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7. Watch mode

You can enable watch mode with the --watch command line flag. If you want watch mode to be the default you can also configure it in tests.edn with :watch? true. In that case the --no-watch flag turns it off again.

When running in watch mode Kaocha will keep an eye on your test and source directories (as configured on the test suites), as well as your Kaocha configuration in tests.edn. Whenever any of these files changes it tries to reload the changed files, and then runs your tests again.

Watch mode is based on tools.namespace, this library keeps track of the dependencies between namespaces. When a file changes then any namespace that depends on it gets unloaded first, completely erasing the namespace and its vars from Clojure's memory, before loading them again from scratch.

This fixes a lot of issues that are present with more naive code reloading schemes, but it comes with its own set of caveats. Refer to the tools.namespace README for more information.

If any tests fail, then upon the next change first the failed tests will be run. Only when they pass is the complete suite run again.

Sometimes your source or test directories will contain files that should be ignored by watch mode, for instance, temporary files left by your editor. You can tell watch mode to ignore these with the configuration key.

This takes a vector of patterns which largely behave like Unix-shell style "glob" patterns, although they differ from standard shell behavior in some subtle ways. These are processed using Java's PathMatcher interface, the provided links describes how they work in detail.

{ ["*.tmp"]}

When running in watch mode you can press the Enter (Return) key to manually trigger a re-run of the tests. This will always run all tests, not just the tests that failed on the last run.

Interrupt the process (Ctrl-C) to exit Kaocha's watch mode.

Tips and tricks

The :kaocha.plugin/notifier plugin will cause a system notification to pop up whenever a test run finishes. This works really well together with watch mode, as it means you can leave Kaocha running in the background, and only switch over when a test failed.

Watch mode is most useful when it can provide quick feedback, this is why it's a good idea to combine it with --fail-fast, so you know as soon as possible when a test fails, and you can focus on one test at a time. You can disable randomization (--no-randomize) to prevent having to jump back and forth between different failing tests.

If your test suites takes a long time to run then watch mode will be a lot less effective, in that case consider tagging your slowest tests with metadata, and filtering them out. (--skip-meta :slow)

tests.edn is also watched for changes, and gets reloaded on every run, so there's a lot you can do without having to restart Kaocha.

  • enable :fail-fast? true
  • focus on specific tests or namespaces
  • enable extra plugins
  • set a fixed seed (when debugging ordering issue)
  • switch to a different reporter

You can tell Kaocha to ignore changes to files matching patterns in .gitignore or .ignore files by setting to true in your deps.edn.

Currently these features of .gitignore are not supported:

  • Negating patterns. Git allows you to specify patterns for files that should not be ignored.
  • Directory-only patterns. PatternMatcher doesn't distinguish between files and directories in paths.

Configuring the watcher

Kaocha uses Beholder to watch the filesystem for changes. By default Beholder will pick a mechanism suitable for your operating system. Beholder works with OSX and M1 mac machines as well.

Previously Kaocha used another watcher, Hawk, which has been deprecated in favour of Beholder. If you still want to use it for some reason, then use the :hawk configuration to switch to Hawk. Please note that Hawk will be removed completely in a future release.

Use the configuration key to pass options to Hawk. Currently it understands :watcher (:java, :barbary, :polling) and :sensitivity (:high, :medium, :low, only applies to :polling).

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