Spec and runner

The core activity when preparing test cases using tcframe is writing spec files. A spec file, along with a reference solution program and optionally some evaluator helper files, completely define the test cases of a single problem. A spec file is compilable into a single executable called runner program, which generates the test cases when executed.

To write a spec file, create a C++ source file called spec.cpp in the problem package directory, and include the following header:

#include <tcframe/spec.hpp>

Every component of tcframe falls under tcframe namespace, so you might want to import it for convenience:

using namespace tcframe;

In this file, you will be writing two classes: ProblemSpec and TestSpec.

Problem spec

A problem spec is a formal representation of a problem statement/description. It is the first step and the source of truth of the entire preparation of a problem. Once a problem spec is finalized, the corresponding test spec and a reference solution can then be developed.

In tcframe, a problem spec is implemented as a class called ProblemSpec that inherits tcframe::BaseProblemSpec.

class ProblemSpec : public BaseProblemSpec {

All members of this class must go into the protected section, except for private helper methods.

I/O variables
Member variables which compose the I/O formats.
I/O formats
How I/O variables are arranged in actual test case files.
Conditions that I/O variables must satisfy.
Set of constraints in subproblems.

Test spec

A test spec defines the actual test cases for a particular problem spec. For problems with subtasks, it also defines how the test cases are distributed to the subtasks.

In tcframe, a problem spec is implemented as a class called TestSpec that inherits tcframe::BaseTestSpec<T>, where T is the problem spec class (which should be ProblemSpec).

class TestSpec : public BaseTestSpec<ProblemSpec> {

All members of this class must go in the protected section, except for private helper methods.

Test cases
Particular set of values of input variables.
Test groups
Set of test cases which conform to the same set of subtasks

Compiling spec file

You must have g++ at least version 4.8 to compile a spec file.

A spec file is compiled into a runner program using the following tcframe command:

tcframe build

The above command will compile spec.cpp into an executable runner program in the problem package directory.

It is also possible to specify additional compilation flags, by setting the $TCFRAME_CXX_FLAGS environment variable. For example:

export TCFRAME_CXX_FLAGS="-Wall -O2"

Runner program

A runner program is an ordinary executable program. By executing the runner program, the test cases will be generated. By default, the produced test cases will be output to tc directory inside problem package directory.


See the API reference for more details on supported command-line options, such as specifying which solution to run for producing the output files.

A runner program can also be used for performing local grading.