Building components

This document demonstrates how to build and test a component, highlighting best practices for defining packages, components, and their tests.

Concepts

You should understand the following concepts before building a component:

Packages are the unit of software distribution on Fuchsia. Packages are a collection of files with associated paths that are relative to the base of the package. For instance, a package might contain an ELF binary under the path bin/hello_world, and a JSON file under the path data/config.json. Grouping files into a package is required in order to push these files to the device.

Components are the unit of software execution on Fuchsia. All software on Fuchsia except for the kernel image and usermode bootstrap program is defined as a component.

A component is defined by a component manifest. Components typically include additional files, such as executables and data assets that they need at runtime.

Developers must define their software in terms of packages and components, whether for building production software or for writing their tests.

Component instances see at runtime the contents of their package as read-only files under the path /pkg. Defining two or more components in the same package doesn‘t grant each component access to the other’s capabilities. However it can guarantee to one component that the other is available. Therefore if a component attempts to launch an instance of another component, such as in an integration test, it can be beneficial to package both components together.

Components are instantiated in a few ways, all of which somehow specify their URL. Typically components are launched by specifying their package names and path to their component manifest in the package, using the fuchsia-pkg:// scheme.

GN templates

GN is the meta-build system used by Fuchsia. Fuchsia extends GN by defining templates. Templates provide a way to add to GN's built-in target types. Below we will review various GN templates that can be used to define packages, components, and their tests.

Defining components, packages, and tests using GN templates

Below is a hypothetical package containing one component that runs a C++ program and a data file. The example uses the following templates:

import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

executable("my_program") {
  sources = [ "my_program.cc" ]
}

fuchsia_component("my-component") {
  manifest = "meta/my_program.cmx"
  deps = [ ":my_program" ]
}

fuchsia_package("my-package") {
  deps = [ ":my-component" ]
}

The file my_program.cmx should include at least the following:

{
    "program": {
        "binary": "bin/my_program"
    }
}

Note the following details:

  • This example imports "//src/sys/build/components.gni". This single import includes all templates related to packages, components, and testing them.
  • This example defines an executable(), which is used to build a C++ program. This is for illustrative purposes - a component can launch all sorts of programs.
  • This example defines a fuchsia_component() which depends on the executable(). The component definition attaches a manifest, which references the executable to be launched under the given package path bin/my_program. See: finding paths for built executables.
  • The manifest must be either a .cmx file in cmx format or a .cml file in cml format.
  • The destination path for the manifest is not specified, but rather inferred from the component's name. In this example, the manifest path will be meta/my-component.cmx.
  • By convention package names contain dashes (-) but not underscores (_), and the component name above follows suit.
    Both the component and package names are derived from their target names. They both take an optional component_name and package_name parameter respectively as an override.
    In the example above, these names come together to form the URL for launching the component: fuchsia-pkg://fuchsia.com/my-package#meta/my-component.cmx.

Language-specific component examples

Below you'll find basic examples for defining a package with a single component that launches a program in a variety of commonly used languages. The referenced source files and component manifest are assumed to be present in the specified paths.

  • {C++}
import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

executable("bin") {
  output_name = "my_program"
  sources = [ "main.cc" ]
}

fuchsia_component("my-component") {
  manifest = "meta/my-component.cmx"
  deps = [ ":bin" ]
}

fuchsia_package("my-package") {
  deps = [ ":my-component" ]
}
  • {Rust}
import("//build/rust/rustc_binary.gni")
import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

rustc_binary("bin") {
  output_name = "my_program"
}

fuchsia_component("my-component") {
  manifest = "meta/my-component.cmx"
  deps = [ ":bin" ]
}

fuchsia_package("my-package") {
  deps = [ ":my-component" ]
}
  • {Go}
import("//build/go/go_binary.gni")
import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

go_binary("bin") {
  output_name = "my_program"
}

fuchsia_component("my-component") {
  manifest = "meta/my-component.cmx"
  deps = [ ":bin" ]
}

fuchsia_package("my-package") {
  deps = [ ":my-component" ]
}

In all of the examples above, it's assumed that the file meta/my-component.cmx contains at least the following:

{
    "program": {
        "binary": "bin/my_program"
    }
}

Test packages

Test packages are packages that contain at least one component that will be launched as a test. Test packages are defined using fuchsia_test_package.gni. This template can be used to define all sorts of tests, although it's most useful for integration tests -- tests where other components in addition to the test itself participate in the test. See below for templates that specialize in unit testing.

import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

executable("my_test") {
  sources = [ "my_test.cc" ]
  testonly = true
  deps = [
    "//src/lib/fxl/test:gtest_main",
    "//third_party/googletest:gtest",
  ]
}

fuchsia_component("my-test-component") {
  testonly = true
  manifest = "meta/my_test.cmx"
  deps = [ ":my_test" ]
}

executable("my_program_under_test") {
  sources = [ "my_program_under_test.cc" ]
}

fuchsia_component("my-other-component-under-test") {
  manifest = "meta/my_component_under_test.cmx"
  deps = [ ":my_program_under_test" ]
}

fuchsia_test_package("my-integration-test") {
  test_components = [ ":my-test-component" ]
  deps = [ ":my-other-component-under-test" ]
  test_spec = {
    environments = [ vim2_env ]
  }
}

group("tests") {
  deps = [ ":my-integration-test" ]
  testonly = true
}

Note the following details:

  • This example defines "my-test-component" which is assumed to implement a test. Commonly this is done using some testing framework such as C++ Googletest, Rust Cargo test, etc'.
  • To launch this test, you can use fx test.
  • The test is packaged with another component, "my-other-component-under-test". Presumably this component participates in the test. For instance, the component under test might implement a protocol, and the test launches it and connects to it as a client while asserting correct behavior from the client‘s perspective.
    Packaging the component under test together with the test component guarantees that the component under test will be available for launch while the test is running, and will be built at the same version as the test. If this weren’t the case, and instead the test assumed that the component under test was present in another package that's already installed on the target device, then the test would be exposed to side effects and version skew. Packaging the test with its dependencies makes it more hermetic.
  • Note the environments parameter. fuchsia_test_package() can optionally take test_spec.gni parameters to override the default testing behavior. In this example, this test is configured to run on VIM2 devices.
  • Finally, this example defines a group() to contain all the tests (which we have exactly one of). This is a recommended practice for organizing targets across the source tree.

An important limitation of fuchsia_test_package() is that any test_components targets must be defined in the same BUILD.gn file as the test package target. This is due to a limitation in GN.

It's possible to work around this limitation with an indirection through fuchsia_test(). In one BUILD.gn file, define:

import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

executable("my_test") {
  sources = [ "my_test.cc" ]
  testonly = true
  deps = [
    "//src/lib/fxl/test:gtest_main",
    "//third_party/googletest:gtest",
  ]
}

fuchsia_component("my-test-component") {
  testonly = true
  manifest = "meta/my_test.cmx"
  deps = [ ":my_test" ]
}

fuchsia_test("my-test-component-test") {
  package = "//path/to:fuchsia_package"
  component = ":my-test-component"
}

Then elsewhere, you can add the fuchsia_component() target to the deps of a fuchsia_package() target, and add the fuchsia_test() target to a standard "tests" group.

Unit tests

Since unit tests are very common, a simplified template fuchsia_unittest_package.gni is provided to define a package with a single component to be run as a test.

Unit tests with manifests

The examples below demonstrate building a test executable and defining a package and component for the test.

