the sprints and for each sprint something like this happens:

Devel is also part of testing, right? Product owners, UX and interaction designers as well. Producing quality software product is a team effort!

In every step of the way Kiwi TCMS can provide notification wizards, guidelines and/or documentation for best practices, facilitate tooling, e.g. to write user stories and assess them or map out an exploratory testing session, etc. The list of ideas is virtually endless. We can even go into deep learning, AI and blockchain but honestly who knows how to use them in testing ?

Our team is not quite sure how this goal will look like 3 months from now but we are certain that testing needs to happen first, last and all the time during the entire software development lifecycle. By providing the necessary functionality and tools in Kiwi TCMS we can boost engineering productivity and steer the testing process in your organization into a better, more productive direction which welcomes participation from all engineering groups.

Let's consider another point of view: testing is a creative activity which is benefited by putting your brain into a specific state of mind! For example Gherkin (the Given-When-Then language) has the benefit of forcing you to think about behavior and while doing so you are vocalizing the various roles in the system, what kind of actions are accepted and what sort of result is expected! Many times this will help you remember or discover missing scenarios, edge cases and raise even more questions!

Crazy ideas, brain dumps and +1 as always are welcome in Issue #703.

Community

Coding alone is not fun! Here's what you can do to help us:

We are also looking to expand our core team and the list of occasional contributors. The following are mostly organizational goals:

Development policy

Our team will be working on areas related to the goals above. A +1 reaction on GitHub issues will help us prioritize what we work on!

GitHub +1

Bug fixes and other issues will be occasionally slipped into the stream and pull requests from non-team contributors will be reviewed and merged in a timely fashion.

There is at least 1 full day of work that goes behind the scenes when a new version is officially released: compile changelog, build images and upload them, create blog post and newsletter announcement, share on social media, etc. We also deploy on our own Kiwi TCMS instance as a stop-gap measure before making everything public!

New PyPI tarballs and Docker images will be released every few weeks as we see fit, this has been our standard process. We try to align releases with Django's release schedule and try to cut a new version when there are known security vulnerabilities fixed. However we can't guarantee this will always be the case!

If you are in a hurry and need something quickly the best option is to send a pull request, build your own Docker image from source and maybe consider sponsoring us via Open Collective!

Happy testing!

Roadmap status report for 2018

Hello everyone, in this article I will outline the progress that the Kiwi TCMS team has made towards achieving the goals in our 2018 roadmap (mid-year update here). TLDR; goals are completed at 62%. Refactoring legacy code is showing good results, less so on the front-end side and there are items still in progress!

Make code easier to maintain

Status: good progress

Initially CodeClimate reported a "D" rating with 600+ code smells and 600+ duplications and a 1 year estimation to resolve these. We're now down to "C" rating with 171 smells and 203 duplications.

The level of technical debt has dropped from 32.5% down to 17.7% and we have removed around 14000 lines of Python code and 8000 lines of JavaScript code without losing significant functionality.

Checkout the stats for more info!

Use pylint and pylint-django

Status: almost finished

Both pylint and pylint-django have been integrated into our CI workflow. There are even some custom built plugins that we use. The number of issues reported is down to 100 from 4000+ initially. These are predominantly fixme comments which are also in parts of the code that are scheduled for removal and refactoring.

Render HTML, return JSON

Status: moderate progress

Several views were modified to return pure JSON but we've not done any targeted work to resolve this issue. A number of other views have been removed in favor of using the existing JSON-RPC layer.

This is an internal refactoring effort which isn't very visible from the outside. This is also one of the factors contributing to the high number of removed source code.

Submit forms, post JSON, GET clean URLs

Status: no progress

Not much has been done in this area except the occasional refactoring to JSON-RPC.

API layer

Status: complete

Documentation

Status: moderate progress, dropped

All RPC methods have been documented! The rest of the internals will be documented as we go along.

No vendored JavaScript libraries

Status: good progress

We still carry around jQuery, jQuery-UI and Handlebars.js. They will be removed once the pages using them are converted to use the Patternfly widgets library.

Less HTML templates with better organization

Status: moderate progress

There are still over 50 HTML templates in tcms/templates/ that need to be refactored into Patternfly. We've been working on them one at a time and will focus more on this effort in the next couple of months.

Modern interface with Patternfly

Status: moderate progress

Some of the pages have been converted to use Patternfly. The most important pages that still have a different look and feel are TestPlan view, TestCase view and TestRun view. These are also the hardest to convert because they have lots of tabs/components which pull information from various places. Our goal is to create reusable widgets for the various components (e.g. a list of TestCases) and then include these components into several different templates to minimize code duplication.

