PropEr testing of generic servers

by Eirini Arvaniti and Kostis Sagonas

Testing purely functional code is usually not enough for industrial Erlang applications like telecom software or http servers. In this tutorial, we will describe how to use PropEr for automated random testing of stateful systems.

Undoubtedly, automated random testing of a stateful API would require some magic, unless some additional information is provided. Since we are not magicians but Erlang developers, we choose to describe the side-effects of the system under test via an abstract state machine and then, let PropEr do its magic for us.

A server example

Let us first introduce our example: a movie server at a dvd-club, implemented as an Erlang generic server (using the gen_server behaviour). The complete code of the server can be found here. Nevertheless, for the most part of this tutorial we only need to understand the server's API. We describe it below:

But how do we know the server actually behaves as described above? Here are some things we might want to test:

The PropEr approach to testing the server

The problem: Our server has some internal state based on previous operations (e.g. user accounts which have been created, the set of available movies, next password to be allocated, etc.) and this state is not directly accessible, at least not from the API.

The solution: Even if not observable, the state is there! And this means we can try to compute it, even without knowing the details of the implementation. To this end, we build an abstract state machine that models the behaviour of the server. The state of the abstract state machine, also referred as the model state, corresponds to the implicit internal state of the system under test. Now, all we have to check is whether these states ever become inconsistent. Such an inconsistency can be detected from the results of API calls. When this occurs, there is much probability that the error lies in our model and not in the implementation. But then, it is quite easy to redefine our model and run the test again. In this way, well hidden bugs can be revealed, because after e.g. 3000 random tests, PropEr will eventually try sequences of calls that would not have been tested by traditional unit testing methods.

In a nutshell, the concept of testing stateful operations with PropEr is the following:

Testcases for stateful systems

Testcases generated for testing a stateful system are lists of symbolic API calls to that system. At this point, one may wonder why we choose to complicate things, when we could simply perform calls to the system under test. As it turns out, symbolic representation makes things much easier. Here are some reasons to prefer it, listed in increasing order of importance:

Symbolic calls are not executed during testcase generation. Therefore, the actual result of a call is not known at generation time and cannot be used in subsequent operations. To remedy this situation, symbolic variables are used. A command is a symbolic term, used to bind a symbolic variable to the result of a symbolic call. For example, if as we will see below, ?SERVER denotes the name of the server module, the command

{set, {var,1}, {call,?SERVER,create_account,[james_bond]}}

binds Mr Bond's password to the symbolic variable {var,1}.

Properties for stateful systems

Each test consists of two phases:

These two phases are encapsulated in the following property, which can be used for testing a generic server with PropEr:

prop_server_works_fine() ->
    ?FORALL(Cmds, commands(?MODULE),
            begin
                ?SERVER:start_link(),
                {_,_,Result} = run_commands(?MODULE, Cmds),
                ?SERVER:stop(),
                Result =:= ok
            end).

As we can see, even in this simple property, it is very important to keep each test self-contained. For this reason, almost every property for testing stateful systems contains some set-up and/or clean-up code. Such code is necessary to put the system in a known state, so that the next test can be executed independently from previous ones. In this property, set-up means spawning and linking to the server, while clean-up means stopping it.

Defining the abstract state machine

Command generation

The first callback function to consider is the command generator. This function will be repeatedly called to produce the next symbolic call to be included in the testcase. PropEr automatically binds the result of generated symbolic calls to symbolic variables. In other words, symbolic calls are automatically translated to commands. In the general case, the command generator should take into account the model state. In our example, we are not sure yet if this is necessary. Let us make a first attempt. What about...?

command(_S) ->
    oneof([{call,?MODULE,create_account,[name()]},
           {call,?MODULE,delete_account,[password()]},
           {call,?MODULE,rent_dvd,[password(), movie()]},
           {call,?MODULE,return_dvd,[password(), movie()]},
           {call,?MODULE,ask_for_popcorn,[]}]).

where name() generates a random name for a new client at the dvd club, movie() generates a random movie name and password() a random password.