  • {C++}
import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

executable("my_test") {
  sources = [ "test.cc" ]
  deps = [
    "//src/lib/fxl/test:gtest_main",
    "//third_party/googletest:gtest",
  ]
  testonly = true
}

fuchsia_unittest_package("my-test") {
  manifest = "meta/my_test.cmx"
  deps = [ ":my_test" ]
}
  • {Rust}
import("//build/rust/rustc_test.gni")
import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

rustc_test("my_test") {}

fuchsia_unittest_package("my-test") {
  manifest = "meta/my_test.cmx"
  deps = [ ":my_test" ]
}
  • {Go}
import("//build/go/go_test.gni")
import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

go_test("my_test") {}

fuchsia_unittest_package("my-test") {
  manifest = "meta/my_test.cmx"
  deps = [ ":my_test" ]
}

The manifest file meta/my_test.cmx may look like this:

{
    "program": {
        "binary": "bin/my_test"
    }
}

The above is a minimal valid manifest file for this test. In practice a test might require additional capabilities, to be specified in its manifest.

The launch URL for the test will be fuchsia-pkg://fuchsia.com/my-test#meta/my-test.cmx. It can be launched using fx test followed by the launch URL, or followed by the GN target name.

Unit tests with generated manifests

The examples above specify a manifest for the test. However, it's possible for unit tests to not require any particular capabilities.

Below s an example for a test that performs ROT13 encryption and decryption. The algorithm under test is pure logic that can be tested in complete isolation. If we were to write a manifest for these tests, it would only contain the test binary to be executed. In such cases, we can simply specify the test executable path, and the template will generate the trivial manifest for us.

  • {C++}
import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

executable("rot13_test") {
  sources = [ "rot13_test.cc" ]
  deps = [
    "//src/lib/fxl/test:gtest_main",
    "//third_party/googletest:gtest",
  ]
  testonly = true
}

fuchsia_unittest_package("rot13-test") {
  executable_path = "bin/rot13_test"
  deps = [ ":rot13_test" ]
}
  • {Rust}
import("//build/rust/rustc_test.gni")
import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

rustc_test("rot13_test") {}

fuchsia_unittest_package("rot13-test") {
  executable_path = "bin/rot13_test"
  deps = [ ":rot13_test" ]
}
  • {Go}
import("//build/go/go_test.gni")
import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

go_test("rot13_test") {}

fuchsia_unittest_package("rot13-test") {
  executable_path = "bin/rot13_test"
  deps = [ ":rot13_test" ]
}

The generated component manifest file can be found as follows:

fx gn outputs out/default <unittest_target>_generated_manifest

To print it directly:

fx build && cat out/default/`fx gn outputs out/default <unittest_target>_generated_manifest`

Note that fx gn outputs prints an output path, but the file at the path may not exist or may be stale if you haven't built.

The launch URL for the test will be fuchsia-pkg://fuchsia.com/rot13-test#meta/rot13-test.cmx. It can be launched using fx test followed by the launch URL, or followed by the GN target name.

Finally, if executable_path references a file that is not present in the package then a helpful error message will be printed at build time. For example:

Error found in obj/src/path/to/your/target/target-unittest.cmx
program.binary="bin/target-unittest-bin" but bin/target-unittest-bin is not in
the package!

Did you mean "test/target-unittest-bin"?

Additional packaged resources

In the examples above we've demonstrated that a deps path from a package to a target that produces an executable ensures that the executable is included in the package.

Sometimes there is the need to include additional files. Below we demonstrate the use of the resource.gni template.

Example: fonts

{# Disable variable substition to avoid {{ being interpreted by the template engine #} {% verbatim %}

import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

resource("roboto_family") {
  sources = [
    "Roboto-Black.ttf",
    "Roboto-Bold.ttf",
    "Roboto-Light.ttf",
    "Roboto-Medium.ttf",
    "Roboto-Regular.ttf",
    "Roboto-Thin.ttf",
  ]
  outputs = [ "data/fonts/{{source_file_part}}" ]
}

fuchsia_component("text-viewer") {
  ...
  deps = [
    ":roboto_family",
    ...
  ]
}

{# Re-enable variable substition #} {% endverbatim %}

In the example above, six files are provided to be packaged under data/fonts/, producing the paths data/fonts/Roboto-Black.ttf, data/fonts/Roboto-Bold.ttf, etc'. The format for destination accepts GN source expansion placeholders.