JavaScript updates and front-end testing

Status: moderate progress

A number of JavaScript functions have been refactored and removed during the past few releases but there are still thousands of lines of code left to deal with. This effort is mostly happening in parallel with the Patternfly redesign. We still don't have anything to test front-end JavaScript functionality!

Community efforts

Status: good progress

We are seeing a steady stream of new users registered on https://public.tenant.kiwitcms.org and there are several active contributors on GitHub. Most of our translators are very active and keep their respective languages fresh and up to date!

Kiwi TCMS was represented at OSCAL Tirana, DjangoCon Heidelberg, PyCon Prague, HackConf Sofia, PiterPy St. Petersburg and OpenFest Sofia. We've also been approved for a project stand at FOSDEM 2019 so watch this blog for more news.

Happy testing!

Test runner plugin specification

Happy Monday testers! Kiwi TCMS needs your help! We are looking for developers who wish to create plugins for popular test runners that will record test results in Kiwi TCMS! Initially we are looking for plugins for Python's unittest, Django and JUnit!

What is a test runner?

When working with automated testing you have several components:

Very often all of the components above live together inside the testing framework but don't need to. For example the standard unittest module in Python provides a test runner but there are also nose and py.test and Django provides its own test runner that knows how to work with the database.

Workflow organization

Once you agree to writing a plugin we are going to create a separate GitHub repository where you will be granted write privileges making you an independent contributor to the Kiwi TCMS project!

Design and architecture of the plugin is up to you, following the practices established by the testing framework in question. You will also have to create a test suite for your plugin based on the specification below.

You are expected to use public.tenant.kiwitcms.org while working on the plugin and afterwards. This is known as eating your own dog food!

For Python we provide the tcms-api module which already takes care of the communications layer. For other languages you will have to create this layer or depend on other open source libraries that provide a XML-RPC or JSON-RPC client!

You can use this gist for inspiration!

Behavior Specification

Please use the comments section to discuss unclear behavior and missing scenarios!

    SUMMARY: Will use configuration file if it exists
    GIVEN: the file ~/.tcms.conf exists
    WHEN: plugin initializes
    THEN: the plugin will log an info message, read the file and
    THEN: configure TCMS_API_URL, TCMS_USERNAME, TCMS_PASSWORD
          variables with the respective values


    SUMMARY: Will use ENVIRONMENT if configuration file doesn't exist
    GIVEN: the file ~/.tcms.conf does not exists
    WHEN: plugin initializes
    THEN: the plugin will read configuration from environment and configure
          the following variables/class members:
          TCMS_API_URL, TCMS_USERNAME and TCMS_PASSWORD


    SUMMARY: Will exit if TCMS_API_URL not configured
    GIVEN: TCMS_API_URL variable is empty
    WHEN: plugin initializes
    THEN: log a warning message and exit
    AND: depending on the test runner framework set exist status 1


    SUMMARY: Will exit if TCMS_USERNAME not configured
    GIVEN: TCMS_USERNAME is empty
    WHEN: plugin initializes
    THEN: log a warning message and exit
    AND: depending on the test runner framework set exist status 1


    SUMMARY: Will exit if TCMS_PASSWORD not configured
    GIVEN: TCMS_PASSWORD is empty
    WHEN: plugin initializes
    THEN: log a warning message and exit
    AND: depending on the test runner framework set exist status 1


    SUMMARY: Will re-use existing TestPlan if configured
    GIVEN: TCMS_RUN_ID environment variable is not empty
    WHEN: plugin initializes
    THEN:  this will be the Current_TestRun record to which the plugin is
           going to add test execution results
    AND: Current_TestPlan document in which the plugin will
           search for test cases becomes Current_TestRun.plan


