Practitioner Perceptions of Ansible Test Smells

Yue Zhang, Fan Wu, and Akond Rahman in 2nd International Workshop on the Foundations of Infrastructure Specification and Testing, co-located with the 20th IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture (ICSA 2023), 2023 Pre-print

The practice of infrastructure as code (IaC) recommends automated management of computing infrastructure with application of quality assurance, such as linting and testing. To that end, researchers recently have investigated quality concerns in IaC test manifests by deriving a catalog of test smells. The relevance of the identified smells need to be quantified by obtaining feedback from practitioners. Such feedback can help the IaC community understand if smells have relevance amongst practitioners, and derive future research directions. We survey 30 practitioners to assess the relevance of three Ansible test smell categories namely, assertion roulette, local only testing, and remote mystery guest. We observe local only testing to be the most agreed upon test smell category, whereas, assertion roulette is the least agreed upon test smell category. Our findings provide a nuanced perspective of test smells for IaC, and lays the groundwork for future research.