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The Chromium Chronicle #10: Catching UI Regressions with Pixel Tests

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Episode 10: by Sven Zheng in Bellevue, WA (January, 2020)
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Chrome's testing strategy relies heavily on automated functional correctness tests and manual testing, but neither of these reliably catch minor UI regressions. Use pixel tests to automate testing your desktop browser UI.

When writing a pixel test, avoid flakiness by: (1) disabling animation, (2) using mock data, and (3) testing the minimum possible surface area.

Here is a sample image used to verify pixel correctness for the omnibox:

Omnibox image used for pixel comparison.

And the code to verify the browser matches this image:

IN_PROC_BROWSER_TEST_F(SkiaGoldDemoPixelTest, TestOmnibox) {
// Always disable animation for stability.
ui::ScopedAnimationDurationScaleMode disable_animation(
GURL url("chrome://bookmarks");
AddTabAtIndex(0, url, ui::PageTransition::PAGE_TRANSITION_FIRST);
auto* const browser_view = BrowserView::GetBrowserViewForBrowser(browser());
// CompareScreenshot() takes a screenshot and compares it with the
// golden image, which was previously human-approved, is stored
// server-side, and is managed by Skia Gold. If any pixels differ, the
// test will fail and output a link for the author to triage the
// new image.
bool ret = GetPixelDiff().CompareScreenshot("omnibox",

This code lives at chrome/test/pixel/demo/ The relevant headers are skia_gold_pixel_diff.h for unit tests and browser_skia_gold_pixel_diff.h for browser tests.

The pixel diff and approval process is powered by Skia Gold. Skia Gold pixel tests provide a visual approval workflow, and allow developers to accept small flakes by approving multiple gold images.

Currently the test suite is running on the Windows FYI bot. Browser tests and Views unit tests are supported.

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