    SUMMARY: Will create new TestPlan & TestRun if TCMS_RUN_ID not configured
    GIVEN: TCMS_RUN_ID environment variable is empty
    THEN: plugin will create a new TestPlan in Kiwi TCMS with attributes:
        name='Automated test plan for %(product)'
        product='%(product)'
        product_version='%(version)'
        type='Unit'
    WHERE: %(product) is a placeholder for TCMS_PRODUCT==TRAVIS_REPO_SLUG==JOB_NAME
           %(version) is a placeholder for TCMS_PRODUCT_VERSION==TRAVIS_COMMIT==TRAVIS_PULL_REQUEST_SHA==GIT_COMMIT
    THEN: plugin will crate a new TestRun in Kiwi TCMS with attributes:
        summary='Automated test run ....'
        plan=Current TestPlan
        build='%(build)'
        manager=TCMS_USERNAME
    WHERE: %(build) is a placeholder for TCMS_BUILD==TRAVIS_BUILD_NUMBER==BUILD_NUMBER
    Environment variables are specified in:
    https://docs.travis-ci.com/user/environment-variables#default-environment-variables
    https://wiki.jenkins.io/display/JENKINS/Building+a+software+project#Buildingasoftwareproject-belowJenkinsSetEnvironmentVariables

    SUMMARY: Will not create duplicate Product, Version & Build if they already exist
    GIVEN: TCMS_RUN_ID is not configured
    AND: %(product) exists
    AND: %(version) exists
    AND: %(build) exists
    WHEN: plugin tries to auto-create TestPlan and TestRun
    THEN: plugin will re-use %(product), %(version) and %(build) from the database
    AND: not try to auto-create them


    SUMMARY: Will auto-create Product, Version & Build if they don't exist
    GIVEN: TCMS_RUN_ID is not configured
    AND: %(product) doesn't exist
    AND: %(version) doesn't exist
    AND: %(build) doesn't exist
    WHEN: plugin tries to auto-create TestPlan and TestRun
    THEN: %(product), %(version) and %(build) be created automatically


    SUMMARY: Unit test names are added to TestPlan
    GIVEN: we have good plugin configuration
    WHEN: plugin loops over unit tests emitted by the test runner
    THEN: plugin will check Current_TestPlan for a TestCase with the same name
    AND: if test case doesn't exist in Current_TestPlan
    THEN: it will be added to Current_TestPlan
    hint: it is probably best to process all unit test results at the end!


    SUMMARY: Unit test names are added to TestRun
    GIVEN: we have good plugin configuration
    WHEN: plugin loops over unit tests emitted by the test runner
    THEN: plugin will check Current_TestRun for a TestCaseRun object which matches
          the current unit test name
    hint: (or Current_TestCase object from previous scenario, depending on implementation)
    AND: if such TestCaseRun doesn't exist in Current_TestRun
    THEN: it will be added to Current_TestRun
    hint: it is probably best to process all unit test results at the end!


    SUMMARY: Current_TestRun is updated with unit test results
    GIVEN: we have good plugin configuration
    WHEN: plugin loops over unit tests emitted by the test runner
    THEN: plugin will check Current_TestRun for a TestCaseRun object which matches
          the current unit test name
    hint: (or Current_TestCase object from previous scenario, depending on implementation)
    AND: if TestCaseRun object exists in Current_TestRun
    THEN: its status will be updated with the execution result coming from the test runner
    hint: it is probably best to process all unit test results at the end!

Happy testing!

Kiwi TCMS API performance baseline

A friend from Red Hat sent me an email asking about Kiwi TCMS performance so I did an experiment to establish a baseline. For API requests I got 7.5 req/sec or 130 msec/req which is 1.5x slower than GitHub!

I used perf-script (gist here) to measure that. The script takes the first 250 test cases from our test suite and on every execution creates a new TestPlan (1 API request), then creates new test cases (250 requests), adds cases to test plan (250 requests), creates new product build (1 API request), creates new TestRun (1 API request), adds test cases to test run (250 requests) and finally updates the statuses (250 requests).

A total of 1003 API requests are sent to Kiwi TCMS every time you start this script! An example is available at TR #567!

On localhost, running the development server (./manage.py runserver) with an SQLite database I got:

$ time python perf-script

real    2m6.450s
user    0m1.069s
sys     0m0.331s

$ time python perf-script

real    2m7.472s
user    0m1.057s
sys     0m0.342s

$ time python perf-script

real    2m9.368s
user    0m1.072s
sys     0m0.351s

$ time python perf-script

real    2m9.197s
user    0m1.050s
sys     0m0.353s

This measures at 120 msec/req or 7.85 req/sec!

public.tenant.kiwitcms.org is running on an AWS t2.micro instance (via docker-compose) with the default centos/mariadb image! No extra settings or changes. I used the same computer over a WiFi connection and a pretty standard home-speed Internet connection. Times are:

$ time python perf-script

real    2m18.983s
user    0m1.175s
sys     0m0.095s

$ time python perf-script

real    2m25.937s
user    0m1.156s
sys     0m0.108s

$ time python perf-script

real    2m24.120s
user    0m1.102s
sys     0m0.098s

$ time python perf-script

real    2m21.521s
user    0m1.154s
sys     0m0.091s

This measures at 140 sec/req or 7.05 req/sec!

