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Validation and Testing

After the initial development of the schema for a Permissions System, it is important to ensure that all subsequent changes are continued to be tested and validated.

SpiceDB provides two sets of tooling to help in this area: A validation system that can be run from the command line or as part of CI that ensures any schema changes continue to be validated as part of the development process, and a built-in testing server for running real API calls against in-memory testing data.

Validation of schema changes

Validation of schema changes is critical to ensure that a Permissions System operates as intended by its developers. To help with that goal, the Authzed Playground provides two sets of validation tooling: an "Assertions" tab which allows for defining a set of permission Checks with their expected results, and the "Expected Relations" tab for defining the exhaustive set of subjects that can be found for a particular permission on a particular resource. Together, these tabs provide a very powerful way of exhaustively validating the schema for a Permissions System.

However, using the Playground for all development validation is not tenable: changes to the schema may occur from other sources and it is critical it is still validated.

note

The examples below use the zaml suffix for the files containing schema, test relationships, assertions and expected relations. This is merely a convention, and the files are YAML. An example can be found at test-schema.zaml

To support this use case, the zed CLI tool provides the validate command, which can be used to run the same validation as the Playground, over a downloaded Playground YAML file:

$ zed validate schema-and-assertions.zaml
Success! - 3 relationships loaded, 4 assertions run, 2 expected relations validated

This functionality is also provided in the form of a GitHub Action, for use in GitHub CI:

steps:
- uses: "authzed/action-spicedb-validate@v1"
with:
validationfile: "myschema.zaml"

Testing code against SpiceDB

In addition to schema validation, it is often important to test the actual API calls being made to SpiceDB.

To support this use case, the SpiceDB binary provides a specialized run mode called serve-testing, which runs SpiceDB in a testing-only mode:

$ spicedb serve-testing
2:24PM INF set log level new level=info
2:24PM INF set tracing provider new provider=none
2:24PM INF this is the latest released version of SpiceDB
2:24PM WRN grpc server serving plaintext prefix=grpc
2:24PM INF grpc server started listening addr=:50051 network=tcp prefix=grpc workers=0
2:24PM WRN grpc server serving plaintext prefix=readonly-grpc
2:24PM INF grpc server started listening addr=:50052 network=tcp prefix=readonly-grpc workers=0

Making API calls

The serve-testing command starts SpiceDB in Testing Mode, which has a number of unique features:

Ephemeral Data

All data written is ephemeral: it will be lost when the process is shut down.

Normal and Read-Only API

The API is served on two ports: By default, the normal API is served on port 50051 while a read-only version of the same API is served on port 50052

This allows for easy testing of SpiceDB in read-only mode.

Token Isolation

note

It is highly recommended to use Token Isolation for testing

If a token is provided to the API call, SpiceDB will create a unique ephemeral datastore for that token.

This means that multiple tests can make multiple API calls which read and write to their own isolated version of the Permissions System, simply by switching the token being sent to the server.

If no token is provided, a "default" datastore is used.

Preloading data

The serve-testing command also supports preloading of schema and test relationships via the use of the --load-configs flag:

$ spicedb serve-testing --load-configs myschema.zaml
2:24PM INF set log level new level=info
2:24PM INF set tracing provider new provider=none
2:24PM INF this is the latest released version of SpiceDB
2:24PM WRN grpc server serving plaintext prefix=grpc
2:24PM INF grpc server started listening addr=:50051 network=tcp prefix=grpc workers=0
2:24PM WRN grpc server serving plaintext prefix=readonly-grpc
2:24PM INF grpc server started listening addr=:50052 network=tcp prefix=readonly-grpc workers=0

The file format of the schema and test relationship data is the same as that used by the validation tooling.

Running via GitHub Action

serve-testing is also available in GitHub Action Form:

steps:
- uses: "authzed/action-spicedb@v1"
with:
version: "latest"