the Chromium logo

The Chromium Projects


Note: the recall code has been deleted from autotest and is no longer available.

Recall is a server-side system that intercepts DNS, HTTP and HTTPS traffic from clients for either recording or playback. This allows tests to be run in labs without Internet access by playing back pre-recorded copies of websites, allows tests to be run that use recorded copies of sites known to exhibit errors or many iterations of the same test to be run with the same data.

Recall is intended to be completely transparent to client tests.

It runs as an autotest server test which makes some configuration changes to the server machine, and then runs the desired client test on the client wrapped with a Recall context manager that takes care of adjusting the client's configuration to redirect the traffic to the recall server (in the case it's not the network's default gateway already) and install a root certificate for HTTPS man-in-the-middling.


At the time of this writing you must install the following packages, which are not installed by default.

  1. the dnspython package in the chroot: sudo emerge dnspython
  2. the iproute2 package on the chroot: sudo emerge iproute2
  3. there may be other needed packages which I am now forgetting (iptables?)

In addition, the server-side iptable command to set up the routing tables fails for me with this error:

FATAL: Could not load /lib/modules/ No such file or directory

I worked around this by copying that file from my root file system into the chroot. (For testing, I also ran the same iptables command manually outside the chroot, so I am not sure if you need to do that so that some module is loaded correctly.)

From the command line:

The highest level way in which to run Recall is simply to use the test_RecallServer test, which handles all of the heavy-lifting for you, and can be run using run_remote_tests.

Run desktopui_UrlFetch on the client, record results which can be found as <RESULTS DIR>/pickle:

./ --remote=<DEVICE IP> test_RecallServer -a 'desktopui_UrlFetch'

Run desktopui_UrlFetch on the client, only returning results found in the given pickle file created from a previous recording:

./ --remote=<DEVICE IP> test_RecallServer -a 'desktopui_UrlFetch /path/to/pickle'

Run desktopui_UrlFetch on the client 100 times, the first time will be recorded, the subsequent 99 will use the playback only

./ --remote=<DEVICE IP> test_RecallServer -a 'desktopui_UrlFetch num_iterations=100'

Run desktopui_UrlFetch on the client using a simple proxy server that doesn't record (mostly for infrastructure testing)

./ --remote=<DEVICE IP> test_RecallServer -a 'desktopui_UrlFetch proxy_only=1'

Infrastructure restrictions mean that these test must always be run as root (or with sudo), and may not be run against the address. This includes running them against VMs on your workstation, unless you set up a bridge network for KVM instead of using its userspace networking.

From a control file:

You can also write a server suite that performs the same actions, perhaps on multiple tests, for example:

def run(machine):

host = hosts.create_host(machine)

job.run_test('test_RecallServer', host=host, test='desktopui_UrlFetch', pickle_file='/path/to/pickle')

parallel_simple(run, machines)

Customizing server behaviour:

The test_RecallServer test takes care of many of the common cases, but in some situations it may not be appropriate to modify it to cover yours and instead create a new server test that uses the Recall infrastructure. This can be accomplished by deriving your test from recall_test.RecallServerTest; the documentation for that class goes into greater detail, here's a very brief example:

from autotest_lib.server.cros import recall_test, recall

class test_MyTest(recall_test.RecallServerTest):

def initialize(self, host):

minimum set up required

self.certificate_authority = recall.CertificateAuthority("/O=Test")

self.dns_client = recall.DNSClient()

self.http_client = recall.HTTPClient()

takes care of the rest of the heavy lifting

can be overidden a lot, see documentation

recall_test.RecallServerTest.initialize(self, host)

def run_once(self, host):

self.RunTestOnHost('test_MyClientTest', host)

Static server, custom client:

For even deeper diving, the Recall infrastructure can be run in a standalone manner. For example a server can be installed on the network which already has clients use it as a DNS server and Default Gateway via DHCP and redirects all traffic to itself with static iptables rules. The recall server itself can be run by creating instances of recall.DNSServer, recall.HTTPServer, recall.HTTPSServer, etc. by hand with fixed ports. See the documentation for the recall package for more details, here's a very quick example:

from autotest_lib.server.cros import recall

ca = recall.CertificateAuthority("/O=Test")

dns = recall.DNSServer(('', 5000), dns_client=DNSClient())

client = recall.DeterministicScriptInjector(recall.HTTPClient())

http = recall.HTTPServer(('', 8000), http_client=client)

https = recall.HTTPSServer(('', 4430), http_client=client, dns_client=dns.dns_client, certificate_authority=ca)

remain running as long as needed




A client test can now be written that uses this fixed infrastructure, though note that this test will not function without it. Client tests simply wrap the call in the control file with the context manager:

from autotest_lib.client.cros import recall

with recall.RecallServer(IP_OF_SERVER):


The context manager takes care of setting up the root certificate used for HTTPS recording, it also takes care of the DNS Server and Default Route if those aren't already correct.