Note: since I am using Python 3.6 I had to modify the file /opt/rh/rh-python36/root/lib64/python3.6/ssl.py to read:

# Used by http.client if no context is explicitly passed.
_create_default_https_context = _create_unverified_context # this disables HTTPS cert validation

The issue has been reported in RHBZ #1643454

Happy testing!

Kiwi TCMS team updates

I am happy to announce that our team is steadily growing! As we work through our roadmap, status update here, and on-board new team members I start to feel the need for a bit more structure and organization behind the scenes. I also wish for consistent contributions to the project (commit early, commit often) so I can better estimate the resources that we have!

I am also actively discussing Kiwi TCMS with lots of people at various conferences and generate many ideas for the future. The latest SEETEST in Belgrade was particularly fruitful. Some of these ideas are pulling into different directions and I need help to keep them under control!

Development-wise sometimes I lose track of what's going on and who's doing what between working on Kiwi TCMS, preparing for conferences and venues to promote the project, doing code review of other team members, trying not to forget to check-in on progress (especially by interns), recruiting fresh blood and thinking about the overall future of the project. Our user base is growing and there are days where I feel like everything is happening at once or that something needs to be implemented ASAP (which is usually true anyway)!

Meet Rayna Stankova in the role of our team coach! Reny is a director for Women Who Code Sofia, senior QA engineer at VMware, mentor with CoderDojo Bulgaria and a long-time friend of mine. Although she is an experienced QA in her own right she will be contributing to the people side of Kiwi TCMS and less so technically!

Her working areas will be planning and organization:

and generally serving as another very experienced member of the team!

We did a quick brainstorming yesterday and started to produce results (#smileyface)! We do have a team docs space to share information (non-public for now, will open it gradually as we grow) and came up with the idea to use Kiwi TCMS as a check-list for our on-boarding/internship process!

I don't know how it will play out but I do expect from the team to self-improve, be inspired, become more focused and more productive! All of this also applies to myself, even more so!

Existing team members progress

Last year we started with 2 existing team members (Tony and myself) and 3 new interns (Ivo, Kaloyan and Tseko) who built this website!

Tony is the #4 contributor to Kiwi TCMS in terms of number of commits and is on track to surpass one of the original authors (before Kiwi TCMS was forked)! He's been working mostly on internal refactoring and resolving the thousands of pylint errors that we had (down to around 500 I think). This summer Tony and I visited the OSCAL conference in Tirana and hosted an info booth for the project.

Ivo is the #5 contributor in terms of numbers of commits. He did learn very quickly and is working on getting rid of the remaining pylint errors. His ability to adapt and learn is quite impressive actually. Last month he co-hosted a git workshop at HackConf, a 1000+ people IT event in Sofia.

Kaloyan did most of the work on our website initially (IIRC). Now he is studying in the Netherlands and not active on the project. We are working to reboot his on-boarding and I'm hoping he will find the time to contribute to Kiwi TCMS regularly.

From the starting team only Tseko decided to move on to other ventures after he contributed to the website.

Internship program

At Kiwi TCMS we have a set of training programs that teach all the necessary technical skills before we let anyone actively work on the project, let alone become a team member.

Our new interns are Denitsa Uzunova and Desislava Koleva. Both of them are coming from Vratsa Software Community and were mentors at the recently held CodeWeek hackathon in their home city! I wish them fast learning and good luck!

Happy testing!

How to add API logging for Kiwi TCMS

In this blog post I will show more ways to customize Kiwi TCMS by adding logging capabilities to the API backend. Indeed this is a feature that our team deemed not required for upstream and was removed in PR #436.

