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Templates and Includes in Tradefed XML Configuration

Creating one monolithic XML configuration to define a test is not always practical. If you want to re-use part of the setup to run similar tests, you would be forced to copy and maintain two giant XML files.

This is where template and include tags in Tradefed XML Configuration definition come in handy. They allow you to set placeholders in some XML configuration to add part of another XML configuration.

Example Definition For Templates

<configuration description="Common base configuration for local runs with minimum overhead">
    <build_provider class="" />

    <template-include name="preparers" default="empty" />

    <template-include name="test" default="empty" />

    <template-include name="reporters" default="empty" />

Templates are placeholders with a name to reference them, and an optional default field. The default field defines the default replacement XML that should be used.

In order to replace a template for a given configuration, the following command parameter needs to be added to the command line:

--template:map <name of template>=<replacement XML config path>

--template:map preparers=empty

For example:

<template-include name="preparers" default="empty" />

The empty reference in this case refers to the empty.xml configuration that contains nothing; we use it as our reference to replace with nothing.

The path of XML configs can be absolute or relative to the res/config folder inside Tradefed's JAR resources. Here are a few of their locations:

  • tools/tradefederation/core/res/config
  • tools/tradefederation/core/tests/res/config
  • tools/tradedeferation/contrib/res/config

Example Definition of Includes

<configuration description="Common base configuration for local runs with minimum overhead">
    <build_provider class="" />

    <include name="empty"/>

Includes are simpler than Templates as they require no command line arguments; they directly expand the referenced XML in the name tag. Similar to templates, the path to the config can be absolute or relative. Still, for includes we recommend using only relative paths as they are more portable in Tradefed. Absolute paths would not be valid if Tradefed is moved to another machine.


In case of misconfiguration, such as when the replacement XML cannot be found, Tradefed will throw a ConfigurationException with description of what seems to be missing or misconfigured.