Although it is fairly easy to use the type definitions of name(), movie(), and password() to generate random names, movies and passwords for each new symbolic call, it is more appropriate to select them from a rather small predefined set, so that a testcase is likely to refer to the same objects several times. Then, we will have a bigger chance of detecting errors. So, rather than using the type definitions, we introduce the following macros:

%% The module implementing the movie_server
-define(SERVER, movie_server).

%% people visiting the dvd-club
-define(NAMES, [bob, alice, john, mary, ben]).

%% a property list of the available movies,
%% each pair in the list consists of a movie name and the number of
%% existing copies of this movie
-define(AVAILABLE_MOVIES, ?SERVER:available_movies()).

%% movies that clients will ask to rent in the testcases
%% apart from the movies available, clients will also ask for titanic
%% and inception, in order to test how the server responds to these
%% requests
-define(MOVIE_TITLES,
        proplists:get_keys(?AVAILABLE_MOVIES) ++ [titanic, inception]).

Given these macros, the generators for names and movies are written using the elements/1 function of PropEr:

name() -> elements(?NAMES).

movie() -> elements(?MOVIE_TITLES).

But what about passwords? Password allocation is on the server side and we have little information about it, since we decided to test it as a blackbox. We could make an exception and take a look at the algorithm for password generation, but in this way we would be copying and not actually testing how passwords are created.

We can take a different approach: since passwords are available to the users as the result of creating a new account (i.e. create_acount/1 calls), they should be treated and tested exactly as such. In order to achieve this, we will use the state of the abstract state machine. This is defined as follows:

-record(state, {users  :: [password()],
                rented :: [{password(),movie()}]}).

The first component is a list of passwords generated from create_account/1 calls in the current test, while the second is a list keeping track of rented movies. Given this state, we can arrange for the password generator to choose one of the passwords already created in the same testcase. (Alternatively, we can possibly define the frequency that invalid passwords may appear in our tests. The choice depends on what we are interested in testing.)

Being interested only in valid passwords, we define:

password(#state{users = Passwords}) ->
    elements(Passwords).

An issue with this generator is that it will raise an exception if no passwords have been previously generated in the same testcase. An elegant way to introduce conditional command generation is the use of a list comprehension, but in a rather unusual way:

command(S) ->
    Users = (S#state.users =/= []),
    oneof([{call, ?SERVER, create_account, [name()]},
           {call, ?SERVER, ask_for_popcorn, []}] ++
          [{call, ?SERVER, delete_account, [password(S)]} || Users] ++
          [{call, ?SERVER, rent_dvd, [password(S), movie()]} || Users] ++
          [{call, ?SERVER, return_dvd, [password(S), movie()]} || Users]).

So, that's it! Our command generator is ready. In the next section we will talk in more detail about the model state, which was so useful for password generation.

Updating the model state

The model state is initialized via the callback function initial_state/0.

initial_state() ->
    #state{users  = [],
           rented = []}.

Since each command might change the state, we need a way to keep track of these changes. This is the role of the next_state/3 callback function. It takes as arguments the current state of the model, the symbolic call that was performed and the result of this call, since the new state might depend on this. In fact, this is the case for create_account/1, since we need to add the result (i.e. the newly created password) to the list of registered users.

next_state(S, V, {call,_,create_account,[_Name]}) ->
    S#state{users = [V|S#state.users]};

A point to always keep in mind is that the actual results of the API calls are not known during command generation. They are bound to symbolic variables. Because of this, pattern matching on the result V of the call should be avoided. Moreover, any information has to be extracted in a symbolic way, i.e. by performing a symbolic call. For example, suppose that the result of create_account/1 was a non-empty list of passwords and that we wanted to use the first password of the list. An attempt to extract it using hd/1 would raise an exception. Instead, next_state/3 should return:

S#state{users = [{call,erlang,hd,[V]}|S#state.users]}

The state transitions for the other calls are less tricky to define. Since the password generator that we use produces only valid passwords, we expect the server to respond to all requests and not ignore them with a not_a_client reply.

