A few days ago someone said something[1] that reminded me about my audio player, which I had abandoned for more than a year already. The reason was mostly that the two Phonon backends, VLC and gstreamer, for some reason or other couldn't play the files I had without any gaps between songs.

To be honest, the first bug end up being me not properly encoding the filenames. If you first URL-encoded the filename and then built a Q/KURL with that, then it's all fine. It took me more than 12 months and a few rereads of the thread to realize it. Fixes apart, it seems that the bug still exists for other instances of gstreamer errors, so we're not out of the woods. In any case, I switched to the VLC backend and it seems that now is able to fire the aboutToFinnish() signal properly, so for the moment I'm using that.

All that is fine, but that's not what I wanted to talk about in this post. Given that this project largely precedes my interest on testing, it has no testing at all. Most of the project is straightforward enough to almost no need any, but there's a critic part that would not suffer at all if it had any, namely the Collections handling, including passing files from one to another and automatically updating new/removed Songs[2].

So after fixing the bug mentioned above I tried to figure out the current state of affaires regarding Collections, and boy, they're in bad shape. The code was locally modified, never commited, deactivating any notifications of filesystem changes (new or removed files), and other code I can't really understand the purpose of.

Because if this last detail is that I decided to start testing three classes: Collection, which handles a set a Songs with a common root directory; CollectionAggregator, which handles a set of collections and should coordinate moving a Song from one Collection to another; and CollectionIndexer, which scans from a Collection's root dir to find Songs.

All went fine while I tested the first class, Collection. There was a tricky part where I had to setup a QApplication in order to make signals work. The problems began when I started testing CollectionIndexer. Tests started blocking endlessly, signals stopped being either emited or firing the connected slots, life was bad.

I tried to search the available documentation and mailing lists for a hint about the problem, but besides a quite complex example that didn't seem to properly converge to anything useful, I was mostly on my own.

This morning I got my eureka moment: I noticed that if I executed each test class by itself, it worked, but both at the same time blocked and never finished. Then I remembered something said in QApplication's documentation:

For any GUI application using Qt, there is precisely one QApplication object, no matter whether the application has 0, 1, 2 or more windows at any given time.

That was it: I was creating the application, first in the setUp() method, then as a class attribute, but I had one test class per class to test, each in its own file. Somehow this last fact lead me to think that somehow they were executed in separate processes, which is not true. Luckily, even with this limitation, there's none on the amount of times you can exec_() and quit() the same instance, so that's what I did: I created only one instance and reused it everywhere. I was already doing that for each test method, but again, somehow having several files mislead me to think they were isolated from each other.

So now all my unit tests work without mysteriously blocking forever. Now I just hope I can keep riding the success wave and bring satyr into good shape. A new release wouldn't hurt.


[1] No matter how much I try, I can't get any vaguer.

[2] Ok, maybe the Player/Playlist combo wouldn't hurt to have UTs either.


satyr pykde python