Start by creating the following directory structure:

    api_logging/
        __init__.py
        handlers.py
        models.py

This is a small Django application that will log every call to the API backend. Each file looks like this:

    # models.py contains DB schema for your new table
    from django.db import models
    from django.conf import settings

    class ApiCallLog(models.Model):
        executed_at = models.DateTimeField(auto_now_add=True)
        user = models.ForeignKey(settings.AUTH_USER_MODEL, null=True, blank=True,
                                 on_delete=models.CASCADE)
        method = models.CharField(max_length=255)
        args = models.TextField(blank=True)

        def __str__(self):
            return "%s: %s" % (self.user, self.method)

Then

    # handlers.py overrides the RPC handlers coming from django-modernrpc
    from modernrpc import handlers

    from django.conf import settings
    from django.contrib.auth import get_user_model

    from .models import ApiCallLog

    def log_call(request, method_name, args):
        """ Log an RPC call to the database or stdout in DEBUG mode. """
        request_user = request.user
        if not request_user.is_authenticated:
            # create an anonymous user object for logging purposes
            request_user, _ = get_user_model().objects.get_or_create(
                username='Anonymous',
                is_active=False)

        if method_name is None:
            method_name = '--- method_name missing ---'

        if settings.DEBUG:
            print('API call:: user: {0}, method: {1}, args: {2}'.format(
                request_user,
                method_name,
                args))
        else:
            ApiCallLog.objects.create(
                user=request_user,
                method=method_name,
                args=str(args))

    class XMLRPCHandler(handlers.XMLRPCHandler):
        def process_request(self):
            encoding = self.request.encoding or 'utf-8'
            data = self.request.body.decode(encoding)
            params, method_name = self.loads(data)

            log_call(self.request, method_name, params)
            return super().process_request()

    class JSONRPCHandler(handlers.JSONRPCHandler):
        def process_single_request(self, payload):
            method_name = payload.get('method', None)
            params = payload.get('params')

            log_call(self.request, method_name, params)
            return super().process_single_request(payload)

NOTE: You will have to execute ./manage.py makemigrations api_logging to create the initial migration for Django. This could be easier if you place the above directory into existing Django application or craft the migration file by hand!

The last thing you want to do is create a local_settings.py file which will override Kiwi TCMS defaults:

    # local_settings.py
    from django.conf import settings

    settings.INSTALLED_APPS += [
        'api_logging',
    ]

    MODERNRPC_HANDLERS = ['api_logging.handlers.XMLRPCHandler',
                          'api_logging.handlers.JSONRPCHandler']

Then place everything in Dockerfile like so:

    FROM kiwitcms/kiwi

    COPY ./api_logging/ /venv/lib64/python3.6/site-packages/api_logging/
    COPY local_settings.py /venv/lib64/python3.6/site-packages/tcms/settings/

Kiwi TCMS will import your local_settings.py and enable the logging application. Now build your customized Docker image and use it for deployment!

Happy testing!

How to override templates for Kiwi TCMS

This is the first publication in our customization series. It will show you how to override any template used by Kiwi TCMS. As an example we will override the email template that is used when registering new account. By default the email text looks like this:

    Welcome {{ user }},
    thank you for signing up for an {{ site_domain }} account!

    To activate your account, click this link:
    {{ confirm_url }}

https://public.tenant.kiwitcms.org runs a custom Docker image based on kiwitcms/kiwi. For this image the confirmation email looks like this

    Welcome {{ user }},
    thank you for signing up for our Kiwi TCMS demo!

    To activate your account, click this link:
    {{ confirm_url }}

    GDPR no longer allows us to automatically subscribe you to
    our newsletter. If you wish to keep in touch and receive emails
    with news and updates around Kiwi TCMS please subscribe at:
    https://kiwitcms.us17.list-manage.com/subscribe/post?u=9b57a21155a3b7c655ae8f922&id=c970a37581

    --
    Happy testing!
    The Kiwi TCMS team
    http://kiwitcms.org

The file that we want to override is tcms/templates/email/confirm_registration.txt.

Create a local directory (git repository) which will hold customization configuration and create a file named templates.d/email/confirm_registration.txt with your text!

Next you want to make this file available inside your docker image so your Dockerfile should look like this:

    FROM kiwitcms/kiwi

    COPY ./templates.d/ /venv/lib64/python3.6/site-packages/tcms/overridden_templates/
    COPY local_settings.py /venv/lib64/python3.6/site-packages/tcms/settings/

where local_settings.py contains

    import os
    from django.conf import settings

    settings.TEMPLATES[0]['DIRS'].insert(0, os.path.join(settings.TCMS_ROOT_PATH, 'overridden_templates'))

The following code states instruct Django to look into overridden_templates first and use any templates it finds there; also make my files available in that specific location inside the docker image.

This approach can be used for all templates that you wish to override. Take into account that file names must match (Django searches templates by directory path). Now build your customized Docker image and use that for deployment!

Happy testing!

How to backup Docker volumes for Kiwi TCMS

When you start Kiwi TCMS by running docker-compose up (see here) it will automatically create 2 volumes: kiwi_db_data and kiwi_uploads. This blog post will outline how to backup these docker volumes.