When a client deletes an account, the corresponding password should be erased from the list of users.

next_state(S, _V, {call,_,delete_account,[Password]}) ->
    S#state{users = lists:delete(Password, S#state.users)};

When a client asks to rent a movie, the server will check its availability. If there is an available copy, the server should allocate it to the user who asked for it and mark it as rented. If there are no copies of that movie available at that moment, the state shouldn't change. The function is_available/2 checks the availability of a movie based on the current model state and on the list of initially available movies ?AVAILABLE_MOVIES.

next_state(S, _V, {call,_,rent_dvd,[Password,Movie]}) ->
    case is_available(Movie, S) of
        true  ->
            S#state{rented = [{Password,Movie}|S#state.rented]};
        false ->
            S
    end;

In a similar way, when a user returns a movie, the server should delete it from the user's account and mark it as available again.

next_state(S, _V, {call,_,return_dvd,[Password,Movie]}) ->
    S#state{rented = lists:delete({Password,Movie}, S#state.rented)};

Finally, buying pop-corn does not change the state.

next_state(S, _V, {call,_,ask_for_popcorn,[]}) -> S.

Specifying pre- and post- conditions

Preconditions are the PropEr way to impose constraints on valid command sequences, since they are always checked before a command is actually included in the testcase. The callback function precondition/2 takes as arguments the current state and the symbolic call to be performed and returns a boolean. For the moment, we do not impose any restriction on the way commands are chosen.

precondition(_, _) -> true.

On the other hand, postconditions are checked during execution time to ensure that the system actually behaves as expected. At this point, the state contains dynamic values, i.e. real values, not symbolic variables and calls. The callback function postcondition/3 takes as arguments the state prior to command execution, the symbolic call that has been performed and its actual result. It returns a boolean.

When creating an account, a new password is always returned.

postcondition(S, {call,_,create_account,[_Name]}, Result) ->
    not lists:member(Result, S#state.users);

Since our testcases include only valid passwords, deleting an account always succeeds.

postcondition(_S, {call,_,delete_account,[_Password]}, Result) ->
   Result =:= account_deleted;

When someone asks for a movie, then if it's available it's added to her list, otherwise not.

postcondition(S, {call,_,rent_dvd,[_Password,Movie]}, Result) ->
    case is_available(Movie, S) of
        true ->
            lists:member(Movie, Result);
        false ->
            not lists:member(Movie, Result)
    end;

When someone returns a dvd, then it's no longer in her list.

postcondition(_S, {call,_,return_dvd,[_Password,Movie]}, Result) ->
    not lists:member(Movie, Result);

Every time someone buys popcorn, the server wishes them bon appetit.

postcondition(_S, {call,_,ask_for_popcorn,[]}, Result) ->
    Result =:= bon_appetit.

PropEr in action

Having specified the abstract state machine, it's high time to test the property:

2> proper:quickcheck(movie_statem:prop_server_works_fine()).
....
=ERROR REPORT==== 29-May-2011::22:28:16 ===
** Generic server movie_server terminating
** Last message in was {return,1,inception}
** When Server state == {state,53265,49168,2}
** Reason for termination ==
** {badarg,[{ets,lookup_element,[49168,inception,2]},
            {movie_server,handle_call,3},
            {gen_server,handle_msg,5},
            {proc_lib,init_p_do_apply,3}]}
** exception exit: badarg
     in function  ets:lookup_element/3
        called as ets:lookup_element(49168,inception,2)
     in call from movie_server:handle_call/3
     in call from gen_server:handle_msg/5
     in call from proc_lib:init_p_do_apply/3

Oh dear! This is not quite what we expected... The movie server crashed. That the server crashes is expected at this point, since we are looking for bugs in its code. What is not acceptable is that PropEr also crashes without providing any kind of useful information about the cause of the failure. This is improper behaviour!