Then, a text viewer component is defined to depend on the fonts. In this example, the text viewer implementation renders text with Roboto fonts. The component can read the given fonts in its sandbox under the path /pkg/data/fonts/....

Example: integration test with golden data

In this example we define a hypothetical service that minifies JSON files. The service is said to receive a buffer containing JSON text, and returns a buffer containing the same JSON data but with less whitespace. We present an integration test where a test component acts as the client of the minifier component, and compares the result for a given JSON file to be minified against a known good result (or a “golden file”).

{# Disable variable substition to avoid {{ being interpreted by the template engine #} {% verbatim %}

fuchsia_component("minifier-component") {
  ...
}

fuchsia_package("minifier-package") {
  ...
}

resource("testdata") {
  sources = [
    "testdata/input.json",
    "testdata/input_minified.json",
  ]
  outputs = [ "data/{{source_file_part}}" ]
}

fuchsia_component("minifier-test-client") {
  testonly = true
  deps = [
    ":testdata",
    ...
  ]
  ...
}

fuchsia_test_package("minifier-integration-test") {
  test_components = [ ":minifier-test-client" ]
  deps = [ ":minifier-component" ]
}

{# Re-enable variable substition #} {% endverbatim %}

Note that we place the resource() dependency on the test component. From the build system's perspective the resource dependency could have been placed on the test package and the same outcome would have been produced by the build. However, it is a better practice to put dependencies on the targets that need them. This way we could reuse the same test component target in a different test package, for instance to test against a different minifier component, and the test component would work the same.

Troubleshooting

Listing the contents of a package

Packages are described by a package manifest, which is a text file where every line follows this structure:

<packaged-path>=<source-file-path>

To find the package manifest for a fuchsia_package() or fuchsia_test_package() target, use the following command:

fx gn outputs out/default <package_target>_manifest

<package_target is a fully-qualified target name, i.e. in the form //path/to/your:target.

Combine this with another command to print the package manifest:

cat out/default/`fx gn outputs out/default <package_target>_manifest`

See also:

Finding paths for built executables

Executable programs can be built with various language-specific templates such as executable(), rustc_binary(), go_binary() etc'. These templates are responsible for specifying where in a package their output binaries should be included. The details vary by runtime and toolchain configuration.

  • Typically the path is bin/ followed by the target's name.
  • Typically if an output_name or name is specified, it overrides the target name.

Some rudimentary examples are given below:

  • {C++}
# This will be packaged as `bin/rot13_encode`
executable("rot13_encode") {
  sources = [ "main.cc" ]
}
  • {Rust}
# This will be packaged as `bin/rot13_encode`
rustc_binary("rot13_encode") {}
  • {Go}
# This will be packaged as `bin/rot13_encode`
go_binary("rot13_encode") {}

In order to reference an executable in a component manifest, the author will need to know its packaged path.

One way to find the packaged path for an executable is to make sure that the target that builds the executable is in a package's deps, then follow the above guide for listing the contents of a package. The executable will be among the listed contents of the package.

Finding a component's launch URL

Component URLs follow this pattern:

fuchsia-pkg://fuchsia.com/<package-name>#meta/<component-name>.<extension>
  • <package-name>: specified as package_name on the package target, which defaults to the target name.
  • <component-name>: specified as component_name on the component target, which defaults to the target name.
  • <extension>: based on the component manifest - cmx for cmx files, cm for cml files.

Migrating from legacy package()

The example below demonstrates a migration from the legacy package() template to the new fuchsia_package() & friends. The example is adapted from //src/sys/timekeeper/BUILD.gn.

