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Staff Advice - Testing

This page does not contain any additional design requirements or specifications.

Tips For Writing Test Cases

Here are a few different ways to think about creative tests:

  1. Functionality Tests
    1. Consider basic functionality for single + multiple users
    2. Consider different sequences of events of Client API methods
    3. Consider interleaving file sharing/revocation/loading/storing actions
  2. Edge Case Tests
    1. Consider edge cases outlined in the Design Requirements and other parts of this specification.
  3. Security Tests
    1. Consider what happens when an attacker tampers with different pieces of data

In all cases, you should ensure that your Client API is following all requirements listed in the Design Requirements.

Coverage Flags Tips

It’s okay if your tests don’t get all 20 test coverage points! Some flags are very tricky to get, and we don’t expect everyone to get all the flags. If you’re missing a few flags, a few points won’t make or break your project. That said, higher test coverage does mean you’re testing more edge cases, which means you can also be more confident in your own implementation if it’s passing all your tests.

Writing Advanced Tests

  1. Some students have reported success with fuzz testing, which uses lots of different random tampering attacks. Sometimes this can help you catch an edge case you weren’t expecting.
  2. Remember that your tests must work on any project implementation, not just your own implementation. This means you cannot assume anything about the design except the API calls that everyone implements (InitUser, GetUser, LoadFile, StoreFile, etc). For example, you cannot reference a field in a user struct in your tests, because other implementations might not have that field in their user struct.
    1. The userlib has a nifty DatastoreGetMap function which returns the underlying go map structure of the Datastore. This can be used to modify the Datastore directly to simulate attacker action.
    2. DatastoreGetMap can also be used to learn about how the Datastore is changed as a result of an API call. For example, you can scan the Datastore, perform an API call (e.g. StoreFile), then scan the Datastore again to see what has been updated. This can help you write more sophisticated tests that leverage information about what encrypted Datastore entries correspond to what data.

Writing Efficiency Tests

Here’s a helper function you can use to measure efficiency.

// Helper function to measure bandwidth of a particular operation
measureBandwidth := func(probe func()) (bandwidth int) {
   before := userlib.DatastoreGetBandwidth()
   after := userlib.DatastoreGetBandwidth()
   return after - before

// Example usage
bw = measureBandwidth(func() {


You should check for errors after every Client API call! This makes sure errors are caught as soon as they happen, instead of them propagating downstream. Don’t make any assumptions over which methods will throw and which errors won’t: use an Expect after each API method.

Remember the core principle around testing: the more lines of the staff solution you hit, the more flags you’re likely to acquire! Think about all of the if err != nil cases that may be present in the staff code, and see if you’re able to write tests to enter those cases.

value, err = user.InitUser(...);