Results

When you run a request in Ply, it generates actual results in YAML format representing each submitted request along with its corresponding response. These results are saved to a file named after your request suite. The location of this file is governed by Ply config value actualLocation (eg: “test/results/actual”).

The result fragment below comes from running the movieById request in ply-demo’s “movie-queries.ply.yaml”. Notice that ply inserts comments to reflect start time and response time. YAML comments are ignored when comparing results.

movieById:  # 8/31/2020, 17:42:08:241
  request:
    url: 'http://localhost:3000/movies/269b34c1'
    method: GET
    headers:
      Accept: application/json
  response:  # 2 ms
    status:
      code: 200
      message: OK
    headers:
      content-type: application/json; charset=utf-8
    body: |-
      {
        "credits": [
          {
            "name": "Tod Browning",
            "role": "director"
          },
          {
            "name": "Bela Lugosi",
            "role": "actor"
          },
          {
            "name": "Helen Chandler",
            "role": "actor"
          },
          {
            "name": "David Manners",
            "role": "actor"
          },
          {
            "name": "Dwight Frye",
            "role": "actor"
          },
          {
            "name": "Edward Van Sloan",
            "role": "actor"
          }
        ],
        "description": "The only thing more amazing than Lugosi's out-of-body performance is the fact that the finest horror movie ever made was filmed within 2 years of the advent of talking pictures.",
        "id": "269b34c1",
        "poster": "drac.jpg",
        "rating": 5,
        "title": "Dracula",
        "webRef": {
          "ref": "tt0021814",
          "site": "imdb.com"
        },
        "year": 1931
      }

Actual results YAML files created by Ply include segments for each request included in that suite’s run (in execution order). If you run only a single request instead of a whole suite, the actual results file will contain results for only that request. When verifying, Ply compares whichever request(s) appear in actual results against their counterparts in expected results as described below.

Expected Results

Unless run with the --submit (-s) option, after generating actual results Ply will proceed to compare against expected results. Expected results are named after your request suite and are found under your configured expectedLocation (eg: test/results/expected). Here’s ply-demo’s movieById expected fragment corresponding to the actual fragment above.

movieById:
  request:
    url: '${baseUrl}/movies/${@moviesByYearAndRating.response.body.movies[0].id}' # id from previous response
    method: GET
    headers:
      Accept: application/json
  response:
    status:
      code: 200
      message: OK
    headers:
      content-type: application/json; charset=utf-8
    body: |-
      {
        "credits": [
          {
            "name": "Tod Browning",
            "role": "director"
          },
          {
            "name": "Bela Lugosi",
            "role": "actor"
          },
          {
            "name": "Helen Chandler",
            "role": "actor"
          },
          {
            "name": "David Manners",
            "role": "actor"
          },
          {
            "name": "Dwight Frye",
            "role": "actor"
          },
          {
            "name": "Edward Van Sloan",
            "role": "actor"
          }
        ],
        "description": "The only thing more amazing than Lugosi's out-of-body performance is the fact that the finest horror movie ever made was filmed within 2 years of the advent of talking pictures.",
        "id": "${@moviesByYearAndRating.response.body.movies[0].id}",
        "poster": "drac.jpg",
        "rating": ${rating},
        "title": "Dracula",
        "webRef": {
          "ref": "tt0021814",
          "site": "imdb.com"
        },
        "year": ${year}
      }

You may include YAML comments in expected results, and all comments are ignored by Ply when verifying. Our movieById example has a comment after url. End-of-line comments like this work better than comments on separate lines, because they make for friendlier side-by-side comparisons in VS Code.

Response headers

Only content-type appears in response headers for movieById expected results. We include only the response headers whose values we care to verify. The response in our actual YAML at the top of this page includes only this header as well. Run the suite with Ply’s verbose option to see all the response headers actually returned by the server:

ply --verbose test/requests/movie-queries.ply.yaml

Yet in actual results, Ply retains just those response headers that appear in expected, so that comparison is straightforward.

Expressions

Like request YAML, expected results can embed JavaScript template literal expressions. Expressions always take the form ${expression}, and are evaluated at runtime before comparing against actual results.

Some examples from movieById:

Value substitution

movieById:
  request:
    url: '${baseUrl}/...'

This illustrates simple evaluation of JSON values files. Nested objects are supported (like ${queries.highlyRated1935} elsewhere in this suite).

Previous requests/responses

movieById:
  # ...
  response:
    body:  |-
      {
        ...
        "id": "${@moviesByYearAndRating.response.body.movies[0].id}",
        ...
      }

In the movieById request URL, ID comes from the first movie in our response body from previous request moviesByYearAndRating. So we expect that the same ID will appear in our movieById response body. After the opening curly brace in our expression, special designator @ allows us to reference previously-submitted requests/responses within the same suite.

Regular expressions

moviesByYearAndRating:
  # ...
  response:
    body:  |-
      {
        ...
        "id": "${~[a-f0-9]}+",
        ...
      }

In the initial moviesByYearAndRating result shown above, instead of hardcoding IDs in the response, we allow any hexidecimal string value, since that’s the expected format. To achieve this we use a regular expression, signified by special designator ~.

Next Topic: Flows