In cases like this, the ?TRAPEXIT macro comes to the rescue. Enclosing a property in ?TRAPEXIT prevents PropEr from crashing when a linked process dies abnormally. Now that we know this trick, we can revise the property:

prop_server_works_fine() ->
    ?FORALL(Cmds, commands(?MODULE),
            ?TRAPEXIT(
                begin
                    ?SERVER:start_link(),
                    {_,_,Result} = run_commands(?MODULE, Cmds),
                    ?SERVER:stop(),
                    Result =:= ok
                end)).

Let's try it again:

4> proper:quickcheck(movie_statem:prop_server_works_fine()).
....................!
Failed: After 21 test(s).
A linked process died with reason
{badarg,[{ets,lookup_element,[491536,inception,2]},
         <...3 more lines of stacktrace...]}.

<...ERROR REPORT produced...>

[{set,{var,1},{call,movie_server,create_account,[john]}},
 {set,{var,2},{call,movie_server,create_account,[mary]}},
 {set,{var,3},{call,movie_server,create_account,[alice]}},
 {set,{var,4},{call,movie_server,ask_for_popcorn,[]}},
 {set,{var,5},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,1},despicable_me]}},
 {set,{var,6},{call,movie_server,return_dvd,[{var,3},finding_nemo]}},
 {set,{var,7},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,2},despicable_me]}},
 {set,{var,8},{call,movie_server,return_dvd,[{var,1},inception]}},
 {set,{var,9},{call,movie_server,ask_for_popcorn,[]}},
 {set,{var,10},{call,movie_server,create_account,[ben]}}]

Shrinking .....
<...ERROR REPORTS produced...>
(5 time(s))
[{set,{var,1},{call,movie_server,create_account,[john]}},
 {set,{var,8},{call,movie_server,return_dvd,[{var,1},inception]}}]
false

As we can see, creating an account and then returning the movie inception is enough to make the server crash. Luckily PropEr didn't crash this time, since we enclosed the property in a ?TRAPEXIT macro. But why did the server crash in the first place? This happened because the inception movie was never available at the dvd-club. In real life, we can be certain that nobody will ever return a movie that they didn't rent in advance. However, in a production system there is always the possibility that an unlikely sequence of events might actually happen. For this reason, it's not a good idea to let our server crash and we shall fix the code later. For the moment, we are interested in discovering more bugs. So, we add a precondition that doesn't let this situation happen.

precondition(S, {call,_,return_dvd,[Password,Movie]}) ->
    lists:member({Password,Movie}, S#state.rented);

And run the property once more:

6> proper:quickcheck(movie_statem:prop_server_works_fine()).
..............!
Failed: After 15 test(s).
[{set,{var,1},{call,movie_server,create_account,[mary]}},
 {set,{var,2},{call,movie_server,ask_for_popcorn,[]}},
 {set,{var,3},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,1},despicable_me]}},
 {set,{var,4},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,1},the_lion_king]}},
 {set,{var,5},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,1},peter_pan]}},
 {set,{var,6},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,1},titanic]}},
 {set,{var,7},{call,movie_server,ask_for_popcorn,[]}},
 {set,{var,8},{call,movie_server,delete_account,[{var,1}]}}]

Shrinking ....(4 time(s))
[{set,{var,1},{call,movie_server,create_account,[mary]}},
 {set,{var,5},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,1},peter_pan]}},
 {set,{var,8},{call,movie_server,delete_account,[{var,1}]}}]

The property fails again and this time the minimal counterexample produced contains three commands. Although we might suspect the cause of failure, we would like to be more certain about it. Thus, we decide to add debugging information to our property, using the ?WHENFAIL macro. The second argument of ?WHENFAIL should be a boolean clause. In case it evaluates to false, the Action specified as the first argument will be executed.

prop_server_works_fine() ->
    ?FORALL(Cmds, commands(?MODULE),
            ?TRAPEXIT(
                begin
                    ?SERVER:start_link(),
                    {History,State,Result} = run_commands(?MODULE, Cmds),
                    ?SERVER:stop(),
                    ?WHENFAIL(io:format("History: ~w\nState: ~w\nResult: ~w\n",
                                        [History,State,Result]),
                              Result =:= ok)
                end)).

