Test writing guidelines#

The Trino project aims to provide high quality artifacts and features to all users. A suite of tests used for development, continuous integration builds, and releases is critical for achieving this goal.

Trino acts as an integration layer for many different data sources with the help of different connector plugin, and includes support of other plugins as well. This results in the need testing many different use cases with a number of external systems. The Trino test suite limits the executed tests for any changes in pull requests as much as possible, while any merges to the master branch process all tests.

The following requirements and guidelines help contributors to create tests with the following goals:

  • Fast execution.

  • Low requirements in terms of hardware, software, and compute power, and therefore low cost.

  • Reliable execution and test results across multiple invocations.

  • Complex enough to have enough coverage of the execution paths, while avoiding unnecessary complexity.

  • Enable quick, iterative development on developer workstation.

Conventions and recommendations#

The following section details conventions and recommendations to follow when creating new tests or refactoring existing test code. The preferred approaches The existing codebase is a mixture of newer test code that adheres to these guidelines and older legacy code. The legacy test code should not be used as example for new tests, rather follow the guidelines in this document.

Also note that the guidelines are subject to change in a process of further refinement and improvements from practical experience.

A number of requirements apply to all new tests, and any refactoring work of existing tests:

  • All tests must use JUnit 5.

  • All tests must use statically imported AssertJ assertions, typically from org.assertj.core.api.Assertions.

  • Test class names must start with Test, for example TestExample

  • Test classes should be defined as package-private and final.

  • Test method must start with test, for example testExplain()

  • Test methods should be defined as package-private.

  • Tests must be written as unit tests, including tests that abstract production infrastructure with TestContainers, when possible. Product or other integration tests should be avoided. These tests typically rely on external infrastructure, use a full Trino runtime, and therefore are often slower and suffer from reliability issues.

  • Tests must not be duplicated across unit and product tests, or different plugins and other integrations.


In addition to the requirements, a number of specific guidelines help with authoring new tests as well as refactoring existing tests.

Focus on high value tests#

Testing in Trino is extremely expensive, and slows down all development as they take hours of compute time in a limited environment. For large expensive tests, consider the value the test brings to Trino, and ensure the value is justified by the cost. We effectively have a limited budget for testing, and CI tests queue on most days, often for many hours, which reduces the overall project velocity.

Avoid combinatorial tests#

Prefer tests of items in isolation and test a few common combinations to verify integrations are functional. Do not implement tests for all possible combinations.

Avoid product tests#

If you can create a unit test for a feature, use a unit test and avoid writing a product test. Over time the aim is to remove the majority of product tests, and avoiding new product tests helps to prevent the migration costs from growing.

Only use product tests in the following cases:

  • Minimal, high level integration testing that uses a full server. For example, this can verify that a plugin works correctly with the plugin classloader and classpath.

  • When the test code needs to run in a specialized environment, such as a container with Kerberos configured. Only run the minimum set of tests necessary to verify this integration.

Avoid creating testing abstractions#

The following approaches should be avoided because the existing build tools and frameworks provide sufficient capabilities:

  • Creating custom dispatch frameworks for parallelizing test execution

  • Creating test-specific assertion frameworks

  • Creating custom parameterized test frameworks

Avoid data providers and parametric tests#

Data providers and parametric tests add unnecessary complexity. Consider focusing on high value tests and avoiding combinatorial tests, and the following details:

  • Most data providers are either trivially small, or generate massive combinatorial, indiscriminate, data sets for testing.

  • Prefer to write explicit test cases for trivial cases like a boolean parameter.

  • For small datasets, use a “for-each item in an inline list”.

  • For larger datasets, consider using a type safe enum class.

  • For large test datasets, discuss your use case with Trino maintainers to work on a solution or other guidance.

  • Avoid multiple independent data providers in a test, including multiple nested for loops or multiple data provider parameters.

Avoid writing stateful test classes#

Stateful tests can lead to issues from on one test leaking into other tests, especially when test runs are parallelized. As a result debugging and troubleshooting test failures and maintenance of the tests is more difficult. If possible these stateful test classes should be avoided.

Do not try to manage memory#

JUnit and the JVM take care of test life cycle and memory management. Avoid manual steps such as nulling out fields in @After methods to “free memory”. It is safe to assign memory intensive objects to final fields, as the class is automatically dereferenced after the test run.

Use simple resource initialization#

Prefer resource initialization in constructors and tear them down in @After methods if necessary. This approach, combined with not nulling fields, allows the fields to be final and behave like any Closeable class in normal Java code Consider using the Guava Closer class to simplify cleanup.

Keep test setup and teardown simple#

Avoid the @Before/@After each test method style of setup and teardown.

  • Prefer try-with-resources if natural

  • If necessary, use a shared initialization or cleanup method that is explicitly called.

  • If you have a test that benefits from @Before/After methods, discuss the approach with the maintainers to develop a solution and improve guidance.

