Test Tools

Tools and libraries released under the BBC Hive open source project

BBC Hive Open Source

BBC Hive is a BBC Digital initiative to contribute open source tools and libraries to the open source community. This page provides an overview of the projects that fall under this open source banner. They’re all hosted on github and MIT licensed.


DeviceAPI is a collection of gems that make working with physical devices easy and consistent. DeviceAPI provides common utilities such as device detection and identification, and useful helpers for installing applications and identifying problems with devices.

We use DeviceAPI heavily to leverage devices in Hive CI. It’s also used by our test developers in their test code. It’s our interface to the devices we test against and is where we put all common code for interacting with our physical devices. It also provides an abstraction so we can deal with devices interchangeably.


DeviceAPI-Android is the DeviceAPI implementation for Android devices. It uses the Android SDK command line tools for interacting with connected devices:

device = DeviceAPI::Android.devices.first

device.model                        #=> 'samsung gt-i9100'
device.orientation                  #=> :portrait
device.install('path/to/build.apk') #=> true

In addition to detecting and identifying physical devices, DeviceAPI-Android handles functions like:

  • managing keystores and signing apps
  • installing and deleting applications
  • managing orientation and settings
  • capturing screenshots
  • performing cleanup operations
  • executing monkey testing

Code Gems Docs


DeviceAPI-IOS is the iOS implementation of DeviceAPI. It uses libimobiledevice for interacting with connected devices.

This gem offers most of the same features as the Android version. The API is identical where possible:

device = DeviceAPI::IOS.devices.first

device.model      #=> 'iPad mini 3'

DeviceAPI Base gem

Shared code for the DeviceAPI gems lives in this base gem. If you want to write a DeviceAPI gem for a new type of device (say a smart fridge or mass spectrometer) you should take a look at the base gem documentation.


Res is a set of formatting and parsing tools for test results. Res is key to how Hive CI understands and interprets tests. We use lots of different test runners that all produce different test output formats. We use res as a standard test result format making it easier to report our tests into the different tools that teams use.

LAVA – Libraries for Audio Video Analysis

LAVA are libraries for capturing and performing analysis on device-video playback. We use LAVA in combination with the device_api gem to capture screenshots during video playback tests and confirm that video is actually being played.

LAVA uses ImageMagick to do the actual image analysis, but presents a simple interface lets you concentrate on writing your tests.

It also generates animated gifs of the testing session, so we can visibly check any problems the tests find.

Simple stats store

Simple Stats Store is a ruby gem that provides a simple and lightweight method of sharing an SQLite database without contention.

It is appropriate to be used when:

  • there are multiple threads or processes submitting data to a single SQLite database
  • data concurrency is less important than avoiding waiting on database locks

Rather than hold a database lock, any processes wanting to write to the database drop a uniquely named file to a directory containing the data. These files are picked up by a single thread that is the sole accessor of the database.