Running the test for the new property, we get more explicit information about command execution and the cause of failure.

8> proper:quickcheck(movie_statem:prop_server_works_fine()).
.............................!
Failed: After 30 test(s).
[{set,{var,1},{call,movie_server,create_account,[bob]}},
 {set,{var,2},{call,movie_server,delete_account,[{var,1}]}},
 {set,{var,3},{call,movie_server,create_account,[bob]}},
 {set,{var,4},{call,movie_server,delete_account,[{var,3}]}},
 {set,{var,5},{call,movie_server,ask_for_popcorn,[]}},
 {set,{var,6},{call,movie_server,create_account,[mary]}},
 {set,{var,7},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,6},the_lion_king]}},
 {set,{var,8},{call,movie_server,create_account,[mary]}},
 {set,{var,9},{call,movie_server,delete_account,[{var,6}]}}]
 History: [{{state,[],[]},1},{{state,[1],[]},account_deleted},
           {{state,[],[]},2},{{state,[2],[]},account_deleted},
           {{state,[],[]},bon_appetit},{{state,[],[]},3},
           {{state,[3],[]},[the_lion_king]},
           {{state,[3],[{3,the_lion_king}]},4},
           {{state,[4,3],[{3,the_lion_king}]},return_movies_first}]
 State: {state,[4],[{3,the_lion_king}]}
 Result: {postcondition,false}

 Shrinking ..(2 time(s))
 [{set,{var,6},{call,movie_server,create_account,[mary]}},
  {set,{var,7},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,6},the_lion_king]}},
  {set,{var,9},{call,movie_server,delete_account,[{var,6}]}}]
 History: [{{state,[],[]},1},{{state,[1],[]},[the_lion_king]},
           {{state,[1],[{1,the_lion_king}]},return_movies_first}]
 State: {state,[],[{1,the_lion_king}]}
 Result: {postcondition,false}
 false

The scenario that leaded to a false postcondition is that someone tried to delete an account while still owing movies to the dvd-club. The server replied return_movies_first, but our model did not account for this. There are two options to deal with this inconsistency:

  1. Add a precondition that prevents users from deleting an account before returning all dvds.
  2. Change our postcondition to account for these annoying clients.

Since this kind of users might exist in practice, we decide to change the postcondition. Keep in mind that when changing postconditions, we might also need to change the next_state/3 callback.

next_state(S, _V, {call, _, delete_account, [Password]}) ->
    case proplists:is_defined(Password, S#state.rented) of
        false ->
            S#state{users = lists:delete(Password, S#state.users)};
        true ->
            S
    end;

postcondition(S, {call, _, delete_account, [Password]}, Result) ->
    case proplists:is_defined(Password, S#state.rented) of
        false ->
            Result =:= account_deleted;
        true ->
            Result =:= return_movies_first
    end;

And again we try:

12> proper:quickcheck(movie_statem:prop_server_works_fine()).
............................................................................
.........!
Failed: After 86 test(s).
<...testcase of 34 commands...>
History: <...long history of command execution...>
State: {state,[1],[{1,peter_pan},{1,despicable_me},{1,finding_nemo}]}
Result: {postcondition,false}