Ensure testability of new plugin and connector features#

New plugin/connector features should be testable using one of the testing plugins (e.g., memory or null). There are existing features only tested in plugins in Hive, and over time we expect coverage using the testing plugins

Keep focus on plugin and connector tests#

For plugins and specifically connector plugins, focus on the code unique to the plugin. Do not add tests for core engine features. Plugins should be focused on the correctness of the SPI implementation, and compatibility with external systems.

Avoid flaky tests#

Flaky tests are test that are not reliable. Multiple runs of the same test result in inconsistent results. Typically the tests are successful, and then rarely fail. Reasons for flakiness include reliance on external, unstable systems, connections, and other hard to troubleshoot setups.

Existing flaky tests using the legacy TestNG library can be marked with the @Flaky annotation temporarily to improve CI reliability until a fix is implemented:

  • Ideally the fix is to make the test reliable.

  • Rewrite the test to not rely on flakey infrastructure, including the practice to avoid HDFS.

  • If necessary, add explicit retries, but be cognizant of resource usage.

After a certain time period, if the test hasn’t been fixed, it should be removed.

New tests with the @Flaky annotation can not be introduced, since new tests must use JUnit. Rewrite the test to be stable or avoid the test altogether.

Avoid disabling tests#

Prefer to remove a test instead of disabling it. Test code is maintained and updated as the codebase changes, and inactive tests just waste time and effort.

Disabled tests can be removed at any time.

Avoid using Assumptions.abort()#

The approach to use Assumptions.abort() to skip a test, especially deep in the call stack, makes it difficult to debug tests failures. The abort() works by throwing an exception, which can be caught by intervening code inadvertently, leading to misleading stack traces and test failures.

Avoid test inheritance#

Inheritance of tests creates unnecessary complexity. Keep tests simple and use composition if necessary.

Avoid helper assertions#

The required usage of AssertJ provides a rich set of assertions, that typically makes custom helper assertions unnecessary. Custom assertions often make tests harder to follow and debug.

If you decide a helper assertion is needed, consider the following details:

  • Start the name with assert, for example assertSomeLogicWorks

  • Prefer private and static


The following examples showcase recommended and discourage practices.

Concurrency for tests#

Use PER_CLASS for instances because QueryAssertions is too expensive to create per-method, and a allow parallel execution of tests with CONCURRENT:

public class TestJoin
    private final QueryAssertions assertions = new QueryAssertions();

    public void teardown()

    public void testXXX()

Avoid manual lifecycle management#

Avoid managing the lifecycle of a Closeable like a connection with @BeforeEach/@AfterEach to reduce overhead:

class Test
    private Connection connection;

    public void setup()
        // WRONG: create this in the test method using try-with-resources
        connection = newConnection();

    public void teardown()

    public void test()

Using a try with resources approach allows clean parallelization of tests and includes automatic memory management:

class Test

    public void testSomething()
        try (Connection connection = newConnection();) {

    public void testSomethingElse()
        try (Connection connection = newConnection();) {

Avoid fake abstractions#

Avoid using fake abstraction for tests.

@DataProvider(name = "data")
public void test(boolean flag)
    // WRONG: use separate test methods
        flag ? ... : ...,
        flag ? ... : ...);

Replace with simplified separate assertions:

public void test()
    assertThat(...).isEqualTo(...); // case corresponding to flag == true
    assertThat(...).isEqualTo(...); // case corresponding to flag == false

Avoid custom parallelization#

Do not develop a custom parallel test execution framework:

@Test(dataProvider = "parallelTests")
public void testParallel(Runnable runnable)
   try {
   catch (InterruptedException e) {
       throw new RuntimeException(e);
   try {
   finally {

@DataProvider(name = "parallelTests", parallel = true)
public Object[][] parallelTests()
   return new Object[][] {
        parallelTest("testCreateTable", this::testCreateTable),
        parallelTest("testInsert", this::testInsert),
        parallelTest("testDelete", this::testDelete),
        parallelTest("testDeleteWithSubquery", this::testDeleteWithSubquery),
        parallelTest("testUpdate", this::testUpdate),
        parallelTest("testUpdateWithSubquery", this::testUpdateWithSubquery),
        parallelTest("testMerge", this::testMerge),
        parallelTest("testAnalyzeTable", this::testAnalyzeTable),
        parallelTest("testExplainAnalyze", this::testExplainAnalyze),
        parallelTest("testRequestTimeouts", this::testRequestTimeouts)

Leave parallelization to JUnit instead, and implement separate test methods instead.

Avoid parameterized tests#

Do not create a custom parameterized test framework:

public void testTinyint()
        .execute(getQueryRunner(), trinoCreateAsSelect("test_tinyint"))
        .execute(getQueryRunner(), trinoCreateAndInsert("test_tinyint"))
        .execute(getQueryRunner(), clickhouseQuery("tpch.test_tinyint"));