Pre-migration

import("//build/config.gni")
import("//build/package.gni")
import("//build/rust/rustc_binary.gni")

rustc_binary("bin") {
  output_name = "timekeeper"
  edition = "2018"
  with_unit_tests = true
  deps = [ ... ]
}

config_data("timekeeper_config") {
  for_pkg = "sysmgr"
  outputs = [ "timekeeper.config" ]
  sources = [ "service.config" ]
}

package("timekeeper") {
  meta = [
    {
      path = "meta/service.cmx"
      dest = "timekeeper.cmx"
    },
  ]
  deps = [
    ":bin",
    ":timekeeper_config",
  ]
  binaries = [
    {
      name = "timekeeper"
    },
  ]
}

test_package("timekeeper_bin_test") {
  deps = [ ":bin_test" ]
  tests = [
    {
      name = "timekeeper_bin_test"
      environments = basic_envs
    },
  ]
  resources = [
    {
      path = "test/y2k"
      dest = "y2k"
    },
    {
      path = "test/end-of-unix-time"
      dest = "end-of-unix-time"
    },
  ]
}

group("tests") {
  testonly = true
  deps = [ ":timekeeper_bin_test" ]
}

Post-migration

{# Disable variable substition to avoid {{ being interpreted by the template engine #} {% verbatim %}

import("//build/config.gni")
import("//build/rust/rustc_binary.gni")
import("//src/sys/build/components.gni")

rustc_binary("bin") {
  output_name = "timekeeper"
  edition = "2018"
  with_unit_tests = true
  deps = [ ... ]
}

config_data("timekeeper_config") {
  for_pkg = "sysmgr"
  outputs = [ "timekeeper.config" ]
  sources = [ "service.config" ]
}

fuchsia_component("service") {
  component_name = "timekeeper"
  manifest = "meta/service.cmx"
  deps = [ ":bin" ]
}

fuchsia_package("timekeeper") {
  deps = [ ":service" ]
}

resource("testdata") {
  sources = [
    "test/y2k",
    "test/end-of-unix-time",
  ]
  outputs = [ "data/{{source_file_part}}" ]
}

fuchsia_unittest_package("timekeeper-unittests") {
  manifest = "meta/unittests.cmx"
  deps = [
    ":bin_test",
    ":testdata",
  ]
}

{# Re-enable variable substition #} {% endverbatim %}

Migration considerations

  • Targets that generate executables or data files are not expected to change in a migration.
  • Names for packages are expected to have dashes (“-”) instead of underscores (“_”). The same is not required for components, though it's recommended for consistency.
  • Previously, meta/service.cmx was given the destination "timekeeper.cmx" which placed it in meta/timekeeper.cmx. With fuchsia_component(), the given manifest is automatically renamed per the component name ("timekeeper") and meta/ is prepended. As a result, the launch URL for the timekeeper component remains the same: fuchsia-pkg://fuchsia.com/timekeeper#meta/timekeeper.cmx
  • Additional resources (in this case, the data asset files used in the test such as the test/y2k file) are included in the unit test. Their destination path is a full packaged path, whereas before it would have had data/ automatically prepended to it. In both cases, the data file can be read by the test at runtime from the paths /pkg/data/y2k and /pkg/data/end-of-unix-time.
  • If you‘re required to specify a packaged path such as the path to an executable in a manifest or a test definition, and you’re not sure what the path is, then try your best guess and expect a helpful error message if your guess was not correct.

Unsupported features

Note that some features of package() are unsupported moving forward. If your package depends on them then at this time it cannot be migrated to the new templates. These unsupported features include:

  • Legacy shell binaries (deprecated global /bin directory)
  • Marking a test as disabled. This should instead be done for instance by changing the test source code to disable specific test cases or the entire test suite.
  • Legacy drivers (deprecated global /driver directory)
  • Legacy loadable_modules and libraries (deprecated global /lib directory)
  • Marking a test as disabled. Instead, change the test source code to mark it as disabled, or comment out the disabled test component from the build file.
  • The Component Index. Components using the new templates cannot be launched using run followed by a fuzzy match with their launch URL. Components can still be launched using their full launch URL. Tests can still be launched with fx test followed by the short name of the test. See fxb/55739 for more details.