Shrinking .........(9 time(s))
[{set,{var,1},{call,movie_server,create_account,[alice]}},
 {set,{var,15},{call,movie_server,delete_account,[{var,1}]}},
 {set,{var,16},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,1},peter_pan]}}]
History: [{{state,[],[]},1},{{state,[1],[]},account_deleted},
          {{state,[],[]},not_a_client}]
State: {state,[],[{1,peter_pan}]}
Result: {postcondition,{exception,error,badarg,
                     [{lists,member,[peter_pan,not_a_client]},
                      {movie_statem,postcondition,3},
                      <...6 more lines of stacktrace...>]}}
false

The counterexample produced contains a rent_dvd/2 request by a user that had already deleted his account. This shouldn't normally happen since our password generator returns only valid passwords (i.e. elements of the model state). Shrinking doesn't seem to work very well in this case, but this is not a PropEr bug. Something is missing from our specification. But what is that?

When generating commands we can ensure valid passwords are used because the password generator chooses only elements of the model state. But while shrinking we usually attempt to perform a call with the system being in a state different from the state it was when initially running the test. The most straightforward way to impose constraints on shrunk command sequences is to specify these constraints via the precondition/2 callback, because the shrinking mechanism tries to discard commands that do not contribute to failure while ensuring that all preconditions still hold. Thus, we add the following preconditions:

precondition(S, {call,_,return_dvd,[Password,Movie]}) ->
    lists:member({Password,Movie}, S#state.rented);
precondition(S, {call,_,rent_dvd,[Password,_Movie]}) ->
    lists:member(Password, S#state.users);
precondition(S, {call,_,delete_account,[Password]}) ->
    lists:member(Password, S#state.users);
precondition(_, _) ->
    true.

And test the property once more:

15> proper:quickcheck(movie_statem:prop_server_works_fine()).
...................!
Failed: After 20 test(s).
[{set,{var,1},{call,movie_server,ask_for_popcorn,[]}},
 {set,{var,2},{call,movie_server,create_account,[mary]}},
 {set,{var,3},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,2},peter_pan]}},
 {set,{var,4},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,2},peter_pan]}},
 {set,{var,5},{call,movie_server,create_account,[mary]}},
 {set,{var,6},{call,movie_server,return_dvd,[{var,2},peter_pan]}},
 {set,{var,7},{call,movie_server,create_account,[alice]}},
 {set,{var,8},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,7},inception]}},
 {set,{var,9},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,7},titanic]}},
 {set,{var,10},{call,movie_server,delete_account,[{var,2}]}}]
History: [{{state,[],[]},bon_appetit},{{state,[],[]},1},
          {{state,[1],[]},[peter_pan]},
          {{state,[1],[{1,peter_pan}]},[peter_pan]}]
State: {state,[1],[{1,peter_pan}]}
Result: {postcondition,false}

Shrinking ...(3 time(s))
[{set,{var,2},{call,movie_server,create_account,[mary]}},
 {set,{var,3},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,2},peter_pan]}},
 {set,{var,4},{call,movie_server,rent_dvd,[{var,2},peter_pan]}}]
History: [{{state,[],[]},1},{{state,[1],[]},[peter_pan]},
          {{state,[1],[{1,peter_pan}]},[peter_pan]}]
State: {state,[1],[{1,peter_pan}]}
Result: {postcondition,false}
false

We have just detected another subtle error in our model. It is invoked in the following case:

In this case the postcondition for rent_dvd/2 is false. Again, it is up to us to redefine our model and we decide to add a precondition that prevents the aforementioned scenario.

precondition(S, {call,_,rent_dvd,[Password,Movie]}) ->
    not lists:member({Password,Movie}, S#state.rented) andalso
        lists:member(Password, S#state.users);

Eventually:

18>  proper:quickcheck(movie_statem:prop_server_works_fine()).
...........................................................................
..........................
OK: Passed 100 test(s).
true

