Underappreciated Perl Code: TAP’s YAMLish Syntax

If you write tests using Test::More, you may have seen the cmp_ok() sub output something like:

This is a textual output of the file and line number of the tests, as well as what failed. If you wanted to write a TAP parser for a report, you could parse the comments and get that file location. But then you’d be parsing comments, and those aren’t supposed to be parsed by computers (SKIP and TODO being exceptions in TAP for hysterical raisins). Plus, Test::More makes no guarantees about the format of those comments, nor should it.

Fortunately, the TAP protocol has an official extension for parsable information about a test, called “YAMLish“. As the name implies, it’s a small subset of YAML, specifically the one supported by YAML::Tiny. This makes it easy to implement in other languages.

Test::More doesn’t seem to support outputting YAMLish, but we can get the functionality with TAP::Parser::YAMLish::Writer. We can write up a subroutine for a tests to handle YAMLish:

The keys datetime, file, line, expected, actual, and extensions are defined directly on the wiki page for YAMLish. The extensions key is a hashref that can hold custom information. The datetime key is in either ISO8601 or HTTP date format.


But this is awkward and ought to be wrapped up by a CPAN module. The requirement for write_yaml() to be on the same line is particularly bad. Duplicating your actual/expected values in the call to write_yaml() is no good, either.

It’d be nice if Test::More did this for us, or barring that, a drop-in replacement. After a quick search, I can’t seem to find anything like that. Any takers? :)

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