arbitrary

The arbitrary library defines an arbitrary category providing predicates for generating random values for selected types to the type object, complementing its type checking predicates. Both the object and the category predicates can be extended by the user with definitions for new types by defining clauses for multifile predicates. This library is notably used in the QuickCheck implementation by the lgtunit tool.

API documentation

Open the ../../docs/library_index.html#arbitrary link in a web browser.

Loading

To load all entities in this library, load the loader.lgt file:

| ?- logtalk_load(arbitrary(loader)).

Testing

To test this library predicates, load the tester.lgt file:

| ?- logtalk_load(coroutining(tester)).

Usage

The arbitrary category complements the type object and thus its predicates are accessed via this object. For example:

| ?- type::arbitrary(integer, Arbitrary).
Arbitrary = -816
yes

To define a generator of arbitrary values for a type, define a clause for the type::arbitrary/1 multifile predicate specifying the type and a clause for the type::arbitrary/2 multifile predicate generating an arbitrary term of the specified type. For example:

:- multifile(type::arbitrary/1).
type::arbitrary(foo).

:- multifile(type::arbitrary/2).
type::arbitrary(foo, Arbitrary) :-
    ...

Optionally, define a clause for the type::shrink/3 multifile predicate for shrinking arbitrary values for QuickCheck usage. For example:

:- multifile(type::shrink/3).
type::shrink(foo, Large, Small) :-
    ...

It is also possible to define edge cases for a given type for use with QuickCheck implementations. For example:

:- multifile(edge_case/2).
type::edge_case(cost, 0).

Edge cases are usually tried before resorting to generating arbitrary values for a type.

The arbitrary category also provides access to the pseudo-random generator it uses via the get_seed/1 and set_seed/1. This allows sequences of arbitrary values to be reproduced. For example:

| ?- type::get_seed(Seed).
Seed = seed(3172, 9814, 20125)
yes

| ?- type::arbitrary(integer, Arbitrary).
Arbitrary = -816
yes

| ?- type::arbitrary(integer, Arbitrary).
Arbitrary = -113
yes

| ?- type::arbitrary(integer, Arbitrary).
Arbitrary = 446

| ?- type::set_seed(seed(3172, 9814, 20125)).
yes

| ?- type::arbitrary(integer, Arbitrary).
Arbitrary = -816
yes

| ?- type::arbitrary(integer, Arbitrary).
Arbitrary = -113
yes

| ?- type::arbitrary(integer, Arbitrary).
Arbitrary = 446
yes

The seed should be regarded as an opaque term and handled using the get_seed/1 and set_seed/1 predicates. These predicates are notably used in the QuickCheck implementation provided by the lgtunit tool.

Examples

See the implementation of the optionals and expecteds libraries.

Known issues

Some Prolog systems either don’t support the null character or provide buggy results when calling char_code/2 with a code of zero. When that’s the case, the null character is excluded when generating arbitrary characters or character codes.