Now that tests seem to pass, we will temporarily remove the first precondition that we introduced and correct our code to prevent the server from crashing. The code handling return_dvd requests is the following:

handle_call({return,Password,Movie}, _From, S) ->
    #state{users = Users, movies = Movies} = S,
    Reply = case ets:lookup(Users, Password) of
                []  ->
                    not_a_client;
                [{_,_,Rented}] ->
                    NewRented = lists:delete(Movie, Rented),
                    ets:update_element(Users, Password, {3,NewRented}),
                    N = ets:lookup_element(Movies, Movie, 2),
                    ets:update_element(Movies, Movie, {2,N+1}),
                    NewRented
            end,
    {reply, Reply, S};

The command ets:lookup_element(Movies, Movie, 2) raises an exception if no object with the key Movie is stored in the table. When the test failed with the server craching, PropEr had produced the following counterexample:

[{set,{var,1},{call,movie_server,create_account,[john]}},
 {set,{var,8},{call,movie_server,return_dvd,[{var,1},inception]}}]
false

Let us rewrite:

handle_call({return,Password,Movie}, _From, S) ->
    #state{users = Users, movies = Movies} = S,
    Reply =
        case ets:lookup(Users, Password) of
            []  ->
                not_a_client;
            [{_,_,Rented}] ->
                case ets:lookup(Movies, Movie) of
                    [] ->
                        Rented;
                    [{_,N}] ->
                        NewRented = lists:delete(Movie, Rented),
                        ets:update_element(Users, Password, {3,NewRented}),
                        ets:update_element(Movies, Movie, {2,N+1}),
                        NewRented
                end
        end,
    {reply, Reply, S};

and check that the counterexample now passes the test:

41> proper:check(movie_statem:prop_server_works_fine(), proper:counterexample()).
OK: The input passed the test.
true

Can we be confident that we fixed all bugs? Well, let's take a moment to think about how often each operation was tested. Or even better, let's ask PropEr to do it for us. This is possible by using the aggregate/2 function to collect statistics about how often each command was executed.

prop_server_works_fine() ->
    ?FORALL(Cmds, commands(?MODULE),
            ?TRAPEXIT(
                begin
                    ?SERVER:start_link(),
                    {History,State,Result} = run_commands(?MODULE, Cmds),
                    ?SERVER:stop(),
                    ?WHENFAIL(io:format("History: ~w\nState: ~w\nResult: ~w\n",
                                        [History,State,Result]),
                              aggregate(command_names(Cmds), Result =:= ok))
                end)).

If we run the test now:

41> proper:quickcheck(movie_statem:prop_server_works_fine(), 1000).
<...1000 dots....>
OK: Passed 3000 test(s).

30% {movie_server,ask_for_popcorn,0}
30% {movie_server,create_account,1}
19% {movie_server,delete_account,1}
18% {movie_server,rent_dvd,2}
 1% {movie_server,return_dvd,2}
true

We can easily notice that return_dvd/2 calls are rarely tested. This happens because of the precondition that allows us to only return movies we have previously rented. To remedy the situation, we will modify the command generator so that return_dvd/2 calls can be selected more frequently.

command(S) ->
    Users = (S#state.users =/= []),
    Rented = (S#state.rented =/= []),
    frequency([{1, {call,?SERVER,create_account,[name()]}},
               {1, {call,?SERVER,ask_for_popcorn,[]}}] ++
              [{1, {call,?SERVER,delete_account,[password(S)]}} || Users] ++
              [{5, {call,?SERVER,rent_dvd,[password(S), movie()]}} || Users] ++
              [{5, ?LET({Password,Movie}, elements(S#state.rented),
                        {call,?SERVER,return_dvd,[Password, Movie]})} || Rented]).

The resulting distribution is:

42> proper:quickcheck(movie_statem:prop_server_works_fine(), 3000).
<...3000 dots....>
OK: Passed 3000 test(s).

36% {movie_server,rent_dvd,2}
19% {movie_server,return_dvd,2}
18% {movie_server,ask_for_popcorn,0}
17% {movie_server,create_account,1}
 8% {movie_server,delete_account,1}
true

You can get the complete final code of this tutorial by clicking on the following links: movie_server and movie_statem.