Bots

Bots simulate participants playing your app. They click through each page, fill out forms, and make sure that everything works properly.

This feature is designed for lazy people who would prefer for oTree to automatically test their apps for them. And oTree Studio can even design your bot code for you, so the whole process (writing and running bots) involves barely any effort.

Running bots

  • Add bots to your app (see instructions below)

  • In your session config, set use_browser_bots=True.

  • Run your server and create a session. The pages will auto-play with browser bots, once the start links are opened.

  • If using Heroku, make sure the second dyno is enabled.

Writing tests

In oTree Studio, go to the “Tests” section of your app. Click the button to auto-write bots code. If you want to refine the code that was generated (such as adding expect() statements), read the below sections.

If you are using a text editor, go to tests.py.

Submitting pages

You should make one yield per page submission. For example:

yield pages.Start
yield pages.Survey, dict(name="Bob", age=20)

Here, we first submit the Start page, which does not contain a form. The following page has 2 form fields, so we submit a dict.

The test system will raise an error if the bot submits invalid input for a page, or if it submits pages in the wrong order.

You use if statements to play any player or round number. For example:

if self.round_number == 1:
    yield pages.Introduction
if self.player.id_in_group == 1:
    yield pages.Offer, dict(offer=30)
else:
    yield pages.Accept, dict(offer_accepted=True)

Your if statements can depend on self.player, self.group, self.round_number, etc.

Ignore wait pages when writing bots.

Rounds

Your bot code should just play 1 round at a time. oTree will automatically execute it num_rounds times.

expect()

Note

The expect() function was introduced in September 2019. Previously we recommended using assert statements, which are still OK but expect() can report errors more clearly.

You can use expect statements to ensure that your code is working as you expect.

For example:

from otree.api import expect

expect(self.player.num_apples, 100)
yield pages.Eat, dict(apples_eaten=1)
expect(self.player.num_apples, 99)

If self.player.num_apples is not 99, then you will be alerted with an error.

You can also use expect with 3 arguments, like expect(self.player.budget, '<', 100). This will verify that self.player.budget is less than 100. You can use the following operators: '<', '<=', '==', '>=', '>', '!=', 'in', 'not in'.

Testing form validation

If you use form validation, you should test that your app is correctly rejecting invalid input from the user, by using SubmissionMustFail().

For example, let’s say you have this page:

class MyPage(Page):

    form_model = 'player'
    form_fields = ['int1', 'int2']

    def error_message(self, values):
        if values["int1"] + values["int2"] != 100:
            return 'The numbers must add up to 100'

Here is how to test that it is working properly:

from otree.api SubmissionMustFail

yield SubmissionMustFail(pages.MyPage, dict(int1=99, int2=0))
yield pages.MyPage, dict(int1=99, int2=1)

The bot will submit MyPage twice. If the first submission succeeds, an error will be raised, because it is not supposed to succeed.

Checking the HTML

self.html contains the HTML of the page you are about to submit. You can use this together with expect():

from otree.api import expect

if self.player.id_in_group == 1:
    expect(self.player.is_winner, True)
    print(self.html)
    expect('you won the game', 'in', self.html)
else:
    expect(self.player.is_winner, False)
    expect('you did not win', 'in', self.html)
yield pages.Results
# etc...

self.html is updated with the next page’s HTML, after every yield statement. Linebreaks and extra spaces are ignored.

Automatic HTML checks

An error will be raised if the bot is trying to submit form fields that are not actually found in the page’s HTML, or if the page’s HTML is missing a submit button.

However, the bot system is not able to see fields and buttons that are added dynamically with JavaScript. In these cases, you should disable the HTML check by using Submission with check_html=False. For example, change this:

yield pages.MyPage, dict(foo=99)

to this:

from otree.api import Submission
yield Submission(pages.MyPage, dict(foo=99), check_html=False)

(If you used Submission without check_html=False, the two code samples would be equivalent.)

Simulate a page timeout

You can use Submission with timeout_happened=True:

from otree.api import Submission
yield Submission(pages.MyPage, dict(foo=99), timeout_happened=True)

Advanced features

See Bots: advanced features