Tests

rustc has a built-in facility for building and running tests for a crate. More information about writing and running tests may be found in the Testing Chapter of the Rust Programming Language book.

Tests are written as free functions with the #[test] attribute. For example:


#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
#[test]
fn it_works() {
    assert_eq!(2 + 2, 4);
}
}

Tests "pass" if they return without an error. They "fail" if they panic, or return a Result with an error.

By passing the --test option to rustc, the compiler will build the crate in a special mode to construct an executable that will run the tests in the crate. The --test flag will make the following changes:

  • The crate will be built as a bin crate type, forcing it to be an executable.
  • Links the executable with libtest, the test harness that is part of the standard library, which handles running the tests.
  • Synthesizes a main function which will process command-line arguments and run the tests. This new main function will replace any existing main function as the entry point of the executable, though the existing main will still be compiled.
  • Enables the test cfg option, which allows your code to use conditional compilation to detect if it is being built as a test.
  • Enables building of functions annotated with the test and bench attributes, which will be run by the test harness.

After the executable is created, you can run it to execute the tests and receive a report on what passes and fails. If you are using Cargo to manage your project, it has a built-in cargo test command which handles all of this automatically. An example of the output looks like this:

running 4 tests
test it_works ... ok
test check_valid_args ... ok
test invalid_characters ... ok
test walks_the_dog ... ok

test result: ok. 4 passed; 0 failed; 0 ignored; 0 measured; 0 filtered out; finished in 0.00s

Note: Tests must be built with the unwind panic strategy. This is because all tests run in the same process, and they are intended to catch panics, which is not possible with the abort strategy. See the unstable -Z panic-abort-tests option for experimental support of the abort strategy by spawning tests in separate processes.

Test attributes

Tests are indicated using attributes on free functions. The following attributes are used for testing, see the linked documentation for more details:

  • #[test] — Indicates a function is a test to be run.
  • #[bench] — Indicates a function is a benchmark to be run. Benchmarks are currently unstable and only available in the nightly channel, see the unstable docs for more details.
  • #[should_panic] — Indicates that the test function will only pass if the function panics.
  • #[ignore] — Indicates that the test function will be compiled, but not run by default. See the --ignored and --include-ignored options to run these tests.

CLI arguments

The libtest harness has several command-line arguments to control its behavior.

Note: When running with cargo test, the libtest CLI arguments must be passed after the -- argument to differentiate between flags for Cargo and those for the harness. For example: cargo test -- --nocapture

Filters

Positional arguments (those without a - prefix) are treated as filters which will only run tests whose name matches one of those strings. The filter will match any substring found in the full path of the test function. For example, if the test function it_works is located in the module utils::paths::tests, then any of the filters works, path, utils::, or utils::paths::tests::it_works will match that test.

See Selection options for more options to control which tests are run.

Action options

The following options perform different actions other than running tests.

--list

Prints a list of all tests and benchmarks. Does not run any of the tests. Filters can be used to list only matching tests.

-h, --help

Displays usage information and command-line options.

Selection options

The following options change how tests are selected.

--test

This is the default mode where all tests will be run as well as running all benchmarks with only a single iteration (to ensure the benchmark works, without taking the time to actually perform benchmarking). This can be combined with the --bench flag to run both tests and perform full benchmarking.

--bench

This runs in a mode where tests are ignored, and only runs benchmarks. This can be combined with --test to run both benchmarks and tests.

--exact

This forces filters to match the full path of the test exactly. For example, if the test it_works is in the module utils::paths::tests, then only the string utils::paths::tests::it_works will match that test.

--skip FILTER

Skips any tests whose name contains the given FILTER string. This flag may be passed multiple times.

--ignored

Runs only tests that are marked with the ignore attribute.

--include-ignored

Runs both ignored and non-ignored tests.

--exclude-should-panic

Excludes tests marked with the should_panic attribute.

⚠️ 🚧 This option is unstable, and requires the -Z unstable-options flag. See tracking issue #82348 for more information.

Execution options

The following options affect how tests are executed.

--test-threads NUM_THREADS

Sets the number of threads to use for running tests in parallel. By default, uses the amount of concurrency available on the hardware as indicated by available_parallelism.

This can also be specified with the RUST_TEST_THREADS environment variable.

--force-run-in-process

Forces the tests to run in a single process when using the abort panic strategy.

⚠️ 🚧 This only works with the unstable -Z panic-abort-tests option, and requires the -Z unstable-options flag. See tracking issue #67650 for more information.

--ensure-time

⚠️ 🚧 This option is unstable, and requires the -Z unstable-options flag. See tracking issue #64888 and the unstable docs for more information.

--shuffle

Runs the tests in random order, as opposed to the default alphabetical order.

This may also be specified by setting the RUST_TEST_SHUFFLE environment variable to anything but 0.

The random number generator seed that is output can be passed to --shuffle-seed to run the tests in the same order again.

Note that --shuffle does not affect whether the tests are run in parallel. To run the tests in random order sequentially, use --shuffle --test-threads 1.

⚠️ 🚧 This option is unstable, and requires the -Z unstable-options flag. See tracking issue #89583 for more information.

--shuffle-seed SEED

Like --shuffle, but seeds the random number generator with SEED. Thus, calling the test harness with --shuffle-seed SEED twice runs the tests in the same order both times.

SEED is any 64-bit unsigned integer, for example, one produced by --shuffle.

This can also be specified with the RUST_TEST_SHUFFLE_SEED environment variable.

⚠️ 🚧 This option is unstable, and requires the -Z unstable-options flag. See tracking issue #89583 for more information.

Output options

The following options affect the output behavior.

-q, --quiet

Displays one character per test instead of one line per test. This is an alias for --format=terse.

--nocapture

Does not capture the stdout and stderr of the test, and allows tests to print to the console. Usually the output is captured, and only displayed if the test fails.

This may also be specified by setting the RUST_TEST_NOCAPTURE environment variable to anything but 0.

--show-output

Displays the stdout and stderr of successful tests after all tests have run.

Contrast this with --nocapture which allows tests to print while they are running, which can cause interleaved output if there are multiple tests running in parallel, --show-output ensures the output is contiguous, but requires waiting for all tests to finish.

--color COLOR

Control when colored terminal output is used. Valid options:

  • auto: Colorize if stdout is a tty and --nocapture is not used. This is the default.
  • always: Always colorize the output.
  • never: Never colorize the output.

--format FORMAT

Controls the format of the output. Valid options:

  • pretty: This is the default format, with one line per test.
  • terse: Displays only a single character per test. --quiet is an alias for this option.
  • json: Emits JSON objects, one per line. ⚠️ 🚧 This option is unstable, and requires the -Z unstable-options flag. See tracking issue #49359 for more information.

--logfile PATH

Writes the results of the tests to the given file.

--report-time

⚠️ 🚧 This option is unstable, and requires the -Z unstable-options flag. See tracking issue #64888 and the unstable docs for more information.

Unstable options

Some CLI options are added in an "unstable" state, where they are intended for experimentation and testing to determine if the option works correctly, has the right design, and is useful. The option may not work correctly, break, or change at any time. To signal that you acknowledge that you are using an unstable option, they require passing the -Z unstable-options command-line flag.

Benchmarks

The libtest harness supports running benchmarks for functions annotated with the #[bench] attribute. Benchmarks are currently unstable, and only available on the nightly channel. More information may be found in the unstable book.

Custom test frameworks

Experimental support for using custom test harnesses is available on the nightly channel. See tracking issue #50297 and the custom_test_frameworks documentation for more information.