Backing up the database

Kiwi TCMS is a Django application and the manage.py command provides an easy way to dump and load the database contents. To export all contents on your docker host execute:

docker exec -it kiwi_web /Kiwi/manage.py dumpdata --all --indent 2 > database.json

This will create a file named database.json in the current directory, outside of the running container!

You can restore the database contents by using the following commands:

# delete data from all tables
docker exec -it kiwi_web /bin/bash -c '/Kiwi/manage.py sqlflush | /Kiwi/manage.py dbshell'
# then reload the existing data
cat database.json | docker exec -i kiwi_web /Kiwi/manage.py loaddata --format json -

NOTE: depending on your scenario you may want to remove the existing volume (docker-compose down && docker volume rm kiwi_db_data) and re-create the DB schema (/Kiwi/manage.py migrate) before restoring the contents!

WARNING: the above steps are applicable to Kiwi TCMS 5.1 or above. On earlier versions manage.py will fail due to various issues.

Backing up file uploads

Uploaded files can easily be backed up with:

docker exec -it kiwi_web /bin/tar -cP /Kiwi/uploads > uploads.tar

and then restored:

cat uploads.tar | docker exec -i kiwi_web /bin/tar -x

You may also try the rsync command but be aware that it is not installed by default!

The same approach may be used to backup /var/lib/mysql/ from the kiwi_db container.

Alternatives

By default both docker volumes created for Kiwi TCMS use the local driver and are available under /var/lib/docker/volumes/<volume_name> on the host running your containers. You can try backing them up from there as well.

Another alternative is to use the docker-lvm-plugin and create these volumes as LVM2 block devices. Then use lvcreate -s command to create a snapshot volume. For more information see chapter 2.3.5. Snapshot Volumes from the LVM Administrator Guide for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.

Happy testing!

Mid-year roadmap status report

Hello everyone, in this article I will outline the progress that the Kiwi TCMS team has made towards achieving the goals on our roadmap.

Make code easier to maintain

Status: moderate progress

Initially CodeClimate reported a "D" rating with a 1 year estimated effort. Now it is still on "D" rating with a 7 months estimated effort to bring the project back in shape. Code smells have dropped from 600+ to 418, duplications have been reduced from 600+ to 359! At the same time technical debt ratio has been decreased from 32,5% to 21,6% and little over 10000 lines of code have been removed from the source code. Checkout the stats for more info!

Use pylint and pylint-django

Status: good progress

Both pylint and pylint-django have been integrated into our CI workflow. There are even a few custom built plugins that we use. The number of issues reported is down to around 900 from 4000+ initially. The cleanup has been lead by Anton Sankov with help from Ivaylo Ivanov and myself.

Render HTML, return JSON

Status: no progress

Several views were probably modified to return pure JSON in the meantime but we've not done any targeted work to resolve this issue.

Submit forms, post JSON, GET clean URLs

Status: no progress

Same as above, not much has been done in this area.

API layer

Status: complete

After Kiwi TCMS v4.0 the server side API has been reorganized and updated to follow the model/method names used internally.

After the recent version 5.0 the client side API library has been stripped to its most basic form so that you can work directly with the responses from the server.

There is no more duplication and ambiguity in names because there isn't a lot of code left!

Documentation

Status: moderate progress, dropped

All RPC methods have been documented! The rest of the internals will be documented as we go along.

No vendored JavaScript libraries

Status: moderate progress

Several JavaScript libraries have been removed but we still carry around jQuery and Handlebars.js. No work has been done to convert Kiwi TCMS to use the jQuery version provided with Django.

Less HTML templates with better organization

Status: minimal progress

There are still over 100 HTML templates in Kiwi TCMS. Some of the HTML templates have been merged together, some email templates have been refactored and marked as translatable but the majority of them have not been updated for a long time.

Modern interface with Patternfly

Status: no progress

JavaScript updates and front-end testing

Status: small progress

A number of JavaScript functions have been refactored and removed during the past few releases but there are still thousands of lines of code left to deal with.

Community efforts

Status: moderate progress

We are seeing a steady stream of new users registered on https://public.tenant.kiwitcms.org and there are several active contributors (issues, translations).

Kiwi TCMS was represented at OSCAL Tirana, DjangoCon Heidelberg and PyCon Prague! We're planning to attend HackConf and OpenFest in Sofia by the end of the year.

Happy testing!

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