Uploaded by
Published on

Latest Release Build Status Dependency Status

Jack's love of dice has brought him here, where he has taken on the form
of a PureScript library, in order to help you gamble with your propositions.

Jack is a testing library in the spirit of Hughes & Classen's QuickCheck.

What makes it different is that instead of generating a random value and using a shrinking function after the fact, we generate the random value and all the possible shrinks in a rose tree, all at once.

Why Jack?

Generating the shrinks when you generate your initial value has many advantages.

It is easy to maintain the invariants of a generator for example. With QuickCheck style shrinking if you do chooseInt 100 200 and then try to shrink it, it will happily shrink to 0.

QuickCheck shrinking functions are also invariant, as the a appears on both sides of the arrow in the shrink function a -> List a.

So if you imagine the following scenario:

newtype Foo = Foo String

shrinkString :: String -> List String
shrinkString = ...

shrinkString cannot be lifted to work over Foo without having a mapping in both directions. This breaks the beautiful applicative syntax that generators can be constructed with. Jack doesn't have this problem, a Gen String can be turned in to a Gen Foo using only map, but with the benefit that your Foo will be shrunk for free.

Getting Started

The easiest way to get started with Jack is to install it as a dev dependency:

$ bower install --save-dev purescript-jack

Then create a test/Main.purs as shown below:

module Test.Main (
  ) where

import Control.Monad.Eff (Eff)
import Control.Monad.Eff.Console (CONSOLE)
import Control.Monad.Eff.Random (RANDOM)

import Jack.Runner (jackMain)

import Prelude

main :: forall e. Eff ("random" :: RANDOM, "console" :: CONSOLE | e) Unit
main =
  jackMain [
    -- List all the modules which contain property tests here, for this
    -- example we have just one module: Test.DiceGames

Jack has a test runner, invoked via jackMain, which scans the given modules for properties. Any exported function of type Property with the prefix prop_ will be found and exercised.

Lets take a look at test/DiceGames.purs for a contrived example:

module Test.DiceGames where

import Data.Array as Array
import Data.Foldable (elem)
import Data.Maybe (Maybe(..))
import Data.String as String

import Jack (Property, Gen, property, forAll, boundedInt)

import Prelude

genEven :: Gen Int
genEven =
  map (\x -> (x / 2) * 2) boundedInt

genEvenString :: Gen String
genEvenString =
  map show genEven

evens :: Array Char
evens =
  String.toCharArray "02468"

prop_even_strings_end_with_evens :: Property
prop_even_strings_end_with_evens =
  forAll genEvenString \str ->
    case Array.last $ String.toCharArray str of
      Nothing ->
        property false -- numbers should always have at least one digit
      Just x ->
        property $ elem x evens

Here we're verifying that even numbers always end with an even digit. We do this by generating random even numbers as strings and checking that the last character is what we expect.

If we run this example using pulp test we get the following output:

$ pulp test
* Building project in /home/jack/example
* Build successful.
* Running tests...
=== prop_even_strings_end_with_evens from Test.DiceGames ===
+++ OK, passed 100 tests.

* Tests OK.

Let's sabotage the test so that we're generating odd numbers instead of evens:

genEven :: Gen Int
genEven =
  map (\x -> (x / 2) * 2 + 1) boundedInt -- note the + 1

And run our example again with pulp test:

$ pulp test
* Building project in /home/jack/example
* Build successful.
=== prop_even_strings_end_with_evens from Test.Foo ===
*** Failed! Falsifiable (after 1 test and 1 shrink):

* ERROR: Subcommand terminated with exit code 1

You can see we get a failure, and after shrinking we're presented with the minimal possible counterexample, "1".

Note that we didn't have to do any extra work to get shrinking of our even or odd numbers. Even shrinking a string which must be a constrained number happens automatically. With traditional QuickCheck shrinking we would have had to parse the string, shrink the number, check that's it's still even (or odd), and then convert it back to a string again.


Many of the features you'd expect from a QuickCheck library are still missing, but we'll get there eventually:

  • Monadic / effectful tests
  • Generating functions
  • Model testing

Jack doesn't have an Arbitrary type class, by design. Arbitrary instances often end up being orphans and I consider this problematic, especially in PureScript. The main purpose of the Arbitrary class as I see it is to link the generator with a shrink function, this isn't required with Jack so Arbitrary has been eliminated.

This library is still very new, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the combinators are still a bit buggy. Jack relies heavily on laziness and it wasn't something that I had to worry about when I wrote it for Haskell, so I'm fixing stack overflows and out of memory errors as they appear.


Ensure PureScript is installed and available on your path. Getting started instructions are available on the PureScript site.

Then run bower to install the PureScript packages:

 bower install

Finally, run pulp to build purescript-jack:

 pulp build
 pulp test